Power Conditioners

Nordost Thor Power Distribution Center

ARTICLE INDEX

 

Floored

The noise silencing aspects of the Thor also worked their magic. Before the Thor entered the system, the ExactPower made music sound just a bit smoothed over and tame. It sounded quite good, mind you – some people would have done everything in their power to have a system that sounded as good – but the raw, transparent immediacy of the live event was more an idea than a reality. In retrospect, I’d say that it smoothed the leading edge of transients, and subtly reduced dynamics.

The Thor did something very, very different. By further lowering the noise floor, lifting a level of haze that I didn’t realize was there until it was gone, and allowing all the dynamic gradations on the recording to come through, the Thor brought music to life as never before. There was a cleanness about the sound – a cleanness of attack and decay – that had nothing to do with sterile cookie cutter images and everything to do with real music-making. Thanks to greater silence, instruments and voices had a more realistic leading edge and greater three-dimensional impact.

With less haze, I was able to hear farther into the music, and better distinguish individual instrumental threads in a complex musical fabric. It was as though Salomé had finally dropped her seventh veil, and allowed us to see for the first time what she was really about.

While I do not have a five-channel (or more) home theater rig with a huge projection or plasma screen, I do own an antiquated 26” TV and a basic DVD player. The Thor’s effect on picture quality was marked. Colors became far more vivid, drawing me deeper into the experience.

Conclusions

There are always more levels of grunge to remove, more levels of detail to reveal, brighter colors to revel in. Better cables, Bybee devices, better racks and equipment supports, and bass management/room correction systems are among the many devices that enable you to hear deeper into the music without changing speakers and electronics. The higher a system’s resolution, the more you can hear detail revealed by close-miking that you would never hear in a concert hall (which is far from silent due to air conditioning, program rustling, coughing, and occasional cell phone outbursts). But the Thor accomplishes so much with so little effort that its effects are stunning.

I find it uncomfortable to think of my former system as the aural equivalent of a paint-by-numbers canvas masquerading as a work of art. But, in retrospect, if it was nowhere near that bad, it was certainly an expert forgery pretending to be the real thing.

The Thor changed all that. Gone were the little boxes, the tidy arrangements, and the perfectly placed lines. Instead was something new, whole, vibrant and organic. Music became alive, whole, and infinitely more compelling.

The Thor doesn’t simply distribute power. It brings life. Need I say that the Thor is now a permanent part of my reference system?


JASON VICTOR SERINUS REFERENCE SYSTEM

Digital Front End
Theta Carmen II CD/DVD transport
Theta Gen VIII DAC/Preamp
(Benchmark USB DAC-1 when Apple Titanium Powerbook is in use on the main system)

Amplification
VTL 450W tube monoblock prototypes with KT-88 tubes
Jadis DA-7 Luxe with GE 5751 Jan and Jan Philips 5814A tubes and cable from Pierre Gabriel

Loudspeakers
Talon Khorus X speakers MK. III (with latest upgrade and Bybee Quantum Noise Purifiers)
Eggleston Works The Nine (here for review and currently installed)

Cabling
Nordost Valhalla single-ended and balanced interconnects
Nordost Valhalla balanced digital interconnects
Nordost Valhalla bi-wired speaker cable
Nordost Valhalla Power Cables
Elrod EPS-2 Signature power cables

Power
Nordost Thor Power Distribution System
IsoClean or other audiophile grade fuses in most components
Dedicated line for system

Analog
Clearaudio Emotion turntable with Satisfy arm
Soundsmith “The Voice” phono cartridge
Benz MC-Gold phono cartridge
Classe 6 phono preamp with better umbilical cord
Symposium Platform under turntable

Accessories
Finite Elemente Cerapuc supports
Ganymede ball bearing supports
Michael Green brass Audiopoints
Audiophile grade fuses in all equipment.
Acoustic Resonators
Michael Green Deluxe Ultrarack, Basic Racks and Corner Tunes
Shakti stones on transport, DAC, amps, etc.
Four Shakti Hallographs
Bybee Golden Goddess Super Effect Speaker Bullets
Echo Buster and Corner Busters
Bedini Quadra Beam and Dual Beam Ultraclarifiers
Marigo Signature 3-D Mat v2;
Ayre demagnetizing CD
Various CD sprays

Main System Room Dimensions
Living room is 24.5’ deep, 21.4’ wide in the listening area. It’s big enough to accommodate 16 members of the Bay Area Audiophile Society, positioned in four rows of four seats each. The distance from the front door to the end of the dining room is 37’. Sound extends far to the left and right of the speakers thanks to an 8.33’ wide archway into the dining room opposite the right channel speaker. Ceilings are 9’ high with heavy wooden crossbeams, each 17” in height. Heavy curtains cover windows behind the sound system. Floors are hardwood and carpet in front of the system, and hardwood elsewhere. Walls in the living room are a combination of plaster and wood, with a large granite fireplace in the rear. The dining room is all plaster. There is RoomTune and Echo buster treatment in corners, and either an Echo Buster or heavy tapestry at the two side wall first order reflection points. For photos, see this page.

Upstairs Second System:
Genesis I-60 Integrated amp
Von Schweikert VR-4jr. speakers
Proton 26” non-HD anything but flat decidedly undigital TV
Basic Pioneer DVD player
A first generation CD player too awful to play
Assortment of WireWorld Gold Eclipse 5, Harmonic Tech Magic One, and Nordost Valhalla and Tyr cabling; Elrod EPS-2 Signature and AudioPrism SuperNatural S2 power cables

Computer System
Apple iMac G5
Benchmark DAC-1 USB
ExactPower EP15A equipped with outlets from Sound Applications and other mods
Audio Engine 5 self-powered speakers
Nordost Valhalla Power cabling
Harmonic Tech Magic One interconnect
High-Wire speaker cable
Ganymede Ball Bearing supports
Shakti stone