The Clark's Brutus and Gizmo Awards for 2006

We at Positive Feedback Online are going to have two main categories of annual awards. The first will be our Brutus Award. This will be recognition given to "the best and the brightest" products that we have experienced in various categories in a given year. In hardware, these will range from "best bang for the buck" to "the best period, and hang the expense!" designs. In recordings, we'll be paying tribute to the best that we've found in various formats. In addition, we'll have a "Lifetime Achievement Award" that will recognize individuals whose contributions to fine audio in various respects has been both superior and sustained.

All products that are so recognized by PFO will be work that has been reviewed by us personally; no design will be recognized that we do not have experience with in our listening rooms. This means that you, our readers, may disagree with our selections, wondering why this or that component, recording or individual was not mentioned. Quite apart from differences in taste/opinion, the answer is simple: we won't be mentioning any design that we haven't spent time with in our own listening rooms. If a product does not win a Brutus Award in a given category, this does not signify lack of merit-we just may not have gotten to work with it. You're certainly welcome to write to us and bring worthy components to our attention.

In other words, Brutus Awards are given only by Dave Robinson and myself, and only to components/systems that we have personally reviewed in our listening rooms. (PFO writers and other editors have their own awards: The PFO Writers' Choice Awards.) And we always encourage our readers and designers/manufacturers to bring worthy new designs to our attention, so that we can arrange a review by either Dave or I. This is the only way that a Brutus Award can be given.

Here's our annual cautionary note to our readers: all PFO awards are intended solely as recognition of superior quality by the editors and writers of Positive Feedback Online, to encourage the furtherance of the audio arts. They should be considered by our readers as guidelines, and NOT as golden calves to be worshipped by audio idolaters, or truckled to by the audio dilettanti. Do NOT use them as a convenient substitute for LISTENING FOR YOURSELF AND FORMING YOUR OWN IMPRESSIONS!

Bybee Golden Goddess XLR Slipstream

Well, the Golden Goddess XLR versions feature …Slipstream purifiers based on carbon fiber and nanotechnology (a pair of XLR versions contain a total of six Slipstream purifiers) ...ERS "Stealth" carbon fiber damping and shielding material ultra-flexible expanded Teflon (ePTFE) dielectric for the conductors ...14 K gold for the signal (+) legs ...high-purity silver ribbon for the (-) conductors. Cool. A real move up the ladder.

How do they sound? With the Kubala-Sosnas images and all takes on a greater sense of focus and clarity. More presence, more there thereness, more music, more Ahhh this is nice. Not less music, or less detail and resolution. No, you get more. More rightness. I like these a lot. I buy... keepers. Not much to think about, except the price! These are not inexpensive and in talking to Jack about how they are built and the pain it is to make them … well I see why they carry such a hefty tag – what a bitch to build. However, the improvement one hears with them in the chain is not something that I can give up. They work for me. They even worked for those that have heard them here… they liked them too. Me not too crazy.


The Clever Little Clock

The Clock can not make up for a bad recording, but the distortion was lessened to such a degree that the bad recordings actually sounded good. I found my entire listening experience to be much more enjoyable with the Clock in place. My primary goal when listening to music is to be transported away from the cares of everyday life, and into a place where I fully connect with the music. That goal was attained beautifully with the Clever Little Clock.