ULTRA AUDIO -- Archived Article

May 1, 2004

CryoTweaks Plug and Play Speaker Purifier with Bybee Inside

See what happens when you don’t use protection?

Our subject’s name is, in full (deep breath): CryoTweaks Plug and Play Speaker Purifier with Bybee Inside. An Australian would probably take "with Bybee Inside" as a pregnancy alert. No worries, mate! This Bybee Inside connects to Jack Bybee, whose noise-suppression innovations are widely respected. I have been cautioned not to identify my review quartet of P&Ps as Bybee Plug and Plays, because Bybee markets devices of a similar purpose -- ergo, is a competitor. We are to understand that CryoTweaks incorporate Bybee technology with Jack Bybee’s assent.

In addition, CryoTweaks’ P&Ps are cryogenically treated -- that is, subjected to ultra-low temperatures. What I understand about cryogenics and Bybee’s take on quantum physics wouldn’t fill a pistachio shell, but this I can tell you: cryogenics is not to be confused with cryonics, the deep-freezing of well-heeled bodies for revival at some later date, when, presumably, thawing will lead to better things than something else to put on the grill.

Speaking of bodies, the P&P, about the size of a .410 shotgun shell, is shrink-wrapped in black. From the male end protrudes a short piece of insulated wire. Mine was terminated in a spade lug; banana plug and bare wire are the other options. At the female end is a binding nut that accepts a spade, banana, or bare-wire termination. My speaker cables’ spades fit comfortably. The approximately 4" P&P looks like an extension of a speaker’s binding post. They cost $149 USD/pair.

We are not alone in the universe

Since I formed an impression of the P&Ps early in my listening sessions, I think it important to mention aspects of my system that address what I supposed the P&Ps’ role to be. I’ve a pair of Walker Audio Ultimate High Definition Links at the binding posts of my Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppy 6es’ upper units (the WATT half of the speaker system), also cryogenically treated. My Harmonix Reimyo ALS-777 line conditioner incorporates Bill Stierhout’s Quantum Resolution Technology (QRT). As I understand it, the Walker and Reimyo pieces address RFI and EMF. Silent Running Audio’s component-specific VR platforms provide acoustic isolation for my Mark Levinson amps and CD player. I have a generic SRA Tremor/Less isolation platform under the Reimyo and, finally, a pair of Harmonix X-DC Studio Master power cords to and from the line conditioner for which they were designed.

The items I’ve just listed protect against extraneous distortions, electrical and mechanical. I removed none of them for this review, and, again with respect to early impressions, I don’t believe I introduced any apparent redundancies. I thought, for example, I’d have to pull the UHD Links to evaluate the P&Ps, perhaps even the line conditioner with its QRT. No need. The relationships would seem to be synergetic.

A good electrician? Don’t let him go!

Further, a welcome interruption in the midst of my P&P sessions hasn’t changed much in terms of what I hear them doing. Through our contractor’s good offices, my wife and I hooked up with an excellent electrician. You don’t turn David down when he tells you he has some free time. Among other chores, I had David install four FIM 880 duplex outlets on four discrete 20A lines with floating grounds, all for the sound system. I’m using three of the 880s as I write, one each for the mono amps, the other for the Reimyo ALS-777 line conditioner and the CD player to which it’s linked. (My audio system had been on two discrete 20A lines, with Bryant hospital-grade outlets, also David’s work. I opted for the FIM 880 replacements at the recommendation of the distributor who urged me to look into the Reimyo line conditioner and Harmonix Studio Master power cords. Symmetry has been served: Six FIM 880s fill the Reimyo’s rear panel.)

What’s that? Speak up, I’m an audiophile

With its peculiarly honeyed timbre and keen leading edge, the clarinet tells the story. Any Terrain Tumultuous, with Canadian clarinetist Franšois Houle and American pianist Marilyn Crispell, recorded by Ted Orr in 1995, is a revealing recording [Red Toucan RT 9305-2]. Houle and Crispell are consummate musicians; if imaginative improvisatory interaction is to your taste, you, too, should find it thoroughly engaging. With the P&Ps in place, Crispell’s piano and Houle’s clarinet were texturally spot-on, the clarinet as described, the full-bodied piano no less lifelike, its decays a wispy treat. When I listened carefully, I could actually hear beating overtones. With the P&Ps removed, the merest hint of grain interfered, which is a simplistic way of putting what probably amounts to a bundle of phenomena. A diminution of resolution and transparency, however minute, erodes what we look for in a good sound system -- and this was, prior to the P&Ps’ installation, a very good sound system. My fellow obsessive-compulsives will surely agree: it’s difficult to know if something’s improvable until it’s improved.

Another clarinet, the Italian Daniele D’Argaro’s, confirmed the P&Ps’ contribution to heightened resolution. The disc is Strandjutters, with Ernst Glerum, double bass, and Han Bennink, drums and percussion, recorded by Christian Heck in the Loft, K÷ln, Germany, in 2002 [hatOLOGY 590]. I used this very nicely recorded CD in my Nordost Valkyrja report. Lifelike recordings in which several textures stand out in clear relief are invaluable listening tools.

Oliver Knussen’s Horn Concerto, with Barry Tuckwell, horn, and the composer conducting the London Sinfonietta [CD, Deutsche Grammophon 474 322-2], permitted me to hear much the same thing, in this case with respect to a broad range of color and subtle dynamics. Convincing orchestral soundstaging in recordings in which a solo instrument dominates the discourse has always been a challenge. Again, that minute uptick in resolution improved the view, as it did with a recording I played for its joyous clamor: Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, Martin Pearlman conducting the Boston Baroque in a great performance [CD, Telarc CD-80594]. Were I still an apartment-dweller, I’d have reported that I played the disc lease-break loud primarily to decide whether the canned festivities would profit from the P&Ps’ presence at a stadium-filling volume. They did.

And now, for your evening’s pleasure, a little hearsay

In answer to a question, CryoTweaks’ Mike Garner explains his P&P’s Bybee aspect by way of Jack Bybee’s website:

"As individual electrons interact with the conductive materials of cables and other components, very low-level (quantum) noise is generated. As quantum noise energy accumulates in the propagating signal, low-level details pertaining to ambience, soundstage, timbre, dynamics, color fidelity and picture resolution are obscured, resulting in dull and lifeless presentation.

"Bybee Quantum Purifiers operate on a quantum mechanical level to meter the flow of electrons that make up the signal. Current flow within the Quantum Purifier is unimpeded and ideal. Think of the unencumbered flow of traffic on a lightly traveled highway. During transit through the purifier, quantum noise energy is stripped off the electrons, streamlining their flow through ensuing conductors. Unwanted quantum noise energy dissipates as heat within the purifier rather than emerging as a layer of contamination residue over the audio/video information."

As to what the Bybee Purifier actually does, Garner conjectures a "frequency-specific notch filter that operates in the RF range. Jack has found a . . . type of noise, and his device reduces it." If Garner’s right, this specificity perhaps explains why I didn’t need to remove my UHD Links in order to hear what the P&Ps accomplished. Walker’s Links, the Reimyo line conditioner’s QRT, and the ameliorative aspects of the Reimyo’s dedicated Harmonix power cords perhaps address different aspects of noise or, again perhaps, complement each other’s roles.

On, then, to the why of cryogenics: Mike Garner believes that the deep-freezing process "works to minimize the crystal boundaries within the metal structure. These boundaries tend to act like miniature diodes, causing distortion and noise issues with audio cables." He goes on to suggest that "cryogenics attenuates mechanical resonances by reducing residual stress. Cryogenic treatment of copper welding electrodes, for example, has been shown to improve their current capability and extend their working life."

Mickey Mantle: "If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself." Who wouldn’t like to live longer if he knew he’d be in good enough shape? An interesting article on cryogenics concludes: "Cryogenic treatment is not nuts. The windows on the space shuttle are treated with liquid neon. We have a company here in North America [selling treated] fishing line. Apparently it holds the load better. A friend of mine in Boston has a big cryogenic facility and one female customer sends in cheap pantyhose for treatment because they run less."

We end with an orchestra mostly wearing boxer shorts

That empty pantyhose can run at all is what I call a marvel -- spooky, too, but no less so than trying to get a handle on why this stuff works. As I heard it, CryoTweaks’ Plug and Play Speaker Purifiers with Bybee Inside operate as another effective barrier keeping out undesirable additives. Still, I needed one last comparison, P&Ps in, P&Ps out, to satisfy whatever phantom misgiving I may have harbored in offering the reader an unencumbered recommendation.

I received for review a few days ago a two-disc set of Robert Schumann’s four symphonies, Daniel Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin [Teldec 2564 61179-2] -- one of the world’s truly old orchestras, which, until the wall came down, operated in something like isolation from western European culture. In short, the ensemble has a distinctive, rather old-world, entirely attractive sound. I’ve mentioned the tweaks in my system that deal with noise. I’ve also tried to say that my P&P in/out sessions have been in no way Oh-my-God! startling. For example, I listened a few times to the fourth symphony’s finale before pulling the P&Ps and listening again, then reinstalled the P&Ps and listened again, then.... Life in the sweet spot isn’t all milk and honey.

Anyway, I’ve not misled myself or, finally, you. The difference I heard was in the strings. The issue seemed to be one of resolution -- slight, to be sure, yet perceptible. Hey, we’re audiophiles! Any perceptible difference for the better is a critical difference for the better. Schumann’s string writing is characteristically dense. With the P&Ps in, my mind’s eye saw deeper into the beautiful textures.

Heightened resolution enlivens. No doubt about it.

…Mike Silverton

CryoTweaks Plug and Play Speaker Purifier with Bybee Inside
Price: $149 USD/pair.
Warranty: Five years parts and labor.

Los Angeles, California
Phone: (626) 826-9819

E-mail: info@CryoTweaks.com
Website: www.CryoTweaks.com


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