I have 1.5M Niagara XLR analog interconnects with the 72v dbs power packs between my preamp and amp. They sound very good in my system - very close to the excellent Synergistic Research Tesla Accelerator ICs. The DBS system does make a slight improvement in air and soundstaging, but it is not as much impact as the active shielding technology of the Synergistic Research Tesla cables.
The entry AQ line with the DBS system is the Columbia. There is a big difference in sound quality between Columbia and Niagara. I do not think it would be worth the $$ to upgrade the Columbia from 36v to 72v dbs - put the money toward the Colorado series.
IMO be careful, as 72V can give you one nasty shock.
Thanks Dlcokrum, great infos.
Since Joelawn brought the "nasty shock" up. WOndering how can it get meassured up to 36v or 72v while the battery is only 1 (or 2)AA or AAA battery type?
Here is my experience with those DBS and AQ cables. To me, I liked the older versions, from Jaguar to Panther, Cheetah and then Sky. Sky to date, is still the reference cable from AQ until Signature WEL came out recently. If you fortunate enough to find the one was Made in USA, (I do not know exactly when AQ moved their productions to China), those are more refined than most. Those DBS really work wonders, smoother and more open sound. Take Cheetah for example, replace those 36DBS with 72DBS and you do not want to go back, believe me, I tried. Take Sky and double it up with 2 packs of 72DB, will take Sky up to the next level. Be warned, those upgrades must be equal voltage or the lesser ones WILL GET DESTROYED. Say 2 packs of 72DBS or 2 packs of 48DBS. You can not go 1 pack of 48DBS and one pack of 72DBS, got the idea? you can forget the idea of upgrade them to AA or AAA, those will harm your cable rather then help them. Look up AQ SKY reviews people seem to like them a lot. If you have money to play around with, then get Signature WEL with 144DBS, then it's the end of the conversation. I wonder why the new WEL came with 144DBS? any thoughts?
In talking to an AQ rep once, I was told the maxium useful voltage is somewhere around 60v. Anything above 72v doesn't improve the sound.
The dbs packs do work to keep the IC run-in all the time so if you don't listen to you audio system often, the ICs are always ready and the dielectric doesn't have to re-form again. However if you listen to your system often, I'm not really sure if dbs makes a big difference or not. I used to own high end AQ but prefer the sound of unshield cables that reject RFI/EMI by there geometric design....at least in my system.
The 72v batteries are 12v each and there are 6 of them in each battery pack. They are not of the AA or AAA type of battery. They are about $4-$5 each but don't need replacing for quite a while since they don't carry a load.
Hope this helps.
As for the Sky, it is a great cable at a great (high) price. Niagara will save you 40% to 50% on the used market, and the sound quality is not much less. See this review:
Again, when dealing with the lower line AQ cables, put the money for the dbs upgrade toward the next higher AQ cable.
This is for Nick778 regarding his responds. When you said the person at AQ rep did not think the higher DBS than 72v will improve the overall sound, why is the new Signature WEL packed with 144DBS? and did he say it base on experiment? I have blown up every 24DBS and 36DBS that came with those cables, all my AQ now either have the 48DBS or 72DBS on them. That how I learned, you have to balance those DBS.
I agree completely with Nguyen357.
I did all the comparisons with Cheetah + Sky.
All run with 144V in my System. Huge increase of Soundstaging.
I have the Colorado interconnect, upgraded from 36 v. to 72 v. by upgrading the battery pack. How do you do the upgrade to 144v ?
you can buy the 2-way splitter for almost no cost, they're around $10-$20 a pair. Try (Music Direct) website.
If upgrading to higher voltage will sound better, I assum it will sound cleanner, yes? Does that mean that it'd probably sound too clean, too detail (too bright?) that it'll break away from warmness and musicality and sounds more like others American made... like Krell? THanks
No, smoother and more dynamic sound stage. More solid bass and warmer mid.
This may be a repeat E-mail as I have had multiple "FAILURE TO DELIVER e-MAIL MESSAGES" on my computer. I have 2 of the 72 volt DBS units, but I can not find any splitters at the internet stores. I am hopefull you will sell me your spare splitter cables. I very much want to experience your Audioquest upgrade. You might want to call me so I can send a money order or PayPal.
I appreciate your offer to send me the cables,
and I look forward to experiencing your upgrade.
3560 Snow Rd.
Las Cruces N.M. 88005
I just bought a used pair of AQ Sky's. These are the earlier version with the two 36VDC DBS packs on each cable, presumably to make 72VDC using the splitters. I took some voltage measurements with my Fluke volt-ohm meter and measured only 36-37VDC through the splitters. This is on both cables mind you. I then measured 36-37VDC from each of the four DBS battery packs, to make sure they are functioning. Then I did some continuity checks to make sure the splitters were good. Indeed both are. Why the voltage drop, or should I say lack of voltage increase to 72 VDC the way it should be. Any ideas anyone.
There are some AQ splitters out there that were wired incorrectly and it sounds like you may have some. Unfortunately AQ no longer sells the splitters last I checked so your choices are to buy some used or make your own. As a longtime AQ/DBS owner, I have purchased a 3.5mm male connector to take measurements of the battery packs when I want to know the true voltage and not rely on the LED on the battery pack. Your local electronics supply should have the connectors available to construct your own splitters if you chose to do so.
On a side note, I own the whole original DBS IC series range including the Sky, Cheetah, Panther, Jaguar and LeoPard phono cable and having experimented with different voltages from 24VDC up to 144VDC, I can say that 100VDC is the sweet spot for all the DBS series of IC's.