janszen

 

audioengine

 

skogrand

 

 

 

zesto

 

high fidelity

 

MICHAEL WECHSBERG'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Marten Miles II.

ELECTRONICS
E.A..R 890 amplifier and E.A.R. 868 preamplifier with a Townshend Seismic Sink isolation platform.

SOURCES
Townshend Rock 7 Turntable with Helius Omega Tonearm and a London Reference cartridge. E.A.R. Acute 3 CD Player Music Hall Maverick SACD Player.

CABLES
Kubala-Sosna Elation Balanced interconnects and Kubala-Sosna Emotion power cords, Harmonic Technology Pro-9 Reference speaker cables Harmonic Technology Magic Link Two and XLO Signature 3 interconnects Harmonic Technology Magic Reference 2 and XLO Signature 3 power cords.

ACCESSORIES
Bybee Speaker Bullets, Marigo Labs TXi and VXi Mystery Feet for electronics PS Audio Power Plant Premier Power Conditioner.

 

Positive Feedback ISSUE 69
september/october 2013

 

 

bybee

Golden Goddess Speaker Bullets (Latest Versions)

as reviewed by Michael Wechsberg

 

bybee Golden Goddess Speaker Bullets

Both Dave Clark and Bob Levi have previously made glowing comments on the earlier version of these accessories known as the Bybee Golden Goddess "Super Effect" Speaker Bullets. Those bullets are inserted in between the speaker binding posts and your speaker cable to eliminate low frequency noise in the electrical signal that affects the way your speakers work. Jack Bybee is a physicist who worked for years on US Government projects to reduce the audible noise signature of submarines, thus he brings some unique talents to the audio field. Jack is not sharing how his solution, as embodied in these speaker bullets, works, but the original Golden Goddess version used quite a bit of gold and some other exotic materials, and assembling them was difficult requiring a good deal of personal time from Jack Bybee himself. As a result the bullets cost $4200 for a set of four devices (two such sets are required if your speakers are bi-wired). An alternative and less expensive approach made available by Bybee is an internal set of bullets, sold as a do-it-yourself kit, where the devices are soldered directly to the speaker terminals inside the speaker box. Bybee claims the noise squelching effect works better the closer the bullets are placed to the speaker driver so this alternative should be both better and cheaper. However, the internal bullets require you to get inside the speaker or to remove the drivers, either of which likely voids the warranty on the speakers.

So, the Bybee speaker bullet tweak is quite expensive, but boy does it work great! I ended up buying a used set of the Golden Goddess bullets for my Marten Django XLs and was treated to a wonderful opening up of the soundstage, more solid bass, plus increased clarity and definition in the mid bass through lower midrange. The entire soundscape had more air and palpability. In fact Marten Designs of Sweden, manufacturer of the Djangos, installs a form of the Bybees as standard equipment in their most expensive speakers. The Bybees affect the sound up to about 2kHz although sometimes improvements can be heard into the treble region. I have heard Bybee bullets used on about half a dozen different speakers and they made a very noticeable improvement in all of them.

Because of the high cost and manufacturing difficulty, the Golden Goddess bullets were discontinued for a while. The only version available was the kit form. However, Bybee has been experimenting and recently came out with a new version that is easier to make and uses a slightly different mix of ingredients (less gold for example). He claims this new version sounds just as good as the original and sells for about a third less, $2800 instead of $4200 per set of four! They are still called the Golden Goddess "Super Effect" Bullets on the Bybee website.

I had a chance to compare the new Bybee Speaker Bullets to the old set. First, the new ones seem built better. The original Golden Goddess devices really looked hand built. The banana plug on one end that is supposed to fit into the existing speaker terminal is a bit flimsy and Iím constantly concerned it will break off due to the weight of the speaker cables attached to the other end (see picture). The banana end fits loosely into the jacks on my speakers and more than once has worked its way out of the jack. Iíve lately added some Blu-Tack adhesive between the jack and the bullet to prevent this from happening. In the new version the banana end is attached much more firmly to the body of the Bullet that is now made up of a machined aluminum cylinder. Bybee says this banana end is of the highest quality with a silver plug and it does fit better into the binding post on my speakers. The other end of the bullet that has a high-quality 5-way gold-plated binding post also seems more secure than in the original. The whole thing looks more professional and reliable. Bybee says the wire used in the bullets is a proprietary type that surpasses the gold used in the original version. By the way, I notice on line that one of the Bybee dealers is making his own version of the bullets using the parts from the kit I mention above. My set came directly from Jack Bybee so my comments on their sound apply only to that version and not the other.

The real question, however, is do the new Bybee Bullets sound as good as the originals? Bybee advises the bullets can take 100-200 hours or more of break in before their full effect is felt. I donít know if the set I received had any hours on them before being sent to me but it was easy to hear their effect the first time I compared them attached to the speakers versus no Bybees. I did let them play about 12 hours before sitting down for a serious listen and comparison with the original Golden Goddess set. First, and most important I found it very difficult to discern a difference between the old ones and the new ones. In that sense Jack Bybee has been successful in translating his technology down to a lower price point. Use of the Bybees results in quieter backgrounds, tighter bass, wider and more solid imaging and an increase in clarity and transparency across the entire sonic spectrum. In playing music with the new Bybees the sound level seemed just a bit softer than with the old ones but I canít be positive about this. However, there was still a wide dynamic range and tremendous impact to the sound, typical attributes of the Bybees, so this tiny difference is inconsequential. I noted a slight increase in midrange energy with the new devices. I wasn't sure if this was increased midrange definition or a slight tonal shift. This was evident on vocals as well as instrumentals bringing the sound a bit more forward - again a very small effect. On one piano recording I tried I found the piano image to be a little less well defined with the new devices compared to the old. I preferred the imaging with the older devices, however I did not pick up this effect on any other of the recordings I tried.

Overall I feel the new Bybees are a worthwhile reworking of the older design and itís great to have these wonderful devices available again. The build quality is now better and they appear to be more sturdy. They sound pretty much the same as the old ones, at least on my system, so I say "Bravo!" finally a tweak that gets cheaper with time instead of more expensive. Michael Wechsberg

Bybee Golden Goddess "Super Effect" Speaker Bullets
Retail: $2800/set of four suggested retail price

Available through dealers around the country

Bybee Technologies
www.bybeetech.com

samples supplied by Jack Bybee
bybeepure@aol.com

POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE © 2013 - HOME