With the arrival of Garth Powell, Audioquest is full of energy. Bad joke… But of course, they’ve always had mains cables. But not only has this cable line been thoroughly revised by Garth – resulting in a much better sound – filters have also been added. We’re listening to the new Niagara 1200. The entrant of this line
The art of a mains filter is that it is inaudible. But on the other hand it has to bring more control and a lower noise floor, which makes microdetail more audible. Information hidden in the recording. Information that remains obscured by contamination on the grid. Pollution – noise – which, despite the measures taken by the audio manufacturers, still finds its way to the loudspeaker. And via that way to the listener’s ears. Annoying. And it gets worse with the rise of LED-lights, charging adapters, induction cooking, etcetera.
Ground Noise Dissipation
With its filters, Audioquest not only tries to clean the noise on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘, but also the earth-ground. According to Garth Powell, the ground is also a (big) culprit in a system. The first filter that applied ground noise dissipation is the Niagara 7000. Then came the 5000. And then the ‘1000’. The mains cabling also benefits from this technique. Now it’s time for the successor of the 1000: the Niagara 1200.
According to Audioquest, asside the appearance. not much has changed in the 1200. It’s mainly the box. We think that the layout of the print must have been slightly modified. After all: the old PCB does not fit ‘one on one’ in the housing of the 1200. By the way: the pcb says: Niagara 1000 V2.
We have to say, we didn’t really like the looks (and sound) of the Niagara 1000. The Audioquest Niagara 1200 on the other hand, what a beautiful device! The beaded silver, thick aluminum… very nice. We read that the Niagara 1200 can stand on a piece of furniture, as well as upright on the floor, as ‘on the front’. Convenient.
We also find a some extra connections: five for normal components and two high-current. That’s one socket over the 1000. There is also a power button on the side to turn off the socket / filter.
Differential and Common Mode
Special about the Niagara’s from Audioquest is the fact that they can very effectively reduce both common mode noise and differential mode AC noise. There are plenty of filters that can reduce common mode noise. What’s more, any decent galvanic separation already does that. So insert a thick isolation transformer and you’re done. But Differential AC noise is trickier. Garth Powell believes he tackled this problem with the Niagara series. You can read more about that in this white paper.
If we are to believe Garth, the Niagara 1200 (and 1000) works mainly by directing noise and interference to the earth’s ground and converting it into heat (which also happens in the cables). The Niagara can dissipate noise from the wall box as well as from the devices in the system. And it also tackles EMI / RFI from wifi, GSM-towers and, for example, bluetooth (according to Audioquest).
The nice thing about the Niagara line is that it not only filters noise but also secures your system. This without adjusting the sound in a negative way. Most protective power strips have the protection directly in the supply line. This is not a good way, as it may affect the reproduction. Audioquest tackles that differently.