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Norse Audio 4-wire Norn series up-occ LCD-2 headphone cable

Posted

Pros: absolutely natural, engaging, beautifully made

Cons: not much

Thanks to WNBC for his review, I am in complete agreement with most of the points he makes, however I will put my experience in my own words.  Trevor, who runs Norse is completely professional to deal with, as well as clearly dedicated to creating some of the most natural and transparent and beautifully crafted cables that can be found at any price.  He is generous with his time and willing to tailor his creations in any way possible to your aesthetic preferences.  I cannot possibly forsee an experience as a customer which would surpass commissioning a cable from Norse Audio.

 

The cable is beautifully crafted, the finish on the wood splitter is excellent, and the cable looks and feels fantastic to use.  Norse Audio has sourced carribean rosewood to match that on the LCD-2, which it definitely does.  This cable looks like it belongs with the headphone.

 

What you can expect from the sonics is some of the most natural, balanced and transparent sound possible from the LCD-2.  Once you hear this cable, you will start to notice how lifelike and just plain right acoustic instruments sound.  In direct comparison most other cables I have tried start to sound artificial and coloured by comparison.

 

This cable has an incredible ability to sound both natural and engaging at the same time, while also maintaining a very good headstage.  Other cables may provide a sense of larger soundstage, but this usually is also accompanied by a distancing from the musicians.  With this cable the presence of every musician is palpable and natural, full of nuance and natural tone&timber.  You get a real sense that the sound waves are travelling directly from the musicians and reaching you without passing through any recording equipment, more than with any other cable I have tried.  Much of this can be attributed to the aforementioned First Person perspective this cable provides - you ARE the conductor, you are IN the recording studio.  

 

This cable is as detailed as any other I have tried, but not in a high definition/etched manner as can often be the case.  The bass is full of texture and dynamism, yet still very balanced, moreso any of the stock cables I have tried.  Bass is tight and impactful and full of definition, yet not vague and overbearing as it can be with the stock cable.  it does not bleed into the mids.  The midramge is palpable and natural, vocal transients are clearly and naturally reproduced, woodwinds, brass and strings all benefit from the natural upper midrange presentation and sound more realistic than ever.  I would not classify this as brightness - it is more a lack of coloration of this frequency which other cables seem to exhibit, save for the Nucleotide wire cable I have been testing.

 

I highly recommend this cable if the characteristics I described appeal to you.

 

Posted

Pros: Lightweight and natural sounding

Cons: None

 

Norse Audio Norn Litz OCC Cable

I had the original Norse OCC LCD-2 cable for 4 months and I’ll gladly admit that I chose it at the time for the price-to-performance ratio based on comments in this thread and others.  The Norse cable ended up being a purchase that I did not regret.  My criticism for the older cable was that you always noticed it was there.  It wasn’t super heavy but it would fold and twist depending on its mood.  4 months later Trevor released the cotton-sheathed Norn series and because I liked the original cable on a sonic level I contacted him about the new cable.

 

Comfort:  now this is what I’m talking about.  Lighter than the original cable and doesn’t snake around itself.  For those that like to color coordinate, the cotton sheath is brown and black, closer match to the LCD-2 own colors.    

 

Sound:  Trevor said a little burn was necessary to temper the treble.  I didn’t think the treble out of the box was a worry but now a week later any additional burn in time is icing on the cake.  I don’t have much cable experience so all I can compare this cable to is the original Norse and Audeze (AZD-6) cables.  All of the Norse cables have a clarity/transparency that lifts the veil associated with the Audeze cable.  Audeze cable does have a bit more weight at the midrange and low end but at the cost of some detail and clarity.  As many have said, these aftermarket cables get out of the way and let your source, amp, and headphone do their jobs.  With the Norn I believe there are more details and clarity in the mid-bass and deep bass with a slight loss to impact in comparison to the original Norse cable.  The timbre of instruments is a shade more natural and accurate with the new cable as well.  I’m really digging vocals with this Litz cable as well.  The bass is balanced and smooth.  Some people thought the original Norse cable was a tad bright.  This is not the case with the Norn by any means, from far it.  I don’t know what to call it, treble control or accuracy, but it’s very obvious.    

 

Conclusion:  I really liked the original Norse cable so if you don’t care about cable entanglement then stick with it.  With the Norn I no longer notice the cable’s omnipresence so that’s worth the price of admission alone.  The other main advantage of the Norn is the naturalness I perceive across the entire dynamic range, especially at the top end.    

 

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Posted

My Harmony Design DA9 DAC is still at the manufacturer's for an upgrade, so I'm not completely ready to go into any details regarding the sound quality of the Norn cable compared to the stock one. It looks great, is very comfortable to use, and sounds really good (the stock cable also sounds really good, I'll get back to you with a more detailed comparison later).

 

I just wanted to come here and give the owner of Norse Audio, Trevor Goldman, some much deserved credit. His customer support is among the best I've ever experienced from any company.

When my Norn cable first arrived, I realized that my Harmony Design EAR90 amp had a very unusual 4 pin XLR connector (the pins are male, and wired differently from most other amps). Trevor instantly had a custom adapter made and sent it to me free of charge.

It then turned out that the 4 pins on my LCD-2's left (only the left one) mini XLR connector weren't properly bridged, so it didn't work properly with the new cable. Normally, the mini XLR connectors on the LCD-2 are bridged, which is why my Norn cable didn't have its mini XLR connectors bridged as well. Audeze bridge the connectors on the stock cable as well, however, just in case, I guess.

Trevor sent me a brand new cable with bridged mini XLR pins, again free of charge. 

 

In both these cases, I merely told Trevor of my problem, and he both helped me come up with the solutions as well as declined my offers to pay for any of the new products he sent me, or even for the shipping. Considering that he or his company weren't to blame for any of my problems, that was incredibly generous and helpful of him, and I'm grateful.

Norse Audio 4-wire Norn series up-occ LCD-2 headphone cable
Description:

From Norse Audio: - UP-OCC mono crystal LITZ stranded copper, the purest copper available in the best layout to eliminate skin effect - 22 awg, the perfect amount of copper for tonal neutrality - Modified type 2/4 layout, what we find as the best possible litz layout resulting in ultimate performance. - Very high strand count and super fine stranding (less than half the thickness of an average human hair each strand) - Cotton outer jacket (beneficial dielectric properties) - Symmetrical and established high angle crossing self-shielding braid - Feather light weight, unparalleled comfort and near complete lack of microphonics. - High end connectors and high end solder is the standard - All solder points are heavily cleaned with special solution before and after soldering. - Connector pins are treated with cleaner/protectant prior to packaging. - All of our new Litz Norn series headphone cables come with a logo debossed brown velour bag to keep your cable safe when traveling or when not in use. The development of this new wire has been a lengthy process, but well worth the effort. Norse Audio is extremely proud of this new design and we feel that it will speak for itself. The wire is completed entirely by the manufacturer, including the weaving of the outer cotton jacket. In combination with our efficient business model we are thus able to bring our cable at more beneficial price points to the customer. Our unique exotic wood splitter adds that finishing touch and creates a beautiful and unique cable in all aspects.

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