Friday, September 29, 2017

From Jack Bybee: Using the Bybee iQSE as a Room Treatment

The Bybee iQSE can be used inside/on top/below audio components, and
now on walls to enhance one's listening experience.

So I get an email from Jack Bybee today, it says:

"After much extermination on three distinctly different rooms, different electronics and speakers...we were able to come up a basic placement diagram for the iQSEs that results in a beautiful listening experience where all the walls, floor and ceiling virtually disappear.  I hope this diagram will help.

...Mike I hope you try this with the iQSEs because it creates a very unique listening experience.....very easy to set-up.  It does take about 30 minutes to reach full effect because the atmosphere in the listening needs to become active. If you try, please let me know your experience. "

My Experience

I had already been experimenting with Sonic Tonic in my room. I was getting ready to publish another blog post on my results using Sonic Tonic, ACTIVE Sonic Tonic (coming soon), Sonex Acoustic foam, Copper rods, and Shakti Hallographs. I have been getting beyond excellent results with the above combination. But I took Jack's advice. I removed my Sonic Tonic, replacing it with the Bybee iQSE's, and adjusting the placement to fit the diagram Jack Supplied.

The effect was a very immersive, involving listening experience. Odd, because I wouldn't think that a product designed to work inside a component would work in this application. However, after speaking with Jack at length, it turns out the magnets used in the iQSE allows it to be self activated. A stronger, external EM field will energize it even more, but place them in the room in the right location and there is a positive, audible effect.

I would say it is similar to the Stein Harmonizer system in that it expands the soundstage and allows for that sense of the venue space to be conveyed with more audibility. Midrange layering and tone are outstanding with the iQSE's in the room. This is their strongest attribute in my opinion. The Stein Harmonizers seemed to work best on higher frequencies. They sweetened the mid high/ high frequency region a bit more and a bit better.

What's best for you? I don't know. Overall I preferred the effect and the price of the Bybee iQSE setup in my rig when used with my system for treating a room (more on that later).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sometimes, You Get What You Pay For: The Furutech DPS-4 Alpha OCC-DUCC Power Cable

I've been on a bit of a quest for a high value power cord. It's turned in to a great time of discovery about my own audio system, and the dramatic effects a power cord can have on the performance of our audio components.

Good power is one of the three pillars of your audio system's foundation.  The other  two are proper speaker placement, and an acoustically friendly listening room. Today we are going to focus solely on some power cords I have been listening too. A power cord is the first bit of wire that your component encounters. It is an important part of your overall power conditioning. I recommend a dedicated AC line and power conditioning before investing in power cords. Without the other two in place you might not hear all of the benefits that a good power cord may offer.

Below are my thoughts on the Tweek Geek Built Furutech power cords. Furutech makes some darn good wire and sells it in bulk to the DIY'ers. I decided to 1), audition this wire along with some friends, and 2), after auditioning it, I wanted to offer this wire to the non-DIY crowd as an assembled, and yes tweaked out, product.

All of the cords have the option of 2 very good copper/rhodium terminations, and my Sonic tonic inside. The Sonic Tonic (equivalent to 1 full set of Sonic Tonic per end) is embedded in a moldable epoxy and placed on the wire and connectors. It hardens, and provides the greatest benefits of Sonic Tonic that I have heard. The noise floor is dramatically lowered, subtle textures and microdynamics are taken to a more realistic level as well. All of this is invisible to the viewer because the Sonic Tonic is covered by the shell of the AC connectors.

Anyhow, the cords.
Tweek Geek Built Furutech FP-S022N Power Cord - perhaps my all round favorite.

Furutech FP-S022N. The 14 awg Furutech cord is my all around favorite. Why? Because it is very balanced across the the audio spectrum. Open, spacious, smooth and extended. The high frequencies and air are particularly sweet.  If you are only replacing 1 or 2 cords, this is a great place to start.

I might use this cord on my source and preamp, and phono stage, and warm things up a bit with either the FP-S55N or the FP-S032N.

FP-S022N Strengths: Balance, soundstage width and depth, plus a sweet high frequency presentation.
FP-S022N Weaknesses: A little light in the bass region

Furutech FP-S032N. This is the 12 awg version of the  TG Built Furutech cord. Again, it like it's smaller brother possesses excellent clarity, but with perhaps a little boost at the very top and bottom end of the sonic spectrum. Good for warming your sound up a bit.
Tweek Geek Built Furutech FP-S55N Power Cord
FP-S032N Strengths: Warmth, powerful bass.
FP-S032N Weaknesses: Highs are not quite as sweet as with the FP-S022N.

Furutech FP-S55N. This 10 awg cord is for those who need a very high and quick current capability.  The sound is quite a bit like the FP-S032N, perhaps a tad less sparkly in the highs.
FP-S55N Strengths: Warmth, powerful bass, open mids, and sweeter highs than the FP-S032N.
FP-S55N Weaknesses: More analytical than the FP-S022N.
Tweek Geek Built Furutech DPS-4 Power Cord, Naked Version

Furutech DPS-4 Alpha OCC-DUCC. That's a mouthful to be sure. This 11AWG cord is Furutech's top of the line wire. Not only is it Nano, and OCC, they have taken it a step further and had Mitsubishi Materials Industries cast the wire under extreme quality control. MMI is the leading manufacturer of the highest-purity oxygen-free copper in the world.
DPS-4 Strengths: Ultra quiet, dynamic and resolving. One would have to spend twice as much for a brand-name power cord to get even near the performance of the DPS-4
DPS-4 Weaknesses: If used on several components, the DPS-4 has a tendency to get a little too analytical. Use it on your amps, or your source and pre, but probably not both as one might have too much of a good thing with a full loom of DPS-4.

The Tweek Geek Dark Energy 14 Power cord works extremely well with
the more analytical Furutech DPS-4 power cord. Offset the analytical nature
of the DPS-4 with the Tweek Geek Dark Energy 14.
Needless to say, the DPS-4 copper is pure, and silent.  A dynamically startling performance can be wrought out of whatever audio component happens to be receiving power from the DPS-4. Resolution was very high as well. This did make the system lean oh so slightly more to the analytical side of the spectrum. If you are a resolution junkie on a budget, your journey ends here. If you are like me and are a lover of high rez and musicality, one or two DPS-4 paired with the new Tweek Geek Dark Energy 14 power cord's warmth and musicality is a match made in heaven. Both cords are very dynamic, and they compliment one another's strengths. Providing a net high resolution, with warmth, texture body and slam. Guitars and vocals are simply stunning. Soundstages are expansive and holographic. Very musical, quiet and pure.

DPS-4 Strengths: Very Quiet, with a ton of dynamic pop. Holographic imaging with low level detail and wide bandwidth.

DPS-4 Weakness: Perhaps if one's entire system is outfitted with this cord, it may lean towards the analytical side. Pair with a cord that has a warmer characteristic for a fantastic balance.