AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I was at a home theater shop today auditioning Revel F36 speakers (awesome btw), and the reps there were showing me the Audioquest Niagara 1000 power conditioner. I always thought that these sorts of units were just placebo and didn't do anything. I mean it really makes no sense to me how something that simply cleans up current can make any difference in sound quality, but I'm no electrical engineer. Well they did an A/B test for us, and it was a pretty huge difference. My fiancee was able to hear it as well. Music sounded much more dynamic, and the sound stage seemed wider and more crisp. Hard to describe, but it definitely sounded better. Can anyone tell me how? The amp that they were using was a Naim. I just got a Denon X3300W amp myself and already have a simple APC UPS. I'm highly considering getting the Niagara 1000 because it really did make music sound a lot better. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,499 Posts
havent heard one myself but stereophile did a review...I plug my amps directly in wall and rest of components thru multi outlet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
havent heard one myself but stereophile did a review...I plug my amps directly in wall and rest of components thru multi outlet

I'm reading the Stereophile review. Very interesting. Herb Reichert seemed very impressed. I still have no idea how it works though lol

I did find this on Audioquest's FAQ
Q: What are the forms of distortion caused by AC power (and how does that relate to what I hear and see in my system)?

A: For power amplifiers only, the primary distortion is current compression. For other components, the distortion is due to current noise that reaches sensitive circuits through the components’ power supplies and circuit ground. Though proponents of active regeneration will argue the need to make a uniform low-distortion sine wave, this is largely irrelevant because the AC waveform is converted to direct current in every component’s power supply. It’s not the shape of the sine wave—it’s the noise that gets past the component power supply.

Because it’s the noise that masks most of the audio/video system’s low-level signals, removing or vastly reducing that noise will yield far greater resolution (more signal)! An active regeneration of the AC waveform will help to eliminate some noise, and thus there is a benefit. However, active regeneration is far less efficient as a means of reducing the noise that gets past your components’ power supply, and that ultimately matters.

Q: Why can’t the power supplies of source components and power amplifiers sufficiently deal with AC problems?

A: The primary goal of these power supplies is to provide very clean and stable Direct Current (not Alternating Current) to the components’ many circuits. Most audio component designers largely ignore what happens in the AC domain, and it’s also not necessarily their field of expertise. Further, doing what’s necessary to achieve high performance is expensive and space consuming. Because so many AC power conditioning and regeneration products historically produced mixed results, it’s understandable that many talented audio component designers often dismiss them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,529 Posts
Well noise from AC lines won't get very far considering some pretty massive capacitors are used as part of the AC to DC conversion.

The only reason to use a power conditioner is if you suffer from a very bad power feed with constant brownouts and such. But then you are better served with a UPS system with big batteries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
I'll add my 2 cents;

I brought one home last week from the store and hooked it up and gave a listen. I gave a snort, shook my head, removed it and re-hooked everything to my old Furman PL-HT Conditioner and kept listening to music.

Later on in the day I decided to be completely fair and objective and gave it one more listen. I was immediately struck by how the music was clearer and more 3 dimensional! I wondered how I had missed that before. I swapped it in and out a few times to make sure. Yep, there it was!

The amount of change to the sound is comparable to the change of a preamp or power amp, which is one step less than the change of speakers I would say.

Over the last few years I have had and installed many varied conditioners. It seemed prudent to have gear hooked to these things just for the possible surge protection. I had never heard any positive benefit to the music until now.

I am extremely frugal and make my stereo purchases very carefully. Comparing the audio benefit to it's cost, I believe that it is definitely worth it and now have one on order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,214 Posts
I am interested in how it would perform compared to Isotek products. Especially the Sirius and Polaris power strips. Isotek states ##dB RFI filtering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Forgot to update this thread. I got Niagara 1000 and did blind testing with several people. Could not tell the difference at all. Not sure why it sounded different at the audio shop. Maybe they were messing with EQ or something, but definitely seems like a waste of money so I returned it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,214 Posts
Forgot to update this thread. I got Niagara 1000 and did blind testing with several people. Could not tell the difference at all. Not sure why it sounded different at the audio shop. Maybe they were messing with EQ or something, but definitely seems like a waste of money so I returned it.

- Did you test it on a grounded outlet??? The power strips from Supra only work on grounded outlets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Forgot to update this thread. I got Niagara 1000 and did blind testing with several people. Could not tell the difference at all. Not sure why it sounded different at the audio shop. Maybe they were messing with EQ or something, but definitely seems like a waste of money so I returned it.
Mzaur,
Did you try the Niagara 1000 on the grounded wall outlet? If your wall outlet wasn't grounded it would not make any difference. You need need to plug the Niagara 1000 to a grounded ac wall outlet.
You will need to hire an electrician to do some ground wiring on your wall outlet. The Niagara 1000 needs ground circuits in order to dissipate ac noise and to work properly and effectively. If your wall outlet wasn't grounded it would be pointless to get the Niagara 1000.

You will also need to get good high quality ac power cables or power cords (at least 16 awg) to plug the Niagara 1000 to the grounded wall outlet in order for the Niagara 1000 to work effectively for your AV system. You will also need to get good quality power cord (at least 16 or 20 awg) for your Denon receiver and good quality power cords for your other av components in order to hear the differences in audio performances by using the Niagara 1000.
Make sure your speaker cables and other interconnects (both digital & analog ) are of good qualities too.

You mentioned above that the sonic improvement that you heard at the shop was probably due to room correction of some sort and the fact that they were using Naim amp at the time at the store.
Fyi, Naim equipments (preamp or integrated amp) do not have any room EQ or room correction softwares built in. Naim does not make a HT or AV equipments, and usually only HT or AV receivers and AV preamp surround processors are equipped with room EQ or room correction softwares.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,757 Posts
i had a $5000 msrp PS Audio P10 for a while....didn’t notice any difference between that and my $200 APC surge protector
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mzaur,
Did you try the Niagara 1000 on the grounded wall outlet? If your wall outlet wasn't grounded it would not make any difference. You need need to plug the Niagara 1000 to a grounded ac wall outlet.
You will need to hire an electrician to do some ground wiring on your wall outlet. The Niagara 1000 needs ground circuits in order to dissipate ac noise and to work properly and effectively. If your wall outlet wasn't grounded it would be pointless to get the Niagara 1000.

You will also need to get good high quality ac power cables or power cords (at least 16 awg) to plug the Niagara 1000 to the grounded wall outlet in order for the Niagara 1000 to work effectively for your AV system. You will also need to get good quality power cord (at least 16 or 20 awg) for your Denon receiver and good quality power cords for your other av components in order to hear the differences in audio performances by using the Niagara 1000.
Make sure your speaker cables and other interconnects (both digital & analog ) are of good qualities too.

You mentioned above that the sonic improvement that you heard at the shop was probably due to room correction of some sort and the fact that they were using Naim amp at the time at the store.
Fyi, Naim equipments (preamp or integrated amp) do not have any room EQ or room correction softwares built in. Naim does not make a HT or AV equipments, and usually only HT or AV receivers and AV preamp surround processors are equipped with room EQ or room correction softwares.
Yes the outlet was grounded. And I used AudioQuest NRG-2 power cables.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Folks, this stuff is a total scam.

If you have legitimate problems with AC power issues (fluctuating voltage, frequency, etc.), the proper solution is a double-converting UPS. A Double-converting or "on-line" UPS converts AC to DC, and in parallel with a battery bank performs a conversion back to AC through an inverter. This is immune from any line-side fluctuations. Even this is overkill for 99% of people.

An entry-level 20A unit can be had around $1000. https://www.cyberpowersystems.com/product/ups/ol2200rtxl2u/

There is a reason why data centers and hospitals use devices like this and not a goofy power strip with chrome plating.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GIEGAR

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,523 Posts
How effective are double conversion ups units as surge protectors? I already have a whole house TVSS surge protector at my service panel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
How effective are double conversion ups units as surge protectors? I already have a whole house TVSS surge protector at my service panel.
Extremely effective, arguably as effective as it gets. There is no direct coupling between the input and the output. However, virtually any surge protection device will not survive a significant surge. A UPS is no different, except for the fact that the replacement cost could be hundreds or thousands of dollars more than replacing a surge protector. If you haven't used one of these things before, be warned that these are serious pieces of equipment and thus come with some downsides: 100+ lb weight and large size, batteries need replacing every 3-5 years, and most importantly, they can get pretty loud due to cooling fans. It would be essential to operate a double-conversion UPS in a separate equipment rack or room. A 40dbA-50dbA fan is quiet by data centre standards but would ruin the viewing experience if it is in the same room.

I guess it depends on your budget - typically a double conversion UPS would be used to solve a more immediate problem with surge protection as icing-on-the-cake so to speak. However, if you consider power isolation as the main selling feature and the battery-backup aspect as a bonus, don't let anyone stop you :)

They're also commonly available in both 120V and 240V models. Some folks run 240V because certain devices (amps, namely) are a few % more efficient on 240V.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,523 Posts
Firstly, sorry for hijacking this thread.

Thanks gaspimp for the comments. My two requirements are first surge protection and second battery backup for my projector and preamp. If I can find both in one box that makes life easier with less in the ac chain.

I found a reconditioned liebert dual conversion for $350. The price is good, but it leaves me wondering if the noise will be acceptable. It will be in a different room, but only separated by drywall; and there is a cutout for my Equipment rack recess mount.

I may just use a sine wave cyberpower, then plug it into a series mode surge protector. I do like the idea of full regenerated power though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Firstly, sorry for hijacking this thread.

Thanks gaspimp for the comments. My two requirements are first surge protection and second battery backup for my projector and preamp. If I can find both in one box that makes life easier with less in the ac chain.

I found a reconditioned liebert dual conversion for $350. The price is good, but it leaves me wondering if the noise will be acceptable. It will be in a different room, but only separated by drywall; and there is a cutout for my Equipment rack recess mount.

I may just use a sine wave cyberpower, then plug it into a series mode surge protector. I do like the idea of full regenerated power though.
Np - also sorry for contributing to the thread-hijacking. Feel free to PM me. I work with this kind of gear in data centers professionally. Home theater is a hobby, but they overlap in interesting areas like this. There are ways to get around the noise issue, but I'm not sure they meet residential electrical codes. It involves hard-wiring a branch circuit to the UPS and locating it at your breaker panel instead of with your gear. Some UPS units are certified for hard-wired applications commercially, but I doubt it applies to residential. Your proposed solution works quite well. It is certainly cheaper, and satisfies your requirements. Like you said, as long it is a pure sine wave model, it should work well.

Refurbished double-conversion UPSs can indeed be had for 30-40% of typical retail prices. Keep in mind that older units are usually physically larger and heavier, run a bit hotter, and a bit less efficient (75-80% vs 85-90%). There's also a risk of shortened lifespan if they have been running 24x7x365 in a demanding commercial environment for years. I had a refurb 6000W Eaton unit serve me well for 4 years until it failed. Replaced with a new Cyberpower OL3000RTXL2UHV. I don't use it for home theater at all - it is for storage + network + security cameras. Home theater is just surge protectors - no power cleanliness issues here. Projector is a laser projector so no need for UPS fortunately. If it was bulb-based, I'd have reconsidered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
637 Posts
Niagara 7000 observations

Bought the 7000 the moment it arrived at the store.

It needed to be modified by AQ twice due to an incessant clicking sound. They said my stuff was too efficient (McIntosh 7 channel amp with Klipsch La Scala II/ Heresey IIIs) and causing the issue since it was designed for very high powered amps and less efficient speakers.

Running all AQ power cables NRG 1000 and a AQ power outlet ( I assume the guy grounded it or I would think the breaker would blow with all the stuff plugged into it).

I guess it sounds bit better than the Transparent Audio one I used before (around the price of Niagara 1000).

I see that AQ finally has Garth Powell's new power cables and they recommend these for all Niagara owners. Maybe if they do trade "ups" I will try them out, but I must admit that I have spent many sleepless hours wondering if that thing was worth 8000$. Also, kind of surprised the dealer hasn't called trying to sell the new "Niagara friendly" cords.

Sorry to post of the 7000. I haven't seen a thread for us, so I posted here with you guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Bought the 7000 the moment it arrived at the store.

It needed to be modified by AQ twice due to an incessant clicking sound. They said my stuff was too efficient (McIntosh 7 channel amp with Klipsch La Scala II/ Heresey IIIs) and causing the issue since it was designed for very high powered amps and less efficient speakers.

Running all AQ power cables NRG 1000 and a AQ power outlet ( I assume the guy grounded it or I would think the breaker would blow with all the stuff plugged into it).

I guess it sounds bit better than the Transparent Audio one I used before (around the price of Niagara 1000).

I see that AQ finally has Garth Powell's new power cables and they recommend these for all Niagara owners. Maybe if they do trade "ups" I will try them out, but I must admit that I have spent many sleepless hours wondering if that thing was worth 8000$. Also, kind of surprised the dealer hasn't called trying to sell the new "Niagara friendly" cords.

Sorry to post of the 7000. I haven't seen a thread for us, so I posted here with you guys.
Hello.
Does Audioquest Niagara 7000 have stabilizer function(to keep output voltage stable no matter what input voltage)?

Thank you for your help.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top