AudioQuest Niagara 3000 Announced

As I sat and watched my one-year-old daughter desperately try to prise out a plastic AC-outlet blocker so she could jam a chopstick into it, I was reminded of audiophiles and their relationship with all things power related.

Much like my youngest girl, audiophiles too, have an urge to smite the AC receptacle’s place in their life. Or, at the very least, question its influence on the impact of sonic integrity in the playback of the recorded musical event which they so covet.

Groups and individual audiophiles are polarized at best on the subject of the filtering, regeneration or isolation of incoming AC power to their homes, and ultimately, their hi-fi. At worst, they are online forum trolls, technology luddites, naysayers, doubters, fanatical believers or increments, mixtures and paradoxical combinations thereof.

Personally, I imagine I fall somewhere in the middle between open-minded believer and technology skeptic as some of it specifically pertains to claimed gains in sonic impact. I've heard and played with a lot of AC-power related gear. Not all power treatments are equal in my experience and like most things in this hobby are open to subjective interpretation. As I’m fond of pointing out… YMMV, particularly when it comes what you think any of these myriad approaches to power treatment does to the sound of your system.

The point is, this all came to me as I was half-reading the AudioQuest Niagara 3000 press release and pondering the company’s newest multi-outlet Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System AC-power product. Another AQ piece of kit sure to inspire hand wringing in the AC-agnostic since the company likes to follow any new-product release with a fistful of tech papers that rely on science to explain what it is, exactly, they’re doing.

Featuring a rack-mount friendly form factor (2U), the Niagara 3000 (firmly in the middle of the line between the 1200 and 5000) sports two ‘High-Current’ and five ‘Level-X’ linear filtered source AC outlets (thick direct-silver plating over beryllium copper), a current reservoir of 55 amps/25mS, surge protection up to 6000V/3000A, over-voltage shutdown, automatic reset, and a retail price pegged at $2,999 USD. The one thing the 3000 doesn’t have is a supplied AC cord. AQ recommends “14AWG and larger: at minimum, NRG-Z3; ideally, Monsoon through Hurricane.”

I currently have the Niagara 5000 and AQ Hurricane cables in for review (Part Two of Three coming shortly, Part One HERE), so this news was of particular interest to me as I wondered how the 5000/3000 would compare. But, that’s a post for another day.

Press release highlights below

Niagara 3000 Features

  • Patented Ground-Noise Dissipation System yields lower distortion and greater resolution from audio, video, and digital components with grounded AC cords/circuits.
  • Transient Power Correction provides power amplifiers a current reservoir of over 55 amps peak (up to 25mS), even when plugged into a 15-amp outlet.
  • Level-X Linear Noise-Dissipation Technology: AC differential-mode filtering with linear response, optimized for varying line and load impedance, assures superior resolution for audio, video, and digital signals.
  • AQ-Formed AC RF Filtering Capacitors vastly improve linearity and minimize distortions, while dissipating AC line and radio-coupled noise.
  • Direction-Controlled Ultra-Low-Resistance Solid Wiring and Filter Inductors are optimized for the highest efficiency noise-dissipation of harmful distortion-causing radio frequencies.
  • 7 Low-Z NRG Series AC Power outlets: 2 High-Current Low-Z Power; 5 Level-X Linear Filtered Power (source components) Outlets feature thick direct-silver plating over beryllium copper. This assures the most efficient dissipation of induced radio frequency noise possible.
  • Non-Sacrificial Surge Protection withstands multiple AC surges and spikes up to 6000V/3000A.
  • Over-Voltage Shutdown with Automatic Reset provides immediate shutdown at approximately 17% above optimal AC input levels, until the incoming AC voltage returns to a safe range.
  • Transverse-Mode Noise Dissipation: well in excess of 24dB from 6kHz to 1GHz, linearized for dynamic (rising) line impedance with frequency (source) and 10- to 50-ohm load, system current dependent.
  • Input Current Maximum Capacity: 15 amps RMS (total).
  • 7 AC Ground-Noise Dissipated Outlets in 3 Isolated Groups: 2 High-Current/Transient Power Correction outlets for on-demand current to variable-current equipment (amplifiers): 3 Level-X Linear Filtered AC outlets (outlets 3 through 5): 2 Level-X Linear Filtered AC outlets (outlets 6 and 7).
  • Dimensions: 17.5" W x 3.45" H x 15.2" D (2-RU rack-mounting ears are provided).
  • Weight: 24.9 lbs.


Chuckles304's picture

But, when I was researching power conditioners prior to settling on the Niagara 5000, I recall seeing photos and related literature for the 3000 on the AQ website back in January. I assumed the thing was already in production. Or was it a previous version?

Rafe Arnott's picture
I can ask AQ about it, but this is a new product that was just announced last week AFAIK.
Chuckles304's picture

I had a wanted ad up on USAudiomart for "Niagara 3000/5000" cuz I thought the thing was already being manufactured....everybody who saw it must have thought "what the hell is this guy on..." lol

barfle's picture

I’m admittedly old school (probably because I’m no longer young), but some of these power conditioners make little sense to me. I’m building a new theater in my new home, and I feel I’m going a little overboard on power wiring with two 20 amp feeds on the same leg to the room through 12 ga wires and PS Audio Power Ports for the outlets. I’m pretty sure I won’t have power problems in the room because of the precautions I’m taking (total cost well under $1,000), although I’ve yet to fire up the whole shebang.

I always wonder about advice that tells me to use an expensive power cord when the quality of the outlet itself and the wiring from the breaker box to the outlet are left unaddressed. It strikes me as using band-aids to cure coronavirus. Sure, the infrastructure work isn’t as easy as plugging SOMETHING ELSE into your power line path, but shouldn’t the effort be directed at the cause of the problem (if there really is one)?