QRT Power Prod­ucts and the QBASE QB8 Power Dis­trib­u­tor

NOVO - - NORDOST TYR 2 -

coun­tered in any ca­ble. As you might ex­pect, many of these tech­nolo­gies uti­lized in the Norse 2 fam­ily have trick­led down from the years of re­search and de­vel­op­ment spent on the com­pany’s Ref­er­ence and Supreme Ref­er­ence Ranges.

To try out in my own ref­er­ence sys­tem, Nor­dost sent me a full loom of Tyr 2 ca­bles, which in­cluded mul­ti­ple power cords ($3,799 each / 2m length), RCA in­ter­con­nects ($2,509 pair / 1m length), XLR in­ter­con­nects ($2,509 pair / 1m length), as well as a pair of speaker ca­bles ($6,249 pair / 2m length). To com­plete my sys­tem, I also asked Nor­dost to pro­vide me with a Norse 2 Heim­dall 2 dig­i­tal in­ter­con­nect ($734 each / 1m length) and the QBASE QB8 power dis­tri­bu­tion unit ($1,399). As men­tioned above, in ad­di­tion to ca­bles Nor­dost also pro­duces a se­ries of power prod­ucts, which in­clude QBASE power dis­trib­u­tors, QX power pu­ri­fiers, the QV2 AC line har­mo­nizer and the QK1 AC en­hancer. All of these de­vices are de­signed to im­prove the qual­ity of AC power de­liv­ered to the sen­si­tive elec­tron­ics in an au­dio or home theatre sys­tem, thereby sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanc­ing sonic and video qual­ity.

The QBASE-Mark II QB8 power dis­tri­bu­tion unit, supplied for this re­view, pro­vides a straight-line, low-loss AC dis­tri­bu­tion path from the wall socket to your com­po­nents. It does not fea­ture any form of in-line fil­ter­ing or ac­tive cir- cuitry, in or­der to of­fer the low­est pos­si­ble AC sup­ply im­ped­ance. Its star-earthed de­sign pro­vides a con­nec­tion to the clean­est pos­si­ble ground via a cen­trally lo­cated “Pri­mary Earth” out­put socket. This is achieved by adding a tiny lift in the earth im­ped­ance of all of the other out­put sock­ets, which routes the sig­nal grounds di­rectly to the cen­tre of the star and the clean earth ter­mi­nal.

The QB8 fea­tures an im­pres­sively con­structed alu­minium case­work that is a plea­sure to lay your eyes on, much like a high-end au­dio com­po­nent. The me­tal com­po­nents and in­ter­nal PC board com­bine to make a sin­gle, me­chan­i­cal­ly­tuned con­struc­tion that re­sists vi­bra­tions, de­signed care­fully to im­prove power per­for­mance. The QB8 of­fers eight wellspaced sock­ets, mounted to a very sturdy frame plate.

Eight and four socket ver­sions of this power dis­trib­u­tor are avail­able in the US, Euro­pean and Aus­tralian mar­kets, while the UK ver­sion of­fers a sin­gle six-socket model. Each unit is equipped with a fuse which pro­vides over-cur­rent pro­tec­tion of the source cir­cuit.

A Sys­tem­atic Ap­proach To Con­nect­ing the Ca­bles

Does the or­der in which you up­grade ca­bles in the sys­tem mat­ter? Ab­so­lutely. The power chain be­gins at the wall out­let so this is where you should start, and then fol­low the flow of the sig­nal path. This means start­ing with the power dis­tri­bu­tion, fol­lowed by in­ter­con­nect ca­bles and fi­nally the speaker ca­bles. Sup­ply­ing your sys­tem with cleaner power will re­sult in the big­gest per­for­mance gains for each of your com­po­nents, while the in­ter­con­nects and speaker ca­bles will fur­ther re­fine the per­for­mance of the sys­tem as a whole.

I spent many hours try­ing the QB8 power dis­tri­bu­tion box and the var­i­ous Tyr 2 ca­bles in­di­vid­u­ally in two dif­fer­ent sys­tems to get a true sense of their im­pact on per­for­mance, prior to in­te­grat­ing all of them into a sin­gle sys­tem. One sys­tem in­cluded my re­cently pur­chased, very spe­cial Jeff Row­land Con­tin­uum S2 in­te­grated amp (a spec­tac­u­lar sound­ing amp in ev­ery re­gard; check out my re­view on www.canadahifi. com) and my long-stand­ing Fo­cal Elec­tra 1008 Be II speak­ers. The sec­ond sys­tem com­prised of the ModWright In­stru­ments KWA 100 am­pli­fier, the LS 100 tube pream­pli­fier and Mon­i­tor Au­dio GX 200 speak­ers. In both sys­tems, my sources were the Brys­ton BDP-1 dig­i­tal player and the Sonos sys­tem, run­ning through a Brys­ton BDA-1 DAC. Dur­ing my lis­ten­ing ses­sions, I also com­pared the Tyr 2 ca­bles to many other ca­bles I had on hand, in­clud­ing Nor­dost’s own Leif Blue Heaven and Norse 2 Heim­dall 2 ca­bles. Editor Ge­orge de Sa also joined me, lend­ing a sec­ond set of ears and valu­able in­put, dur­ing one of my ex­tended lis­ten­ing ses­sions.

Lis­ten­ing Tests: QB8 Power Dis­tri­bu­tion Box

I be­gan by in­te­grat­ing the QB8 power dis­tri­bu­tion box into my sys­tem, along with a Tyr 2 power ca­ble, run­ning be­tween the wall out­let and the QB8. I’ve had a high­end pas­sive power dis­tri­bu­tion unit in my sys­tem for the last sev­eral years, al­beit a lower priced unit than the QB8, so I didn’t ex­pect much of an im­prove­ment, if any at all. But of course I spun up a few of my favourite tracks and lis­tened care­fully.

The “Songs of An­ar­chy” sound­tracks have al­ways sounded great in my lis­ten­ing room, of­fer­ing nat­u­ral vo­cals, pal­pa­ble in­stru­ment per­for­mances, a vast amount of mu­si­cal de­tails and a for­mi­da­ble sound­stage. With the QB8 power dis­tri­bu­tion unit and the Tyr 2 power ca­ble in play, I im­me­di­ately no­ticed some­thing I haven’t heard be­fore. The three-di­men­sional sound­stage that I’ve be­come ac­cus­tomed to from my sys­tem sud­denly be­came al­most holo­graphic. The sound­stage gained a fo­cus and pin-point ac­cu­racy like never be­fore. Mu­si­cian voices and in­stru­ments ben­e­fit­ted from hav­ing more air be­tween them, mak­ing them more dis­tinct and very easy to lo­cate within the sound­stage. This in­creased vol­ume of air around vo­cals and in­stru­ments gave them more room to breathe and made them sound a lit­tle more life-like as a re­sult. The back­ground also be­came no­tice­ably qui­eter, re­veal­ing ad­di­tional lay­ers of res­o­lu­tion and de­tails.

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