Norne Audio (Was: Norse Audio): Feedback & Impression Thread

  1. Lappy27
    I was in the same position couple minutes ago before reading your post. At first, I choose the number 11 aluminium with carbon fiber inlay. But after looking thoroughly to all options, I chose Black with carbon fiber inlay. It will give a really nice contrast to the cable and match perfectly the Utopia's look IMO.
  2. Liu Junyuan
    Pictures? :L3000:
  3. Lappy27
    I just ordered it last night. It's the number 3. I think the all black and carbon fiber look will give a striking contrast in the middle of the cable and match the look of the Utopia perfectly IMO.
  4. Themordent
    The cable's aesthetics will likely satisfy regardless of what you choose. With my Draug Silver I ended up trying out the new gunmetal splitter with a carbon fiber inlay thinking it would match with the gunmetal of the 4-pin XLR barrel; turns out the two shades of gunmetal don't quite match and furthermore neither of them explicitly go with the silver LEMO connector or the Utopia itself (other than the carbon fiber part).

    Yeah, I still think it looks good.
  5. Liu Junyuan
    How is the Draug Silver/Utopia pairing treating you? Differences from stock?

    I ended up choosing the chrome plated with black-fill logo (number 7), not the carbon fiber.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  6. Fred Wang
    Just received my Draug 3 today. Visually, it's absolutely stunning. I'm a little shocked by how flexible the cable is too. From first impressions, sound is good. Nice and clean with just a touch of warmth added. Really seems to take advantage of the planar-sounding bass on the Ether Flows and adds some "oomph" to the sound, if that makes any sense.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  7. Themordent
    Hard to say whether any difference is because of the cable or the change to balanced audio (the main draw of ordering a custom cable for me). The Utopia's known eccentricities never really bothered me to begin with, so of course I think it sounds good.

    I'm not much for A/Bing things like this because confirmation bias is inevitable, but the form factor and looks are top-notch (no comparison with the massive, ungainly stock cable provided with the cans). If you don't like the Utopia and are expecting the cable to swing you in the positive direction, it will likely disappoint. Otherwise, it's fantastic.
  8. Liu Junyuan
    Thanks. I really appreciate your modesty in not exaggerating sound differences for the sake of it, refusing to imagine differences that are not there in order to justify a purchase. Perhaps since you have little experience with stock cable, you wouldn't know where the differences would begin (assuming there are differences) anyways. And you have admitted that.

    I agree that expecting a cable to make an unlikable transducer into a likable one is an "exercise in futility." I make purchases of cables sparingly, and they are always the last element in the chain I address. With that said, a HP like the Utopia (or HD800 for that matter) exposes everything in the chain. In the HD800s case, for instance, selecting the proper source, DAC, and amp actually can make that headphone from unpalatable to unbeatable, particularly when combined with minor physical mods to the cups. The cable is just the last step, assuming the above are already addressed , should one have an issue with the stock cable.Thankfully, I already like the Utopia's sound; I love it, in fact: owned it since near launch. Although certainly my system could be further improved, I feel I have put a lot of attention into synergy that would work for my headphones within my budget. Now comes the cable.

    My first thought when upgrading the cable was similar to yours: after dealing with the fire-hose of the stock cable for a year and some months, I'd prefer a more ergonomic option that at the same time would be a sonic upgrade and not eviscerate my wallet like a Danacable, DHC, or Kimber Axios--all of which no doubt are very good. I have purchased and so have heard what the Draug 2 could do with the HD800, corroborated by many posters in the community. I feel the reputation of the Draug 2's synergy with slightly brighter, thinner headphones was spearheaded mostly by @Wildcatsare1, back when the HE-560s were released. He brought the Draug 2 to a meet and had others listen, who then testified that it made a significant improvement on that slightly bright, thin, and platicky sounding headphone--which nevertheless had outstanding bass, speed, and detail. It was like a lower cost planar version of the HD800 but lacked the slight warmth and heft of the HD-500, which I owned at the time. I don't think it was entirely a secret, because obviously there was a first generation of the Draug. But it was less known to me until he made some serious postings on it on the HE-560 a few years ago. @MattTCG is another senior member who participated in these meets and still swears on Norne cables. From here, countless users posted on the obvious synergy with the HD800, with similar tonal characteristics as the HE-560, and the rest is history that is available on this thread.

    Thus, my initial thought since buying them was getting the Draug 2 as an upgrade--no hesitation. Depending on recording, the Utopia can also be slightly bright compared to other headphones such as Audeze, despite its arguably unbeatable resolution in the mids, its masculine dynamics, and its Flash-like speed. Other expenses arose and had to put it off. When I was finally ready to commit, the Draug 3 was suddenly released (which would be and still is an absolute no-brainer). However, others drew my attention to the Silver. The sonic attributes of this cable, to be determined in my system, are purportedly dissimilar to that of other silver cables in that it will be smoother and less bright but at the same time more transparent and resolving than the Draug 3. A silver cable that is in the same vein as the Draug family (which has an impeccable reputation regardless of price), with a similar build, seems like less of a risk for me. I otherwise would shy away from silver with the Utopia. We will see!

    So I am not expecting miracles, but I am pretty sure to hear at least some difference. Since I am very familiar with the stock cables' sound (I use an SE amp currently anyways), it shouldn't be too hard to make a comparison.

    Slightly off-topic: the stock Utopia cable isn't bad; it's a well-made copper cable. And it is excellent if you want to listen far off from source/amp. It's just the weight that in the end got to me, especially when sitting near source/amp.

    Any pictures of your Draug Silver you'd care to share?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  9. Liu Junyuan
    Care to share a picture of your Draug 3? Your description mirrors my sense of the Draug 2, but this should be even more transparent.
  10. Lappy27
    I used a 10 ft 8 conductors OCC silver for the last 10 months with my Utopia. Only listen to ghe stock cable at the dealer. Never care to compare as my multiples cables comparisons in the last few years lead me to know that I much prefer silver to copper. Soundstage, air, resolution and speed are much more improved.

    But there are two basics rules IMO to follow if you want to be satisfied with silver.

    1- The cable need to be at least 21 AWG or thicker to bring full body of sound and sufficient bass quantity. And a cable this thick made of silver is expensive.

    2- Burn silver cable at least 200 to 300 hours before judging his sonic performance. Things really smoothed out after hundreds of hours.

    The Draug Silver beeing of 20 AWG, we should have best of both world. Body of copper and resolution, air and speed of silver.

    Let me know your impressions when you got the cable fully burned in. I will do the same in couple of weeks when I will receive mine.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  11. felix3650
    Trevor's cables are excellent both from a construction and EM parameters. Although a cable can't add things that aren't already there, a good made cable can bring more of the original sound to focus.
    I would call it more subconscious burn-in than cable burn-in. Your brain adapting to the "new" sound. The bass is there, just that the higher frequency spectrum has a slightly higher amplitude than the rest. Use an eq on a silver cable lowering the dB of the higher Hz and you'll feel the bass is still there :)
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  12. Themordent
    Yeah, some headphones can scale up like mad depending on what you feed them. I don't see Utopia as being one of them though, at least not to any great degree; it tends to do really well assuming everything you put in front of it is complementary and isn't complete garbage.

    I spent a few weeks slumming it with the stock cable, and undesirable ergonomics aside I agree there's not much wrong with them. And again, I hesitate to attribute changes in sound to the Draug Silver when I'm unable to decouple it from the accompanying improvement of balanced audio. Doesn't sound overly harsh or sibilant to me, though (at least not any more than the Utopias already are), if that's what you're concerned about.

    I'm a truly abysmal photographer (never had any interest in it whatsoever), but here's a quick phone picture I snapped.

  13. thecrow
    I have not yet heard the silver draug but the silvergarde s2 brought A LOT to the table when i had it with my hd800. It was unmissable in my setup (woo wa2 and metrum hex) and not confirmation of expectations or whatever some may call it. Personal preferences decide whether it is what one is after.

    So did the norne arcane (hybrid) but that one wasnt for me and my setup

    At a local meet the focal utopia with the wa5 was one of the highlights. I have not heard the utopia much so my personal experience is very limited but there does appear to be a generally held belief that the utopia does scale well - but i personally have no views on that

    My 2cents
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  14. Liu Junyuan
    Sorry if this is off-topic: I had a couple sentences in my original reply that addressed Utopia’s scaling but deleted. It’s a complex matter.

    Unlike HD800 or HD6XX, the Utopia is capable of sounding great with very basic equipment, even a phone, at least initially. You can still get good results from the Senns on modest gear, but it is a straightforward fact that they scale very high. The Utopia is less straightforward since it’s baseline threshold sounds much better than the former off non-hi-fi equipment. However, the Utopia does reveal everything in the chain IMO, and careful selection of surrounding components that synergize well with it is essential for long-term enjoyment. It sounds fantastic out of a DAP. It doesn’t become an entirely different headphone like the Senns seem to do on high end gear. But I would think (haven’t tried) a significant cable upgrade would be discernable.

    Yeah, it’s hard to decouple the introduction of a balanced connection from sonic properties if the former was not available in the first cable.

    That cable looks beautiful BTW. Nice choice on the splitter too.
  15. whirlwind
    Has anybody heard the new Solvine with the Atticus ?

    After listening to the Atticus for the last week...I think I may want to go this direction

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