Friday, July 25, 2014

Bybee Power Cord and the High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Part 1

Cutting Edge Audiophile Power Cables

First off, this is not a shootout. It's not even a fair comparison if you look at the price points of the two cables. This is more of an informative piece on what these cables are capable of achieving in a good high end audio system. Both cables are cutting edge designs that offer tangible sonic benefits.

The Bybee power cord retails at $1499 for a 6 foot cord, and the CT-1 Ultimate power cord of the same length would be $8200.  They both are trying to accomplish the same end, lower noise, and achieving better conduction of the AC waveform, they both have unique ways of accomplishing this that no other cables I know of do.

High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate

The CT-1 Ultimate power cord utilizes powerful  ‘pre-applied’ magnetic fields to the conductors to reduce noise and distortion in the power cable. The magnets encircle each conductor, creating what is called a "wave guide" around each conductor. Each end of the cable contains the rare-earth magnets as well, operating on all of the conductors simultaneously.  The conductors are impregnated with material that is activated by the powerful rare earth magnets. Our guess is the magnets align the particles at the atomic level, creating better signal flow.

The cables come in a very nice Pelican style hard case, with a foam insert. A nice touch. The cables themselves are very attractively designed, with beautiful terminations and thin, white jacketed conductors. The conductors are kept separate throughout the cable run. Fortunately since they are thin and fairly flexible this poses no trouble in placing them, but it does make it look like you have 3 cables, when only 1 is there. They offer lengths as short as 1/2 meter, so you can get pretty close to a custom "fit" in outfitting your audio system, eliminating much of the spaghetti effect behind your audio system.

The High Fidelity CT-1 Ultimate delivers the goods for it's price point. Never have I heard my Auralic Vega sound so transparent, quiet, dynamic, musical and resolving. My current reference standard power cord was the Onda Rapture. It is a fantastic cable costing about $3000. My only gripes were the build quality wasn't quite up to the price point, and the 9awg solid core silver conductors were rather stiff.  I could overlook the negatives quite easily because it made any component powered by the Rapture sound really amazing. The CT-1 Ultimate seemed to have a similar tonal quality (which was utterly fantastic), it just seemed to be faster and even more musical than my reference. There was a stillness, ease and flow to the music that was very organic. The soundstage was huge, wrapping around my listening seat with a convincing illusion. Subtle musical textures were also revealed with a naturalness to them. Textures that might otherwise be sonically blurred over and ignored.

The Bybee Power Cord

Jack Bybee, now in his 80's, never stops inventing. His best known invention, the Quantum Purifier, has been around nearly 25 years. The controversial device has stood the test of time, and gone through many iterations over the years. So many that they are running out of names to indicate it's improvement. These devices have been used on both signal and AC. To the proponents, they swear by the Quantum Purifiers' ability to lower the noise floor, improve low level resolution, dynamics, and musical organic flow. To  engineering types, these devices are the source of much fury when subjected to the standard electrical measurement of inductance, capacitance, and resistance, the Quantum Purifiers offer up nothing (literally) to standard measurements.  To subjectivists, they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Breathing life into their audio systems.

Jack has been intrigued by products like the Akiko tuning sticks, Stein Harmonizers, High Fidelity Cables, and the APC devices. These products were the beginning of his research.. There are many other tweaks currently available that make use of similar materials, all achieving different results at different levels. Most in my opinion are not "better", just "different". A lot like putting cones and footers under audio components. They are tuning devices, and therefore the impact and sonic effect are unpredictable. The Bybee "Stuff" as it is called is unique in that it uses a very special blend of materials and magnetics to achieve its effect. To my ears, the sonic effect is very similar to their Super Effect AC Quantum purifiers. That is, it is neutral and universally (so far) beneficial. The "Stuff" is impregnated on to an adhesive backed foil. This adhesive backing is a 3M based material known for it's damping properties, so one gets the benefit of the "Stuff" and some vibration damping material. There is quite a bit of "Stuff" in the Bybee Power Cord.

The Bybee Power Cord looks rather pedestrian with the exception of the very nice Gaofei carbon fiber dressed, aluminum billet milled connectors. The contacts are rhodium plated copper. This is an extremely nice audio connector that looks very similar to the nearly $300 Furutechs. The conductor itself is a 12awg stranded copper that has been treated with Jack's "Stuff". It comes in a zippered fabric bag with a transparent plastic front.

Next week: Part 2.

1 comment:

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