Audioquest Niagara 7000 hum/buzz


Owners of the Audioquest Niagara 7000, I could sure use some help.

I now own a (used) Niagara 7000 that I like very much, except it buzzes. Sometimes quite loudly. It will buzz even if there is nothing plugged into it but at a much lower level. It seems that with it fully loaded up with tube mono blocks, powered subs and the rest of my system the buzz gets even worse. The buzz can be heard across the room some 15+ feet away.

I have contacted dealers for the product and some say it should be dead quiet while others say it is normal for it to buzz due to the isolation transformers inside.

What have you guys experienced?

I have also contacted Audioquest and the local rep for my area has provided some suggestions that didn’t help. Since I bought it used and I have changed the 20A IEC to a Furutech NCF 20A IEC, he calls it a modified used unit and will not issue a return authorization number for repair. Personally, I think that is pretty crappy, I am not asking for a freebie repair, just some help.

So, again, is it normal for the Niagara 7000 to buzz? Any other suggestion?


Thanks,

ozzy


ozzy

Showing 40 responses by ozzy

Thanks, its not vibrating the buzz is internal.

ozzy
eric_squires, jea48,

Thank you for your suggestions. 

DC is probably the culprit. I live in the USA (Michigan) any suggestions for a ready made DC blocker to use?
You know, it does hum more in the evening when we are watching a movie, so I will plug in the TV elsewhere tonight. Does it matter if the TV is plugged in but not turned on?

ozzy
Thanks Elizabeth, yes, I have checked it well. Unfortunately the transformers are buried underneath several circuit boards. I am using Stillpoints ultra SS footers underneath it so I may try some softer footers.

It seems to get louder when everything is on including a 85" UHD Samsung that draws quite a bit of current. It may be that I am overloading it. So, I will remove the subs from the Niagara.

Any Niagara 7000 owners out there that can comment?
ozzy
Just got an email from Audioquest. Now it looks like I can send it to them for repair. A few options...

ozzy
jea48,

Thank you for your help and suggestions. BTW, I did order the Emotiva product.

ozzy
4425,

I probably will. I would like to try the Emotiva DC blocker product first before I send a 100lb unit across the country. 
Did yours buzz through the speakers or just from the Niagara internal?

ozzy
Well I just received the Emotiva DC blocker and it did nothing. In fact with it plugged into the wall and the Niagara plugged into the Emotiva DC blocker the Emotiva unit got super hot!

So I'm back to square one. 

The Audioquest rep says that my Whole House Surge protector (In my Breaker Box) may be the culprit.
Before I get into that,  is there any thoughts or opinions on this?

ozzy
erik_squires,

Thanks for your comments.

The Niagara can draw a tremendous amount of wall current. Other products that I have tried before the Niagara also got very hot. So this is normal, but I thought at least the buzz/hum would disappear to show that I was on the right track.

Whole house surge protectors are in constant contact with the electricity flowing through the house and are activated or the circuit is deactivated  when a surge occurs.

ozzy
jea48,

Yes I have unplugged the Samsung and it is not the culprit. The Emotiva is rated for 15A. It did nothing to eliminate the hum/buzz, so I sent it back today.

I must say that Audioquest has not been much help. I can't get past the area rep who is more argumentative than helpful, and I am getting more excuses than help. 
According to him, If I send it to Audioquest, he say's they will change the Furutech IEC inlet back to the original and combine the 2 high power outlet banks to one. He claims the problem lies with my incoming AC power. But I have never had this problem before getting the Niagara 7000.

So, to send the unit to Audioquest $$$ plus return shipping $$$ plus the cost of their service $$$ may not correct the problem.

ozzy

geoffkait,

Thanks for the reply.
Inside the Niagara is layered multitiered circuit boards and the isolation transformers are underneath all of that. As far as I can tell everything is tight.
I tried using Fo.Q underneath the hood and placed pieces on top of every cap and electrical device I could and that actually made it worst!.
So I removed it all except underneath the cover. 

There is a canister inside that is filled with Audioquest proprietary compounds that are supposed to silence noise. That is where most of the buzz/noise seems to be coming from.

ozzy
jea48,

Thanks I have read this and tried every conceivable variation, the buzz has been reduced but still audible sitting 15 feet away.

ozzy 
jea48,

Thanks for staying with this.

With nothing plugged into the Niagara it still buzzes/ hums but not as loudly and would be tolerable.
The only thing changed is the IEC,  and with a polarity tester everything is fine. However, the original IEC was soldered in, the replacement (Furutech is not).


ozzy
twoleftears,

I think your right.
But I am surprised at the arrogant tone from the Audioquest rep, leaving me with very little options. I guess buyer beware when dealing with them.

ozzy
jea48,

Yes I checked with the seller and he said it was dead quiet. 
The power cord I am using is a Audioquest Hurricane high power, but I have tried other cords. 
I plugged the polarity tester into one of the Niagara outlets and everything showed proper. And I doubt that I wired the IEC incorrectly, I do not take electrical and the connections made lightly. Believe me I double checked.

Update:
I have been able to reduce the buzz/hum considerably with moving some of the AC plugs into different banks. Trial and error, PITA. 
I now also have the JL subs plugged into the Niagara in bank 2 via utilizing a Deep Core. The Niagara still buzzes, but at a much lower level, actually tolerable.

ozzy

Thanks, I think the key is to balance the power with the outlets and within the 3 separate zones. Sometimes that means mixing the digital with the analog (gasp!).
The reason I tried so hard to make it work is because the Niagara adds such a dynamic boost to the audio music it is like night and day from plugging directly into the wall outlets.

I am extremely disappointed in Audioquest service help.
First thing they want to do is to blame the customer. " Customer must have damaged the unit with the IEC upgrade". So, no warranty, no service, no help.
Not a good business model, in my opinion.

Thank you, and all others for the help.
ozzy
steakster,

Thanks for the help and ideas.

I do own a Synergistic grounding block that I am currently not using (yet) because I didn’t want to have too many variables. But that is next up.
No, I have not taken it to a friends house because its heavy (90lbs.) and I don’t have any friends...
I will try turning off the breakers in the house soon when the wife’s not home (she creates too much static)...

At the moment, I think with the balancing of the plugs in the Niagara outlets its about as low as its gonna get. And quite frankly, it seems that I am ok with that.

ozzy
4425,

Thanks, 
I'll give them a call Monday and try to talk to Dustin.

ozzy
Steakster,

I just went thru the exercise of shutting down the breakers in the house. With all the breakers off except the one that the Niagara is plugged in, the Niagara still buzzes/ hums.

hornguys,

I hope Dustin can help.

ozzy
Dustin wasn't available so I left a message...

ozzy
Well Dustin didn’t call me back so I called Audioquest again. This time he was there and said he was not aware of my message.

Well Dustin also read me the Audioquest script stating that, " since I changed the IEC it is considered a modified unit, therefore no warranty and if they service the unit it would have to have the IEC returned to the original state before they would check it. That cost and all other service work would be at my cost". Ok, I get that, I did a bad thing changing the IEC inlet... 
I told Dustin that when I disengage the power correction feature on the Niagara and leave the unit in standby it does not hum. So he said, " then don't engage the power correction function". (That reminds me of an old doctor joke...) The power correction feature is a big part of the Niagara 7000 advantage over other power conditioners!
 
I have owned several PS audio power plants, Shunyata, Synergistic and many others and I have never had a problem such as the hum/buzz that I am getting with the Audioquest Niagara 7000.

So, I’m still not sure about sending this heavy unit across country ($200 min shipping both ways) and plus the unknown repair costs ???
What if after I spend a lot of money and the response is again (as the original Audioquest area rep stated earlier), " it must be something in my electrical grid " call your Electric company" ?

ozzy

Well today I shipped the Niagara for repairs (?).
Got my fingers crossed...

Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions. I still don't get Audioquest attitude. Compare that to PS Audio and you can tell the company that is there for the customers.

ozzy
The ground wire on the IEC had to be cut to be removed.

ozzy
jea48,

No, the original IEC was soldered in place, I had to cut the wires to remove it.
Plus I had to enlarge the opening to fit the new Furutech.

ozzy
jetter,

Good question: 
No, the first thing I do when I get a new piece of equipment is to open it up and take extensive pictures of the insides. While inside I changed the IEC.

ozzy
audiosch, joesolek,

Thanks for that info. I’m not giving up yet, at least until Audioquest has a chance to look at it. I owned many PS power plants. The last one was the former top of the line.

jea48,

To me, the Niagara 7000 does something that other power conditioners do not do. That is; increase the available power when the amps need it. I first started out with a Niagara 1000 and was impressed what it did for my home theater equipment, especially the Denon receiver.

With my 2 channel the Niagara 7000 creates what I would call that "boogie factor". Music comes alive with unlimited dynamics. Its really impressive.

I'm now in contact with Garth Powel, so, here’s to hoping Audioquest can get this sorted out!

ozzy
bultaco,

Thanks, I'll check out that review.

ozzy
axeis1,

I have always been interested in electronics. Heck, I started when I was about 10 years old building Heathkits. It has always been a passionate hobby for me.
The Furutech NCF IEC connectors are the best available in my opinion, so why not use the best? Especially, if all my other components will be plugged into the unit. And, I did not buy the Niagara 7000 to be used as a "flipper". No, my intent was to get the best out of the unit and keep it.
I have 3 dedicated 10 gauge lines, each terminated with Furutech NCF outlets. Defeating the power correction circuit is like turning off a turbo charger, why would you want to? I’m sure a lot of the cost in the Niagara was for this feature.
BTW, the plan is for Audioquest to convert the unit back to stock form but they do have a few upgrades in mind for the buzz/hum.

jea48,

I agree with you, Audioquest should have concentrated on providing the least noise generated from their unit first!
But again, with the supposed fix they plan, hopefully it will become a keeper.

ozzy
My Niagara 7000 was received at Audioquest yesterday. And Garth says they are already working on it.

ozzy
4425,

Believe me I have tried everything, including the expertise from Audiogonner’s on this thread. I have also read all the info on the Audioquest site.  And, I have been able to reduce the hum. Hopefully, now with Garth Powel (the lead engineer on the Niagara 7000) involved Audioquest will resolve the issue.

ozzy
jea48,

Thanks for sticking with this. I have read the attachments over and over and I honestly don't understand it.
Here is what Garth said they have done to my Niagara

 

"The PCB-1060 has two parts removed so that the redundant sense circuit we discussed will not operate. So, you can use all for high-current outlets, and decide to use all or a portion of the transient power correction circuit via the position of that rear panel switch: 

Full circuit is engaged

Partial circuit is standby (less mechanical noise if the harmonic distortion on the incoming AC line is in excess of 10%)"

I trust Garth but it is a little confusing.

Any clarifications you can provide?


ozzy


Just got tracking info. 
It looks like delivery to be next Tuesday. That seems like pretty good service.
I sure hope the buzz/hum will be eliminated (or at least reduced considerably).

ozzy
Thanks slaw. The Niagara doesn't use fuses either. I also have a whole house surge protector, and during a bad storm I still unplug.

ozzy
Well I received the Niagara 7000 back today. I hooked up all the power cords and stood back, to a drum roll (inside my head)…
The buss/hum has been reduced by about 99%!  Whew!

It is still (very faintly) there but is now extremely tolerable. All in all with shipping and repair costs (about $400) plus it took a little over a week and a half to be returned I am glad I did it.

I compared my original pictures of the inside of the Niagara's to the now present condition. Other than returning the IEC inlet  to the original, I'm not sure as to what was actually done. 

ozzy

slaw,

Yeah, I agree with you. I think Audioquest is aware of the problem though because the fix was done quickly and has resolved the issue. Perhaps newer units than mine already have the fix.

ozzy
Whoa! Not so fast, I jumped the gun... 
After I pushed my rack back into its original spot (closer to the wall behind it) the Niagara started to buzz again. WTH?

The only thing that pushing the rack back did was to move the electrical cables closer together, there is nothing else near the rack or wall behind it.

Something is affecting it. Is it possible the close proximity to the other cables is causing the Buzz?

ozzy
Thanks, but Yes, I can hear the hum/buzz.

If the Niagara buzzes very little when the rack is pulled out but does buzz louder when it is pushed back, something must be causing it. There is a JL sub near the rack, I wonder if that could be something affecting the Niagara? (hard to believe)
This is very frustrating. I’m going to move the rack out again and see if I can find the culprit.
grumble, grumble...

ozzy
Well, I thought it would be appropriate to update and conclude the Niagara hum/buzz thread. Thank you all for your help.

There will always be some form of buzzing with this unit. I do have all of my 2 channel equipment plugged into the Niagara 7000. That includes (2) JL Audio subs, tube mono block amps, preamp, dac, streamer, CD player, QOL, and a 85" 4k HR TV. (Which draws a lot of power)

Though the buzz is still frustrating, (but, now only heard within a foot of the unit) the sound quality using the Niagara is impressive. As I stated earlier, with it comes great dynamics, the music jumps from the speakers! 

So, the question whether to buzz or not to buzz, I guess I choose the buzz.

ozzy
4425,

Thank you, I have the unit on a open shelve / stand. 

jafant,

Thanks, I think you will be impressed with it.

slaw,

It is no longer a modified unit, the IEC inlet is now the original. Just whatever Audioquest did to it the buzz/ hum is so low it is tolerable.

ozzy
jafant,

The best comment I could get out of them is that "some AC power may cause it to hum/buzz". It is so minute now that I can't hear it.

Plugging all your equipment into it is where it shines, really provides that "boogie factor"

ozzy