When I removed the Niagara 1000 and switched all the components’ power connections into a fairly run-of-the-mill AC power strip plugged directly into the wall, the differences were pretty apparent. It was a bit like reheating the leftovers from a fabulous restaurant meal from the night before: All the same delicious elements were still there, but they didn’t have quite the same distinction in texture or flavor. Though still very enjoyable, a little of the thrill was gone. A revisit to Buena Vista Social Club, for example, yielded less texture on trumpet and less tension on the string instruments. I missed the musicians’ lively energy, missed hearing them presented more as a group of individuals—as you would in life. Music like this should compel you to move. Here, it didn’t quite do that as much. Some excitement was lost.
Without the Niagara 1000, on The National’s “Day I Die” track, Bryan Devendorf’s energetic drum intro sounded slightly veiled, less crisp and crystal-clear as attacks so sharp before seemed to soften a bit. Soundstaging flattened out too in front-to-back dimensions, as if more of the band were piled within the same plane.
In listening with the Niagara 1000, to some degree all the usual audio review clichés applied: It was like removing a layer of dust from a vinyl record’s surface, wiping a dirty window pane clean, etc. And it did seem that some bad stuff was also being cleared away from the signal path, allowing more musical information to be heard. On well-recorded source material, this often translated into greater clarity, detail, and the enhanced expression of the artistic qualities of the music. Image outlines were clearer, more convincing. All of these factors contributed to greater realism and more involving listening.
I didn’t have any complaints about the AudioQuest Niagara 1000; it’s complex inside but simple to use. Although it still requires dropping a pretty substantial sum for those on a budget, it’s a worthy investment that could transform your system’s sonic potential. Kudos to AudioQuest designer Garth Powell for bringing power-conditioning benefits of to a wider audience of audiophiles and music lovers.
Specs & Pricing
AudioQuest Niagara 1000 Low-Z Power Noise-Dissipation System
Type: AC power conditioner and passive filter with non-sacrificial surge protection
Inputs: Six low-impedance AC outlets; one for high-current devices
Dimensions: 5" x 4.25" x 20"
Weight: 5.5 lbs.
AudioQuest NRG-10 AC Power Cord (used in review; limited availability)
AudioQuest NRG-Z AC Power Cord
2621 White Road
Irvine, CA 92614