Audioquest Niagara 1200 Power Conditioner

Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
I received my Niagara 1200 about 2 weeks ago. The unit replaced a PS Audio duet which I had for a number of years. I have noticed improvements in clarity, transparency, bass extension, and sound stage depth when compared to my PS Audio duet.

It is really amazing how much cleaner it makes my system sound. However, I did find that I had to use the right mix of power cables, otherwise at times I found my system sounded too clean/bright giving me a bit of listener fatigue on some of my less than stellar recordings.

For now, I settled on using a Kimber PK10 gold for the DAC, the AQ Monsoon on the pre-amp, Kimber PK10 gold on amp, and the AQ Tornado between the wall and power conditioner. The Tornado also sounded really good on the DAC and may end up back in that position.

Bass has never sounded better on my Harbeth HL5+. I always thought the Harbeth's were a bit bass shy and bass extension is improved with the Niagara. The lower registers of the piano showed a significant improvement in the definition and texture of the notes. Clarity and transparency improved due to a lower noise floor. Vocals on some of my better recordings had more of that spooky presence. One thing that really kind of surprised me was an improvement in depth of soundstage. I now get a much better interpretation of spacial placement of instruments.

I want to add that using the Audioquest Tornado power cable made a huge improvement to my system even before the Niagara 1200 was used. The Tornado by itself when used on my DAC seemed to remove any remaining hardness to the sound and just made the overall sound signature of my system more pleasing.

The combination of the Niagara 1200 and AQ Tornado power cable provided an improvement in sound quality well worth their price.

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Comments

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    Nice review! Interesting how you noticed an increase in the depth of the soundstage, just like @joecoulson did with his Niagara 5000.
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,720
    Awesome Jeff!
    Glad you got that and I love how versatile the placement of the 1200 is.
    I will tell you the sound improves over time with AQ gear.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    edited May 20
    Interesting how these bad boys are sold out/backordered until late July. Shows that there's plenty of demand there that unfortunately they couldn't keep up with.

    This is a hot product!
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    edited May 20
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Interesting how these bad boys are sold out/backordered until late July. Shows that there's plenty of demand there that unfortunately they couldn't keep up with.

    This is a hot product!

    Actually, I think the release has been delayed. They were originally supposed to have been available in February when I ordered mine from Music Direct, but they kept getting delayed. Not sure how they found one for me, but I think most vendors that show them as sold out or backordered never had any to begin with.

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    Oh, ok. Maybe they just had a really small initial allotment and then sold out and can't get any more for a few months. Hard to say exactly what the cause is.
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • mikeyb128mikeyb128 Posts: 2,887
    That brightness you have will smooth out with time. This happened with my niagara 5000. The storm series power cables are really good! Extremely quiet! The cheap monsoons I’m using on my amps have a similar flavor as the storm series. Definitely a high value power cable.
    2 channel:
    Bryston 4B3, Bryston BDA3, Cary SLP05, Shanling CDT1000SE with parts conneXion level 2 mods, Nottingham analogue ace space 294, soundsmith Carmen MKii, Zu DL103 MKii, Ortofon MC 20 MKii, Dynavector XX2 MKii, Rogue Audio Ares, Core power technologies balanced power conditioner, Akiko Corelli power conditioner with Akiko Audio HQ power cable, Nordost heimdall 2, Frey 2, interconnects, speaker and power cables, Focal Electra 1028 BE 2, Auralic Aries Femto, Black diamond racing cones, ingress audio level 1 roller blocks, JL Audio E110 with Auralic subdude, Primacoustics room treatments.
    Theater:
    Focal Aria 926,905,CC900, SVS PB ultra x2. Pioneer Elite SC85, Oppo BDP93, Panamax M5400PM, Minix neox6, Nordost Blue heaven LS power cables.

  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    Good to hear regarding the brightness. That was only noticed when using the Monsoon on my DAC. I agree that the storm series cables are really good. The Tornado by itself really brought my system to a new level and the 1200 cleaned things up further.

  • dolbyddolbyd Posts: 423
    Kevin gives his thumbs up on the 1200.
    I might have to order one for the office setup.

    Main room- RTiA9 x4, CSiA6, in ceiling Atmos RT-70 x4, SVS PC 4000 x2, Marantz 7705, OPPO 203, Emotiva DR3 G3, Emotiva XPA-2 G3, Emotiva XPA-5 G3, Emotiva X300, Sony 75" 940E, Panasonic Plasma VT50, PS Audio Power Port X2, Perfect Wave AC-5 x8, Douglas jumpers, SVS Ultra speaker cables, Transparent IC, Furman PFi20 W/Cullen cable, SoildSteel S4-4 rack, GIK room treatments

    Office-Infinity Kappa 600, Kappa Center, in ceiling Polk RC80i, Marantz 5012, OPPO 203, Pioneer Elite PDF-59 CD, PSA Stellar 300, Sony 510C 48"

    Master BR- LSi7, LSiC, LSI700 in ceiling, SVS-PC 2000, Marantz 7704, Emotiva XPA-5 G2, OPPO 203, Pioneer DVL-919 Laser Disc, Sony 55" 800B

    Patio- SDI Atrium8 x3, Emotiva A-100 amps x3
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,720
    Jeff, what are you impressions now you have had time with it? Mine seemed to just get better slowly over time.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    edited June 12
    Definitely a keeper. The lowered noise floor uncovers detail I had not heard before. The initial brightness I no longer notice. Very flexible unit as far as placement. Tough to beat as far as system tweaks go for $999.

    Also, assuming my Entech meter functions correctly, I get a value of about 13. Not sure how Kevin was getting a reading of zero on his meter in the Upscaleaudio video. Maybe he forgot to plug it into the wall :o



  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,706
    When I change up from my ps audio Dectec I think this will be my choice. Assuming anyone that is taking these measures has taken care of adding dedicated 20amp runs to their rigs. That in itself was an amazing upgrade to both of my set ups and highly recommended as something to do before adding any power conditioners.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • motorstereomotorstereo Posts: 1,342
    [quote="
    Also, assuming my Entech meter functions correctly, I get a value of about 13. Not sure how Kevin was getting a reading of zero on his meter in the Upscaleaudio video. Maybe he forgot to plug it into the wall :o

    I'd have to question that zero reading as well and 13 is also the lowest reading I've been able to get out of my Furman balanced unit. This reading came also when the lines were so free of emi that all 5 of my noise harvesters stopped blinking.

  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    The whole electrical noise thing at my house has been weird. Back in March my Entech meter showed a level that varied between 13 and 60 depending on the outlet. When the Entech had a reading above about 20 on the meter I could hear a radio station. A little higher than that and the Entech unit was a transistor radio. I clearly was receiving a conservative talk radio broadcast from the noisier outlets.

    Now, all outlets show 12 -14. The addition of Niagara really didn't really reduce the measured noise
    When I change up from my ps audio Dectec I think this will be my choice. Assuming anyone that is taking these measures has taken care of adding dedicated 20amp runs to their rigs. That in itself was an amazing upgrade to both of my set ups and highly recommended as something to do before adding any power conditioners.

    Long before I got the Niagara 1200 I upgraded from a 20 amp run using 12 gauge wire to a dedicated 10 gauge wire run and it was a noticeable improvement.

  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,720
    I am betting not as noticeable as the addition of the Niagara? ^
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    joecoulson wrote: »
    I am betting not as noticeable as the addition of the Niagara? ^

    You are correct

  • bembem Posts: 51
    Guys, I’m looking to introduce a power conditioner into my system and I’m really excited about what I’ve been reading on the Audioquest Niagara 1200. Any recommendations on a reasonably priced power cable for the Niagara 1200? By reasonable I’m thinking less than $350 for 1 meter as the max that my budget will allow.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,720
    Monsoon
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • bembem Posts: 51
    Just ordered the Niagara 1200 with Monsoon power cable from Music Direct today. Thanks for your input.
  • Polkitup2Polkitup2 Posts: 1,539
    Yep, I would stick with the AQ power cables with the 1200 for the ground noise dissipation ability. Monsoon is best for your price range. Enjoy!

  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,720
    Enjoy man! Report back after you stop smiling...which will be a while. :smile:
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    edited November 18
    I'll likely be writing a full review of the AQ Niagara 1200 I just purchased over on The Audio Beatnik.

    However, here's some of the major standout observations I noticed after putting it into my system.

    A significant increase in low level detail. On test tracks that I've listened to upwards of 100 times, I heard subtleties and intricate minute details that I've never heard before. Specifically, in the way that certain sounds fade out after occurring. A lot more nuance and delicacy. I was truly surprised, as I really didn't realize that these faint sounds were even in these songs.

    Increase in soundstage width and sweet spot. I no longer have to have my head in such an exact position in order to hear an expansive stereo image. Where they exist in certain songs, 3d stereo imaging effects are now much more abundant. At times it felt like I was inside the music, rather than simply listening to it. The sound was more enveloping and layered.

    The bass energy now exists as it's own disparate element that doesn't intrude upon or take away from other elements of a song. It might sound counterintuitive to have the bassline sound like it's "on it's own", but in doing so it actually becomes more cohesive. This is because when it's not obscuring or masking anything else in the song, it's easier to follow the bassline, the other elements, or to just listen to the performance as a whole.

    Zero harshness in the treble frequencies. Previously when I would crank up the volume to "party levels", about 80-85db in my small 13x10 listening room, I found that the treble could quickly get harsh or hot. Now, I do not get that sensation at all, even at these louder levels.

    Overall, I'm very impressed by this product and strongly recommend it.
    Post edited by Clipdat on
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    I forgot to mention, I'm using it with the Shunyata Venom 14 power cords from unit to wall, as well as on the components.
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 6,013
    Nice write up Drew!

    This thing (without a power cord) cost more than my speakers :#
    Living Room 2.1: Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkii; Energy s10.2 sub; Cambridge Azur 851a; Cambridge Azur 752BD; Bryston BPD-1; NVidia ShieldTV
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Definitive Technology SM350; Definitive Technology LCR2000; Definitive Technology Procinema 800; Mirage Nanasats; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP;
    ; Master Bedroom
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Definitive Technology SM45, ACI Titan Subwoofer Squeezebox Touch
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    I know, it's pretty expensive at $1k but honestly it's worth every penny in my opinion. Putting it into your system somehow makes all of your gear perform at a higher level.

    I believe most people would easily be able to tell an immediate difference!
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • verbverb Posts: 8,256
    Clipdat wrote: »
    I know, it's pretty expensive at $1k but honestly it's worth every penny in my opinion. Putting it into your system somehow makes all of your gear perform at a higher level.

    I believe most people would easily be able to tell an immediate difference!

    Nice write up! Excerpt of course, looking forward to another excellent review on AB!

    Great. Now I have to get one! :smile:
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS, Cary SLP-05 Pre, Enlightened Audio Designs CD Transport, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Digital Cable, Marantz SA-14 SACD, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, Wireworld Oasis 8 RCA IC's, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, PASS ACA Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: , Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-8 Monoblocks, Tisbury Mini Passive Pre, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    verb wrote: »
    Nice write up! Excerpt of course, looking forward to another excellent review on AB!

    Great. Now I have to get one! :smile:

    This will be a very easy review to write!
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,290
    Clipdat wrote: »
    verb wrote: »
    Nice write up! Excerpt of course, looking forward to another excellent review on AB!

    Great. Now I have to get one! :smile:

    This will be a very easy review to write!

    I’ll write it for you:

    Yes.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 7,298
    What's the question? "Is it worth it?"
    "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • tophatjohnnytophatjohnny Posts: 2,706
    Great write up and review. I'm.still using a basic PS AUDIO Dectec and it does a nice job. More importantly before putting shiny tires on a car is making sure the engine is in order..meaning..a dedicated 20amp.line running to your gear with at least hospital grade outlets happening and then condition away.
    Yes I have the dedicated lines to my rigs and what a difference it made. I will upgrade from the Dectec before too long and I'm sure it will be something special. Just digging what I'm hearing right now so it's not a priority.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
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