If you have any questions, please call our store at 630-663-1298.
If you have any questions, please call our store at 630-663-1298.
The Thor, a joint collaboration between Nordost and UK “mains power specialist” IsoTek, is a 6-way AC mains power distribution unit. Nordorst claims that its sophisticated circuitry deals with mains noise and voltage spikes without limiting dynamic headroom.
On the back of the unit are six high quality three-prong AC outlets, with a separate IEC input on the left. There’s also a green grounding knob for grounding other components, and a fuse box that includes an active fuse and a spare.
According to Nordost’s Joe Reynolds, “Our goal in creating the Thor was to come out with a power distribution system that wouldn’t compress the dynamics of the music system. We call it a power distribution system rather than a power conditioning system because power conditioners such as regenerators (that regenerate power from the wall) and filters (that filter noise from the AC line) tend to compress the dynamic range of the system. There are some that compress dynamics less than others. But anytime you take that approach, you’re going to have compression.”
“There are three different elements in the Thor. The first is a Quantum X1 module that employs proprietary Quantum Resonant Technology (QRT) that significantly lowers the noise floor in the system. You can actually measure the improvement in the audio waveform of a piece of music with the Thor in place.”
“One of the things we’ve found as we’ve tried device after device is that, while they’ve smoothed out things, they’ve also killed dynamics. If the manufacturer is doing their job properly, their amplifiers work properly and quietly without putting another amplifier in front of their amplifier. That’s why we use Quantum Technology to lower the noise floor. We recently showed some of these Quantum devices at CES in Vegas. The more we added to the system, the quieter the system got.”
“The Thor also uses the Polaris- X grounding system to completely isolate each component that’s plugged into it. If you plug in an amplifier, there will be no spurious noise from the CD player going back into the system through the amp.”
“The unit also uses a very high quality silver-plated circuit board and silver solder. The unit is wired internally with Nordost Dual Mono-filament power cables that include some of the same elements and technology as in the Valhalla power cord.”
“The Thor is equally effective in music and home theater systems. It improves picture quality dramatically as well as lowering the noise floor.”
According to Jason Victor Serinus’ review:
“To use the Thor, I removed the ExactPower from the system, plugged everything in, and fired things up. I didn’t wait 24 hours to listen; I just went right to it. While I suspect that the solder joints and wire in the Thor require a good 50 or more hours to break-in, and am certain that everything sounded better the next day, the effect of the Thor on my system was so remarkable that I didn’t need a day to tell the difference. To use language that will certainly make my age clear, the thor blew my mind.
The first word that immediately came into my head was “coherence”. I had long experienced what I considered a fine audiophile soundstage. In orchestral music, for example, the violins were in their place, the cellos in theirs, the timpani back on the left, and the brass blasting on the right. On jazz vocals, the singer was in the middle, and the support arranged around him/her and in the rear. When my system was tuned properly, it was easy to pinpoint exact instrument location. There was a goodly amount of air and clarity, and everything hung magically in space. It didn’t for a moment fool me into believing I was sitting at a live concert, but it was very, very cool.
The Thor, however, took music reproduction to an entirely different level. Within minutes, I felt that everything I had heard before was merely play-acting.
What changed? Images that had previously floated in their correct little spaces in that classic, somewhat disembodied “audiophile way” now seemed to hold together in a far more realistic manner. They weren’t simply arranged or staged; they belonged together.
Sounds also took on increased presence, solidity, and meaning. Strings weren’t doing merely doing their thing on their left while brass and percussion were blasting away on the right, with the brain working to hold it all together. Suddenly, everything was all of one piece. Not squished together, with sounds piled on atop the other. Not neatly arranged in a soundstage that is nothing like the real thing. Everything cohered in a manner that proclaimed “music” rather than “audiophile experience.”
The noise silencing aspects of the Thor also worked their magic. Before the Thor entered the system, the ExactPower made music sound just a bit smoothed over and tame. It sounded quite good, mind you – some people would have done everything in their power to have a system that sounded as good – but the raw, transparent immediacy of the live event was more an idea than a reality. In retrospect, I’d say that it smoothed the leading edge of transients, and subtly reduced dynamics.
The Thor did something very, very different. By further lowering the noise floor, lifting a level of haze that I didn’t realize was there until it was gone, and allowing all the dynamic gradations on the recording to come through, the Thor brought music to life as never before. There was a cleanness about the sound – a cleanness of attack and decay – that had nothing to do with sterile cookie cutter images and everything to do with real music-making. Thanks to greater silence, instruments and voices had a more realistic leading edge and greater three-dimensional impact.
With less haze, I was able to hear farther into the music, and better distinguish individual instrumental threads in a complex musical fabric. It was as though Salomé had finally dropped her seventh veil, and allowed us to see for the first time what she was really about.
While I do not have a five-channel (or more) home theater rig with a huge projection or plasma screen, I do own an antiquated 26” TV and a basic DVD player. The Thor’s effect on picture quality was marked. Colors became far more vivid, drawing me deeper into the experience.
There are always more levels of grunge to remove, more levels of detail to reveal, brighter colors to revel in. Better cables, Bybee devices, better racks and equipment supports, and bass management/room correction systems are among the many devices that enable you to hear deeper into the music without changing speakers and electronics. The higher a system’s resolution, the more you can hear detail revealed by close-miking that you would never hear in a concert hall (which is far from silent due to air conditioning, program rustling, coughing, and occasional cell phone outbursts). But the Thor accomplishes so much with so little effort that its effects are stunning.
I find it uncomfortable to think of my former system as the aural equivalent of a paint-by-numbers canvas masquerading as a work of art. But, in retrospect, if it was nowhere near that bad, it was certainly an expert forgery pretending to be the real thing.
The Thor changed all that. Gone were the little boxes, the tidy arrangements, and the perfectly placed lines. Instead was something new, whole, vibrant and organic. Music became alive, whole, and infinitely more compelling.
The Thor doesn’t simply distribute power. It brings life. Need I say that the Thor is now a permanent part of my reference system?”
Design: AC-in, Optimized AC-out
Outlets: Six Grounded
Maximum Current Output: 18 Amps
Spike and Surge Protection
Dimensions: 3.4″ H x 17.4″ W x 12″ D
Weight: 13.2 Pounds
MSRP: $3,300 USA