Power conditioner and Dac sound

Hi,

I think about buying a power conditioner, like the Audioquest Niagara 5000. Does anyone experienced sound improvement for a Dac, or for the entire audio system ?

Thanks.

Ch.

I have my DAC, Clock and Upsampler all connected to a Shunyata Denali 6000T. Very happy with the results.

3 Likes

Chris, have a look at the posts under “Anyone running balanced power?”. There is some useful discussion there. My experience using balanced power - admittedly not the same as a filter/conditioner - has been extremely positive.

1 Like

As a general point it may be worth reminding people that damage to dCS components caused by regenerator type conditioners is not covered under warranty and that, accordingly, caution needs to be exercised if using one. I don’t think that either the AQ or Shunyata items are of this type however.

My own experience with power conditioners has not been encouraging. An initial impression of an improvement to bass and detail was to be dashed with more familiarity as I noticed that all recordings started to sound very similar in this respect and this homogeneity led me to speculate that the conditioner was ringing.

As the power supply from the utility company seems so variable , and according to many postings I have read on other boards more so in the USA than I have experienced in the UK, then it is difficult to generalise upon suitability. My default position is plug the component directly into the wall socket but I do appreciate that that may not be the right advice for everyone.

1 Like

What is the problem with regenerated power?

Pete’s point is well-taken. But the AQ Niagara 7000, which was on my short list, is well-reviewed. I also applaud AQ for saying on their website that there are many ways to tackle the challenge of getting clean power. Right now, I have four PS Audio regenerator units in my house: two P5s in the headphone rack and two P10s in the speaker system/AV living room. I have been very happy with these. They protect the equipment, and the power they provide is steadier and cleaner than the incoming power. But they are regenerators, albeit good ones, built by an audio company that recommends them for their own fairly sensitive equipment. In my experience, they are safe and reliable, and they improve the quality of the power. This seems to contribute to that sense of “blacker black” we all blather on about.

Personally, I would not expect dCS to warrant their equipment against any power-induced damage, whether from a PS Audio or any other device, or from the power supplied by the criminals at PG&E. So I take Pete’s warning as a broader “do your diligence” advisory. Spot on.

Next week, my Torus AVR2-20 arrives to replace the P10 dedicated to audio. Why change? Well, I am a fan of isolation transformers. I am also a fan of balanced power as noted elsewhere, but the Torus ticked off all the other boxes, including control over Ethernet, noise reduction, and peak current. My electrician is also evaluating the possible installation of a Torus or Equi=Tech wall panel to further isolate and clean the audio power. I think these moves will be more impactful than all the money I could spend, or have spent, on cables and physical isolation. My dealer is still trying to arrange in-home demos of the Niagara 7000 and the Transparent Reference XL Isolator. Not sure how many times I want to move heavy beasts in and out of the system. I am already testing SWMBO’s indulgence.

Finally, I also have a small Eaton 9PX unit inbound which will supply ininterrrupted double conversion battery power to the components that I want to make sure never lose power, e.g., the clocks. I did a fair bit of research here. And the fact that Eaton was recommended to me by more than one unaffiliated company, and the fact that they are used in studios around the world (because they’re quiet), was what pushed me in that direction from straight batteries, or any of the Yeti, CyberPower, APC, or TrippLite models.

P.S. For anyone looking for an excellent LPS, I just received the Keces P8 dual rail. I’ve got Teddy Pardo, UpTone and others (never in the right voltage, sigh), and I’ve yet to get ahold of a Paul Hynes, but the Keces is a sweet box. It looks and feels like an audio component.

Very interesting post. But I don’t understand what is balanced power actually ?

But there is one thing I understand very well, you have enough gear at home to clean the power of the whole San Francisco Bay :rofl:

Thanks again for your detailed piece of information.
Ch.

Hey Chris, I’m no engineer, but balanced power in the US involves supplying +60V on one line of the mains, and -60V on the other, out of phase, rather than 120 on one and 0 on the other. Both sum to 120, but have quite different properties. Equi=Tech has a decent paper on the topic.

Hey Greg,
Ok, it is specific to the USA. When you try the Niagara 7000 and compare it to the Torus you shall have at least one interested reader :wink:
Thanks.
Chris

Oh no, it’s not specific to the US. Sorry I misled you with my example. Balanced power can be anywhere.

I started reading the white paper…I must say I haven’t got the necessary knowledges to understand that paper, but when reading I understood it is not specific to a country but rather a new technology…may be implemented in advanced products…I think I shall wait for your point of view on the products you are about to use at home, it seems you have some expertise in Power devices. :slight_smile:

Glad you put that smiley face there. This is the one I would have used: :rofl:

1 Like

Seems to me that a great deal of all this has to do with the quality of the power supply in each device, as well as the consistency of power coming from the wall. If you suspect the latter bring in a qualified tech to test your home power. Getting solid ground and sufficient power isolation certainly helps. I’ve found that my mono block amps are “happiest” when plugged right into the wall. On the other hand for many of my digital devices, isolating them from more analogue ones (preamp and dCS stack) has helped. And in some instances floating grounds works to prevent noise from some devices. If I didn’t do so for my Spectral amps I’d hear a clear hum. These particular beasts probably pickup the Big Bang background radiation, they’ve so damned sensitive.

Hi Greg,

Did you eventually try and compared the AQ Niagara 7000 ?

Regards.

Ch.

Hi Chris, thanks for asking. I have not yet demo’ed the 7000 in my home system. The Torus has been such an excellent improvement, that I have been disinclined to start the work of swapping anything in and out, especially something so heavy. I have, however, heard a system with the Niagara in it, and it sounded excellent. Unfortunately, it had many different components from my own, and was, of course, in a different room.

I might never get around to auditioning the 7000, despite their and my dealer’s generosity of time and effort (they asked for a component list, and spec on my home power, which my dealer supplied to them, and then prepared a plug arrangement suggestion).

On a tangential note, does anyone else find the prospect of auditioning gear at home—which is honestly a genuine and personally appreciated luxury—somewhat daunting? During the pandemic, it has been great that dealers/companies are willing to ship gear, but once it is at one’s home, you still have the uncrating, unplugging, removing, replacing, replugging, etc.,—I’ve seen the pics; I know many of us have lots of boxes and cables—before you can sit back down and listen, either critically and/or for enjoyment.

This is not a complaint or carping of any sort. I am just wondering if anyone else thinks, “yes, I would love to hear that, and if I did think it was better, I could be in the market to buy it,” but finds the process intimidating? I may be in that place with the Niagara. If I thought the marginal difference could be material, perhaps I would more inclined (e.g., DirectStream to Vivaldi), and/or if the task itself was less challenging (“you should try this new clock”), I might be more eager. But a 45kg power conditioner, or even bigger amp, and even bigger speakers?

Maybe it’s a reflection of how happy we already are with what we have? If your dealer says, “I don’t need a credit card, just confirm your address, and I will send it to you,” at what point does one say “ah, you’re a gem, but no thanks; I’m good.”?

Greg for me it is simple : I just do not have any more room for gear! Not only do I run a 4 box Vivaldi/Rossini but a two box NAS, a two box phono stage, a turntable and a headphone amp. That is my double width 5 shelf unit fully occupied. So goodbye to any idea of trying a reference clock for the Vivaldi master clock. Or a two box tube headphone amp ( yes, one caught my fancy).

Also there is no room at all for something like a power conditioner. My equipment rack has to back up to the wall behind as far as it can leaving only enough space for the cables ( slightly less than optimum in practice). The dedicated wall power outlets are directly behind the rack . So unless there is a power conditioner with 12 UK outlets and which is only 8cm wide and 8cm tall I am out of the game.

Maybe I should have bought a Vivaldi One to save on shelf space :wink:

The other element restricting my interest in home auditioning is that for many things there are just so many viable alternatives and wading through the jungle of them is now beyond my available patience.

I any case I enjoy such fabulous sound now anyway. I’m good too.

1 Like

I have just traded up from my Shunyata Denali to the new Everest. In my mind this is a substantial upgrade. All my dCS gear plus pre-amp and turntable are connected. Each amp still goes to its own separate 20 amp circuit.

:rofl: I’ll have it shipped tomorrow.

Hi, thanks for the feedback. It is true that trying a power supply system is way more involving than trying a pair of headphones for example…But it is exactly for all the reasons you mentioned that I was hoping you would do a test for us :rofl:…I am lazy sometimes :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Those Everest 8000s look really great. I run a mostly headphone setup so the guys at Shunyata recommended I go with the Denali 6000 v2 instead, and I’m really happy with it. In fact, I miss the sound when I listen to other non-Shunyata systems. I’m guessing the extra stuff from the Typhon in the Everest 8000 that separates it from Denali v2, makes it even better for amps. Almost curious if it would improve my headphone setup, but since the Denali is so fresh here, I don’t really want to know.