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Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord Review

Rate this power cord

  • 1. Waste of money (piggy bank panther)

    Votes: 318 95.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 3 0.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 1.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 9 2.7%

  • Total voters
    334

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $417 at this length (2m).
Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord Hifi stereo Review.jpg

This is "third-tier" product in Nordost line so naturally, it is not going to scream expensive. That is a good thing as the cable itself is kept to less than crazy thickness. It is flexible but doesn't want to rotate which is a requirement for AC cord. Fortunately the connectors are easy to plug in and the weight was not excessive enough to yank your gear off the table/rack. I like the beefy plugs that make it easy to handle the cord. Here are the marketing claims:
Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord Description.png


I must say, I had not heard of "high-speed" as something good in AC cables. After all, high-speed means no filter or else, it would not be high-speed! We will test for its speed in the measurement section. I got a chuckle out of the claim that their claims are "proven." Naturally no such proof was provided.

While the plugs have UL/CE marks on them, the whole assembly has no mention of safety regulation either on the packaging or the marketing material. Only conclusion then is that the cable is not certified which is a sad thing when it comes to something that handles high current/high voltage and can cause safety risk.

Nordost Blue Heaven Measurements
Every time I go into one of these tests I think about how to expand our testing and come at the product from a different angle. While some of this testing may seem familiar, some are new. As usual, comparison is against a generic cable I had handy. In this case, I had a white AC cable that is marked as "I-SHENG" and comes with UL mark on the cabling. Company website says:

"Isheng Electronics is a world-class manufacturer of AC power cords. We offer a wide range of power cords including different NEMA AC power cords and different International power cord configurations. "

There is no mention of speed, or proven technologies; but they do emphasize safety which is nice.

As usual, I perform my high-voltage tests by sensing the wavefrom using a B&K high-voltage differential probe with 100:1 attenuator. Here is my AC waveform using the I-SHENG generic AC cord:
Generic AC Cord Spectrum Measurement.png


We see that the tops of the AC waveform are deformed resulting in a lot of harmonic distortion and noise. Treating this as if the power company is an amplifier, its SINAD is 31 dB. Let's swap in the Nordost Blue Heaven and see if it makes a difference:
Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord AC Spectrum Measurement.png

It doesn't make any difference. Everything bad that was there continues to be bad.

Some say my power is clean. I don't know how anyone could say the above is clean but let's use my B&K AC generator to create a highly distorted waveform, simulating what a dimmer would do:

Generic AC Cord Spectrum Dimmer Measurement.png


Let's agree that is one bad AC waveform! Our SINAD has now sank to just 5.3 dB! Let's pump that into the Nordost Blue Heaven and see if it does anything to it:
Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord AC Spectrum Dimmer Measurement.png

Once again it doesn't.

While we are here and have an AC waveform that has nice sharp transitions, let's look at it in time domain with bandwidth of the analyzer expanded to 1 MHz. Here is the comparison:
Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord AC Dimmer Rise Time Measurement.png

There are actually two waveforms there: one in blue for Nordost and another in red for generic cable. As you see, every pixel has landed on the other demonstrating that there is no difference in any aspect of that AC waveform including its sharp rise and fall time.

So far we have measured the AC waveform. Contrary to what Nordost claims, your audio gear doesn't run on AC. That input waveform is converted to DC and filtered heavily before use. It then drives the electronics that makes audio signal. That is all we care about as that is what we hear, not the AC waveform. So let's test for that.

Topping A90 Power Cord Measurements
Let's use the Topping A90 preamplifier/headphone amp that is on my desk to test the difference starting with generic AC cord:
Topping A90 Generic AC Cord Measurement.png


Once again we get the superlative performance we expect. Now let's switch cables to Nordost:
Topping A90 Nordost Blue Heaven AC Cord AC Measurement.png

Once again no difference.

Let's finish with a proof point of why AC tweaks don't work. I used the chopped dimmer AC waveform and fed it to Topping A90 with the generic cord. Here is the output:
Topping A90 Generic AC Cord Dimmer Measurement.png


Yup, there is not a hair out of place! We have the same superb performance coming out of headphone amplifier even though we nearly destroyed the AC waveform! That chopped up waveform in blue when it, and what came out was the red.

Conclusions
Both our old and new tests prove once again that power cords make no difference (as long as they are thick enough to handle the currents you need). We expanded our tests into time domain and saw no improvement with the Nordost cable. If the cable can't change the AC signal, surely it means that the output of our audio gear remains the same and that was indeed the case. We then proved our conclusions by supplying our test audio product with highly distorted AC waveform and its performance didn't change.

You can buy an AC cord on Amazon for about $10. It won't look as fancy as the Nordost but you can sleep easy knowing that it is safety tested and costs 40 times less!

As an aside, the owner was sold on this cable by an audio salesman that made it sound like his gear would not be complete without it. He couldn't hear a difference so sent it to me for testing.

I can't recommend the Nordost Blue Heaven Power cord.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Last edited:
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amirm

amirm

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By the way, before someone says the Topping A90 is too good to test with this cable, keep in mind that the A90 costs almost the same as this cable at $499!
 

phoenixdogfan

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As I'm being kept up all night by a purgative while awaiting for my every decade routine colonoscopy, it's nice to see I won't be the only one getting hosed. Obviously anyone buying the Blue Heaven will as well. Btw, I bet that ac cable probably has about as nice looking of a sheathing as the one being employed in my GI tract later today. You would think for $417 they could at least make it look like something better than hospital grade tubing.
 

Sokel

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The main strength of that kind of hi-end products (even these low tier ones) are suppose to be looks,right?
I mean that blue on black???
Nordost must hope that no fashion editor will see that :facepalm:
 

voodooless

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When you listen to your system, you are actually listening to the AC mains supply. This makes the most important cables in your system the ones feeding power into the equipment.
Why the hell do we need amps, DACs and preamps if we can just hook up our speakers directly to AC? if all you need to do is listen to AC, then that will give you the purest experience...

... Just make sure you have speakers with plenty of power handling... and ear protection.

The Blue Heaven Power Cord seems like a conventional, three-core AC cord, but don't be fooled
The sheer audacity displayed here is staggering!
The use of Nordost's proven,
Proven how? Got any receipts?
proprietary high-speed,
What kind of speed? How fast is it?
I bet NordOst isn't making a loss!
Micro Mono-Filament construction and FEP insulation
What's that good for?
 

ocinn

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If you don’t care about safety certification and you just want the aesthetics of fancy cables (which is totally valid IMO) aliexpress has thousands of replicas of these. For 1/10,000th the price.

I have a couple pairs of “nordost” XLRs from aliexpress and they look identical, and check out fine on my scope (at least, not broken, and no excessive interference even when held next to EMI nightmare devices)

I don’t like to condone supporting replica markets but in this case I have no empathy towards a company scamming consumers with lies, support the factories that probably make all of the parts that go into them anyways.


48FD36AB-E003-46FB-A3D3-4E2AA69962D4.jpeg
 

Sokel

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If you don’t care about safety certification and you just want the aesthetics of fancy cables (which is totally valid IMO) aliexpress has thousands of replicas of these. For 1/10,000th the price.

I have a couple pairs of “nordost” XLRs from aliexpress and they look identical, and check out fine on my scope (at least, not broken, and no excessive interference even when held next to EMI nightmare devices)

I don’t like to condone supporting replica markets but in this case I have no empathy towards a company scamming consumers with lies, support the factories that probably make all of the parts that go into them anyways.


View attachment 291745
Safety certification is the first thing I care for and replicas and fakes don't do good to anyone.
Reminds me of dirty Prada T-shirts 1 dollar a day underpayed,exploited kids wear.
It's plain sad.
 
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