Our Bundle of Joy Saves You $789.95!
Time for some "power" saving! The AudioQuest Niagara 1200 with the 2 meter NRG-Y3 power cable sell separately for a total of $1,784.95. Until January 31 these are selling as a very special bundle for $995.
Gautam, our content manager, is teased in the office for referring to his main audio system as a "shrine to AudioQuest". And it's true, everything from the wall outlet to every single cable from power to speaker to digital and analog interconnects to Ethernet is from the Irvine-based heavy metal slinger. Also from AQ: noise caps, USB filters, cable lifters, and even RCA plugs turned into input shorting caps. The point, he claims, isn't AudioQuest per se, but to experience the individual and cumulative effect of all of these products for himself. "I can't tell customers something will sound better, or even different, unless I've tried it for myself, and heard the change."
With a Niagara 5000 on his "shrine" (which also uses an AQ PowerQuest power conditioner for his router, NAS, Roon Core NUC, and network switch), we thought Gautam would be a good person to arm with the Niagara 1200 + Y3 bundle to try out on his office system.
The Second System
When you've been in the hobby or industry for a while you end up with enough stuff to put together a second system (or, for some of you, a third or even fourth setup). Once this project amasses enough componentry to reliably play music, we tend to stop adding to it, you know, just like regular people.
This is why Gautam never bothered with a power conditioner on this system, one that's sitting in a tool-laden barn room where he also has his Upscale work computer. This is the "fun" system that plays in the background while he works or fixes his bike, or it's turned up to spill into the yard when there's company over. An Allo DigiOne Signature streamer works as a Roon endpoint feeding a classic R2R DAC from Monarchy Audio which drives a First Watt clone power amp via a Schiit Freya S preamp. Speakers are the JBL 4312G, a three-way with a 12" woofer.
"It's weighty, engaging sound that just fills large spaces. I love it," says Gautam. "But I've never sat down in front of it and paid any attention to soundstaging or the level of detail. That doesn't mean I'm not concerned with the sound—I am ill after all—but also never thought of it as a system to subject to audio nervosa."
Gautam's barn set up in which he finds that power conditioning brings more of whatever you're loving about the sound of a particular system.
Here Comes Trouble
Gautam had no doubt that the sound of this system would improve once the AudioQuest Bundle of Joy was hooked up, but wondered whether it would improve in a way that's relevant to a "while doing other things" listening philosophy.
"Unfortunately," he said after the first listening session, "Yes."
The first thing he noticed with the power conditioner is that music seems to be projected out of the system with great ease and clarity.
"Whether I'm sitting at the computer, or working on my bikes in the open space outside, I notice how singers and cymbals and bass seem to just flow through the space better, and carry more detail with it." Also, aptly for fun systems, the tighter bass enhances the rhythm and energy of the music, making foot-tapping or dancing inevitable.
Even when it's playing behind him as he works, the sense of space is both noticeable and enjoyable, with a sort of "reverse soundstage" placing instruments and vocals in way that makes the system so much more satisfying. "It doesn't matter that you're not in the sweet spot with your eyes closed... there's still a big jump in even casual listening pleasure by having voices and other sounds fly by you in a way that makes you want to turn to see what's happening."
Verdict: Whether it's the hunt for microdetail and expansive soundstaging in the big living room setup, or the emphasis on sheer rock 'n' roll energy and party fun in the secondary system, Niagara power conditioning brings more of whatever it is you're loving about your sound.
If you've dabbled in hi-fi for a bit, you'll know that $995 for an entire component with matched power cable is stocking stuffer pricing. AudioQuest rarely has offers like this, and we've stocked up on it for the holidays. Buy now and don't come crying to us after Christmas when we're all sold out! If stocks last, the offer runs until January 31.
|POWER ME UP!|