Nordost QX4 & Qbase 8 true and tested!

Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#1
G'day fellow music specialists,

I have spent the past few weeks, months or so experimenting with proper AC mains and distribution systems since the audio system has now reached a point of synergy, especially with the addition of a turn table.

I came across several configs for optimally placing the QX4 in and around the system, and I also got hold of the Qbase 8 distribution block.

Now, what I have done instead, which has yielded a major improvement in overall dynamics, addressing these traits later, is the following:
1. Unplugged the Thor power conditioner from the system entirely.
2. Plugged in the mains power cord directly to the Qbase8, and all other components into the Qb8, EXCEPT the preamp.
3. Plugged the preamp into the QX4 and then plugged the QX4 into the Qbase.

Results gained:
a) total silence in background, no hiss from the preamp, no floor noise and far better grounding. Note: the preamp must be plugged into the Qbase where it's marked "primary earth".

b) improved dynamics, increase in transients, slam and attack, with a far greater sense of effortlessness.

c) stronger vocals, with very palpable imaging.

d) probably the most striking attribute, apart from the absolute quietness, is the expansion of the soundstage, simply awesome!

Now, I've gotten rid of the Thor unit which actually was not essential since after our mains was refitted with digital meters and better power lines, done by City power. This was a problem before when analog meters were in use, they were very old with old wiring, the mains voltage used to swing from 220 to 250v. After the new meters and brand new wiring, the voltage is a constant 240v with an occasional varience from about 238 to 240. This is great!

In summary; having a dedicated circuit for the system is sometimes not adequate unless the mains wiring is also upto standard. Our house is over 40 years old and it was high time these meters and wires needed changing. Overall, with the addition of the Qbase and plugging the preamp directly into the QX4, not only added positive results in sonics but also unleashed the system's full potential.

I am truly delighted with this setup of Nordost systems, and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to achieve that extra edge of performance from their systems.
Cheers to all, RJ
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,905
117
63
#2
Great stuff...by any chance, did you try mains into Qx4 and Qx4 into QBase8 so your whole system [may be] benefiting from being plugged into Qx4 even if 1 step removed? Just curious...that's how i have mine set up...mains into QX4 and QX4 into Burmester 948 Power conditioner. Thanks for any feedback...if i can ever stop listening to the music, i might try Preamp direct into QX4 and 948 straight into wall.
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#3
Hi Lloyd,

Yes, infact this is the way I had initially done the config many years ago, with ok results. ..
The price spent on the QX4 to me was not fully justified, especially costing 3 grand, it didn't seem a big deal to me.

Over time, I then experimented by plugging the source component directly into the QX4 and since I had just one source, which was a mac sacd player, this config yielded better results. There was an improvement in the overall presentation of the mac unit.

Then when I got my Rega tt, now I have more than one source component. Ideally, according to the ultimate QRT config, is to plug each component into a Qx2, and in addition have a QX4 into the mains! This is the ultimate and not very affordable...

So I changed a few things around and also tried the QX4 from the mains first as my initial setup. However, I must say that by a very far margin, the greatest noticeable improvement has been the config I did as per above. The performance is stunning, and just dead quiet!

I never knew my system could get any quieter than this, and especially the Rega phono stage, simply glorious!

I know that this improvement was done on my system with a huge positive result on a fairly moderate scale in finances. I am sure on far more expensive and elaborate systems, the results would be out of this world! You would never know until you actually tried it.

Cheers mate, RJ
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#4
Another thing is I removed the power conditioner altogether, as I strongly feel it was actually doing more harm than good to the overall sound. I have read about this subject extensively and have understood that if you're located in an area where the current and voltage fluctuate often, then the use of a AC power conditioner is obviously needed. However, if you're mains is fairly stable and didn't dip so much then the use of a power conditioner is not required.

Pure AC mains will always have some sort of dirty stuff along the wires, however high-end equipment these days are very well designed. Therefore the use of power conditioners can sometimes be a negative attribute towards the whole presence of a high quality system. What is mostly required is good AC mains with proper grounding and no apparent impedences.

This will yield better results. The people at cj told me this many many years ago, including Eve Anna Manley, president of Manley Labs.

Trust this helps. Cheers, RJ
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,905
117
63
#5
Thank you! Very helpful. Since i have a lot of plugs and few outlets, i need some kind of extension, and the Burmester has made a nice improvement over the Thor and Transparent Power Conditioners which i have used in the past.

As for your suggestion about Pre into QX4 and PC straight into wall...i will give it a shot!! Thanks for the suggestion...i think you've mentioned this before, but having done so again reminds me to try it.
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#6
Hey mate, yes please try this config out when possible, since I would certainly like to learn from your experience.

Eve Anna Manley and the chaps from cj kept telling me this over the years since back at home country the power supply is very unstable. I have gone through so many different kinds of AC treatment components. By far this is definitely the closest to perfection and simplicity.
Have a good one, RJ
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,316
276
83
Manila, Philippines
#7
I took an oddball approach. I use a QB8 for its grounding and filter through a Shunyata Hydra 2 aka Baby Cyclops (sadly now discontinued). Hum disappeared with the QB8. I'm very happy.
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#8
G'day Jack,

Yes absolutely no doubt that the grounding circuit on the Qb8 is impeccable, yet very simple. I used to have a hiss on one channel from the preamp, that's gone. There was a slight buzz from the phono stage on one channel, that's gone. There was an ongoing low level hum in the background when nothing was played, and that's gone too!

I really didn't think that the addition of the Qbase would do anything good but I was wrong big time! It is a significant improvement by a far margin.

Anyone trying out these products from Nordost, I highly recommend it.
Cheers, and enjoy the benefits!
RJ
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#9
G'day fellow mates,

I think I've gone quantum nuts!
Just tried a QX2 into the phono stage, awesome. So now I've plugged in a QX4 back into the AC mains first, then onto the Qbase, then from there I'm using two QX2's one for each source component, sacd player and turn table. Since I have just two sources that's keeping the system as simple as possible.

The results are phenomenal! Never knew my system could achieve this level of transparency and musicality. It is a sheer delight to experience this.

I agree as Jack suggested, to plug in a QX4 into the AC mains first, followed by smaller Qx2's with a Qbase. This way all components are well grounded, the music just flows. Too bad I can't enjoy enough of it since I will be based in Sydney for a few months. I will miss it terribly!

Cheers to all, and thanks for that Jack, another level of musical presence has been achieved!
RJ
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#11
G'day mate;

A few things have changed since my last post about this config: although I was using two Qx2's, one for each source (TT & SACD); and another QX4 for the mains. Over time approximately since May (a period of 5 months); I made the whole system as simple as possible. Plus going through a minor financial slump with the job market around that time. So I sold off the QX2's, leaving only the QX4 and Q-base to do their thing. The preamp is once again plugged directly into the QX4, and the QX4 is plugged into the Q-base primary earth outlet. Power amp is plugged into the next outlet on its right, and all other components follow. With the additional QX2's, I was running out of outlets... and plugging them into other AC mains in the house really didn't benefit.

One thing I have learnt is that the QX4 is a very powerful unit, and one that is capable of doing a very good job if positioned correctly. The Q-base does not have the same QRT technology as the QX4 internally but it does have a very simple and highly effective grounding circuit. Plugged into the AC mains, I have managed to place the QX4 exactly between the speakers, and on a separate shelf on its own. This sits above the preamp, and well away from the power amp, and simply holds the entire soundstage with some superb QRT magic! The minute you off it, you can tell the difference; sounds start to sort of wonder, things go a bit fuzzy and bass becomes a bit loose. Switch it back on; instruments/sonics sit back in their proper place, things becomes tighter, vocals are more focused and the bass more solid, leaving a well defined soundstage with excellent depth.

Addressing your question RE. to the ground cord, I did try this however it was unnecessary due to the Qbase being properly grounded as one power component receiving all inputs and being directly plugged into the AC mains. I was told by Nordost that if I was using a more complex system with multiple AC Mains then using an additional ground cord for the Q-base would ensure that the system is well grounded as "one." Since I don't use monoblocks, just a simple pre-power and two sources, plus phono stage and two electrostats, which totals 7 input plugs, the Q-base8 is perfect, leaving one extra. I will most probably plug in one QRT unit into that empty outlet sometime later just to see if there is a further synergy.

That's about it, have a good one.
Cheers, RJ
 

ellevoid

New Member
Jun 6, 2014
12
0
0
#12
Thank you very much RJ.
So you still find plugging QBase to wall outlet and plugging QX4 to QBase is better than QX4 to wall outlet and QBase to QX4 right?
 
Feb 3, 2012
657
22
18
Melbourne
#13
Hey mate,
Sorry for the late reply. We're having a long weekend, I'm going nuts with the rugby matches going on in England. Australia vs England-rugby world cup, and NRL (local professional rugby league in Australia, cowboys vs broncos), and also the Footy finals AFL (Aussie Rules), all happening this weekend; massive crowds in the city... There will be plenty of eating and heavy drinking, hope they stay safe and report to work on Monday.

Re. to the QX4, yes this config is the better way but that is in "my" system. May not be the case on other systems. You would have to experiment. There really is no better way over the other.

The main reason, again in my system, is that the main AC wall outlet sits on the far left of the system, quite close to the left panel. Therefore, having the QX4 plugged in that spot does not fully utilize the "magnetic field stabilizer" affect that the QX4 is capable of. If the main AC outlet was in the center & between the speakers, plus plenty of room behind the system components, then having the QX4 into the AC mains first may be better, who knows...

As per my description and set up config, I can only get the full potential from the QX4 by having it placed amongst the other components on a separate shelf, thus allowing it to carry on its job as being the center piece of stability. I was adviced by Nordost that the QX4 generates its "quantum filed effect" in a vertical plane more so than the horizontal plane. Although this is the general case because there are 4 QRT elements placed inside the QX4, it is also quite powerful in the horizontal plane as well. Yet again, this full effect is realized when it is placed in the open between the speakers, which is what I experienced.

Also pre-amp or your main control amp (if using an integrated) into the QX4 directly- and then onto Q-base, yielded far better results in my system.

I would strongly suggest that you try out all possibilities first, and then perhaps determine which option suits better. The whole soundstage / sonics just seem to fit right and tightly in place when the QX4 is properly positioned, and when off it is quite difficult to listen without.
It all depends mate, hence I cannot state that my way is better than the other, nearly 99.9% of forum members would have varied configs...

Do what suits; Let me know which way suits your system, interesting to learn.
Cheers and have a good one.
RJ
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,650
1,460
113
London
#14
Btw I have a QX2 for sale at 450 GBP. It has an EU outlet, but you can add any PC to it using adapter or just leave it powered on your rack, it works, you don't have to plug anything into it
 

flez007

Member Sponsor
Aug 31, 2010
2,899
3
36
Mexico City
#15
I also use a QB8 and liked what it did in my system, findings were quite similar to yours - I plugged an Echole Signature from the bar to the wall outlet and things improved been more!

Congrats!
 

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