Thursday, July 11, 2019

Placing Bybee iQSE V2's Part II: The Listening Environment

In case you missed it, here is a link to Part 1: Placing V2's On Speakers

There is no doubt that placing the Bybee V2 on the loudspeaker baffles enhances the resolution of your loudspeakers as pointed out in the June StereoTimes article.
Bybee V2 on the front baffle of one of my loudspeakers.

It took me weeks of listening however to figure out that this affected the soundstage in my system and room. The V2's it seemed were almost too powerful on the front baffles of my speakers. This led to great resolution, but placed too much emphasis (for my taste) on the location of the speakers themselves. The resolution was astounding, but the speakers tended to have less of a disappearing act as a result of having the V2's on the front baffle.

My listening preference is for the location of the speakers to be undetectable sonically. leaving in it's place a soundscape that extends beyond the boundaries of the room. With a setup like this, and a good recording, I am transferred to the space where the recording is made.

This post came out of my experimentation with placement of the V2's in my listening room. The goal of this weeks long experiment was to have the resolution the V2's brought to the system and the soundscape I desired. It may not be your cup of tea, but for those who have tried the V2's on the front baffle of their speakers and had similar findings to mine, this might be the ticket for you.

So as I mentioned above, I felt the V2's might actually be a bit too powerful for speaker baffles, I wanted something slightly less powerful. Dark Matter Technologies products fit the bill in this regard. They have a similar, but less powerful effect than the V2's, and work very well together with them. I found the Qubes to work well in conjunction with Wormhole Dots, to get the effect I wanted without drawing too much attention to the speaker locations. More on that later however.

We found through much experimentation that careful placement of the Bybee iQSE V2 in the listening room, along with the help of the new Dark Matter Dots and Qubes can yield an immersive, natural soundfied with the sonic characteristics that the Bybee iQSE V2's are known for.

For those of you not familiar with the Bybee V2, below is a photo.

The Bybee IQSE V2

The new DMT Wormhole Dots are thinner, more attractive and way, way more powerful than the original Dots. We found them to work best on AC, on loudspeaker baffles, and as a room treatment.  They are pictured below.
The DMT Wormhole Dot. $99 each.

The Canvas

My listening studio is about 15' wide and 25' deep. Towards the back of the room at about the 15 foot mark, the room opens up another 5 feet wider to accommodate a kitchenette, and further behind that is a set of stairs leading down to the ground level.

The listening studio
The ceilings are 8' high and the room has extensive treatment with Vicoustic absorbers and diffusers. It is well optimized to get the most out of a well placed pair of speakers.

Below are our results after much placing, removing, and evaluating the V2's over several weeks.

Placement. One Step At A Time

Keeping in mind that the V2's aren't cheap, we have broken down our ideal setup into steps, so that you can add V2's as funds permit. It only takes 8 to get the sound we have alluded to. You can add more, and it will only solidify and intensify the effect. I had up to 12 in my room at one point, but one can get 90% there with only 8.

Step 1: Centered on the wall behind the speakers
If you only purchase a single V2, this is THE place to try it first. This will add depth, strengthen the center image, and also have the sonic attributes described above.  Adjusting the height of placement affects image height. I like this V2 at about 65" off of the floor.

Step 2: The corners are THE key
Since the V2's work on the nitrogen component of our atmosphere, and sound tends to really bunch up in the corners of a room, it makes sense that they would be really effective here. The next 2 V2's (2 and 3 respectively) in the placement went into the corners where the ceiling meets the side walls and wall behind the speakers.
V2 placed in the corner behind one of the speakers. Each corner behind the speakers were treated.
V2's 4 and 5 were placed on the base boards just off the floor in the same corners behind the speakers. This really added to the sense of soundstage depth, height and width.
V2 placed in the lower corner of the listening room, behind the speakers. Surprisingly, this placement created a very significant improvement in soundstage height, width and depth.

The pattern the placement of V2's created made an X on the wall behind the speakers. With one V2 at each end of the lines making the X, and one approximately at the intersection of the lines. I say approximately because by adjusting the height of the center V2, you can adjust image height. I ended up with the Center V2 about 65" off of the floor.

With the X pattern, the depth of image was greatly enhanced, vocals and lower frequencies sounded more open and natural.
The X pattern created by the V2 placements. 

Step 3: Behind your listening chair

The 6th and 7th V2's were placed behind my listening chair. I have a corner off to my right, and one naturally went there. The fourth V2 was on the ceiling behind the listening position and off to the left. Essentially equidistant to the V2 that was in the corner to behind and to the right of my listening chair. I had no symmetrical corner to the left of me, so this set up the boundaries of the soundstage and kept it balanced. Adding the V2's behind my listening position further depressurized the room, making it feel larger than it is, but it also brought the soundstage around the side walls and behind me. Reverb or hall ambience now filled every corner of the room, and produced a natural, engaging and immersive sound.

Step 4: Completing the X pattern on the ceiling

A V2 centered on the ceiling  can improve image height and the sense of immersion. Again, it is all about balancing the front and rear V2's. My ceilings are 8' high and the distance between my speakers and listening position is a little over 10'.  I find ceiling placement more beneficial in larger rooms with greater distances between listener and speakers. With a V2 Centered on the Ceiling, the soundstage was more immersive, but narrower. It drew the focus back to the center. Taking my cue from the placement of V2's on the wall behind the speakers, I placed 2 more  V2's as near the corner of the listening space as I could. These however were near the ceiling, with the V2 placed behind me at the center was mid way between the ceiling and floor.
If you look closely, you can see the V2 on the ceiling, just in front of the white diffuser. You can also see the V2 centered between the speakers on the window frame.

What The V2/Dot combination Brings To Your System & Room

In every application of the V2, there is a common thread of sonic benefit. Clarity with low level resolution and speed, all with an even tonality. The sound is never forced or mechanical, unless of course that is how it is meant to sound. For acoustic instruments and the human voice, there is an ease and flow to the music that is quite simply more lifelike. Piano music is simply stunning. The complexity of music is there before you, around you, with openness harmonic complexity, dynamic richness. It makes you shut the analytical part of your brain off after the initial shock passes. You sit, for hours, in musical ecstasy.  The effect improves when given more time, taking 24 hours to reach 90% of it's effect and 3-5 days to attain the remaining 10%. For those of you with less patience, the first effects are heard within 30 minutes.

Unlike other brands of room tweaks/treatments, the V2 is fuller, warmer, richer and to my ears, way more natural. 

Placing the V2 in the room can quite literally make the room boundaries sound as if they have vanished, placing you in the recording venue when the recording is well done.


The Bybee V2 is essential to creating an immersive, engaging musical experience in a room. Right up there with Speaker placement, power conditioning, and conventional room acoustic treatment. Dare I say it's a 4th pillar in the foundation of a high quality music system? Yes, I am going to go that far. They are essential, and a must try for any music lover who craves a listening experience that makes them get up and dance, sing, air-guitar, whatever floats your boat. 

Tweek Geek makes trying the V2 in your listening room easy with a 30-Day money back guarantee. If you are curious, start with 8 at the package price of $2600, if they don't work for you send them back for a full refund of the purchase price.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Dark Matter Wormhole Dots & The Power of Power Conditioning

Strange Pattern In System Performance

So here I was, writing a lengthy post on the placement of Bybee V2's & the new DMT Wormhole Dots in the listening room. I was noticing a pattern in my system, and this pattern had been running since I had a system set up in the new Studio. I would get whatever I was working on, be it speakers, tweaks, cabling, I would get it set up and sounding great. It would sound great for a period which would vary. Sometimes a few days, sometimes over night. I would listen again and something wasn't right. Naturally I would blame it on my last change finally settling in. I would make adjustments, or just quit for the day in frustration. Eventually the great sound would return. Sometimes on it's own, or with my efforts. I would enjoy it for awhile, then ultimately something would be off again.
DMT Wormhole Dots

Adressing The Wrong Issue

I suspect this is the case with many of us who try tweaks. You make a change, it sounds great for awhile, then you have a bad listening session and you remove the change or you make a new change. It's an endless cycle, which tells me in many situations we aren't really addressing the right problem.

Back to the story. I was finishing up a post on the placement of the above tweaks in the listening room as room treatments.  That day seemed to be one of the days where the system was sounding off. I sat there, frustrated and uninspired to finish. It dawned on me that we were literally in the heat of summer, and there was probably a large demand for power, and a lot of noise, on the AC grid due to many air conditioners operating.

I had an idea.

It started with placing  a single Dot MK2 on the ethernet cable connected to the wall jack. I had very low expectations as I have tried what seems like hundreds of tweaks and cables on ethernet cables, routers and switches with little to no effect.  Bybee V2's, Stillpoints ERS, various ethernet cable filters, you name it, I've probably tried it.

DMT Wormhole Dot on the ethernet connection coming in to the listening room.

Interestingly enough, In about 20 minutes, the sound took on a more natural character, with a greater sense of low level detail and 3D-ness. With that in mind I went to work on the whole path. I started with the router, placing a Dot on the ethernet cable connection there, as well as a Dot on the power cord connector attaching to the router. Again, more improvement. Last, for the ethernet connection I treated my Cisco router by placing a Dot on the incoming connection as well as all outgoing ethernet connections and the incoming power connection. After about an hour the sound was considerably more natural and 3D. I was hearing some very fine detail in the high frequencies that were at one time sort of a homogenous blend of highs. This was a surprise because as I mentioned above, nothing else had any sort of effect on this type of signal before.
Wormhole Dots on incoming and outgoing ethernet connections. Not pictured is the Dot on the power cord for the switch.

Well it being summer and us having a parade of family and friends visiting Colorado, I was pulled away from the system for a few days to spend time catching up and socializing. When I returned to the system, it was sounding incredible. Imaging was holographic, the resolution in the highs was still there, and there was a natural character to the sound. 

Moving on to the AC

 I decided to perform the same treatment to parts of the AC path that I hadn't treated with the Dots yet. My studio has it's own sub panel connected to the main houses breaker panel. Taking my experience with treating AC  with products like Stillpoints ERS, I decided to start at the main breaker box. 
Placing a Wormhole Dot on the Breaker feeding the sub panel where my audio circuit was. This had a profound effect.

I learned early on that placing Stillpoints ERS can be counterintuitive. It works better treating AC sources as far upstream as you can. Which in most homeowners cases is the main breaker box where the AC makes it's entry to the house. With this logic in mind,  I placed a Dot directly on the breaker feeding the Studio sub panel. The great thing about the Dots is they are small, light and thin. You can place them directly on the breaker, and still close the door on the breaker panel. 

This had an immediate and very profound effect. More, much more of everything. The 3D soundstage, resolution, naturalness. It was another surprise, perhaps even greater than the ethernet circuit placement. At the very least equal to it.

I then moved to the sub panel, placing another Dot on the 30 amp breaker feeding the circuit for my audio system. Again an improvement, but not as large. 

 All of my power cords already have the "Wormhole" material applied internally, and so did my Dark Matter Stealth power conditioner, so I was done with treating the AC. 
Dark Energy Power Cables have Wormhole Technology Built in.

It's been a week now, and the system has continued to engage me, daily. No moments of feeling that something wasn't sounding right. It's rock solid, grin inducing, goosebump creating sound every time I listen.

What have I learned?

This was an interesting problem. My first encounter I've had where the AC quality fluctuated so much from day to day, even intra-day. I have heard of the power changing from city to city for those manufacturers and dealers that do many audio shows. A few actually bring different power conditioners, and exhibit with the one that sounds best at that particular venue. So yes noise and distortion on power lines is real, it can change from location to location, and can even change throughout a period of time at the same location. No power conditioner is great in every situation it seems. 

So far, the Dots are taking care of what was causing my system to fluctuate in performance at this location. I find it interesting that these tiny tweaks do so much to noise on such high voltage/amperages. But there was no doubt that placing one on the 100 amp breaker feeding my sub panel was a very large gain in resolution, naturalness and the 3D nature of my system.

If I were to start out with some Wormhole Dots today. I would go in this order:
  • Breaker box on the breaker feeding the audio circuit, continuing to each power cord on each component
  • The ethernet "circuit" feeding your streamer
  • The Room in conjunction with Bybee V2's
If you are curious about the Dots, they are backed by our 30-day money back guarantee. You can try them and return them for a full refund if they don't meet your expectations.

They start at $99 each. With discounts for volume purchases.