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June / July 2009
Superior Audio Equipment Review

World Premiere
Bybee Wire Power Purifier
Value in a component depends on the values of the listener.
Review By Wayne Donnelly
Click here to e-mail reviewer.

 

Best Audiohpile Products Of 2009 Blue Note Award  Bybee Wire is a new company licensed by physicist Jack Bybee to manufacture and market products based on his latest quantum purification technology. Initially those products will include, in addition to power conditioning like the Bybee Wire Power Purifier as reviewed here, there are three levels of power, interconnect, and speaker cables. Under review here is the first Bybee Wire component to be completed, and it marks a very auspicious beginning for this new enterprise.

 

Something Old, Something New
Bybee Wire Power Purifier The Bybee Wire Power Purifier is a well proven design utilizing new Bybee devices. Back in the mid-1990s Bybee Technologies offered a superb-sounding passive power conditioner, the Bybee/Curl Pro. That design did not attempt the heavy-handed noise filtration methods adopted by many of its competitors, and was not designed primarily to suppress common RFI/EMI noise. Rather, reflecting Jack Bybee's years of research in classified military noise reduction projects, the Pro addressed noise at the quantum mechanical level particularly 1/f noise, which is generated by the flow of electrons through conductive materials. 1/f noise is not itself audible to the human ear. However, it does degrade the purity and beauty of musical and video material. When 1/f noise is eliminated, the program content emerges as if magically "purified." Vocal and instrumental sounds then have more beauty and timbral accuracy, and video inages are brighter, with sharper contrast, more vivid colors and subtler shading.

The Pro also featured an ingenious audiophile-quality spike/surge suppression circuit that provided those protections without the ghastly sonic deterioration caused by most computer-oriented spike/surge protectors. That circuit was developed by legendary designer John Curl hence the Bybee/Curl nomenclature. Although Curl's name is not on the Bybee Wire Power Purifier, his spike/surge protection is implemented there as well.

So what's new in the Bybee Wire Power Purifier? Where the Bybee/Curl Pro's key components were the large Bybee Quantum Purifiers still widely used by OEM manufacturers, modification specialists and DIY enthusiasts this new design replaces those original devices with Jack Bybee's 'Super Effect' Internal AC Bullets. While these new devices physically resemble the original large purifiers, they are built with gold, silver and platinum in key locations. They incorporate proprietary Bybee innovations in power factor correction, which increases operational efficiency, as well as time alignment functionality that reduces nonlinearities between the transmission speeds of low and high frequencies. Jack Bybee is understandably reluctant to describe in detail how he achieves those objectives. But based on my previous listening experiences with the Bybee Golden Goddess Speaker Bullets and RCA Interconnect Bullets, both of which I have reviewed in Enjoy the Music.com, I can affirm that these latest Bybee inventions do indeed deliver formidable listening benefits.

 

A Clean, Compact Package
Bybee Wire Power PurifierThe Bybee Wire Power Purifier occupies a substantial, compact (4"H x12"D x 17"W; supplied rack-mount brackets may be attached), sealed aluminum chassis with liberally applied internal epoxy damping to provide a stable non-resonant structure to house the noise filtration and surge/spike protection circuitry. The brushed aluminum front panel displays the Bybee Wire logo and a red power-on LED. The rear panel holds the IEC jack, a 15-amp circuit breaker, and eight high-quality Hubbel AC outlets, generously spaced to accommodate bulky power cords and plugs. Published specifications are not yet available, but Jack Bybee tells me that the Power Purifier will have no trouble powering any system plugged into household 15 or 20 Ampere circuits.

 

Listening
I have owned a Bybee/Curl Pro since 1996, and it has always been an important contributor to my various systems' refinement and musicality. Last year Jack Bybee generously agreed to update my original unit with his new SE Internal AC Bullets, and as soon as I plugged in the updated Pro, the improvements were immediately impressive. That meant that evaluating the new Power Purifier essentially boiled down to determining whether it sounds as good as or better than my updated original. So, in five minutes I simply transferred all of my power cords over to the Power Purifier, and this review process was ready to go.

No surprises here. With the Power Purifier in place the system sounds essentially the same to my ear as with the updated Bybee/Curl Pro high praise indeed! Now let's consider in detail the characteristics of this fine product.

 

System Noise Floor
Despite my location in a Chicago Loop high-rise and the attendant rampant RFI/EMI bombardment, my system has a remarkably quiet noise floor. That characteristic improved dramatically last year when I installed JPS Labs Aluminata interconnects, which not only sound fabulous but are the best-shielded interconnects I have ever used. In addition, my Bybee/Curl Pro is normally connected after a pair of ExactPower EP-15A voltage-regulating power conditioners. Those were added after I discovered that my building has chronic over-voltage electrical service, ranging from (typically) @124V during the day to as much as 132V at night, when I do most of my listening. Although most high-end components are designed to accommodate some variations in incoming voltage, consistent over-voltage is not a healthy condition under which to operate. And I did find that the ExactPower units, besides delivering a consistent 120V to the system and effectively suppressing the ambient RFI/EMI assault of a metropolitan downtown, also contributed noticeably to the system's musicality.

 

Operation
Because the Bybee/Curl Pro separates the outlets for the analog and the digital components, I can plug each side into a separate ExactPower unit, effectively increasing isolation between digital and analog components. That separation is not possible with the Bybee Wire Power Purifier, which has only the single IEC jack. So I tried it two different ways.

First, I plugged the Power Purifier into a single ExactPower unit. The resulting sound was on a par with my standard setup, but having both of my Spectron amplifiers highly efficient though they are drawing juice from the single ExactPower proved a bit too much for that unit, causing it to clip and shut down when I boosted listening levels to irrational heights, as I am wont to do from time to time.

Bybee Wire Power PurifierI then removed the ExactPower unit and plugged the Bybee Wire Power Purifier directly into the wall. I wanted to hear how it performed without the upstream help of the ExactPower's voltage regulation and RFI/EMI filtration. I did not worry about a few nights of over-voltage juice. Under those conditions I was finally able to perceive some differences between the old and new purifier units and those differences favored the new Bybee Wire Power Purifier. On its own, the Bybee Wire unit made the system a hair less quiet than with the upstream ExactPower in place. But the system's noise floor was discernibly quieter than when using the Bybee/Curl Pro by itself. That suggests to me that the Bybee Wire Power Purifier's metal chassis and cover may be more effectively shielded than the older component's wooden box. And when I asked Jack Bybee about this phenomenon, he thought the AC outlets, better than what he had available 15 years ago, were more effective at resisting RFI/EMI pollution. Overall, the Bybee Wire Power Purifier gets high marks for quieting performance.

 

Dynamics
I have heard a lot of power conditioners over the years. Most of them have truncated dynamics to some degree, especially at the louder end of the scale. The Bybee/Curl Pro has in this respect been the finest-sounding such device I have ever used, especially in its updated form. The new Bybee Wire Power Purifier maintains that distinction.

 

Fidelity And Emotional Connection
I'm not a home theater guy. I love movies, but my cinematic tastes don't run to big explosive films, and my 60-inch Sony lives in my bedroom, not the listening room. When I was done with evaluating audio performance, I took the Bybee Wire Power Purifier back and plugged my TV, DVR and DVD player into it. Voila! Much better fine detail and color saturation, fewer digital artifacts. So if you are a home theater enthusiast, you have another reason to give this baby a thorough tryout.

 

Conclusions
Back in the mid-1990s the original Bybee/Curl Pro power conditioner retailed for $3000. Today the Bybee Wire Power Purifier, with its significantly improved sonic benefits, carries a retail price of $4500. Considering the upward spiral in the prices of fine audio equipment, it seems to me that this price is an excellent value for what is unequivocally the most musically rewarding power conditioning component I have yet experienced.

Ultimately, value in a component depends on the values of the listener. What this Power Purifier does indeed, what every Bybee-based product I have ever used does is to move the sound of the system away from sounding "electronic" i.e., affected by the various noises and distortions that to some extent afflict every audio system -- and toward a purer, more naturally musical presentation. With the Bybee Wire Power Purifier in place, no matter what musical genre I am exploring, I am drawn more deeply into the experience than is possible when the Power Purifier is removed. That makes an enthusiastic recommendation a no-brainer.

 

 

Specifications
Type: Power filtration and enhancement device
Full performance specifications are not yet available for the Bybee Wire Power Purifier.
Dimensions: 4 x12 x 17 (HxDxW in inches)
Weight: 20 lbs.
Price: $4500
Warranty: Three years

 

Company Information
Bybee Wire, c/o Laufer Teknik
18 Titus Road
P.O. Box 474
Washington Depot, CT 06794

E-mail: slaufer@bybeewire.com
Website: Web: www.bybeewire.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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