Bybee Background: Theoretical Physicist. As our own Wayne Donnelly so aptly described in his rave review of Bybee's entire arsenal in the Jan/Feb issue of Fi "Bybee worked on Navy nuclear submarines carrying passive sonar so sensitive it could detect a clam farting miles away!" Well, Jack's toil in the, shhhhh (keep this between you and me and E.T.) secret government was responsible for achieving this systems low-level resolution capabilities. Bringing this highly secretive, recently de-classified level of scientific discipline relating to Theoretical Quantum Physics and Superconductivity, to us the common joe audiophile is, merely some of audio life's greatest benefits.
You know the routine - poor recordings from excellent 'back in the day' performances. Check your rack. You too probably own Miles Davis' Someday My Prince Will Come, Errol Garner's Concert By The Sea, and Thelonius Monk's Underground, to name but a few. Jazz standards you bet! But these sterile, soul-shrunken and life-less recordings leave me like an arctic day in February. Cold! Until now that is!
Would you believe the sound of these discs were not all that bad after I addressed the problems in the system? What were they? How about the cables, the AC line, and anything else you can think of that have electrons flowing through'em! Well, after installing the Bybee Quantum Interconnect filters in my rig, that's exactly what I discovered after an extended time was spent listening, experimenting, and discussing this phenomena with the man himself, Jack Bybee. First, the simple installation impressions...
Back to the Future
The Bybee filters are 3" ceramic (LifeSavers sized) bars. Designed to connect in series with your existing interconnect cables via male and female RCA connectors. A short 2" length of Aperture cable is used as a pig tail used strictly for flexibility between the filter and connection input (I understand a newer pigtail made by Discovery Essence cables are now being used). Using two pairs of these filters, my preference was between the output of the Meitner Bidat (dac) and the input of the KR Enterprises 800 mono amps. (no preamp is needed with the Meitner) Evaluating through the Von Schweikert VR-6 loudspeakers made this a fast and easy due to their rather exquisite level of transparency.
As if by magic, (minus the puff of smoke, rabbit, or hat!) the Bybee's mysteriously cast away the nasties; grain, grit and grundge that I somehow never heard removed before. The music instantly transformed into a more harmonically uncontaminated signal that belied the 16/44 sampling rate it originated from (considered by many an inferior medium). With the Bybee Interconnect Filters installed, an unusually high level of musical integrity now immersed the system. Erased was an ever-so-slight electronic glaze not noticed previously despite the reference caliber electronics used throughout (It never ceases to amaze me how I only detect flaws in the system the second their removed).
Character and body were left intact, never appearing oversized or bloated, but seemed to gain more palpability and inner detail that made the music appear more natural. String textures and harmonics are richer, replacing the lifelessness previously noticed from these discs. Garner's Concert By The Sea, for example, (and the worst of the bunch in my opinion), was now convincingly improved in virtually every area, but especially in the alleviation of noise and grunge in and around the midrange and upper treble regions. The Bybee's removal of this electronic hash, renders the sound less metallic in character. This, Jack states, "is inherent in all electronic devices and is what the Bybee's are designed specifically to address."
This immediate greater sense of the music's ease and flow, like water flowing down a quiet stream, is reduced to its former electronic, mechanical signature the minute the Bybee's were removed from the system. Thus, confirming the ability of the Bybee's to do what they claim, by providing a quick (A/B) comparison to validate these filters simply work. Installed once again, in my system, a much truer picture of each of these timeless recordings become subtlety enhanced but add up to, in my systemÉ. A major improvement
The Bybee's seem capable of suspending disbelief, reducing the "you're listening to a CD through a hifi-system" effect. Monk's Underground, for example took on an entirely new sound. His expressively odd style appeared to ring through with much better focus. Monks performance seemed more liberated from the dynamically compressed sound I always seem to notice while listening to this disc. The Bybee's allowed much greater realism into Monk's funky fingering approach.
Miles Davis' Someday My Prince Will Come, just seemed to come into full blossom under the magic of the Bybee filters. The sound of Miles' Harmon-muted horn on track two, "Old Folks," simply permeated the room with that ghostlike, pinched, one-of-a-kind character that only Miles could originate. In this case and for the improvements of this old disc I applaud the Bybee filters. Subtle, yet powerful, without fancy fanfare or ruckus, just simple good'ol fashioned brain-hurtin'quantum mechanical physics happein'here baby!
Not Really! The differences the Bybee's rendered on new recordings is not, in my rig, as impressive as the improvements it imparted on the old discs, of which I have well over 1500. In all due respect to Jack, that's a compliment, because of the fact they don't necessarily bring negative effects on superior sounding modern day discs. Oh don't get me wrong, differences are still quite noticeable on anything I would spin through the Meitner. Take for example, Reference Recordings Pictures At An Exhibition. The sound improved, especially noticeable was the enhanced feeling of inner silence, or what some might refer to as simply a blacker backdrop. (The instruments are better outlined in and around the rear of the soundstage, but not to the degree or magnitude I notice on virtually all the older discs.)
Jack Bybee and his partner, long time audiophile himself, Carl Brinkman don't kiss and tell what these filters do. They are however free to respond to all of your emails. (see address above) I however don't care, or won't get bent out of shape because he chooses not to discuss his secrets of the Bybee's effect with me. I'm more content with what it's doing, rather than speculate on the claims of what's doing it. Whether it's truly Quantum Physics, Superconductivity, Dark Matter or The Chucky Doll working voodoo on all us poor souls, shouldn't really matter because the Bybee's work and then some . Plain and simple.