There are other cable systems that cost more than Nordost’s Odin, but none of these rivals seem to draw as much fire from the sceptics and cynics. Odin is the most visible high-priced cable system in audio, and now Nordost’s new Odin 2 raises the bar… and the price. I can almost hear the sound of pitchforks being sharpened and torches being lit.
Odin 2 was possibly the worst kept, most blindingly obvious secret in audio. Nordost has been systematically improving its lines for several years, starting with Leif and the Norse 2 ranges, and most recently with Valhalla 2 (tested in Hi-Fi+ issue 112). Given that Valhalla 2 improved the performance of Valhalla to a point where the difference between Valhalla 2 and Odin was beginning to blur, the development of an Odin 2 was almost inevitable.
The problem is you don’t just ‘update’ Odin. The original Odin cable system from 2008 already set a high standard of attention to detail and uncompromising focus on getting a signal from source to speaker with the least possible compromise. Where do you go from there? Fortunately, the key to this was the design and development criteria that went into turning Valhalla into V2, blending that with what set the original Odin apart from the first version of Valhalla, and then adding Odin 2’s technological distinctiveness in its own right.
The principle element taken from Valhalla 2 is the HOLO:PLUG terminator for phono, XLR, power, and spade connectors. The HOLO:PLUG is designed to create an optimum interface between cable and component, with precisely aligned 360° low eddy current terminations for each conductor in the relevant cable, a rear termination grounding ring, and sophisticated vibration control. This means that the individual HOLO:PLUG must be designed in tandem with the specific cable, so there are no components shared between a Valhalla 2 phono plug and a Odin 2 phono plug. It also means that building the individual cables is a slow, specialist, and painstaking task. But, the path to perfection is paved with such dedication. The one missing element from the HOLO:PLUG list (at the time of writing ) is a 13A UK plug, and fellow traveller in the Nordost bus Quantum has produced a new fused version of its Qbase with Schuko sockets that will get the job done, thereby limiting the number of Furutech UK 13A sockets. The HOLO:PLUG carbon-fibre IEC socket, together with Schuko and US wall plugs are available in HOLO:PLUG form.
The element taken from Odin was its Dual Monofilament layout, which is also now featured in Valhalla 2. A precision double-helix of Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene-wrapped monofilament cables itself encased in a further layer of FEP, in Odin 2, the individual conductors are formed of a number of silver-plated high-purity solid-core copper strands. The actual thickness and number of individual strands that make up a single Odin 2 conductor vary according to their ultimate purpose, and the composition of a Valhalla 2 conductor for a specific cable may have little in common with the make-up of an Odin 2 conductor in the same situation.