CEDIA 2018: AudioQuest NRG and Cherry Cola HDMI

Garth Powell brings magic to line

CEDIA is where tech pros come together to make your home sound better.  No matter what set of toys you assemble, you need to wire it up! At CEDIA 2018, AudioQuest was showcasing a suite of analog and digital cables, tools, and accessories for installers from entry-level to super high premium. Notable at CEDIA was the introduction of a new HDMI and Power Cables.

I want my reference audio system to sound good, yes, but I think it needs to look the part as well. Taunting my inner need for order, perfection, organization, on display were Middle Atlantic racks, wired with extreme precision.  I’d pay to have my rack look this nice.  This has inspired me to use velcro ties instead of the wire ties I use that scrape my arms as I move audio equipment around. Anyone interested in cleaning my rack??

Rack wired to perfection at CEDIA 2018 with AudioQuest

New – AudioQuest Cherry Cola HDMI

Although HDMI cables have gotten better over the years, it is still a challenge to find a passive HDMI cable longer than 25 feet. This is top of mind for me as I look for a 40 foot 4K HDMI cable to run from my gear rack in another room to some a future bigger display in my listening room. We all need bigger TVs, and I’m almost ready to replace my 11-year-old perfect Pioneer Elite Plasma.  I want the HDMI connection to be rock solid to prevent the SOS call from the family that the TV isn’t working.

At CEDIA, AudioQuest was releasing a new AudioQuest Cherry Cola HDMI that allows for 4K/18Gbps performance and reliability up to 100 feet/30m.

From their website:

“Cherry Cola Hybrid Active Optical Cable (HAOC) uses a newly developed, highly advanced electro-optical conversion module and four glass-fiber optical conductors to reliably carry 18Gbps data packages, including 4K Ultra HD and HDR, for distances up to 100ft/30.5m. AudioQuest’s sophisticated Noise-Dissipation System combines RF noise-absorbing carbon and directionality-controlled silver-plated conductors to minimize the distortion caused by RF interference, ensuring a fully immersive entertainment experience. Further, for applications that require low-smoke, low-flame characteristics, Cherry Cola uses a plenum-rated jacket.

Available Lengths: 5m, 10m, 15.2m, 20m, 25m, 30.5m”

In the past some of these cables had reliability & compatibility issues, but AudioQuest believes they have addressed them. During development they provided samples of the Cherry Cola HDMI to several local custom installers to see if they could break them. These installers had no success in finding any compatibility issues.

NEW – Entry Level NRG-Y and NRG-Z Power Cords

Garth Powell, AudioQuest Director of Power Products, has been working on AC power for over 20 years, starting with 16 years at Furman. In 2016, his AudioQuest Niagara 7000 changed our perspective on what a power conditioner can do for a listening system. It took pole position in my listening room in the middle of 2016 and continues to provide clean power to my hungry gear.  In our discussions with Garth over the years, he always reminds us of the importance of clean AC power.

“Through differential sample tests and spectrum analysis, it can be proven that up to a third of high-resolution (low-level) audio signal can be lost, masked, or highly distorted by the vast levels of noise riding along the AC Power lines that feed our components. This noise couples into the signal circuitry as current noise and through AC ground, permanently distorting and/or masking the source signal.”

The Niagara 7000 & Niagara 1000 Power Conditioners were followed on in late 2017 with the release of the AudioQuest Storm Series power cables that bring many of the design principles of the Niagara to power cords.  These cords have proven to be game changing in our listening system, but are not in-expensive starting around $700.

To make these improvements in technology more approachable, AudioQuest announced the release of the new entry-level AudioQuest NRG-Y and NRG-Z power cables that bring the technology of the Storm series to an entry-level price.

Powell details the new NRG-Y and NRG-Z power cables in the following video:

Stephen Mejias, Director of Communications at AudioQuest also commented:

“During our developmental stage, an early prototype of Z3 outperformed our existing WEL Sig in a number of meaningful ways, leading to the complete development of the range.”

NRG-Y2 starts at $74.95 for a 1m length, while NRG-Y3 (the three-prong version) starts at $109.95 for the same 1m length. Both models use Long-Grain Copper conductors with silver-plated drain wires and feature Powell’s Zero Characteristic Impedance design for uncompressed current transfer.

A 1m length of NRG-Z2 costs $159.95, and a 1m length of NRG-Z3 costs $184.95. Both models use AudioQuest’s higher-purity Perfect-Surface Copper and silver-plated drain wires, while Z3 adds Powell’s Ground Noise-Dissipation Technology for significantly reduced noise across a wide bandwidth of frequencies. NRG Power Cables are also available with a C7 connector to support sources that require that connection.  Interestingly, the C7 versions are also available with a ground pin, which Powell described this an industry first.

NEW – Source Power cords available across Storm series

Since its original introduction, the AudioQuest Storm series offered both a high current and source power cable for their top of the line AudioQuest Dragon Power Cable.   Through the development of this, Powell discovered that the source power cable sounded better than the high current version on source components. Originally the two versions were only available for the AudioQuest Dragon, but is being extended to the complete line of Storm power cables! The side benefit of this is the Source versions will be lower cost as well.

In the following video, Powell explains why the source version sounds better when used on a source component:

Prep a Cable, Keep a Cable!

One of the most fun parts of the AudioQuest booth at CEDIA was the opportunity to build your own AudioQuest cable.  Attendees were allowed to get a quick tutorial on how to  prep AudioQuest’s RCA, XLR, and Cat6/7 custom-installation cables. Once you were done, you got to keep your hand crafted cable and take it home. I took a few minutes to build a single balanced XLR cable.

Look forward to giving the new HDMI and NRG Power Cables a whirl in the future.