AudioQuest Niagara 5000
20-amp power line conditioner and surge protector
Our take on the AudioQuest Niagara 5000 by Crutchfield's Steve Kindig
A new solution to a century-old problem
With the Niagara Series, AudioQuest is advancing the art and science of AC power conditioning. In fact, with a laser-like focus on eliminating AC-related noise, as well as reducing the harmful effects of RFI and EMI, they describe the Niagara products not as “power conditioners” but as “Low-Z Power Noise-Dissipation Systems.” For the technically inclined, “Z” refers to electrical impedance. Maintaining a low and even AC source impedance helps your system's amplification perform at its best, while enhancing the Niagara's sophisticated noise-dissipation capabilities.
If you have a heavy-duty 20-amp circuit powering your audio/video system, place the AudioQuest Niagara 5000 between the AC wall socket and your equipment for maximum performance and protection. The Niagara 5000 lacks the Dielectric-Biased AC Isolation Transformers found in AQ's flagship Niagara 7000. The 5000 delivers about 90% of the performance of the 7000 for source components, and 100% for amplifiers, at a significantly lower price.
Why your AC power needs conditioning
"Where Alternating Current (AC) is concerned, we're relying on a century-old technology created for incandescent lights and electric motors — technology that was certainly never meant to power the sophisticated analog and digital circuits used in premium audio/video systems. To properly accommodate the promise of today's ever increasing bandwidth and dynamic range, we must achieve extraordinarily low noise across a wide range of frequencies."
— Garth Powell, designer of AudioQuest's Niagara-series power conditioners
Eliminating noise without limiting current
The key to the Niagara 5000's performance is its wideband linearity, designed to avoid the current compression and distortion that typically characterize less sophisticated AC power conditioners. The Niagara 5000's "secret sauce" is AudioQuest's patented Ground Noise-Dissipation technology.
The 12 AC outlets are divided into six isolated banks to prevent noise created by one component from affecting your other gear. (Power cords not included.)
Why is dissipating ground noise so critical?
A surprising amount of AC noise can be traced to the ground lead. Because the electrical service depends on this lead primarily for safety, there are very few ways to effectively reduce ground noise. Compounding the issue is the fact that many audio circuits depend on the AC ground lead to ensure an electrical ground reference for minimal system hum.
The ground lead: an often-ignored source of RF noise
The typical 3-prong AC connector has three wires: line, neutral, and ground. In contrast to the line and neutral leads, the ground lead bypasses the component power supply and makes a direct connection to many critical analog and digital circuits, introducing a torrent of RF (radio frequency) noise. This noise is spread across a wide range of frequencies and impedances, which is why simple filters are only partially effective.
And even when the noise itself isn't audible it can mask or distort low-level audio signals, resulting in grainy sound and a constricted soundstage.
AudioQuest diverts the noise
AudioQuest's patented circuit combines ultra-low impedance (at 50-60Hz) induction with proper lead orientation for optimal noise dissipation. The noise currents that would otherwise result in audible distortion are instead directed away from the sensitive audio circuits for sound that is cleaner, clearer, and more dynamic and relaxed.
Comprehensive surge protection for your system
The Niagara 5000 has a total of twelve AC outlets to protect your entire A/V system. The four high-current outlets use AudioQuest's unique Transient Power Correction Circuit. Boasting an instantaneous current reservoir of over 90 amps peak, the Niagara 5000 is specifically designed for today's current-starved power amplifiers. Other AC power products feature high-current outlets that merely minimize current compression; the Niagara 5000 corrects it.
The Niagara 5000's non-sacrificial surge protection can withstand multiple AC surges and spikes up to 6000 volts or 3000 amps — the maximum that can make it through a home or office electrical panel. Lesser units sacrifice themselves in order to suppress significant surges. The Niagara 5000 is unaffected by such surges, surviving to do its job over and over again as necessary.
Undervoltage shutdown is not used, since undervoltage alone rarely damages circuits. It's the massive overvoltage that often follows an undervoltage brown-out that you have to guard against. The Niagara overvoltage circuit responds in a fraction of a second, resetting the output when the AC voltage returns to a safe range.
- total of 12 protected AC outlets with six isolated filter banks (compatible with 15-amp and 20-amp AC plugs):
- 4 High-Current/Transient Power Correction outlets for connecting a power amp, receiver, or powered subwoofer
- 8 Ultra-Linear Filtered/Ground Noise Dissipated outlets for connecting source components
- 20-amp IEC-C20 main-in power socket requires a power cable with an IEC-C19 connector
- Note: Niagara power conditioners do not include an AC power cable
- Transient Power Correction provides over 90 amps peak instantaneous current reservoir for current-starved power amplifiers
- patented Ground Noise-Dissipation System vastly reduces ground-borne noise without compromising safety or creating low-level ground loops
- Ultra-Linear Noise-Dissipation Technology ensures the most consistent and widest bandwidth noise dissipation possible
- Zero Ground-Contamination Technology prevents the noise or surge energy present on AC Line or Neutral from connecting to the AC Ground
- direction-controlled ultra-low-resistance solid-core wiring
- ultra-linear AudioQuest AC RF filtering capacitors
- low impedance NRG Series AC power inlet and outlets
- connections feature the superior grip and lower resistance of beryllium copper, plus a heavy Hanging-Silver plating to ensure the lowest impedance at radio frequencies, enabling superior noise dissipation
- non-sacrificial surge protection can withstand multiple AC surges and spikes up to 6000 volts or 3000 amps
- overvoltage shutdown with automatic reset
- maximum current rating: 20 amps
- 17-1/2"W x 5-1/4"H x 17-1/4"D
- weight: 38 lbs.
- warranty: 3 years (5 years with registration)
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Power conditioner/surge protector
- Cleaning cloth
- Owner's Manual
- Quick Start Guide
Why Shop With Us?10 Reasons.
Features and Specs
|Total AC Outlets||12|
|Powerline Network Compatible||No|
|Connected Equipment Guarantee||0|
|Parts Warranty||3 Yrs (5 Yrs registered)|
|Labor Warranty||3 Yrs (5 Yrs registered)|
Niagara 5000: The Niagara 5000 is equipped with a total of 12 AC power outlets (4 High Current/Transient Power Correction; 8 Ultra-Linear Noise Dissipation System Power) divided into six banks. The Niagara 5000 uses both AQ's patented AC Ground Noise-Dissipation System and the widest bandwidth-linearized noise-dissipation circuit in the industry. AudioQuest's unique passive/active Transient Power Correction Circuit features an instantaneous current reservoir of over 90 amps peak, specifically designed for modern current-starved power amplifiers.
High Current/Low-Z Power Banks: There are two High Current/Low-Z power banks (labeled "1" and "2") with two AC outlets each. The outlets feature AQ's Transient Power Correction Technology, and are designed to enhance the performance of power amplifiers via our circuit's low-impedance transient current reservoir. Power amplifiers, monoblock amplifiers, integrated amplifiers, powered receivers, or powered subwoofers should only be connected to these four outlets.
- Ultra Low-Z (low impedance) NRG Series AC Power Outlets: The High Current AC outlets not only feature a grip with far lower resistance (utilizing far more mass than conventional or audiophile-grade designs), but they also include a heavy Hanging-Silver plating to ensure the lowest impedance at radio frequencies, enabling superior noise dissipation.
- Transient Power Correction: AQ's Transient Power Correction Technology provides over 90 amps peak instantaneous current reservoir with reduced line impedance for current-starved power amplifiers, whether they incorporate linear or switching power supplies
Ultra-Linear Noise-Dissipation System Power Banks: There are four Ultra-Linear Noise-Dissipation System power banks (labeled "3", "4", "5", and "6") with two AC outlets each. The four banks of AC outlet are designed for analog, digital, and video components. Ultra-Linear Noise-Dissipation Technology ensures the most consistent and widest bandwidth noise dissipation possible, without the inconsistent results that typify minimalist, multi-node resonant peaking found in many other AC power conditioners/surge protectors.
Non-Sacrificial Surge Suppression: The Niagara 5000 employs non-sacrificial surge protection. It will accept multiple transient power surges and spikes up to 6000V or 3000A (the maximum that can make it through a home or office electrical panel). If a lightning strike produces enough voltage to damage electronic circuits, the Niagara will still survive and the outlets will shut off until the AC line is normal and safe for operation. A massive voltage sag (under 70 VAC), will shut the unit off. It will automatically reset when the voltage is in a safe range. Damage from electrical storms or power-line interruption is virtually impossible.
Automatic Over-Voltage Protection: One portion of the Niagara 5000's non-sacrificial surge protection is dedicated to a fast-acting extreme voltage shutdown circuit. If more than 140VAC is present on the incoming AC line for more than a quarter of a second, the circuit will instantly open a high-current relay that will disengage the AC power from all of the Niagara 5000's AC outlets. Once the event has passed and the AC voltage is back within a safe range, the Niagara 5000 will reset itself and re-engage.
Patented Ground Noise-Dissipation System: 6 banks of direction-controlled ground noise dissipation. AQ's patented technology vastly reduces ground-borne noise without compromising safety or creating low-level ground loops
AC Power Requirements: Ideally, the power source to which the Niagara 5000 is connected should be adequate for use at 120V single-phase nominal voltage, 20 amps (current capacity RMS). However, the Niagara 5000 will operate very well with a 15-amp service outlet. If the maximum current capacity available is 15 amps, and the system exceeds 15 amps RMS current capacity, it is possible that there may be nuisance tripping at your electrical service panel. This is not a safety issue; the electrical panel's circuit breaker will trip if the maximum current capacity is exceeded.
Note: For proper operation, the Niagara 5000 requires a safety ground (supplied via the power utility AC wall outlet).
Power Cord Sold Separately: The unit has an IEC-C20 main-in power socket. No AC power cord is included with the Niagara 5000, so you will need to purchase an IEC-C19-compatible power cord (703NRG420A, sold separately) before using this product.
Mounting Options: The Niagara 5000 may be placed on any table, cabinet, shelf, or floor. The Niagara 5000 may be rack-mounted in a standard 19' rack by attaching the optional Niagara Series 3-RU rack ears (sold separately). When rack-mounting is required, the four threaded feet may be removed with a standard Phillips screwdriver.
Do Not Daisy Chain: Do not plug one Niagara Series product into another. As all of the current Niagara Series products utilize a linearized filter. Plugging one into another would place two filters in series which would create non-linear (inconsistent) filtering via resonance ringing modes.
3 or 5 Year Warranty: The Niagara 5000 features a 3-year warranty out of the box and a 5-year warranty with registration. However, there is no connected equipment warranty.
Buzzing Sound: If you're in an extraordinarily quiet room and you hear a buzzing sound only when in relatively close proximity to the Niagara 5000, or only when you place your ear next to the unit, the buzzing is normal and cannot be entirely eliminated. Although, in some cases, it can be considerably reduced via careful routing of one or more component power supplies that have severely clipped AC waveforms, and moving them to the adjacent Symmetrical Power Bank, or at times the High Current Bank.
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Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.
Get AudioQuest's finest noise dissipation technology
The AudioQuest Niagara 7000 offers these features:
Dielectric-Biased AC Isolation Transformers greatly reduce non-linear distortions, while increasing the bandwidth and efficiency of the transformers' noise dissipation
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