Furman Upgrade to Niagra

I remember ready an article some time ago by @erik_squires on 110v power and him recommending these as a good place to start, so I bought a couple of: https://furmanpower.com/product/15a-6-outlet-surge-suppressor-strip/

I recall him saying to use one bank for analogue and the other for digital. Well, I have no analogue gear, so I just use all the outlets as needed.

What would an Audioquest Niagra 3000 or even the Niagra 1200 do for my system over and above my simple power strips, would the large monetary investment be a substantial beneficial to my system over my pair of PST-6s? Thanks.


Unfortunately, Furman makes many models and their feature set is confusing. The two key features audiophiles care about which your Furman strip lacks is SMP, and LiFT. SMP is series mode surge suppression, and LiFT is linear filtering. The PST 8 on the other hand adds those features: The noise filtering of SMP + LiFT is much better than without it, and the surge protection of SMP is simply outstanding.

If you read the description of the PST-6:


but without all of the advance features that the other Power Station products possess. 

They mean it lacks SMP and LiFT.  Look at the description for the PST-8, which calls out SMP and LiFT to compare.

I don’t really recommend Furman products without those two features.



@navyachts keep in mind few things -

1. you do have analog gear - your preamp and amp (I wouldn’t connect amp to power conditioner though)

2. The power cable connecting the power conditioner to the wall should be equal or better quality than the power cables connecting connecting your components to the power conditioner.
3. I would recommend Audioquest power cable for the Audioquest power conditioner.

Just a side note - I ran a dedicated line for my system and stopped using power conditioners. I just use the best possible power cables and outlets. Not saying that’s the best approach but it works for me.

@audphile1 thank you, as always a wealth of helpful information!

I also ran a dedicated 20-amp 12/2 circuit for my system with upgraded outlets.

So, you think a power conditioner isn't necessary if that's the case?

It’s hard to say unless you try. I tried and liked my components direct to wall. I had puritan psm156 with both classic and ultimate power cables.
While there was what one can perceive as a very slight drop in noise floor, the restriction in dynamics and top end extension wasn’t something I was willing to live with. And that was with only dac and preamp plugged into the Puritan.
I now have a streamer as well, Aurender N200, and I have no issues with the system running without power conditioning. 
But like I said, you won’t know until you try. You might like it with the power conditioner in the chain. 

@navyachts, I have 2 dedicated 20-amp circuits for my audio system and both circuits are connected to  Shunyata Hydra 4 power conditioner.  Shunyata conditioners do NOT limit current, and it is advisable to plug your amp into them.  My system is extremely quiet, and the dynamics are off the wall.


I recommend SMP and LiFT as must-haves and the least expensive unit with that is the PST-8. Beyond that, the Elite 15 PF (or 20 PF) adds things like power factor correction and multiple separate power banks and switched outlets, which are great when used with a processor and extra amps. That’s what I use.

If you know you have unsteady power a unit with voltage regulation can also be considered but they are a significant extra charge as it requires a big heavy transformer. It will keep your AC voltage within a tight 7V range except in the worst of circumstances. I lived in a complex with 130 VAC (long story) and the regulator kept me between 118 and 122VAC.

Honestly if the PST-8 has the necessary outlets for you it’s an excellent choice for simple systems.

I have a dedicated circuit and my system benefited from a Niagara 7000. My amp, however, sounds better plugged directly into the wall. Ensure your best cable runs between the wall and conditioner. 

I own both the Furman pst-8 and the Niagara 1200. Both are great. Garth Powell of audioquest actually designed them both. He used to be employed by furman. There is a pst-8d that cators to digital. I also use the AQ nrg Edison 20 amp receptacle. It’s connected to a 20 amp dedicated circuit utilizing 12 awg romex. My choice of AQ cables include the z3, thunder, and x3 power cords. Speaker cable is the venerable AQ type 4 (2 pairs for biwire). System comprised of Sugden a21 se signature and tannoy legacy eatons.

+1 @erik_squires I too have a PF15 elite. It was the best bang for the buck I've ever made. I recently tried the Niagara 1200 and could tell no difference what so ever. I sold it and put my PF15 back in my system. I also use another one for my TV, it makes a difference.IMHO you would have to move to the 3000 for any real improvement over the Furman. Good luck out there! FYI I am running a McIntosh MA352 integrated, Aurender A200 streamer and Rega P6, with Sutherland preamp.

@audioguy85 @milo0812 sweet set-up guys, thanks for sharing!

Over Covid I was out of work and sold all my gear (and my house) just to survive, in that old set up I had a Furman PF Elite that I let go for pennies on the dollar. Wish I had it (and my old system) back again...

@navyachts, I think your system would definitely benefit from getting an AQ Niagara power conditioner and an equally good AQ power cable to plug into the wall. Everything sounds better when you’ve got the cleanest power possible running through your listening chain. My setup starts with an AQ Thunder power cable and a Niagara 1200 conditioner. I just use headphones on my high end setup, so the 1200/Thunder combination was perfect for me. But if you can swing an AQ 3000 with their Hurricane power cable, then you’d be set pretty good IMHO. 

I like my Furman PST-8D units because they are relatively inexpensive and provide surge protection in addition to filtering.

BTW does anyone know why more expensive line conditioners do not provide surge protection?

@classic8 because that requires real surge engineering chops.  🤣


Not to mention a willingness to undergo UL testing.  Even when it comes to testing, in all my life I have seen exactly 1 article where surge protectors were actually tested with surges.  The rest of the Internet press/influencers and magazines evaluates surge protecdtors on features and specs alone.

Yes, my current setup is an Equi=Core600 plugged into one of the unfiltered plugs of the PST-8D. In addition, using a couple of Akiko products connected to both units.

@navyachts To be honest I’ve stayed away from boutique noise protection. I’m afraid if you want to know about the effectiveness of devices like that you’ll have to ask others.

What I can say is that series mode surge protectors excel in reducing noise because of how low a frequency they start working, around 3 kHz. That’s absolutely in the audible range. A lot of RFI/EMI filters don’t even do anything below 100 kHz, which is radio range.

What I do use is iFi power adapters and shielded power cords and interconnect cables.  The ifi supplies reduce AC noise generated, and the shielded power cables prevent pickup of noise after the AC power has been cleaned.

As noted Garth is the magic excellent engineer w EARS behind Furman, AQ Power products and also very importantly cables….. collect em all and win. 

@tomic601 I find the AQ products a bit on the pricey side. I am researching alternatives and will post my findings later. Thanks 

I’ll second @adasdad’s opinion that the Niagara line is worthwhile. Since I’ve been in this hobby, I’ve tried the Furman PST-8D, AQ Powerquest 3, and consumer-grade options by Tripp Lite and CyberPower. None of those units made much of a difference for me. It wasn’t until I picked up a Niagara 1200 and 5000 that I heard positive differences. I was skeptical that the 5000 was going to be worth the cost, but it made such a big difference that I consider it an essential piece in a hifi rig now.

I don’t know the guy, but there’s this small dealer on YouTube called OCD Mikey. He has said that power conditioners under 1k don’t make a difference. That statement is consistent with my experience. But Mikey is a big fan of Puritan, which is more affordable than most of the AQ Niagara products. I haven’t tried Puritan yet, but it looks like it works well too.

I currently use the 1200 for my TV and the 5000 for my separate stereo system. I don’t feel that power conditioners are sexy, but that they’re foundational. And I feel that I made sonic gains with conditioners I couldn’t have otherwise made. 

I had the same experience.  I brought home an AQ Niagara 5000 from Hifi Buys a couple of years back with a Hurricane power cord to replace my Furman Elite 15 Power Factor.  It was expensive but very effective.  I also have separate, dedicated power lines to the front end and amps.  The Niagara is on the front end.  

I moved the Furman power conditioner to my HT system and saw a large improvement in the TV picture.  It improved the colors and sharpness.  So win-win.

Funny story- last year I replaced my Sony LED TV with a Sony OLED TV.  (This was after putting the Furman in the HT system.). I listed the old TV for sale and placed it in the garage.  When someone came to buy the TV I plugged it directly into the wall.  The picture looked dull and fuzzy to me.  I started to panic thinking the TV was broken.  Then I realized that’s the difference the power conditioner makes.  The buyer thought the picture looked great.

@tonywinga Very interesting. I remember a few years ago at a show in New York (THE show?) Richard Gray’s Power Company made an absolute killing. The hotel power was terrible and lots of TVs were on display and looking poor. Word quickly spread that the TV’s on a Power Company conditioner were doing better than those that were not and many vendors were buying units right there.

As you know, I’m a Furman fanboy, so I am not surprised it helps, but the more a conditioner helps, the worse your power quality was to begin with. In your case I think it is really worthwhile to understand why your starting point is so poor.  Might be worthwhile to have an electrician come and check things out.

Over Covid I was out of work and sold all my gear (and my house) just to survive, in that old set up I had a Furman PF Elite that I let go for pennies on the dollar. Wish I had it (and my old system) back again...

ECON 101

- Have up to 12 mortgage payments in a savings account dude

- Multiple revenue sources is key (in case one fails). Re-examine your career and level of job security.

- Don’t hang out with audiophiles (or forums dedicated to them) unless you are rich. Most of them are just trust fund babies. A few of them got rich by their own inner aptitude (but, point is...they got rich somehow).


Save and avoid expensive debt. Home mortgage is unavoidable for most of us but still better than renting. (Maybe that paradigm has changed since Covid). Car loans are avoidable but I indulged myself a few times with new cars over the years. If you borrow money for a car it is key to keep it clean and looking/running its best so that you can sell quickly if you must. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Wait for it. Plan for the worse, hope for the best. A mortgage is a must when starting out; but having no mortgage (or rent due) is an amazing freedom and frees up a lot of cash.

Best song: LA Dreamer by Charlie on their Lines album. Got that record from a cut out bin in the 80s.

@tonywinga that’s even deeper, but thank you for the sound (no pun intended) advice! Maybe we should change the name here to Moneybgon!


Maybe we should change the name here to Moneybgon!

That was funny.

But I think that not everyone who is into this hobby is rich or has trust funds. Yes, if you have $$$$ systems, then that probably is true. But for most folks it is just what they could afford to buy AFTER they were able to meet their savings goal.

Unfortunately this hobby is such that (my philosophy, may not apply to you), it is better to experience some great music/sound with some good components RATHER than enjoying some good music/sound with great components later in life. Why? Because your listening senses degrades as you age and you might not hears stuff the way they wold have sounded when you are younger.

@navyachts , good to see that you came back strong after the pandemic and have a very good system again!