Given the level of ire currently circulating about the cables, I am somewhat hesitant about posting this. However, for those interested, here goes : Last night I was kindly invited by my local Dealer to attend a session with the nice rep from Activ - http://www.activdistribution.com/index.asp The purpose of the evening was two-fold, to hear the new range of amplfiers from Leema Acoustics and, to evaluate Nordost's "norse" range comprising the Baldur, Heimdal, Frey and Tyr interconnects and Speaker cable. It is the second part of the audition on which i will focus, here. The evening was of particular value to me because I am currently trialling Nordost Baldur speaker cable at home, which at £700 for a 2 metre pair is about 10 times the price of the QED cable I am currently using. Something of a speaker cable sceptic but in absolutely no doubt as to the difference that analogue interconnects make, I wanted to see whether my thoughts were reflected by others using a completely different system. The kit used comprised a Cyrus CDXT transport and matching Dac X, driving Leema's forthcoming £3500 integrated amp and as an alternative, a price matched pre-power combo from Naim. Speakers used were B&W 803Ds. The listening room was rectangular, purpose built and using a dedicated mains supply. Let me first of all state that the listening test was not blind or based on the use of carefully calibrated laboratory equipment. The panel of 4 (3 from different shops within the "chain", plus me) plus the activ rep knew at each stage which combination of speaker cable and interconnect was being evaluated and the price per metre of each item. We just used our ears and for many forum users that will be all info they require. (You can stop reading now and switch to a more interesting thread). BTW, the Leema amp IMHO, demonstrated considerable aplomb with decent clarity at all frequencies, soundstaging, "air" and all the other so-called subjective Hifi niceties, lacking only a little "oomph" compared to the Naim and, a little transparency compared to more exalted company. As such it was perfectly capable of resolving the differences between different cables.....should any such differences exist. Music used covered all genres from Jazz through to female vocal, plus rock and dance. Three pieces of music were listened to with each combination and after each change, we swapped back to the previous, for double checking. Each member of the panel gave their opinion after each "swap". With the interconnects, complete unanimity was achieved, following Nordosts pricing points. Baldur (£299 p/m) was beaten by Heimdal (£370 p/m) which in turn was beaten by Frey (£549 p/m). We did not have a Tyr interconnect to try but we did have an Atlas Elextra All Cu at about the same price as the Frey. With completely different construction, the Elektra sounded so different to the Frey, it was a revelation in contrast. Massive midband, amazing vocal texture, great soundstaging but less absolute top end and less deep bass - exactly as I had found at home ( look in my sig to see which I ended up buying) With the speaker cable the story wasnt so clear-cut. The Heimdal cable (£954for a 2metre pair) was certainly better than the Baldur and the Frey (£1509.95 for a 2metre pair), better than the Heimdal. When I say "better" I am referring to a holistic improvement in clarity, leading edges and decay on notes, soundstaging and space around instruments and voices. The Tyr (£3124.99 per 2 metre pair) seemed much quieter than the Frey, so much so that we had to re-check all the inputs, outputs and amplifier gain. Increasing the volume by one notch brought the sound back into focus, with a markedly increased level of clarity on certain tracks but a lack of "oomph" (technical term) on others. I felt that it traded clarity for some musicality, the sound seeming to be subjectively "harder" but the sound was undeniably "cleaner" and "faster". The others were a bit more convinced than me (maybe I was scared of the astronomical price) and the dealer has decided to stock all the speaker cables and interconnects, up to Tyr (with valhalla available to order). Part II happens tomorrow with no activ rep and speaker cables from Black Rhodium and Townshend as comparisons. If possible, it'll be done blind, with each compared to my own cheap QED stuff. Who knows, I might just end up relinquishing my mantle of speaker-cable-scepticism.