Bybee Super Effect Ultra AC Cords
|Another nail in the coffin of the competition?|
Having lived for some time with Bybee's Super Effect Speaker Bullets, reviewed here in September 2007, I’m still reveling in its sonic virtues. Jack Bybee, who says “I’m only semi retired” (at age 78), has no interest in making speaker cables, digital interconnects and the like—all appropriate candidates to employ Bybee's latest quantum/nano-tube technology. Struggling as he is to keep up with orders for his Super Effect Speaker Bullets (It takes him more than 6 hours to make a single set), Bybee has opted to sell the rights to his quantum/nano technology and all its potential applications. Based on the sonic improvements provided by Speaker Bullets, you’d expect a storm of potential buyers to come running to buy the rights to the technology. They have not.
Most manufacturers of high-end audio products (I would say about 95%) suffer from over-inflated egos. To them, the “high-end” is about their product(s) and nothing else matters, or is even worth investigation. Tunnel vision runs rampant in our beloved hobby. Worse, I find it nothing short of amazing that manufacturers value a reviewer only for as long as he continues to use and praise their product(s). If you find a component you like better, there’s something wrong with you, your system and/or that new component. It’s happened to me so often I've come to anticipate it. It isn’t just reviewers that get this treatment; it’s also other manufacturers, distributors and the like. I think this is the primary reason why Bybee products aren't taken as seriously as they should be as an OEM source. Fortunately, there are a few manufacturers, whom I know personally, that do not suffer from this syndrome. These guys are serious music lovers that couldn’t care less what your system is composed of. As long as it's making beautiful music, they're happy for you (and for the manufacturers who make the components that provide so much enjoyment).
One of those individuals is Mike Garner, founder and owner of Tweekgeek.com. Garner has been a Bybee user and supporter since 2001 and sells Bybee products on his website. Garner jumped at the opportunity to partner with Jack Bybee in producing an AC power cord that would employ the same quantum/nano-tube technology used in the design of the Super Effect Speaker Bullets. Being an audiophile and music lover himself, Garner has used various Bybee products in his own system and was elated to be given the opportunity to co-produce a new AC power cord with Jack Bybee - the man himself.
At $3,000 retail, the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords are expensive. Yes, but not as expensive as other AC cords I've seen and personally used. They're less than half the price of the Sunny Cable SupremeAC cords that retail for $6,750—and that I was using exclusively throughout my system.
Jack Bybee told me about his newly devised plan to partner withwww.Tweekgeek.com, and wanted to know if I was interested in listening (and potentially reviewing) to a prototype AC power cord. Of course, I was. It was some weeks later that a pair prototype cords arrived at my front door. They were composed of solid core wire using a special soda-can type harness that internally supports two internal Super Effect Speaker Bullets and a Bybee Purifier on the ground wire. Bybee also chose Wattgate AC connectors as he finds them among the best available.
I decided to try them first with my pair of Behold BPA768 amplifiers, replacing my reference Sunny Cable Supreme AC cords. I played Herbie Hancock's newest and exciting River: The Joni Letters CD and within five seconds I knew something sonically special was taking place.
I was astonished as to how viscerally real, see-through, dimensional and ultra delicate the entire system had become. Hancock and his longtime stable mate Wayne Shorter, playing glorious saxophone riffs throughout, clearly shifted from sounding like a blend of sonic melodies to more like individual instruments with more buoyancy. Instruments possessed a cleaner, tighter, faster and thus more authentic sound. Soundstage width grew as well while the air surrounding individual instruments noticeably improved giving each musician greater space between one another. Just like the Super Effect Speaker Bullets, this AC cord's claim to fame is how it addresses low level noise.
Sonically speaking, low level noise causes a myriad of problems ranging from the lack of bass articulation to slurred pitch and poor transient response greatly impacting on high-frequency information as well. This robs music of its natural light or incandescence. In addition, low-end information contains essential harmonics and fundamentals critical to the high-frequencies. Invariably, time and again, whenever I addressed and thus improved the low-end performance in a system, the top-end improved as well. What the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords does—and I consider this quite unique in my experience—is address low level noise. Wow, I thought, these Bybee AC cords may prove as indispensable as the Super Effect Speaker Bullets themselves.
I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, so I asked Mike Garner if he would send a review sample of a production sample whenever possible. I was curious if things would differ from the prototypes Jack Bybee had sent. One thing was certain from even a short session with the prototypes: these cords are the real deal and I ONLY had two on my amplifiers.
After about three weeks of musical bliss, I received another pair of cords from Mike Garner's Tweekgeek. I was pleased with the workmanship and feel of the six foot (standard) cords. Unlike the prototypes, which have the 'magic box' at the female (IEC) end, the box was situated closer to center of the cord. This was a significant help in getting these cords around equipment in cumbersome setups with limited space. In addition, they use 11 gauge, stranded, 6-Nines, continuous-cast copper wire, double shielding and Furutech AC connectors. Very impressive. Mike Garner obviously wanted to build a very good cable and in my opinion succeeded brilliantly.
How does the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords compare to the prototypes?
Having found that Super Effect Speaker Bullets sound their best after a 500 hour break-in, to fairly compare the new Bybee SE Ultra AC cords with the prototypes would require letting them both simmer for a few weeks. And that’s exactly what I did. (Okay, I admit I did listen to the new cords before they were fully broken-in). Right out of the box, the Ultras seemed slightly darker than the prototypes and the background seemed blacker in contrast, giving instruments slightly more body and thus a richer feel.) With proper break-in, I would prefer the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords over the prototypes because I do think they're slightly quieter and richer sounding overall.
Post break-in, I decided to see what the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords could do with Jon Faddis' recent CD, Terenga (KOC CD 9969). Last year I was fortunate to have Jon Faddis visit my home on various occasions with rough masters during the recording of this excellent CD. Faddis' work as both a performer and quality control manager helped immensely in the production of this disc. So it had been a some months since we last heard his music. This time, using the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords and Speaker Bullets, we found the sound noticeably improved particularly in respect to what Faddis described as “the music’s timing, rhythmic flow and spacing.” Faddis shook his head, wondering how a CD he knew this intimately—HIS OWN MUSIC, in system he’s heard nearly a half-dozen times in the past year could be bettered to such a degree. I told him to join the club because I was shaking my head in amazement too! I had not mentioned the new Bybee filters to him just to see if there would be any noticeable differences without me mentioning any product in particular.
The addition of the Bybee Super Effect Speaker Bullets helped to remove AC gremlins grit and glare while improving the overall musicality of the system. Installing the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords removed even more of the same, but also added something of their own to the music: a vitality and immediacy. Keep in mind, grit and glare are insidious AC pests so utterly ingrained into our audiphile consciousness many folks I know mistake it for what high-end audio ought to sound like and qualify systems that have minimized these pests as “too smooth.” In the past, I too would rationalize this common hardness whenever detected (especially on complex or loud passages) on the quality of the system, discs or worse—standard CD’s16/44 digital format itself. This, of course, was before the arrival of the Nova Physics Memory Player, Bybee Super Effect Speaker Bullets and most recently, the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords.
Switching back to the Sunny Cable Supreme AC cords proved somewhat of a rude awakening. The Supreme has less ability to portray the music in the silky, dynamic and dimensional fashion characteristic of the Bybee SE Ultra cords. Instruments sounded slightly more rough and smothered together, giving the music a less “true” feel than the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords. I never thought I would experience this level of improvement over my long-standing reference Sunny Cable AC cords but in this hobby, one thing’s certain: “Better” is always lurking around the bend awaiting the unsuspecting listener.
The nano-tube, quantum physics combo technology Bybee employs in the SE Ultra AC cords and Speaker Bullets appears, in my system and to these ears, to have a far greater sonic consequence over previous arguments pertaining to choosing between 6-Nine Copper over 7-Nine Silver for example, or whether high or low capacitance cable is better than low or high resistance ones. Once you hear the Bybee technology at work you’ll instantly know the difference, that is if you're a true connoisseur of music. Bottom line, the inclusion of the Bybee SE Ultra AC cords have taken me closer to the performance rather than the recording.
* Two Bybee Super Effect Purifiers. One on the hot and one on the neutral
* One Standard Bybee Purifier on the ground
* Shielded Aluminum enclosure houses the Bybee devices
* 11 awg 6N stranded Ohno Continuous Cast Copper
* Double shielding:
o Silver plated copper braid shield
o Foil shield
* Furutech FI-15E (G) IEC and FI-15ME (G) male plug standard, with other optional terminations available
Manufacturer: Tweek Geek
7075 Umber Court
Arvada, CO 80007
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