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The Squeezebox Squares Off Against The High End, Cont.

In any event, I was sure I had not yet reached the full capabilities of my Squeezebox. So I took a look at the Squeezebox power converter, which must have cost all of 25 cents to make in China, and immediately decided this piece of crap had to go. I trotted down to my local RatShack and bought a $17 all-purpose AC/DC converter. Immediately, there was another upgrade in sound quality, enough to kick up overall system quality a whole notch.

It was now abundantly clear that the Squeezebox thrived on clean power, as in fact, does any good sound system.  The most dollars spent in any high-end audio component are usually on the power supply.  Get the PS right, and the audio dividends are dramatic.  Unfortunately, your local power company does its level best to fuck all this up by pushing juice out your wall socket that, if you could drink it, would look and taste like 10 year old sewer water. That’s where Joe Reynolds, the President and founder of Nordost, came in. He recently told me about his company’s new Thor project.

To quote from Nordost, the Thor project is a joint collaboration between Nordost and UK mains power specialist IsoTek. Thor is a full rack width, 6-way AC power mains power distribution unit with sophisticated circuitry for dealing with mains noise and voltage spikes without limiting dynamic headroom. The unit is wired throughout with Nordost Valhalla power cable to achieve optimum signal transfer and performance. The unit also features IsoTek's Polaris-X circuit technology which eliminates product cross contamination, effectively offering any hardware plugged into the unit a clean power supply. This proprietary system shunts AC mains borne noise to ground without compressing the dynamics of the music. In addition, Thor uses Quantum Resonance Technology (QRT) treated circuit boards. This technology aids the transfer function of conductive materials. Amen.

Naturally, I had to try one.

Joe kindly sent along a Nordost Thor for review, which retails for $3,200, along with a 2 meter Nordost Valhalla power cord that sells for a cool $1375. My plan was to use the Valhalla power cord to tap into the mains wall outlet and then into the Thor, from which all the cleaned power up would be distributed. Unfortunately, the Valhalla was not long enough to reach my mains, and I had to use a regular power cord.

Nordost Thor

However, the electrically exorcised sound that suddenly sang out was anything but ordinary.  I don’t know how Nordost does it. Even though I always approach these kilo-buck wire products with a hefty dose of skepticism, the results from Nordost products always manage to blow me away. Joe’s remarkable Thor was no exception.

The Squeezebox was pumping sound out its RCA plugs and into the MBL’s that rivaled CD source components costing several thousand dollars or more.  Who would have believed it?  Not me, certainly. Mighty Thor came, swung his big ass hammer down hard on NStar, and cracked not just a few greedy utility perp skulls. 

With Thor doing his thing, even the subtlest micro-dynamics were revealed, rendered in perfect relief against a jet-black background. Each performer, each instrument, were exquisitely cast in an architecturally sculpted 3-D performance space--Sweet, for such a big Viking brute.

 

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21st, The VXM Network, http://www.vxm.com

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