Nordost, founded in 1991, has
established a strong reputation in the audio video arena, using techniques first
developed for the aerospace industry and for NASA. I spoke with Joe Reynolds,
the President of Nordost.
Phil Gold: I understand Nordost is moving into a new factory.
Joe Reynolds: We hope to be in our new facilities in November
or December if everything works well.
Phil: In the short term that's going to disrupt your
production, isn't it?
Joe: We've already planned for that so we should be fine.
Phil: You've built up stock.
Joe: Yes. We also manufacture the QRT, the Quantum. The official name of the company was Quantum Resonance Technology so we've done some rebranding of that to QRT. The Quantum was originally built in California. We've moved the production to Boston. We're doing all of the board building, the circuits, everything in house. Everything is made in house including our SORT cones.
Phil: Is the Quantum selling well?
Joe: Yes, it's doing very well. We've expanded the range. The original products were the Purifiers known as the QX2 and QX4. Since then we've added 2 other pieces called the QB8 and QB4. Essentially this is a power distribution bar which is mechanically tuned using very high performance wire. It also has this star earth grounding system.
Phil: Like the Thor had?
Joe: Yes, but in a much more effective way than Thor, and it also has a facility for direct grounding outside as well. We didn't build the Thor. It was an OEM product by Isotek. This product is completely different to Thor, and much more effective. It has a modular approach. You'd use a QB8 or QB4 as the beginning piece of the system, with a power cord feeding into that, and then using select pieces of Quantum Purifiers, either a QX2 or QX4 coming off the QB8. We've also introduced another product that's doing extremely well for us. We call it the QV2 or QVibe. This is something you should try in your system. The QVibe is a very interesting product. It uses a small chipset and what we do is we produce a particular frequency which we take off the AC line and it feeds the signal across the circuit in there. It works differently to the Quantum. It has a different sort of effect. It lowers the noise floor and it works well in conjunction with Quantum. So it's another system enhancement. It's very easy to demonstrate the effect. For example if you plug it in the system, you can start out with 1 or use 2, or 3.
Phil: Do you daisy chain them?
Joe: They're like a plug-top unit. It's a round piece with a carbon fiber body and it has a small LED light on it. It puts this little pulsing frequency onto the AC line and it feeds into the system. You might have eight outlets and you can plug these into unused outlets or you can place them in the room in other areas. You can experiment with positioning if you have other plugs on the same circuit. The effects are very big and it's not a crazy expensive product. I think it retails for around $399 which is a new price point for Quantum. The other pieces are quite a bit more expensive. We introduced it in Munich in May 2011 and we're now demonstrating it in shows and we're getting a tremendous response to it. It's one of those products where you hear and you say I have to buy it. We've actually had quite a lot of sales here at the show. It's just a really cool product and I think we have plans to expand in this area. We now a have a wider range of products. We have the foundation system, we have the QX2, the QX4, the QVibe and we'll continue to expand the offerings in Quantum. The whole approach is about lowering the noise floor, getting the noise out of the system. Initially when we started to sell Quantum we kept the brands a bit separate. Quantum had its own distribution. But this led to a little bit of confusion in the marketplace. People know Nordost. It's still a separate company now, but it's a subsidiary of Nordost and it says distributed by Nordost. It's now a brand of Nordost. About a year and a half ago we hired a new production engineer who is tremendously well experienced in manufacturing so we've really been able to up the quality of what we do. We're able to build much better quality products than we were able to get in California. We're able to do that in-house. We have developed a special way of soldering and we're getting into projects that we wouldn't have attempted in the past.
Phil: So you make everything in North America?
Joe: I believe we need to be committed to manufacture in North America. I think the times are changing out there. We want to make everything locally so we can control the quality. There are a lot of problems with the quality of the boards and the solder that they use in China. We've set up this Design Group, and we've developed a lot of proprietary technology. We have quite a few innovate thinkers in there. We're incorporating a lot of this knowledge into our products. The new product range we launched in January last year, Leif, has been selling extremely well and the reason for that is you get tremendous value. We introduced a complete line in one shot. So we have Leif speaker cable and interconnect. The next one is called Purple Flare interconnect and speaker cable and with that we introduced a micro mono-filament two conductor power cord with a figure eight connection on it for cable boxes, gaming machines, DVD players, Sonos and so on. This will give you a good upgrade. We can't make them quick enough. We relaunched the Blue Heaven as Blue Heaven LS (Leif Series) and we have the entry level White Lightning. Within the Blue Heaven family we have speaker cable, interconnect, a digit micro mono-filament cable, a USB cable, also micro mono-filament and a micro mono-filament power cable. The next step up from that is the new Red Dawn, interconnect and speaker cable. We've run out of product twice so far. I think we just hit the right thing at the right time. We had this Wyrewizard range which was very confusing and it was ill conceived whereas the new Leif series makes sense.
Phil: Do you have a trade-in program?
Joe: Yes we do. It's not so much of an issue at the lower end of the product range. Our product has a very good second hand value so it's very easy to sell them on and dealers will take in cables on trade. We try to do this especially with more expensive cables. When we launch a cable we always give people an opportunity to trade, up. We have to. I feel like you've got to do that. We wouldn't mind taking back something because we know they are very easy to sell. The cable doesn't degrade over time because it's extruded Teflon.
Phil: Is there any way of measuring the effectiveness of
cables and vibration control devices and power conditioning devices?
Joe: We've been a lot of research in this area. I was
introduced to Steve Elford of Vertex AQ. Steve is a competitor of ours in a way.
He makes cables and he makes these platforms, but we've worked together with
Vertex on this project and with Dr. Humphries-Jones of Acuity Products, a
defense contractor. Now we
can measure what happens to equipment when you put a better power cord
in there, when you put in support cones. Have a look at our website and there's
a download there with the technical information about what's going on.
It is not voodoo any more. We can look at the effects on sampled live music being decoded by a CD player. The mathematics are very complicated. I wouldn't even pretend to understand it. We're sampling live music, and then seeing the effects, what happens, how the equipment is enhanced as you introduce better cables and vibration control. You can take a CD player and put in one of our power cords in there and you can enhance the measured performance by about 30%. You make a bit perfect copy of a CD, then compare the original with the enhancement. You can overlay the graphs together and see the improvements.
Phil: How do you actually utilize that?
Joe: We are using these techniques in our product design. We're a few years ahead of the curve. We have a lot of proprietary things we obviously don't disclose to people. We know how to make cables.
Phil: And what does the future hold for Nordost?
Joe: I see a lot of opportunities out there. The business is really growing and it's changing. We're into a new age and people are interested.
Phil: Like here at TAVES.
Joe: Yes these shows are very well attended and there are a lot of younger people coming in as well.
Phil: This particular show doesn't seem to be particularly
high end, not a lot of exotica, which is not such a bad thing.
Joe: It is not. The nice thing about that is that as with the magazine Canada HiFi, Suave Kajko is reaching out for a broader audience, bringing more people into the area. You meet some lovely people here. That's why I like coming to the shows. Customers come in, they're engaged, they're delighted, they know our stuff and they want to talk about it. At the moment, people don't necessarily have the money to go out and spend a fortune buying a new power amplifier but they can upgrade their system for $300 or $400 spent on cables or accessories - a power cable, a QV2. One of the things I've found is that once somebody buys our stuff, they're very loyal. They come into the product and they very rarely throw it out. They'll upgrade, so you have that kind of loyal following.
Phil: Thanks, Joe.