In scuba diving there are three things you must be able to do with ease and safety. These are: the ability to see, the ability to move properly, and most importantly, the ability to breathe. The easier you breathe, the more comfortable the dive, the less you have to worry about. It contributes to a better and safer diving experience. Which is the reason why I wanted to try out the Aquamundo Aroq series of 2nd stage regulators. What makes these 2nd stages different is that these are balanced 2nd stages. Balanced regulators usually refer to the 1st stage only (where direct tank pressure is reduced to intermediate pressure). The problem before with unbalanced regulators was they became harder to breathe from either with an increase in depth or with a decrease in tank pressure. Balanced 1st stages solved that and most regulators in the market today are either balanced diaphragm or piston type regulators that give an even flow of air even with low tank pressure.
The problem with most of these 1st stage regulators is that they are mated with unbalanced 2nd stages. Adjustable, yes, but they are still subject to variations in breathing resistance at deeper depths. This means more work inhaling air when it counts the most. The Airoq series 2nd stages are balanced to give the least amount of breathing resistance comparable to any 2nd stage in the market today. The Aroq 1 features a venturi-assisted airflow switch that gives the user control over the amount of air needed in any situation. In pre-dive mode, it prevents accidental free-flows that would spoil any dive. The Airoq 2 is blessed with an additional feature: A fine-tuned airflow adjustment knob for precise adjustment of the air you need.
Both 2nd stages can be mated to any Aquamundo balanced 1st stage regulator (namely models QR5 and above) turning it into a high-performance setup worthy of even the most demanding technical diver.
My first breath on the Aroq 1 was a pleasant surprise. It was one of the softest breathing regulators I have ever tried. It ranked right up there with regulators that cost almost double what you would pay for an Aroq 1. High-end performance at a reasonable price, that’s a combination that’s hard to beat. As I descended, I was expecting the usual breathing resistance when reaching depths greater than 100 feet. Another surprise was that I didn’t feel any. It breathed as soft and as easy as before. Fighting against a current, you expend a lot of energy. Consequently you use up more air than usual. The Airoq was up to the challenge. Even when inhaling hard, the Airoq was giving me all the air I needed without flutter or resistance. Coming back to the surface, one thing was on my mind “Gotta get me one of these!” and so I did. I was so happy with the performance; I put one on my back-up regulator as well (you know, the one you used to use but now lend out to almost anybody, or use when your current favorite’s in the shop).