Bybee Wire Power Purifier
Value in a component depends on the values of the listener.
Review By Wayne Donnelly
here to e-mail reviewer.
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
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
The 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.
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.
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
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.
I 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.
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
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.
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.
Warranty: Three years
Bybee Wire, c/o Laufer Teknik
18 Titus Road
P.O. Box 474
Washington Depot, CT 06794
Website: Web: www.bybeewire.com