Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bybee Quantum Signal Enhancer


Jack Bybee is no stranger to the world of hi-fi tweaking, and for that matter - controversy. The Quantum Signal Enhancer ("QSE") is different from his Slipstream Quantum Purifiers. The latter is used as in the signal / power chain, while the former can be used simply by proximity.


The QSE is a small device, looking like an acrylic board with it's underside lined with felt. It measures at 4 x 6 inches, and is just a 1/4 inch thick. The board has crystals embedded in it, and the device is claimed to reduce noise and hash.

The QSE can be placed under, or any cable that is carrying power or signal. It can also be placed on top of, or under your components. Cumulative use is possible, but I was only passed one piece to evaluate.


I tried placing the QSE in the various places suggested, including on top of components, over interconnects, and over AC plugs and AC cables. I noticed that the changes in sound take a while to settle, and the best effect was heard after leaving the QSE in place overnight.

The effect can be overwhelming - it did not like being on top of my DAC, placed directly over the power transformer. It did not seem to have much effect sitting in between my power cords plugged into my Acoustic Revive RTP-6 power distributor. No surprise there - the RTP-6 is already chock full of crystals. After some experimentation, the optimal place for the QSE in my system was on top of the power cord - just before entry into the component.

Sound Quality

The most striking effect of the QSE is on the midrange. Vocals are smoothened, and the tonal quality takes on a warmer and more analog like quality. From a staging perspective, the singer moves back a few rows. Bass lines are fuller and wetter, trading off some impact and tightness for bloom. High frequencies lose some aggression in favour of a gentler presentation. On violin pieces, there is less bite in favour of a sweeter and fuller tone.

How effective this works for you depends on your system and desired tonal balance. If you like a very focussed, incisive and more analytical presentation - probably not. If you find your system bright, dry and harsh - this is a god-send, and all for a very modest price. It takes the edge of aggressive recordings and gives the system a more organic presentation.


This is an interesting product that is far more potent than suggested by its small size and modest price tag. Used with a bit of careful thought, this could be a really useful weapon in your arsenal of tweaks.

The review sample was supplied by Mr. K.M. Poon of Horizon Acoustics.

Horizon Acoustics

144 Upper Bukit Timah Road
#03-15 Beauty World Centre
Singapore 588177
Tel : 91259149
Email :
Website :

Bybee Technologies

Website :


USD 119 per piece. Please contact Horizon Acoustics for local pricing in Singapore.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sony's Latest Goodies - NW-ZX2 High-Resolution Walkman, MDR-1ABT Headphones, PHA-1A Headphone DAC/amplifier

Sony announced a slew of new products at CES 2015. Here are some of the products announced that are likely to be of interest to readers.

Walkman NW-ZX2

This is the Walkman for the discerning Audiophile. Compared to the preceding flagship model (ZX1), the ZX2 gains DSD support (2.8 MHz and 5.6 MHz).


Memory Capacity
128 GB

External Memory

microSD (card not included)
Key Features

High-Resolution Audio playback, S-Master HX Digital Amplifier, DSEE HX (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), ClearAudio+, Clear Bass, Equaliser, VPT, one-touch listening via NFC and Bluetooth® connectivity
Compatible Audio Formats

MP3, WMA, FLAC (192KHz/24bit), Linear PCM (192KHz/24bit), WAV (192KHz/24bit), AAC-LC, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless (192KHz/24bit), AIFF (192KHz/24bit), DSD (2.8MHz, 5.6MHz)
Battery Life

MP3: 60 hours
Hi-Res Audio: 33 hours
Charging Time

Approx. 4.5 hours
Operating Platform

Android™ 4.2

4.0 inch FWVGA (854x480) TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile
Communication Mode

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n/a)
Supported Codec: SBC/LDAC
Included Applications
Media Go (for Windows), Content Transfer for Mac (for Mac OS)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
65.1 x 131.2 x 18.5 mm (excluding max. protruding section)
Approx. 235 g
USB cable, leather carrying case, Spacer (headphones not included)

MDR-1ABT Headphones

Hmm - closed headphones with wireless capability via Bluetooth. The specifications seem to suggest that there is a built in DAC too with a sampling rate of up to 96 kHz.


Closed Dynamic
Driver Unit
Φ40 mm, Dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
98 dB/mW (1kHz)
(when using the supplied headphone cable)
Frequency Response
4 Hz - 100,000Hz
(when using the supplied headphone cable)
20Hz - 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling) / 20Hz - 40,000Hz (LDAC 96kHz Sampling, 990kbps)
24Ω (1kHz) (when using the supplied headphone cable)
Power Handling Capacity
Gold-plated stereo mini plug
Weight (exclude cable)
Approx. 300g
Battery Life (continuous music playback time)
Music playback time: Max. 30 hours
Communication time: Max. 26 hours
Standby Time: Max. 200 hours
Supplied Accessories
Headphone cable (1.2m), Micro USB cable (0.5m), Carrying pouch
PHA-1A Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier

The PHA-1A handles PCM sampling up to 192kHz with a maximum of 24 bit resolution. It is quite light and compact, with it's built-in rechargeable battery good for 6 hours of use. 


Sampling Frequency/Bit
PCM: Max. 192kHz/24bit
Frequency Range
10 Hz – 100,000 Hz
8Ω – 600Ω
Maximum Output
Approx. 148mW + 148mW (8Ω, 10% distortion) Approx. 80mW + 80mW (32Ω, 1% distortion)
Approx. 16.4mW + 16.4mW (300Ω, 10% distortion)
Stereo mini jack (Only a 3-pole stereo mini plug is supported)
Computer/WALKMAN®/Xperia connecting port, iPhone/iPad/iPod® connecting port
ThBattery Type
Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Battery Life
Approx. 6 hours
Battery Charging Time
Approx. 2 hours
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Approx. 62 x 18.5 x 109 mm
Weight (Without Cord)
Approx. 145g
Supplied Accessories
Digital cable for WALKMAN®, Digital cable for Xperia®, Micro USB cable, Silicone belts, Protection sheet
Pricing and availability of the above products in Singapore will be announced at a later date. All photos are courtesy of Sony.