Power Conditioners: Audioquest Niagara 5000 or Shunyata Denali 6000S


I’ve been trying to decide which of these two power conditioners might make a better purchase. Do any of you own either, have chosen one over the other, or better yet, gotten to A/B them? I’ve found some, but not a lot, of information online comparing the two. So I thought I’d ask if any of you might know something more.

They both come in at $4000 retail which is my budgetary limit. The Niagara is active, the Denali passive. Some threads compare the Denal a little less favorably to the twice as expensive Audioquest Niagara 7000, for what that’s worth. I heard that the Audioquest Niagara 5000 may hum or buzz under some cirumstances. Anybody have that issue? I’ll probably never get a chance to demo them out here in the hinterlands so I’m hanging on your every word before I drop another wad of cash on one or the other.

There is also an Audio Magic conditioner at the same $4000 price point, but I didn’t quite understand it’s function in comparison to the other two. I’ll have to reread that product description.Someone else recommended a Richard Gray model that confusingly turned out to be a giant-sized surge protector.

Anyway I’d appreciate if any of you have any input on this somewhat obscure topic of power conditioners. I’m looking at one of these two power conditioners as opposed to a regenerator, or pure isolation transformer, or other type of line conditioner. If it’s of any import my equipment is a VPI Classic 2 SE turntable with an Ortofon 2M Black moving magnet cartridge, a Marantz SA8005 CD player, a Luxman 507uX Mark II integrated amp, and Magico A3 speakers all to be on a dedicated line and plugged into the conditioner. I am not interested in purchasing used.

Thanks for any input or advice. I hope someone out there knows something about these two.

Mike
skyscraper
I wish I had your problems!  👍
Maritime5, you might not, if you knew the rest of them, or were burning through a good portion of your life savings at a record clip, acquiring this unnecessary, but highly desirable stuff. It’s kind of a benign addiction I suppose. But after this last component and some cables and interconnects I have to cold turkey. It's been fun getting all this new stuff while it's lasted though. 

Mike
http://www.spiritualaudio.net/products/

http://www.stereomojo.com/Spiritual%20Audio%20VX-9%20Power%20Conditioner/SpiritualAudioVX-9PowerCond...

I had been happily using this for 6 years.

The review is pin correct to my experience so far.

I think you had not adopted any of my recommendation.

I am not so sure whether I need to do more recommendation.

Thomas
Thomas, I’d have to reread my other threads to figure which recommendations were yours, there have been so many. I can tell you I do appreciate and look into every suggestion you and others on site have kindly provided, while trying to make good decisions. I’ll check out your links. Thanks Thomas,

Mike

Mike I am going to do you one more favor.


https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis975e3-synergistic-research-uef-blue-power-cable-november-specia...


3-2 specials is an excellent bargain.


I had been happily using Analysis Plus power cables for the last 6 years.

I chose them after auditioning at my home 3 different brands loaned by Cable Company 6 years ago.


Three weeks ago I ordered Synergistic Blue power cables based upon 3-2 offer and 30 day’s return policy.


Synergistic Blue power cables turned out to give more focus and details with fast transient than already excellent Analysis Plus.




Combination of Synergistic Blue power cables and Spiritual VX9 power conditioner is a killer at reasonable price.


Thomas


ps.


https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis978ie-perfect-path-technologies-alpha-e-card-much-anticipated-h...

I also added 2 sets of E-cards at 600$.


They also helped to make sound of my system more organic and round.


https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/perfect-path-technologies-omega-e-mat


You can get more information through above link.




I use the Shunyata much older Hydra series with their power cords and I am very happy.  I haven't heard the latest and greatest Shunyata power conditioners.  The Niagra has gotten a lot of rave reviews so I am sure that there is something to that.  I like the Shunyata because of their passive approach.  I have my Mac amp plugged into the smallest Hydra 2. There is  No loss of power and a very black background.  I would think the newer Shunyata line is even better.
Stereo 5, I have been leaning towards the Shunyata Denal 6000S from the reviews I’ve read, but really I don’t know enough to make an informed decision yet. The Niagara 5000 has gotten some good reviews too. I am a little concerned about the Niagara possibly making a humming noise, although Audioquest informed me if there was one, it could be easily remedied. Their one higher model, the Niagara 7000 does make some humming noise due to it’s isolation transformers I read, which the 5000 doesn’t have. No sense paying for noise reduction if the power conditioner puts some back in by humming, while it's removing the rest.

What you’re saying about the Shunyata Hydra providing a very black background is exactly what I’m hoping for. The Magico A3’s I’ve got on back order have a very detailed presentation I’d hate to have muddied by distortion. No loss of power to the amp would be excellent too. Audioquest touts their Niagara’s power reserve capability. Thanks for your reply,

Mike
Mike you should definitely talk to @audiotroy about an Isotek EVO3 Sigmas + Synchro combo.
Is it likely that you can consider Synergistic Research products?
They now make power conditioners in many price ranges.
Check out the reviews and audiogon threads on Powercell UEF12?
If you need surge/spike protection, check out the High Fidelity Cables MC-05 and MC-1 Pro.
Sgordon, I'll look into the Powercell UEF12. I hadn't heard of that model before.

Twoleftears, I'll look up the Isotek Evo Sigmas and Synchros combo as well, and will consider contacting audiotroy if they look interesting and in my price range.

Slaw4, and I'll look into your suggestions too. I didn't know cables could provide surge protection. 

Thanks all,

Mike
Take your time doing your research.  I have looked at all of the above units.  Each is a great product.  Once you have one, you know it!  
@skyscraper-- given that both brands of power conditioner you are asking about are from major companies with pretty large distribution networks in the States, is there a way to get the opportunity for home trial?
That may mean paying for the units with the right to return one or both of them- does MusicDirect carry both since you are only interested in new, not used?
My experience with power conditioners is that they do yield a difference but whether that is an improvement may be something only you can decide based on your ears and your system. It also seems that these devices are not a one time investment because there seem to be continual improvements.

I’ve pretty much abandoned conditioners about 10 or so years ago, so my experience may be dated. I do use a 10kVA iso transformer with surge protection feeding a subpanel that routes some dedicated lines to the music room and it does not seem to negatively affect sonics.
There is probably some burn in time, and even 30 days for evaluation may not be sufficient, but if you want the best answer, it’s probably going to come from your own experience with any of these devices in your system.


Whart, why did you abandon power conditioners? I’m curious. I really don’t have much access to any audiophile products closer than three to five hours away, double that round trip. There’s a chance I could have a local dealer who sells lower end Audioquest cables get the Niagara 5000 for an audition, but that really would be taking advantage as I can get one for less elsewhere by mail order. I think Music Direct does carry both but only at full retail, plus I'd be stuck with the return shipping costs. This will be a one time investment for me, since I’ve no plans to upgrade even when a better product comes out.  

Tastyfreeze, If you’ve looked at both the Audioquest and Shunyata and some others, what were your thoughts and preferences among them. I’d like to hear your impressions, if for no other reason than you have an excellent username that bespeaks good taste, which undoubtedly extends to high end audio products. I’ve got until February to make a decision, but I’d just as soon make an informed decision, not dink around with this, and get on to other things. So far I’ve read every review I could find, called manufacturers and retailers, and now I’m trying to get listeners and owners input if possible. So please share your impressions. I’m sure I, and others would certainly find them helpful. Thanks,

Mike








For the turntable better approach might be motor controller. I would take Walker Audio not VPI. For the Luxman amp I would buy absolutely nothing to begin with and until it is fully burned in. I would want to evaluate its power supply and determine how much assistance and in what way it needs. Besides, as Bill said, $4k is a lot of cash for something that might become almost obsolete in a few years. Wall current is getting much worse in many areas, so conditioning and voltage stabilizing devices have to catch up.
Mike- I used a series of Shunyatas circa about 2006?, but after I installed dedicated lines and changed my electronics, I found I didn’t need the conditioners; the amp manufacturer cautioned against using any as well. But, Shunyata products have no doubt improved in 12 years. At the same time, I know that lots of people use the conditioners only for front end or digital components to avoid current limiting their amps. I guess it also comes down to how bad your ’dirty’ power is to begin with.
I do think that home trial would be the way to go before shelling out for one of these at around 4k, even if it means you are paying more.

Inna, I will be obsolete myself in a few years so I really need to get something now. I have no idea how to evaluate the power supply, so I am willing to accept a well reviewed panacea of a noise conditioner.

I’ll look up the Walker Audio motor controller right now. I generally prefer to stay with bigger well known companies so there’s a decent chance they’ll still be around in twenty years for parts or repairs, if I still am. Some of the smaller companies disappear when their owner retires or moves on, then you’re stuck with a $4000 boat anchor. By the way, I did order the VPI power cable you suggested in my other thread just the other day.

I looked up the Walker Audio motor controller and it did read like an excellent product, and better than any like product I’ll ever have. I’m thinking I’d like a more general purpose product though as current budget allows. Thanks again Inna,

Mike
Whatever Lloyd Walker does is at least good. His turntables are among the very best.
You mean VPI tonearm cable.
If the voltage in your house is unstable you need to stabilize it, just a conditioner won't do it.
Yes, I did mean the tonearm cable. I don't know that the power is unstable, we do have a fair amount of outages though, some of very short duration.

Mike

That I think is easy to measure with a simple device. Each piece of equipment will react differently to voltage fluctuations, and of course it will also depend on the degree of fluctuations. My turntable doesn't have much tolerance for it, nor does my integrated amp. The tape deck doesn't care much unless it is totally out of control.
Your amps power supply should be quite good. But it is not Lamm amps that Whart has, those power supplies probably cost more that your entire integrated. That's why he abandoned even best conditioners of the time.
Whart, thanks for replying. I didn't realize it was a fairly new development that power conditioners can fully power amps without current limiting  I think there are plenty of people around who've been plugging their amps into the wall, rather than the power conditioner to this day, judging from how frequently that topic comes up.

Both Shunyata, and especially Audioquest , address in their literature they don't limit current to amplifiers. Audioquest advertises their Niagara models have a substantial power reserve for transient peaks, if I'm saying that correctly. It's interesting to know it wasn't always that way.

Inna what kind of device do you use to measure that. I saw something being used on a Shunyata youtube video that played out loud the line distortion, and provided a measurement. 

Mike
Mike, I don't exactly have to measure it, I use PS Audio regenerator and it shows me voltage in real time.
People often plug directly into the wall their power amps with robust power supplies. Your Luxman integrated is three components in one box - phono stage, preamp and stereo amp.
By the way, think of a power cord as an extension of power supply not as an extension of wall wiring, this is a more correct view.
skyscraper
I didn’t realize it was a fairly new development that power conditioners can fully power amps without current limiting ...
It isn’t a new concept at all. For example, Tice was doing this with the Power Block/Titan combo decades ago.

Sometimes, the biggest problem with current limiting rests not with the power conditioner or isolation transformer, but with the electric utility itself.
I own the Audioquest Niagara 7000. It stabilized my voltage, cleaner up
my noise problems and provided endless power for my amps which are quite power hungry. It is probably the best single purchase I have made.
It  also is a fine power surge protection system. But the real beauty is in the change you will experience in the sound coming from your system.
I would call it pristine compared to a wall plug in my area. 
Browndt, I wish I could afford your more expensive Niagara model, and am understandably  jealous. Good to hear your enthusiasm for the 7000.  I'm looking forward to the quiet noise free background. What kind of, and wattage, amps are you powering? That power surge capacity of the Audioquest models is a real selling point. How much humming do you get out of the 7000's isolation transformers? Is it noticeable? Thanks for your post. 

Mike
@skyscraper,

I miswrote.....If you (don’t) need surge/spike protection...……………….
Slaw, I figured so, unless you were messing with me. Thanks,

Mike
Back in the day I had a color darkroom with a voltage stabilizer to keep the line voltage from shifting color balance with fluctuations common in line voltage. I wonder how one of these would work with audio gear as they seem to perform same function.
Jdub, sounds like that would be an interesting experiment. 
I think I’m going to go with the Shunyata Denali 6000S. I found a place to get it for less than retail, and only slightly more than the Audioquest Niagara 5000.

If repairs are ever needed, Shunyata seems like a big enough concern to be around for years to come. It’s less big than Audioquest, but certainly not a boutique operation. Reviews for it are consistently good, as were those I found on the 5000.

I won’t have to worry about the Denali 6000S humming, or dealing with having it modified, so it won’t hum if that problem crops up. Audioquest indicated that a simple modification could be easily be done for their Niagara 5000, if the utilities transformer is not up to snuff and causing that problem. But ten years from now the utilities transformer on the pole behind the house may not be up to snuff any more after routinely electrocuting overly venturesome squirrels two- three times a year. Then what? The Shunyata Denali uses passive technology hopefully obviating that potential issue,

This doen’t make sense, but I also got to thinking the Audioquest Niagara 5000 admittedly is only a poor mans version of their 7000, so its going to be comparatively lacking in some regard from that model. I didn’t get that sense about the Denali 6000S and their higher models. Some said they’re comparable with the Shunyata Triton, and not so much lacking, as sounding a different compared to the Audioquest Niagara 7000,

Stupidly, if I got the Niagara 5000, I’d feel aggravated I couldn’t afford the Niagara 7000, even if the 7000 does have a low hum from it’s isolation transformers. However, if browndt were to send me his wonderful sounding Audioquest Niagara 7000 for Christmas there would be no further sour grapes or jealousy to be mentioned.

So this decision to get the Shunyata is at least partially, but not completely sensible. If it were possible, running an A/B comparison at home would have made this choice less of a crap shoot. But it didn’t sound like from what I read there is all that much difference between the two in any event.

That leaves only an interconnect from my Marantz SA 8005 CD player to the Luxman 507uX Mark II amp yet to be determined, before I’m operational when those Magico A3's finally arrive. Got to run down to Salem and pick up some vibrapods and cones too. I’m going to start constructing new built in shelves for my relocated components tomorrow. Picked up the wood and some simple damping materials for the shelves today.

Thanks again for everyone’s input as I pull into the home stretch on my new system.

Mike
Mike, you are about to spend $4000 on you don’t know what. It is unknown how it will work in your set up, by itself and in comparison with other devices. And it doesn’t stabilize voltage.
I just felt that I had to warn you.
By the way, I never read any review of anything that would tell the whole story.
Another point, since it's important to you, absolutely any company can disappear at any moment, don't count on any service long term.
PS audio Power Plant 15 Hands Down. Helps remove THD Total Harmonic Distortion. I owned a Niagara 5000 for about 90 days thought it was over hyped. You cannot trust most reviewers they don’t get paid to write negative reviews.

For example a reviewer that states  that an Audioquest HDMI cable that cost $2,500 is much better than an Audioquest HDMI cable that cost $400 both 3.5 M

additionally people that drink the cool aid and say that that can hear a difference between two very high end Audioquest speaker cables a $5,000 cable and a $7,000 cable 
Mike, I have recently done an extended test of 3 power conditioners side-by-side. They consisted of the Niagara 5000, Denali 6000 and the Ansuz power conditioners. As you mentioned, I did experience a hum in the Niagara 5000, which I found disturbing. While it did improve dynamics and bass extension, to  me it seemed to veil the music a bit. The Denali was more transparent and did not seem to cloud the presentation as much as the Niagara. Ultimately, I chose the Ansuz line as it presented the cleanest, most transparent sound. It is worth mentioning that I use a Hegel SS amp and my speakers are fairly efficient at 93db. I started with the entry level Ansuz X series conditioner and an Alum power cord from my outlet and an X cable from the conditioner to my amp. The Ansuz line seems to perform best when you use their cables. I started with the entry level as I wanted to limit my investment and live with it long term to ensure that I was on the right path. I have been using it now for a few months and very pleased. I can see myself upgrading to their higher end models in the future. I hope this was helpful.
I started a "Do I need a Conditioner" thread a while back and looked into all the suggestions.  Decided on Equitech balanced power transformer. Had used older Shunyata and PS Power Plant. Equitech is much better. Shunyata cleaned it up but sucked some of the life out of it. PS could only run the front end and didn't make much of a difference that I could tell. I think maybe Niagra 7000 is also balanced power, not sure. Of the two I would take the AudioQuest. But do yourself a favor and check out Equitech. It is money well spent. Makes the rest of your system sound like it cost twice as much.
Skyscraper , I want to second what leotis said about the Equitech balanced power supply . My 1.5 RQ model is all you'll need and available factory-direct in your price range . It even makes the picture on my TV look better . Skywalker Studio uses their products for mastering movies, so it has to be good enough .
Audiofool. . Thanks for sharing your experience with all three of those conditioners.  I'll read up on the Ansuz power conditioners today. I'm not familiar with them.

Leotis, do you have a link to your old thread. I'd like to read it. If not, I'll find it. I'll look up the Equitech line too. I have heard their products mentioned.

Inna, if it doesn't sound good I'll suck up the shipping and send it back. Appreciate the warning.  

The reason I'm concerned about companies remaining viable comes from maintaining my late seventies components for so many years. Sourcing Bang and Olusfen parts or finding knowledgeable service techs has been a bear. Phase Linear preamp repairs were a bit easier to come by as generic caps could be used. Dahlquist parts are still available fortunately.

You're right though, any company can disappear at any time, but to my mind it's hedging your bets to try and buy from the ones most likely to stay in business. I'd rather have a product a little less good, than purchase one from a more esoteric company. I mean, try and find parts for my old Burwen TNE Transient Noise Eliminator if you can. That's been taking up space in my storeroom for three decades. On the other hand you can still get source parts for an old Ford or Chevy, but try the same for an old MG. I've been to that well and I'm not going again if I can possibly avoid it. 

Rbyington, I agree with you about the reviews not being able to be relied on exclusively. That's why I'm asking questions here and have read as many other threads on other forums as I could find from actual owners and listeners. Not to mention calling one products designer and techs at the other company, plus consulting dealers to ferret out information. Some will tell you all kinds of drawbacks to products they don't carry, even some they do if you get to know them a little.

I'll read on the PS Power Plant 15 you suggest. That is a PS Audio product I'd assume, but maybe not? The cable business you refer to is appears altogether over-hyped to me too and really hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff in, even doing listening test at dealers. It would be nice to have access to all these products to try out at home, but so it goes. 

Mike


Biketech, I looked up your Equitech 1.5 RQ model. Sounds interesting I’ll have to do some more research on it. If it was powered by The Force I would have purchased it immediately.

Mike
Mlke..

 I have the AQ 7000, it didn't do anything for me until i bought their Tornado power cord 20amp, then everything just open up, i haven't spent much time listening lately will be going back into hospital soon, heart problems,  so you buy AQ or just go n listen make sure you have one of their new power cords connected to it.
Easygoing, I wish you the best dealing with your heart issues. I know from the loss of a loved one how difficult that may be. Take good care of yourself and thank you for your advice. I'll be thinking a good thought for you. 

Michael
Twoleftears, I read the positive review from Absolute Sound of the Isotek EVO3 Sigmas AC Power Conditioner. I asked Audiotroy, as you suggested, if he might post his opinion on the unit here for all to share. Thanks. I’ll have to find something on their Synchro unit to read although adding that in combination to the Evo3 Sigma would doubtless put my over budget .

Mike
For me it came down to a choice between the Isotek and an Audience Adept Response AR6, and the Isotek won out.  Still, I'm surprised to see no recommendations of the Audience here.
Allow me to third the recommendation of Equi=Tech *balanced* power conditioners. https://www.equitech.com/ They are the original, and still the best. Equi=Tech is mostly focused on the professional/studio market and does not promote itself or cater to the consumer market, so their products can be a bit challenging, and pricey, to obtain. Other *balanced* conditioners are fine, I use a Furman IT Reference 20i power conditioner very successfully with my "living room system," but I have Equi=Tech for my studio. I can’t point to any real differences.

The KEY aspect of any high-end power conditioning for any audio system is that the output AC voltage should be *balanced* between the two conductor legs, using a huge and heavy toroidal transformer. This will be naturally noise cancelling as well as surge protecting, and will result in a very noticeable improvement in your system's sound. Your wall outlet power is unbalanced, with a "hot" (black) and a "neutral" (white) leg. Fine, and easier and safer, for most purposes, but not for audio/video. I find it odd that most high-end power conditioners don’t well explain this and are coy about whether or not their output is balanced. One often has to read between the lines in their promotional literature. So happy hunting. Beyond balancing the power with plenty of reserve, the differences between the various high-end conditioners are minimal.


lp2cd, thanks for the explanation I have read up on the Furman IT Reference 20i. and will have to revisit the Equitech. I started researching the Equitech the another night but never finished. How much noise or humming does the transformer produce in either of your power conditioners? Noise is the problem I’ve been running up against with the isolation transformer type power conditioners. If I could find a quiet one I’d be much more inclined to go that route.

Mike
I too was put off by not infrequent reports of transformer hum in several models, including Equitech and Torus, who are another industry staple.  I was able to try out (with full return privileges) a Furman IT Ref 15, and it was completely quiet, but didn't do anything noticeable for my sound.  The problem is that until you install product X in *your* room with *your" mains electrical supply, you can't 100% forecast what it will do, or not do.
Audiogon just trashed my lengthy reply, and I'm not redoing it. Sorry. In short, both units are completely silent both in operation and the effect on the system. VERY worth it.
Since everyone is making recommendations I will too.
To begin with, I would get $130 Furman surge protector/ kind of conditioner and listen for a few months while trying to figure out what is not quite right if anything. Then tell us what happened and we would try to advise. There is absolutely no need to begin with fancy and very expensive units, whatever they are.
Mike, I might just have saved you thousands of dollars. On the other hand, saving too much on speaker cables would be a wrong thing to do. Cables for your set up should be both high resolution and slightly on the warm side of neutral, to be schematic. That's not easy to accomplish and should cost. Power cord for the amp is another matter but again - not $200 piece of junk.
Twoleft ears, yes the proof is in the pudding. Whatever I get it may or may not work or buzz, or do my laundry for me. I’ll hane to find out the old fashioned way and return the item if need be. I know they’ll stick me with the return shipping so I’ll have to make a good a choice as I can right out of the gate.

Lp2cd, sorry your post disappeared. I would have liked to have read it. I’ve had a few of mine go up in smoke too. A number of times Audiogon said my posts had not taken, but there they were when I checked. You never know. But you say both the Audioquest and Shunyata are are silent, so that’s encouraging. I’ve had two reports of the Audioquest Niagara 5000 buzzing, but none of the Shunyata making any noise, which is swaying me in that direction, I’ve a couple more models to research more now though. Thanks anyway for the short version.

Inna, nothing to do with this post, but I am going to get the Audioquest Rockets 88’s speaker cables that Magico recommended. I tied my brain in a knot trying to figure cabling out, and finally figured second guessing Magico on a subject I did not fully comprehend after hours and hours of studying, was a mistake.

I am going to approximate wiring by connecting my 20amp dedicated circuit’s 12awg Romex with a hospital grade 20amp C19 plug (I think that’s the correct number) to plug directly into the power conditioner. The power cord that came with amp will have to do until I get some other non-audio projects completed. Hopefully the power conditioner will clean up the signal so much, fancy power cords from it to the amp, cd player or turntable will be unnecessary. Only the interconnect from the CD player to the amp remains unaccounted for at present.

I am going to get a $4000 or thereabouts power conditioner, so I feel I’ve given my system a good shot at functioning up to it’s capacity. Also I want to feel that I have not cheaped out, which inevitably costs you more in the end. Once I get all my other non-audio projects completed, I may revisit my stereo system for tweaks and a turntable balanced supply device. Thanks again for your help, consideration and ideas.I actually have followed some, and you are responsible for my getting the Luxman amp. If you ever come over you can autograph it for me.

Mike
Mike , thank you. But I will only share responsibility for Luxman, not cables and power conditioners. One final thought. It's a guess of mine not knowledge. I believe, most of Magico users have digital source as the only or main source, though there are members here with Magico who have both analog and digital sources. Magico people know it and gear the sound to the liking of that crowd. Acceptable set-up for digital may not be best for analog. This includes cables and cords. Anyway, you'll find out.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention it. Since you are going to buy fancy conditioner you will definitely need fancy power cord between it and wall outlet. $1200 Shunyata Alpha NR ? Conditioners are not substitutes for power cords, they work together.