As CEO Joe Reynolds explained in an interview with the British publication HiFi+, “Nordost cables stress the importance of both mechanical construction and wiring geometry.” And as time evolved, Nordost developed proprietary technologies such as micro mono-filament construction, which, by creating a separation between the insulation and conductor, allows 80% of the conductor to be suspended in air, bringing “our cables far greater bandwidth and speed. This, along with precise manufacturing techniques, which can be seen just by looking at our power cords and speaker cables, is the key to great cable performance.”
As its cables evolved Nordost also brought greater sophistication to both the mechanical and electrical aspects of its designs, including paying close attention to the resonant characteristics of the materials used to manufacture them. As those familiar with the Nordost approach know, this means building cables to “mechanically tuned lengths.” These lengths vary from range to range, and even change according to cable type, since each mechanically tuned length is dependent on the mass of materials and specific cable geometries of each individual cable.
To put the various Nordost ranges of cables in context, think about the company’s four different family lines as a seamless progression of technology. Starting with the entry-level White Lightning (the first cables in the Leif series) to the top-of-the-line Odin 2 range, all are based on the same design philosophy: to produce low-mass (my italics) cables with both optimal signal transfer speed and perfect impedance matching, which is said to deliver the signal as quickly and accurately as possible, without any filtering, such as in-line boxes, which Nordost believes negatively impact the sound.
Within the various Nordost families, there are four distinct lines: Leif, Norse 2, Reference (Valhalla), and Supreme Reference (Odin 2). Each branch offers different levels of the technologies described above, and the Tyr 2 line under review here is found at the top of the Norse 2 family. All cables in the Norse 2 range share the following materials, technologies, and construction techniques: high-grade, silver-plated OFC copper; precision FEP extrusions; micro mono-filament technology; and mechanically tuned lay, conductor spacing, and length.
What differentiates the Tyr 2 cables from the range directly below it (Frey 2) is heavier-gauge wiring, as well as the number and purity of conductors used in construction, which in this case jumps to dual mono-filament construction. What Tyr 2 lacks compared to the upper Valhalla 2 range are the gauge, number, and purity of the conductors, as well as Nordost’s patented HOLO:PLUG connectors, which are designed to seamlessly fit the internal geometry of each individual cable they house.
Before I attempt to describe the sonic nature of the Tyr 2 loom I’d like to emphasize something that’s obvious on one hand, but on the other not always explicitly stated in reviews. What I mean is that the sound I’m about to describe is within the context of my system’s various components and the gear I’ve recently reviewed (see Associated Equipment). Although your results may vary, I believe these sonic qualities will translate across the spectrum of today’s highest-quality gear.
Given the way I began this article, let’s circle back to the notion of transparency. In addition to the wines of Chablis I mentioned above, let’s further explore this concept to describe how, for instance, a red Burgundy consistently displays the character of the vineyard it hails from, regardless of vintage variations. And because Burgundy vineyards—either via generational succession or sale—have been seriously fragmented over the years into the hands of a number of different owners, it’s possible to taste, let’s just say, five wines from essentially the same tiny patch of land made by five different producers. Needless to say, the differing approaches of the various winemakers involved is going to be felt in the wine—the use of more or fewer new oak barrels (and their toast levels), greater or less extraction, the length of the élevage (raising of the wine), etc.—are all factors that will affect the wine’s aroma and flavor. Yet, ideally, even with all of these variables, the wine will still taste of the place it was grown. And generally (and rather obviously) speaking, the less heavy-handed the winemaking style the more transparent the finished product will be to the vineyard the fruit came from.