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Audioquest Niagara 1200 Review (Power Conditioner/Surge Protector)

Helicopter

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That doesn't matter.
Personally I prefer flat pull line, just because it won't normally snag on anything when you pull it through bulkheads to install or re-work a harness, but electrical zip ties can be had with very good properties otherwise, including UV, chemical and heat resistance, no sharp ends when properly trimmed, high strength, and easy installation. Either one will get the job done.

However, I don't see zip ties as 'low-end.' Obviously that is pretty subjective. In any case, I am not impressed with this product, or anything I have seen from the brand.
 

Labjr

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Personally I prefer flat pull line, just because it won't normally snag on anything when you pull it through bulkheads to install or re-work a harness, but electrical zip ties can be had with very good properties otherwise, including UV, chemical and heat resistance, no sharp ends when properly trimmed, high strength, and easy installation. Either one will get the job done.

However, I don't see zip ties as 'low-end.' Obviously that is pretty subjective. In any case, I am not impressed with this product, or anything I have seen from the brand.

I think it's just people piling on to a critical review. I've seen a lot products that use zip ties to tie down capacitors, etc. Never thought it was cheap or for budgetary reasons. It works well.
 

welsh

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That's a good thought, but I've heard of a headphone called the Audioquest Nighthawk.....surprisingly it does actually produce sound, but I wouldn't buy it!
The Nighthawk/Nightowl ‘phones are possibly the only non-snake oil products Fraudioquest ever made (OK, the dongles work but are absurdly overpriced for the performance). They were internet darlings for a while. I seem to remember a dark sound signature. Tellingly, the company discontinued them, the better to concentrate on magic cables etc.
 

Robbo99999

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The Nighthawk/Nightowl ‘phones are possibly the only non-snake oil products Fraudioquest ever made (OK, the dongles work but are absurdly overpriced for the performance). They were internet darlings for a while. I seem to remember a dark sound signature. Tellingly, the company discontinued them, the better to concentrate on magic cables etc.
Here's the Audioquest Nighthawk as measured by Oratory: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qpt8a5x26ydx5ul/Audioquest Nighthawk.pdf?dl=0
The frequency response needs a fair bit of work, but I've seen worse. Either way though, on principle I don't think I could justify buying any products from a company that has large sections of their company that are snake-oil based.
 

MacCali

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There's a video from next best thing studio's I believe it is, Jay Soulsik says the only power conditioner he's ever heard any difference in the audio with is the Audioquest Niagara. The rest is all bs, and he's not promoting the company, he was referring to his experience when he worked at HiFi store; audio excellence canada I believe.

AudioQuest a shady company. I actually dislike Darko even more when watching his reviews as he has Jana advertise for them and probably sponsor his video.
 

uwotm8

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For many years I use a simply relay-based voltage regulator - APC Line-R 1200 - simple AC stabilizing solution with some usual protections and "noise cleaners" afaik. Call me biased audiofool but most of the equipment do sound better/cleaner with it (or my brain makes me think that I hear that). Feels like a slight "loudness on" effect compared to direct-to-outlet. The price at moment of buying was around $100-150 so snake oil aspect is questionable.

Some smaller (600) model porn:
components-1-1620.jpg
 

MacCali

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For many years I use a simply relay-based voltage regulator - APC Line-R 1200 - simple AC stabilizing solution with some usual protections and "noise cleaners" afaik. Call me biased audiofool but most of the equipment do sound better/cleaner with it (or my brain meakes me think that I hear that). Feels like a slight "loudness on" effect compared to direct-to-outlet. The price at moment of buying was around $100-150 so snake oil aspect is questionable.
Oh yea, I have actually asked for Amir to put his thoughts on it with his youtube reviews. I am sure he never got a chance to read it. However, recently when watching Audioholics "what amplifier specs matter" video's. It is a 3 part series. The one italian gentleman did mention it briefly.

I use a APC unit, I got it for 200, and it's made specifically for home theater equipment. Now my thing is which I recall prior to purchasing my first AVR is that you want at minimum besides filter and all that good stuff steady voltage to your unit. The italian dude was talking about a job he did for someone who lived in beverly hills at the top of mountain basically. That because he was basically getting the final feed of electricity and there was no real network of incoming power whenever people around him were using power his audio equipment was suffering as it ate up a lot of the available power, especially during the evening hours.

So I would say Automatic Voltage Regulation(AVR) is something to consider, however like a panamax or furutech whatever those company's are called have them in their units and mostly sell on filtering RFI. If you want AVR you need to spend like 500+ on their products for it to have that.

I for one didn't believe that to be the case living in the city with so much available power on the grid but to be honest this thing is turning on quite a bit and voltage is actually bouncing around. That so far to my knowledge is what can or does cause damage/decrease longevity to your power amp. So I have mine set at 5% margin so any time it drops below 120 volts plus or minus this thing is kicking on and giving some juice to make sure everything is fed nice and steady. I've used it since day one of owning my AVR so honestly cant say the real benefit, but just trying to protect my equipment and for a 200 bucks you cant go wrong, my audio/video receiver is 2000+ msrp and is running for about 1600 now.

The thing I think I learned best from Amir to sum it all up is you have your relaxed/passive listening and active listening. When youre trying to focus you hear the differences because you are aware there's a change and you try to focus in on those changes. If lets say someone came into your house and added a power conditioner and you just came and turned on your system to listen to music or watch a movie you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Because again you are just passively listening, you are not trying to spot out changes.. Something along the lines of how you smell things. If you smell something new your nose picks it up right way and lets say for instance that smell were to hang around for a couple hours. After 30 mins you would basically not even notice it's there the way you did when your nose first picked it up. Your senses are lazy and also there's only so much you can process.

I think if you really want to escape all this power drama, like youre concerned it's contaminating the sound the only real option would be to get off the grid by using a battery that's charged by solar power and there's probably some noise in there too, but far far less than being on the main grid. To further this we cannot say with absolute certainty how much better your audio will sound. If it's not going to greater than 30% better it's not even worth it the extra money especially when it's in the 1000's
 

MacCali

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The Nighthawk/Nightowl ‘phones are possibly the only non-snake oil products Fraudioquest ever made (OK, the dongles work but are absurdly overpriced for the performance). They were internet darlings for a while. I seem to remember a dark sound signature. Tellingly, the company discontinued them, the better to concentrate on magic cables etc.
I would bet my bottom dollar that those headphones were manufactured and engineered by a third party and just slapped AQ on it
 

thefsb

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No, digital only for me. Eventually I'd like to understand what the fuss is about, but I'm in no rush.
That makes life easier. I would have wanted to know why a vinyl junkie was pursuing the ultimate hygiene of their AC mains input.

I think different people fuss over vinyl for different reasons. Although I still have my vinyl collection, I switched mostly to digital many years ago but I'm not happy about it. It's something to do with the nature of information (in the Shannon sense) and the loss of material objects. I wrote about it half-jokingly many years ago (Compact Disks make you immoral) and a commenter just yesterday gave it an interesting new take.
 

Swtoby

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I would bet my bottom dollar that those headphones were manufactured and engineered by a third party and just slapped AQ on it
I don't believe this is the case. A man who worked at AQ named Skylar Gray developed these and they seem to have attracted some cult status. My impression is that a lot of reviews dumped on them and they were discontinued. Despite the negative press, I picked up a pair of the Nighthawk Carbons on steep discount and glad I did.
 
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Kalle

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Amir, if I understand you correctly, your main point is that the power conditioner does not do its job because it does not filter anything else than 60 Hz. ("If anything other than 60 Hz is bad, then this device is doing nothing useful.") You are looking only at frequencies below 100kHz, right?

I was told by a former designer of power conditioners that frequencies below 100kHz are not HF but LF and that every conventional power supply can cope with LF noise. To couple capacitively into the power supply, much higher frequencies are required.

So I guess that "audiophile" power conditioners will filter primarily HF (>100kHz) instead of NF.
 

Alcophone

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That makes life easier. I would have wanted to know why a vinyl junkie was pursuing the ultimate hygiene of their AC mains input.
Hm, I would expect a product with a mechanical motor to benefit from "clean" power as well (wow/flutter), given how just my torchiere's performance varies with the incoming AC voltage (which arguably makes it poorly designed, okay). Though obviously the Niagara series doesn't adress voltage fluctuations, except maybe the 7000 with its isolation transformer.

Apologies, everything below here is basically off topic.

I think different people fuss over vinyl for different reasons. Although I still have my vinyl collection, I switched mostly to digital many years ago but I'm not happy about it. It's something to do with the nature of information (in the Shannon sense) and the loss of material objects. I wrote about it half-jokingly many years ago (Compact Disks make you immoral) and a commenter just yesterday gave it an interesting new take.
Thank you for the link! I had forgotten about the brutality of bending a CD to get it out. Though CDs still seem to remain much flatter than the more gently treated records.

Thus CDs ask for the medium to be regarded as irrelevant.
That's right! All of mine are ripped and available via my streamer by virtue of a USB stick. Handy.

Though people say how much better CDs sound compared to streaming. I doubt my basic consumer Blu Ray player would do that claim justice, though. Maybe I'll try the Schiit transport once it comes out.
It's hilarious that even five figure CD players from the likes of Esoteric have people complaining about audible drive noise, though. That's objectively a disadvantage to a passively cooled streamer.

So they force us into the morally murky realm of how we should reward artists for their efforts while we copy, share and modify the bit streams.
I'm curious what Square is going to do with Tidal since they bought it. Rumor has it that they want to work with NFTs (Non-fungible tokens, a way of tracking ownership through a blockchain, like what Bitcoin is based on - with the crucial feature of preventing double spending, just like you can't give a record to more than one person). I doubt it's going to help much, though.

I was wondering whether those that miss the physical ritual involved in playing a record would appreciate little physical objects that represent individual albums, say (or even playlists), maybe with a QR code or an RFID chip, that you can use to initiate playback. The data is still streamed from somewhere else and divorced from the phsyical item, but there's something to touch there, with very little constraints for the artists. Instead of a flat piece of cover art you could have a perfumed round fluffy pillow that squeaks and lights up on touch, so long as it remains recognizable by the streamer somehow.

But seeing how you talk about the grooves in a record and how that is directly represented in how they sound, I suspect those physical tokens wouldn't do it for you, eh?

I'm not sure what you are trying to say with the nature of information part.
What bugs me about vinyl is that it degrades with every playback and also varies based on how dirty the record is. Doubly strange if people enjoy records that were digitally recorded or that they squeeze through a DSP when playing it back - I would try to keep it analog all the way, thinking that if there's any magic, it's to be found there.
Digital is much more predictable and stable. However, what bugs me about digital is that it's not objective. While a non oversampling DAC could objectively reach exactly the voltage levels expected based on the digital samples at exactly the right points in time, it's clear that if we had recorded more samples inbetween, they wouldn't typically have the same level as the previous or next sample, so the need for filters makes sense to me.
But then different filters produce different results based on the same input - which result is the most accurate? Apparently there's a hypothetical correct answer, mathematically speaking (ideal sinc function?), but we can only approximate it currently. The Chord M Scaler + Dave DAC supposedly come very close to it, but introduce a latency of up to 600 ms. I don't quite understand why the correct value of an interpolated sample depends on what happened more than half a second ago when even super low 10 Hz bass has completed six full cycles by then, but I'm far from an expert on the matter, it's just counter-intuitive.
 

MASKINEN

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Well I’ve been questioning cables and products like “power conditioners” since I started the hobby.

It’s weird because for me it’s so much about placebo.. if something costs a lot of money, it must be better. Even when it’s not true.

And yes I use signal and speaker cables from Audioquest but mostly because they look good and of course it just feels better.

Don’t ask me why.. it’s stupid in a way because I know that they don’t sound better. It just feels better. Almost like you don’t want to drive a Ferrari with a Volvo engine if you know what I mean.

Above is also the reason I think most people still buy expensive cables etc for their setups. Stupid but true…
 

MRC01

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... I know that they don’t sound better. It just feels better. ... Above is also the reason I think most people still buy expensive cables etc for their setups.…
This would be fine if the expensive cables were advertised as such. "Well built, low reactance, properly shielded and grounded, high quality flexible abrasion resistant housings, gold connectors that will fit perfectly and snugly, never corrode. They look better and last longer than cheap cables."
But, of course most are not, also making claims about sonic improvements.
 

Angsty

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However, what bugs me about digital is that it's not objective. While a non oversampling DAC could objectively reach exactly the voltage levels expected based on the digital samples at exactly the right points in time, it's clear that if we had recorded more samples inbetween, they wouldn't typically have the same level as the previous or next sample, so the need for filters makes sense to me.
But then different filters produce different results based on the same input - which result is the most accurate? Apparently there's a hypothetical correct answer, mathematically speaking (ideal sinc function?), but we can only approximate it currently.
That’s not how digital reproduction really works. There are some good tutorials elsewhere on this site.
 

Angsty

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This would be fine if the expensive cables were advertised as such. "Well built, low reactance, properly shielded and grounded, high quality flexible abrasion resistant housings, gold connectors that will fit perfectly and snugly, never corrode. They look better and last longer than cheap cables."
But, of course most are not, also making claims about sonic improvements.
I’m not even sure about lasting longer. I have several 20+ year old, basic three-prong power cables on high quality equipment that are doing just fine. These AQ cables are just bling.
 
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