The Break In

Two weeks of using the Niagara 1000, which by now should be fully broken in.

First off, I can’t hear anything made worse by the Niagara when listening with any source. So regarding “Do no harm” that Audioquest claims to be a fundamental mission statement, I would say mission accomplished.

I tried to reproduce some of the demonstrations that Garth Powell did at the Niagara 7000 debut event. Once again, mission accomplished. My Muddy Waters “Folksinger” album was just as useful to compare before and after as what I heard that night. I didn’t unplug everything for all of my comparisons, just the power amps. That was enough.

As for audible benefits, there are many. Warning: Audiophile cliches to follow. The soundstage is deeper and wider. The bass is deeper and more palpable. The noise level is lower. I am surprised that even the lead-in on vinyl is quieter. Images seem suspended in space between the speakers. Sound blooms from a blacker space, especially with lights out. That sounds funny, but it is really kind of eerie. When it’s dark in the room and the music starts, it seems totally untethered from anything.

As I mentioned in Part I, I get the biggest difference with digital sources, but vinyl is also better. The soundstage and imaging must be related to the reduction in noise. I had my wife sit in the sweet spot (obviously my normal seat) and tell me what she heard. She said that she heard more of a layering and more texture to the music. That’s it exactly.

So you can see that I am very happy with my Niagara 1000. All the things that I like about my system (and there are many) I like better now. In the last year, with Jon and Bob’s help, I have upgraded the so-called “accessories” that go with my components. They have been almost all Audioquest. Speaker cable, some interconnects, a Jitterbug, and the fabulous Diamond USB. The Niagara 1000 is now an integral part of my system. It has been a great learning experience to understand what all makes a difference in the way my stereo sounds.

-Marty L.

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