Bybee Wire AC Purifier
|Saving the Best for Last|
Since the election of Jack Bybee's Super Effect Speaker Bullets, Ultra AC cords and speaker cables as my new reference, my appreciation of “the music” has risen considerably, while my obsession with "the hobby" has diminished. As a matter of fact, the only thing I'm actually looking forward to play with in my system are more Bybees. Since my original review of Bybee Super Effect products in the fall of '07, I wondered what Jack Bybee, the inimitable Chancellor of Noise Reduction, was going to do next.
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, Jack Bybee has introduced perhaps his most auspicious product to date: the all-new Bybee Wire AC line Purifier!
And the bad news is, Jack Bybee has introduced the new Bybee Wire AC line Purifier!
The original Bybee/Curl Pro AC Purifier (co-designed with John Curl), was a hugely successful passive device introduced in the mid '90s. But recently Bybee installed a set of new Super Effect Bullets into an original Bybee/Curl, replacing the older Quantum Purifiers, and the sonic results were "stunning" says Bybee. Excited, Bybee chose to launch a totally reworked version of his original Bybee/Curl and renamed it the “Bybee Wire” AC Purifier.
The effective component, or magic bullet (couldn't resist the pun), that places the Bybee Wire ahead of the competition is the Super Effect bullet that, says Bybee, “...significantly curbs 1(f) (one-over-F-noise); a peculiar type of noise phenomena that greatly affects low-level frequency reproduction among other things. The Super Effect Speaker Bullets were specifically designed to reduce this type of noise."
The Bybee Wire continues to incorporate John Curl's proprietary EMI/RFI, surge and spike protection circuitry. The entire circuit is encapsulated in epoxy, purported to reduce vibration-induced distortions, in addition to keeping prying eyes away from Bybee's secrets. A single Bybee Super Effect Bullet is wired (in parallel) on the hot, neutral and ground wires. Remember, the Bybee Wire is a purely passive device, meaning there are no transformers and/or active circuits.
Physically, the face of the new Bybee Wire AC Purifier has a rather unassuming and utilitarian appearance. It is sleek, yet devoid of gadgetry or eye-catching gimmicks. Its matte-gray aluminum face-plate has “Bybee Wire Purifier” engraved, and there is a single, blue power-on LED. The rear of the unit has eight AC receptacles, a fuse (cum rocker switch), and a male IEC plug for an AC cord. Simple and to the point.
I've written previously on the sonic benefits attained using Bybee Ultra AC cords and Super Effect Speaker Bullets. They further purged AC artifacts (noise, grunge, hardness) from my audio system, offering truer high frequency liveliness and more articulate and resolute low-frequencies. You can never have too much noise reduction...as long as your system's running on the highly contaminated AC delivered to our homes.
Case in point. Attending the most recent Munich High End show, I stumbled into the Audio Consulting of Switzerland room. Each and every component in this room was running exclusively on battery power! (See my report here). The sonic advantages of this uncommon approach were audible as soon as I entered the room. Utter natural silence enveloped the room in a way that was so real it initially made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. But after an extended listening session, I came away convinced that typical AC power was a worse sonic contaminant than I would have believed. Jack Bybee's products do a very credible job of reducing AC contaminants, though I suspect the only way one can ever get rid of them totally is to simply not use AC power. But of course batteries have problems too. Banks of rechargeable batteries are a very expensive proposition, and they have their potential hazards. Batteries can leak or even explode and start a fire. This may sound far-fetched, but it actually happened in the Audio Consulting of Switzerland room.
Swimming with Sharks
I currently have in my possession six different AC conditioners from all over the world, ranging from the affordable, and surprisingly effective, Italian-made “Black Noise” (8 outlets for around $649.00), to the absurdly expensive Sunny Cable Technology "The Box" (4 outlets for a mere $10,000) from Hong Kong. Acoustic Revive's RTP-6 ($2800) from Japan, the LessLoss Firewall ($5,000) from Lithuania , the Adept Response ($3800) and lastly Shunyata's Hydra Model 8 ($2,000). The one thing I am certain of is that all these celebrated AC line conditioners sound remarkably dissimilar. That's not necessarily a bad thing when you consider I've also had in my possession AC conditioners that had absolutely no impact on the sound. All these conditioners have their strengths. I could easily see any self-respecting audiophile enjoying the benefits of any one of them. But when compared to one another, particular weaknesses do show up. In my opinion, out of the whole the bunch, the Acoustic Revive RTP-6 delivers the most beneficial sonic package. This Japanese marvel provides more strengths with fewer weaknesses. It's natural ease and flow, employing passive, electrically isolated, encapsulated mineral noise suppressants, placed at it the head of the pack. The Black Noise AC conditioner, surprisingly (considering it's the least expensive), is another very impressive unit with notable high-frequency openness.
Playing with the Cerebral Cortex
Comparing the new Bybee Wire AC Purifier against these six proved a daunting task for both Jack Bybee and myself (trust me, it's a lot of work to swap boxes and AC cords over and over again). Ultimately there was no contest: the Bybee Wire AC Purifier makes all the others sound somewhat processed and dimensionally flat. It sets sonic benchmarks I never thought possible from any AC related source, AC powercords included.
The Bybee Wire AC Purifier sounded excellent right out of the box without the conventional 100-hour break-in period. The first thing I noticed was how improved Slawomir Kurkiewicz's upright appeared in the toe-tappin' song November 99 on the CD entitled "Neighborhood" by Manu Katche (ECM 1896). Here's another gem of a recording, engineered by the legendary Jan Erik Kongshaug, who, in my opinion, does an incomparable job of remaining faithful to the musicians. The Bybee Wire allowed me to hear this recording with more realism in the areas of delicacy, dimensionality, harmonics and timbre. Sound stage width didn't necessarily improve, but image depth most certainly did. The midrange became more relaxed, sweeter and subtle in a way I would have never expected from an AC Purifier. Track five of “Neighborhood,” entitled February Sun, is mostly a jazzy ballad featuring the highly talented trumpeter Tomas Stanko. This is one of my favorite pieces from the CD so I'm quite familiar with the way it sounds with Acoustic Revive RTP-6. But with the Bybee Wire,February Sun takes on a new and wonderful sonic landscape, Stanko's trumpet flows with more atmosphere and greater image specificity: which lends to a more vivid recreation of the musicians and their locations on this recording. Somehow, I kept getting this sneaky suspicion my system's phase and time alignment (for the lack of a better term) improved creating more noticeable spatial cues.
Voices and instruments - which includes high frequency extension - are neither recessed, forward, bigger or smaller in presentation, though they appear harmonically richer and more full-bodied (especially the lower frequencies). I think the most impressive characteristic of the Bybee Wire was the singular sense of organic natural flow. This is also the main attribute of the Acoustic Revive RTP-6. But the Bybee Wire takes this natural, easy flow to another level. That's what's most enthralling about the Bybee Wire: its uncanny ability to sound natural with remarkably improved three-dimensionality.
To date, Jack Bybee has now introduced Super Effect Bullet technology in his Golden Goddess series of Speaker Bullets, Speaker Cables, Ultra AC cords and now this, the Bybee Wire AC purifier. If I were interested in getting started on the Bybee path, I would most certainly go with the Bybee Wire AC Purifier first. Firstly, and most importantly, the Bybee Wire AC Purifier is the better of the bunch employing his Super Effect Bullet technology. My reasons are three-fold: (1) Location: physically, the Bybee Wire AC Purifier is closest to the wall which serves as a huge advantage. (2) Sonic impact: plugging an entire system into the Bybee Wire AC Purifier produces a bigger sonic change than a single component. (3) Bang for the buck: though the Bybee Wire AC Purifier is expensive at $4,500, having an entire system gain from its state-of-the-art performance almost justifies its hefty price tag.
I must admit that I was humbled by the virtues of battery power I heard in Munich. But the Bybee Wire AC Purifier had placed this listener on a path that is so much closer to the truth of what is possible from your beloved electronics, that when I finally heard an all-battery powered system, I instantly recognized one of the reasons behind its magical virtues. No, the Bybee Wire is not equivalent to battery power. But it is the best AC Purifier I've had the pleasure of hearing in my system, by a large margin. A new benchmark in what to expect from AC line products available in the here and now. Bravo!
Further thoughts by Mitch Moreno
AC grunge can be defined in many ways, however, to an audiophile electrical grunge is defined and considered detrimental to a system’s overall performance. How does one recognize the presence of electrical grunge? Originally, the way I discovered electrical grunge was not by its presence but through its absence. I have read many audiophiles’ feedback on this subject and how to eliminate the culprit. What I learned was that the presence of electrical grunge in an AC line will inhibit any stereo systems performance, doesn’t matter how expensive or inexpensive the system may be, electrical grunge has no preference, it’s like a cancer it has no prejudices. Musicality, transparency, harmonic richness and accuracy in a system are foremost the most important attributes a system has to offer. These attributes are very difficult to define if they are intertwined with AC grunge ala EMI/RFI.
A very important audio accessory deemed the AC conditioner was designed to filter out AC grunge. However, just like many of the audio components on the market, some AC conditioners simply perform better than others, and even still, there’s bound to be the one of many considered “cream of the crop.” I have owned as many as ten such AC line conditioners throughout my quest for audio excellence. Each one performed admirably. However, not until three months ago did I discover something was inhibiting maximum performance from my system. That’s when I installed the Bybee Wire AC Purifier. Immediately, I came into the shocking realization of what my audio system was truly capable of.
My intentions are not to belittle any of the AC conditioners I had previously owned, however it was not until the addition of the Bybee Wire AC Purifier that my full appreciation for the sonic rightness, musicality and harmonic richness of my recordings was realized. Not that my system wasn’t already capable of providing an enjoyable listening experience, it’s just that the Bybee has taken that to another level.
High-end audio systems are very intricate pieces of equipment. As most prominent audiophiles have come to realize synergy is of the utmost importance when it comes to separating mediocrity from excellence. In my opinion, there are no flawless audio systems, however, a system can be dangerously flawed by incoming AC noise. Once the Bybee Wire AC Purifier was installed a plethora of new macro and micro-dynamics were freed up to do their thing. In other words, the addition of the Bybee immediately allowed my system to open up complete synergy. It was as if the missing piece of the puzzle had finally been put into place.
Upon writing this brief review I struggled with how to describe the Bybee’s astoundingly high performance. I wondered if this was even possible. How can one describe how an AC conditioner can be this good? How can an AC Purifier present a musical truthfulness that surpasses every conditioner I’ve previously owned; not even close? Of distinct importance, the Bybee Wire AC Purifier presents the presence of more music and less electronics. I consider that to be an audiophile’s dream. In comparison to previously owned conditioners, I now liken them to owning a high performance automobile run with low octane fuel and clogged filters causing the automobile to perform at less than 75% of its potential. Once the Bybee Wire AC Purifier was installed into my system it was set completely free.
What was evident to me through this entire ordeal, was that once the noise floor is lowered it allowed the micro and macro details to effortlessly present themselves. Your system will gain more transparency, a more defined soundstage, voices will articulate to a degree of naturalness that only a live setting can provide. There also was a significant increase in clarity as the acoustic space of each recording sharpened up allowing a greater sense of calmness within my listening room.
Prior to the Bybee Wire AC Purifier I used to occasionally experience a very annoying, edginess or so-called “high-frequency hardness” in certain recordings that to a discerning ear robs the magical excellence of a masterful recording. The Bybee Wire AC Purifier solved all those symptoms within minutes of installation. Yes, for arguments sake, I removed the Bybee Wire AC Purifier for a period of time. It didn’t take long for me to want to put it back. My system sounded considerably rougher along the musical edges and dimensionality got flatter giving the feeling it had lost a great deal heart and soul. As a matter of fact, I am considering purchasing a second unit as a backup. Not that there is anything wrong with the unit I already own, but if something out of the ordinary were to happen to the Bybee Wire AC Purifier, I honestly would not be able to listen to my system … well at least not be able to fully enjoy it due to the supernatural musical affect of the Bybee Wire AC Purifier.
Finally, as if I haven’t already said enough about this wonderful piece of audio artistry, if you want to hear exactly what your present system is capable of, you must do away with the negative demons that affect the purity of your system. I highly advise giving the Bybee Wire AC Purifier a listen. It is unequivocally, without a doubt the most important accessory I’ve added to my present system. I can easily make this claim because of what it has allowed my components to do; perform at a level I didn't believe possible from yet another AC box. A must have!
Specifications: Bybee Power Purifier – 8 outlets
Price: $4,995.00 US
Manufacturer and Distributor Contact:
18 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT 06794
Skype:1-860-866-4918 // slauferteknik
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