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Bybee Wire Power Purifier Review

Fred Crowder in a methodic analysis of the $4,499 Bybee Wire Power Purifier

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bybee power purifier

Introduction

Two friends, Paul and Sarah, are in the process of upgrading their electrical service. To date, they have replaced all the wiring between the power company’s transformer outside their house on the property line and their service panel, the wiring from the panel to each AC outlet and the outlets themselves. Unlike most of us, they did significant research prior to embarking on this project. Although I hope to make their project the basis for a future article, it would not be letting the cat out of the bag if I say that the improvement in their system was dramatic: significantly lower noise, greater extension at the frequency extremes (particularly in the bass), heightened dynamics, better imaging and focus, and greater depth. They have now begun a second phase which is centered on power cords and AC line filters. They have been kind enough to include me in a number of listening sessions, and in return I have sourced a number of power cords and the unit which is the subject of this review, the Bybee Wire Power Purifier.

While the unit is provided with an adequate power cord, it became apparent early in the listening that the performance of the unit was dramatically impacted by the choice of the power cord from the wall (an Oyaide R-1) and the BWPP. The remainder of this article focuses on a series of comparisons of the BWPP against two rival units and a comparison of the stock power cord with a number of other choices in providing power to the unit.

Software:

The music used included the folowing CD’s/SACD’s:

Dream a Little Dream, Gerry Mulligan Quartet (Telarc 83364)
So, Peter Gabriel Super Analogue CD
Gaucho, Steely Dan, Super Audio CD
Mambo Sinuendo, Ry Cooder Nonesuch (79691-2)
Blue Train, John Coltrane Super Audio CD
Exodus, Bob Marley
Desert Winds, Illinois Jacquet
Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits 20th Anniversary Edition SACD

The equipment auditioned:

*Bybee Wire Power Purifier (both the current version and an older unit manufactured about ten years ago called the Bybee Curl Conditioner).
*TweekGeek AC cords (various models ranging from their basic cord which utilizes Kaplan wire and a choice of copper or rhodium plated AC plugs to models that incorporate Bybee modules). Click here for Kaplan product info.
*TweekGeek Bybee Super Effect cord (both the earlier non-ebony and SE versions). Click here for product info.
Walker Audio Velociter S sited on Walker brass cones and Walker custom maple platform.
Acoustic Revive RTP-2.
Isoclean Super Focus Power Cord.
* provided by TweekGeek for this review.
** the older cords and the ten-year-old Bybee/Curl Pro were purchased on Audiogon by Paul and Sarah.
*** while the Walker Velociter S was used on the complimentary maple isolation bass and cones, the other units were directly on a hardwood floor and would in all probability have benefitted from proper isolation.

Technical Considerations

All TweekGeek AC cords utilize a special 10 AWG, 15-amp wire which they purchase from Kaplan Wire. The Kaplan wire is large in diameter, but extremely flexible. The TweekGeek Super Effects Bybee cords utilize the top-of-the-line Bybee modules on both the hot and neutral legs, encased in an ebony module reminiscent of that used by Jorma. Likewise, the IEC connectors and AC plugs are encased in ebony barrels. Ebony is a very dense tropical hardwood that is reputed to control vibration and provide mechanical damping. The plugs themselves were selected after extensive listening and are sourced in China. They appear to be of excellent quality and high purity. Two versions are available, one of polished copper, the other basically the same plug but with a rhodium plating.

During the mid 1990’s, John Curl and Jack Bybee collaborated on the design of an AC line filter which approached the problem from two different directions. The first product was by Jack Bybee and addressed noise at the quantum level, particularly 1/F noise generated by the flow of electrons through a conductor. In theory, this type of noise is not audible but can cause significant degradation of a system’s sound. The Curl/Bybee Pro utilized an earlier version of Jack’s quantum purifiers. The current Bybee Wire Power Purifier uses Jack’s latest thinking which he has dubbed the Super Effects Quantum Purifier.

This Super Effects Quantum Purifiers incorporate gold, silver and platinum wire at critical locations and accomplish a number of things in addition to the original as detailed below. John Curl contributed a novel spike/surge suppression circuit which does not limit current or dynamics.

Listening Session 1

TweekGeek AC Cord terminated with bare copper plug into BWPP: On Steely Dan’s Gaucho, bass is tight with good impact, voice is excellent, stage is very wide, and dynamics are good. On Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms- So Far Away, again, the bass and voice are quite nice with the back-up vocals at the end of the cut sounding very clean. Top-end response seems a bit less hot than on some of the other combinations. Finally on Blue Train, the top-end seems somewhat soft and the horns lack bite. It is clear that this group is composed of soloists. The sound of the various instruments never quite meshes and there is little in the way of centerfill.

TweekGeek Copper with older BWPP: In comparison to the new Enhancer, the Ry Cooder sounds somewhat thinned out in the midrange. The warmth is gone as is the rhythmic drive. Cymbals are less clear and PRAT suffered. Noise level is higher with a less black background. In summary what was a musically exciting piece is now closer to elevator music. Exodus-The intelligibility is very good. Bass is less controlled and percussion seems to have less hang time. Vocals are good but not as crystal clear as when the newer Enhancer was used.

Conclusion: The newer Bybee has much better bass control and PRAT. The top-end is cleaner and more extended. Tone is much more natural and organic as well as warmer and richer. The different instruments mesh better and the result just sounds more like music. The recreation of space and air are much better.

Newer Enhancer with a pre TweekGeek power cord but with earlier Bybee modules incorporated into the cord: top-end response is excellent, as are voices. Bass seems somewhat reduced in level, but is tighter and better controlled. Mids and highs are clearly better. This is a very musical combination but diminished in the bass.

Newer Enhancer with Golden Goddess power cord: bass and dynamics are much improved. The bass is now right. Cooder- there is somewhat of an artificial edge in the mids and the highs. Depth and low level detail are much improved. Harmonics sound more correct.

Newer enhancer with stock cord: image height improves but the tonal balance is lighter. The top-end response is definitely down and the stage is more two dimensional.

Conclusion: The newer Bybee Wire Power Purifier which incorporates the latest generation of Bybee quantum purifiers definitely sounds better than older units. The stock cord provided with the unit actually is listenable but can be significantly bettered by any of the current generation of TweekGeek AC cords. The Rhodium plating adds a bit of brightness and is somewhat tighter in the bass with more impact than the un-plated copper. The copper is less spectacular but more neutral and certainly truer to the music. To maintain optimal sound the unplated copper requires frequent cleaning with Caig ProGold. While this may be system dependent, I preferred the BWPP used in conjunction with a TweekGeek power cord with the latest Bybee Purifiers. In an interesting discussion with the TweekGeek, he stated that in his home system which incorporates a number of Purifiers in the speakers and in the CD player, he feels strongly that the use of a power cord with an additional Purifier is unnecessary and softens the top-end.

Listening Session 2

Acoustic Revive RTP-2 with TweekGeek cord with rhodium connectors: on the Ry Cooder, the tonal balance is lighter, instruments are less focused; music seems less present and definition suffers.

Substitution of a Golden Goddess power cord makes a very audible improvement. The synergy of the Golden Goddess with the Acoustic Revive is excellent; however the end result is still not as good as the BWPP with the Golden Goddess.

Velociter plus TweekGeek Rhodium plated cord (no Bybee): things tend to get lost in the mix, but the sound is musical and warm. There is not as much impact on brass. This combination tends to smooth everything out.

Velociter with Power Cord incorporating Bybee Golden Goddess modules: PRAT and bass both improve dramatically, but the top-end still appears to be somewhat softened and dynamics are merely acceptable.

BWPP with Golden Goddess-equipped power cord: better bass is immediately apparent. For some reason, the system now is playing about 2 dB louder, subjectively speaking, at the same volume setting. The bass is now tighter with excellent impact. There is also significantly more top-end response and air. Guitar is particularly nice. Depth is also excellent. Note that one claim for the benefits of the BWPP is that it includes a module for power factor correction.

BWPP with the latest TweekGeek Super Effect Bybee power cord, replacing the earlier cord with the Bybee Golden Goddess modules: somewhat cleaner/lower noise floor, possibly at the expense of bass impact. Voices are better separated and more intelligible. The sound is smoother/ more liquid, better hang time on struck metal. On the Illinois Jacquet, there is a better differentiation of the sound of the horn with more tonal complexity. The soundstage is also wider.

Separation of digital from analog using separate BWPP on each: improved layering of the soundstage coupled with a warmer, more full bodied sound. A more relaxed and more extended top-end.

Characterizing the Sound of the Bybee Modules

At this juncture, I feel as if I have heard enough different versions of the Bybee technology to characterize their sound. The key to what they accomplish lies in their uncanny ability to significantly reduce certain types of noise and certain types of distortion, and in so doing, allow the listener to hear low-level ambient detail that is otherwise obscured by the noise. This is generally heard as an increase in detail without any accompanying brightness, improved imaging and soundstage and more clarity without compromising dynamics, vitality or immediacy. Massed strings and voice are particularly well served. Treble is more extended but also sweet and non-fatiguing. The sound as a whole is full bodied with a complex harmonic envelope. Note that they have little effect on other types of noise so work extremely well in combination with other filters, particularly the one designed by John Curl for inclusion in the Bybee Pure Power Purifier.

Much the same could be said for the TweekGeek Super Effect Bybee power cord with the optional ebony AC shells. They are relaxed, full bodied, organic but with extended highs and a complex harmonic signature. The combination of the Bybee Pure Power Purifier and the TweekGeek Super Effects Bybee power cord is superb in most instances; however, in a system which already utilizes the Super Effects Bybee modules on interconnect and cabling (such as the Jorma Prime), the inclusion of a power cord incorporating Bybee Purifiers may be overkill.

Final Thoughts

For those seeking an AC line conditioner, the Bybee Pure Power Purifier is exceptional, particularly with the addition of the TweekGeek Super Effect Bybee power cord. For those who already own an AC line conditioner with which they are happy, substitution of the Super Effects Bybee power cord to provide AC to the existing conditioner will result in achieving much of what the BWPP/Super Effects Bybee accomplishes. Finally, for readers who want a good moderately priced AC cord, the TweekGeek AC cords which do not incorporate a Bybee, are very cost effective solutions.

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