Nordost has put a lot of faith in mechanical tuning recently. The company discovered that a cable’s mechanical properties (including its physical length) are vital to in its sonic performance. The results of this investigation transformed the Leif and Norse 2 lines, but wait until you hear what it does to Valhalla!
If you set aside that mechanical tuning ethos, the difference between Valhalla and Valhalla 2 are still noteworthy. The interconnects have one extra extruded FEP-wrapped conductor per side, while the thickness of the silver plating over the 7N pure oxygen-free copper conductors increases from 70 to 85 microns. Although the interconnects look physically different to the original Valhalla, the most noticeable change is in the loudspeaker cables; with the Valhalla 2 now featuring four groups of seven 22 AWG solid core conductors in a dual mono-filament layout instead of 40 single mono-filament conductors, making the new Valhalla 2 look (and perform) more like Odin than original Valhalla. All the new cables feature the sculpted wooden resonance control blocks only hitherto seen on Odin cables in the Nordost line.
However, scratch the surface (not literally) and the biggest intellectual change between Valhalla and Valhalla 2 is the way the cables are terminated, calling on that aforementioned mechanical tuning ethos. Nordost has long been a proponent of precision termination and choosing the optimum length for any given cable, but Valhalla 2 takes this to its logical extreme. The company’s new Holo:Plug connectors are custom designed for the cable, using an extremely precise triple-plated termination ring for accurate grounding, and a full 360° contact termination to limit eddy currents. Nothing is left to chance.