The Old Bamboo
With a factory in Brooklyn's Navy Yard, John DeVore's DeVore Fidelity is almost a neighbor, and he is that rare bird, an American speaker manufacturer who makes his own cabinets. Or rather, he benefits from leasing space to a high-end wood-working company. New at CES was the Gibbon 3XL (around $3500/pair), an impressive sounding two-way standmount that, unusually, features a cabinet made from bamboo. Bamboo is "green," in that it is a fast-growing renewable material, yet its combination of stiffness and damping makes it very suitable for use in speaker cabinets.
The Gibbon 3XL uses the same tweeter as DeVore's Silverback Reference flagship, married to a 5" treatedpaper-cone woofer. Frequency range is said to be 46Hz40kHz and sensitivity a high 90dB/W/m.
The 2009 CES reminded me of the mid-1980s shows in that the late Stevie Ray Vaughan's Couldn't Stand the Weather LP was being used as dem material in many rooms. I auditioned the Gibbon 3XLS with "Tin Pan Alley" from this album, played on a Spiral Groove SG2 turntable fitted with an EMT arm and cartridge. Amplification was all-NagraVPS phono stage, PLP preamp, VPA tube monoblocksand the sound was unforced, with top-octave ease and space galore on the snare-drum rimshots. Cymbals in particular had superbly natural texture and HF extension.