ONLINE - ISSUE 26
Audio Ramblings - The EquaRack Footers and
Bybee's new Golden Goddess Slipstream Tails....
Time for the Way Back Machine. That is, I need to go back and revisit some items we have written about as things have changed a bit—and for the better!
In the last issue I commented quite favorably on the new-ish Footers from EquaRack ($80 per foot), though I did have some serious reservations about setting them up; "…are the really cool—and yet so #%@% aggravatingly $#*&! to get them just right—EquaRack Footers (http://www.equarack.com/footers.htm). A very slick idea that, once they are "right", are quite right sonically. What I mean is that they are not a simple set and play sort of thing—one has to do some math, be somewhat nimbly dexterous in placing the correct number of Viscoelastic pellets in the bottom piece, then centering the top piece just so, so that it all sits straight and proper. Not so easy the first few times, but with practice one sees the ins and outs of how to get everything to stay as they should, and off we go…." Seems Joe forgot that he had sent me a very early version that had the insertion "holes" for the Viscoelastic pellets a tad too small. The actual production versions have the right sized "holes" allowing the Viscoelastic pellets to stay where they should. Meaning that set-up is WAY easier. Same great musical results, just easier to use. I should add that the Footers I had are the ones with the Viscoelastic Coupler which sits in the top piece allowing the component to see a better interface than with a nude top half. Nude tops are nice, but when one ends up being metal to metal… Ahhh, no, not good. Better to put something on to avoid any social or audio nasties… as Joe did with the addition of the Viscoelastic Coupler. Great idea that makes a great idea an even greater idea.
In PFO Issue 12 (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue12/bybee.htm)—which is like going way Way back—I wrote about the Bybee Slipstream Magic Bullets. I liked a lot. I bought and used them a lot—like always. Well along comes the Cary SLP-05 preamplifier (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue25/cary_slp05.htm) and being a true balanced desinged with the Cary CD306 SACD player (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue23/cary_306.htm), in comes the balanced cables from Kubala-Sosna (which are truly wonderful cables on their own) and well … the Slipstreams are RCA (single-ended), no can use. So what is an audio-tweak-head to do? I liked them with the Audio Magic 4D cables, so am I missing something by not trying or using them with the balanced Kubala-Sosnas?
Dave says to Jack, "Hey Jack, you make them here things with XLR connectors?"
Jack says to Dave, "Sure Dave, how many do you need?"
Dave says to Jack, "How about a set or two?"
Jack says to Dave, "No problem." "I should add that they have been updated quite a bit." "No longer Slipstream Magic Bullets… they are now the Slipstream Golden Goddess."
Dave says to Jack, "Okay, what's the deal is here?"
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 …new ultra-flexible expanded Teflon (ePTFE) dielectric for all 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-Sosna 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.
Hey, Bob Levi had the RCA versions and he liked them as well. This is what he had to say…" The Bybee Filter is a mystery. Though Jack Bybee's newest filter, the Golden Goddess, is built into the fantastic Jorma Prime interconnects, I don't know anything about it other than that it is now available as an add-on every interconnect. At $750 per pair for the elegantly made Tails, you absolutely must try before you buy. While I heard a difference with every pair of interconnects to which I connected them, I was not always certain that I heard a significant improvement. What IS certain is that the Bybee Tails will not make your $1000- or $2000-per-pair interconnects into $7000-per-pair Jormas. Still, you'll probably like what you hear!
Here's what I heard. The improvements with the Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects were small. Images were slightly clearer, textural cues a bit more distinct. The cables sounded a little less soft and a little more dynamic. The Acrolink 2500s sounded less bright, and the mids were slightly enhanced. Once again, I heard clearer textures and less grain. Dynamics were slightly better, and the overall presentation was more involving. I liked this combination. The Harmonic Technology Magic interconnects were definitely improved, in many ways. I heard more clarity and smoothness. The already-great mids, bass, and dynamics moved up one class. The highs were sweeter, and the textures warmer. The differences between the Magics and the Cyberlights were diminished. I very much liked this combination. I recommend that you try it.
I heard the biggest improvement with the Kimber Select Copper interconnects. These attractively priced cables, which are already tonally and texturally superb, become a tour de force with the Bybee Tails attached. I was shocked at their enhanced mids, sophisticated highs, improved definition and clarity, and increased bass precision and power. I would classify the performance of the Kimber Select Copper/Bybee Golden Goddess combination with that of my reference cables.
Almost every time I used the Golden Goddess filters, I heard more definition and less grunge. Textural cues were not harmed, and were usually enhanced. With the Kimber Select Copper cables, the improvements were very welcome—the Bybee filters lifted the performance of these inexpensive interconnects to a level way above their price range. They also yielded a nice improvement with the HT Magic cables. While I liked what the Tails accomplished much more often than I didn't, I'd be more comfortable if I knew what they were doing. Will they perform in your system the way they did in mine? Probably. Will every combination offer changes you will like? Probably not. The Bybee Golden Goddess "Super Effect" RCA IC Tails are one of audio's great mysteries. The results are variable, and you must try before you buy. Nevertheless, they never did harm, and nearly always caused some kind of improvement. They were great fun to play with, and well worth the effort!"
They do come with a 30-day money back trial, so give them a few hundred hours to settle in and after a bit, you will settle into some real fine listening… they work.