The Bybee Curl Holographic Power Source
I admit, I'm excited.
It’s been some years since the seasoned physicist Jack Bybee has introduced a new product. His previous Bybee Pure Stealth AC conditioner was so far above the rest, in my humble estimation, one would think there was no need to for him to bother to improve it. This was easily the leader of high-end AC conditioners. However just like expensive auto manufactures such as Lexus, BMW and Audi, Bybee is always in relentless pursuit for perfection. Resting on one's laurels in an industry as competitive as this can prove hazardous. So, after more than 6-years of constant R&D, Jack Bybee has introduced his newest AC conditioner called the Bybee Curl Holographic Power Source AC conditioner (herein Bybee Curl-HPS). Built in collaboration with long-time designer/friend John Curl, the Bybee Curl-HPS employs Curl's specialized Spike and Surge protection technology.
Bybee produces various types of music enhancing devices for high-end audio equipment. These devices are designed to eliminate RFI/EMI and other AC gremlins before reaching your components: thus allowing your components to operate more efficient and effectively. But its Bybee's patented 1/f noise-reduction technology that separates his products from all the rest. My first experience with Bybee products was in early 2008, this is when I purchased my first set of Bybee Super Effect Bullets upon installation to my B&W speakers I was quite impressed with the improved tonality, intelligibility, soundstaging, and low-end dynamics. This was a major step up for me as this was the beginning of my long time faith and fascination in Bybee products, and also my interest in the art of system tweaking.
After speaking with Jack Bybee via telephone and requesting a review sample, I felt honored considering the small amount available, that he agreed to ship me a Bybee Curl-HPS AC conditioner for review. Upon USPS delivery and freeing it from its corrugated box, I noticed the new Bybee Curl - HPS is designed very differently than his previous AC conditioner.
The new Bybee Curl -HPS AC conditioner is a slim, rectangular-shaped (13" L x 6" W x 3" H) and weighs about 20 pounds. Although nearly half the size of the older unit, it boasts the same four-pairs (8) Furutech duplex AC receptacles. But the new chassis - designed in a gorgeous non-magnetic brushed aluminum chassis - is the eye catcher. On the rear end of the unit the words “Bybee Curl Holographic Power Source” are meticulously laser-inscribed, showing excellent attention to detail. Personally, I find it to be the best looking device Bybee has built thus far. I could sit this unit in my living room and use it as a conversation piece. The Bybee Curl employs no ON/OFF toggle-switches, fuses or circuit breakers that potentially impairs performance says Bybee. When using this unit you get the maximum benefits of what’s inside the unit for the purpose of cleaning your AC. However for added protection, Bybee has included a non-current limiting surge protection system to guard against unpredictable power surges. This feature of the Bybee Curl - HPS is designed to protect all eight of your valuable components once connected.
Since Jack Bybee's last Bybee Pure Stealth AC conditioners I purchased, I wondered aloud knowing how well documented his products have become around the world "why fix something that wasn't broke?" It's been some years since Bybee has launched anything new and his newest discoveries in the field of noise reduction has really inspired this nearly 85-year old physicist. Bybee's newest AC Modules are part of the success. Bybee AC Modules are available on an OEM basis and using laymen's terms, consist of a pair of SE AC Modules used on the hot, the neutral and a special copper Purifier, for the ground. This new concept Bybee has created adds a revolutionary new technology that he says takes his AC conditioner to an entirely new level of performance. All this new technology derived from the mind of a master physicist has been incorporated into the new Bybee Curl - HPS.
Of late, Bybee introduced his latest Speaker Bullets employing this new technology. Clement Perry's recent review (here) offered up some noticeable improvements sonic-wise. But, as expected, the technologies hidden in the Speaker Bullets as well as the Bybee Curl - HPS remain confidential. Bybee has always kept his secrets close to his vest and you can't blame him. Considering the amount of copy cats surrounding this industry, he has every right to. I feel grateful that I was allowed the opportunity to compare the original Bybee Pure Stealth against the Bybee Curl -HPS in a side-by-side comparison.
Bybee advised me to allow the new unit a burn-in time of 200 hours. Agreed. I connected the unit to an AC power outlet in my listening room, plugged in a fan and let it run constantly. However my excitement and curiosity meter was off the charts. This didn’t allow me two hours of burn-in before I gave in and connected all my other components. This included a pair of Behold BPA768 Monoblocks, its partnering APU768 Preamp, and the Laufer Teknik Memory64 Memory Player. Maybe burn-in will offer better performance but my first attempt lasted all of five-hours!
I was completely engulfed in something never before experienced from an AC conditioner. The experience was different. The sound was purer as expected with an presumed advanced model, but the panoramic soundstage? I have gotten hints but I never heard an AC conditioner do it like this!
For the next few days I anticipated leaving work early to experience some more of what I initially heard. However just as Jack Bybee mentioned with regard to burn-in, a full 200 hours was needed before the Bybee Curl - HPS was fully ready for serious listening. Unfortunately, as the unit cycled up and down, I began to hear subtle changes that were not appealing at all (which is normally the case when proper burn-in hasn't occurred). The unit went from excellent to so-so. Crazy me, I even considered sending it back at one point it got so bad. However, I knew I had to allow it to go through its phases and just leave it alone. Checking in every 24 hours or thereabouts, I guess you can say I was burning in with it. I listened a bit more after the 100-hour mark and thought to myself "maybe Jack Bybee made a mistake because this unit was sounding out of this world at 100-hours.
Finally after the 200 hour mark was reached I sat down for some critical listening, although I had been cheating all along. I put on my all-time favorite reference CD's of Herbie Hancock entitled “Joni Letters.” I have listened and wrote reviews using this CD as a guide due to its excellent acoustical characteristics. With the new Bybee Curl -HPS AC conditioner in my system, Joni Letters sounded as though it had been upgraded from hi-rez to the master. In a word, the first thing the Bybee Curl -HPS improved, and dramatically so, was tonality. For example, Norah Jones' smooth and silky voice coupled with Herbie Hancock’s masterful play on the keyboard is a match that is unrivaled. However, I never experienced this level of rightness; the voice and piano never sounded so harmonically truthful. Norah's voice had that throaty, velvety feel that I've only heard when attending live performances. Soundstage seem to deepen, allowing me the opportunity to fully grasp an unprecedented excellence in both this recording and in the Bybee Curl -HPS conditioner.
Side by side comparisons revealed that my system had been limited both vertically (dynamics) and horizontally (soundstage) with the excellent Bybee Pure Stealth AC conditioner. With the Bybee Curl - HPS in service, the difference in low level detail, bass articulation and the reduction in noise was simply astounding. I cannot tell you how many hours was spent trying to convince myself the differences weren't so vast. Not possible The music loaded onto the Memory Player had not changed, however the joy of listening to it was so different: so natural and relaxed sounding.
Am I dreaming?
I think not, for the next 2 weeks I spent numerous hours neglecting house chores to listen to my system via the new Bybee Curl - HPS. Talk about a shot in the arm! I must have listened to over 100 CDs and every last one had a sound that was closer to what one would call remastered, even the poorly recorded material sounded different as though I could finally hear more clearly into why these discs sound so bad.
With the addition of the new Bybee Curl in my system, I personally feel as though I have entered into a new territory of what we call super high fidelity playback. The noise floor was already impressively low considering how good the original model performed but this, my friends, is something obviously superior (now its more of an inky/velvety background). The system's quicker, more nimble with a faster transient response while the dynamic contrasts have taken on new meaning. Needless to say, the Bybee Curl - HPS AC conditioner's performance is, to these ears, quite remarkable.
At $5400 retail, the Bybee Curl AC Conditioner, based on its price, has to be considered a major purchase. Since listening to at length for the past few months however, I honestly believe NOTHING will excite your senses as much as hearing what this device can do to a well-heeled audio rig. Don’t take my word for it, try one out in your very own system, you just might thank me.
Price: $5400.00 USA