DeVore Fidelity Silverbacks and Gibbons
Anton, of NFS Audio, was recommending a few rooms to me. "Have you heard the DeVore stuff?" he asked.
I laughed. "Yes, I have. I'm using the little gibbon 3s at home."
A look of surprise mixed with admiration came over Anton's face. He grabbed my hand and shook it heartily: "Good choice."
A moment later, John DeVore walked into the suite. "This place is great, isn't it?"
"Yes," I agreed. "We were just talking about you. Anton was saying that you're the only thing at this show almost as tall as his speakers."
John walked me back to his room, and sat me down in front of his Silverback References ($15,000/pair). He cued up a Calexico track, and, before the needle even hit the record, it seemed, I was enveloped by lush, warm sound. Like the longest hug.
I sat there, meaning to take notes, but incapable of straight thought. I looked over to John and mouthed the word, "Awesome." I couldn't help from nodding my head, tapping my foot along with the thunderous bass drum. Dancing guitar riffs came forth from the left and then the right. Horns called out from the center. Impact, immediacy, drive, beautiful delineation of instruments in a very real space.
John lifts the needle to change the record. Drops the needle down and, instantly, fingers snap. I've been suddenly transported to a room, somewhere in the south, I imagine, and Elvis is singing:
Never knew how much I loved you
Never knew how much I cared
When you put your arms around me
I get a feeling that's so hard to bear
The Silverback speakers seem to take me to the music. I'm starting to feel feverish myself.
John and I walk over to a second room, where he's got his smaller gibbon Super 8s ($4000/pair). Again, he cues up the Calexico track. And, again, I feel instantly overcome by the music. Compared with the larger Silverbacks, I didn't get the sense that I was missing anything in terms of emotional involvement, detail, or fine separation of instruments. If anything, at all, only just a bit of size in the horns was sacrificed.
"These speakers were made to sound very much like the Silverbacks, only in a smaller space," John explains.
It seems, to me, that they've achieved their goal.
Finally, John and I walk into his last room, where he's got the gibbon 3s ($1950/pair) matched with a Leben CS-600 integrated amplifier, spinning discs in an original Sony Playstation. We play a track from Mikey Fremer's Continuum Caliburn demo disc.
"How have people been responding to the Sony Playstation?" I ask.
"Everyone's been really impressed. They're like, 'This can't be!' They go looking around for a DAC somewhere."
Kevin Carter of K&K Audio and Art Audio is in the room with us. He listens, looks at the Playstation, stands and exclaims, "This sounds really great. I'm going to go home and cry now."