Bright Idea Leads to Advances in Sound Technology
Sound Logic: One man’s new technology may change electronics for decades to come. If you like good stereos, prepare your ears.
When Andy Tebbe heard what Bob Backert had done to his stereo, “it blew my head off.” It wasn’t long before he gave up his career as a corporate lawyer in Atlanta and moved back to Delaware to finance and oversee the patenting of Backert’s revolutionary invention. How revolutionary? The patent was approved in a year instead of the usual six or seven.
“Our lawyer was a licensed electrical engineer,” Tebbe says. “It took him years to understand what Bob had done.”
What Backert invented was a new kind of power supply. To put it simply, any electrical device with a plug has a power supply that allows it to run on direct current instead of the alternating current that comes from the socket. Backert’s power supply delivers that electricity precisely to increase the efficiency of capacitors—small battery-like cans in the electrical circuit that store energy—and improve performance overall. In the case of things like audio equipment, Backert’s power supply boosts sound quality enormously.
“When I heard my amp, I called him to say, ‘You’re making me so happy I’m crying—and dancing in my house,’” Tebbe says. “Suddenly, The Beatles were performing in my living room.”
After years in the amplifier repair business, Backert, who lives in Bucks County, Pa., began designing circuits in the 1980s. He had access to the best ideas in the industry, but his designs usually incorporated new ways of thinking generated by his desire for reliability and sound quality. Ideas were drawn out at breakfast on a napkin or a piece of scrap paper, inspired by regular prayer and a good rest the night before.
Under the badge of Backert Labs, he is now building preamplifiers to demonstrate his GreenForce power supply. The amps have received rave reviews in the audio press. Meanwhile, Tebbe is trying to interest major electronics manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung to adopt the GreenForce technology.
“I believe with all my heart that Bob’s invention will change the world,” Tebbe says. “It will make music sound better, TVs look better and the Hubble [Space] Telescope see better.”