DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96 loudspeaker Page 2

That last recording, which sounds realistically direct through most good systems, provided a perfect example: The DeVores allowed the fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin, Dobro, and upright bass to sound tactile and well textured. And the speakers' overall tonal balance was superb: The bass had just the right amount of weight and timbral richness, while Grisman's mandolin—especially in the instrumental "Waiting on Vassar"—had a fine, woody timbre and percussive attack. I've heard all of the musicians on this record in live settings on countless occasions, and the DeVores honored their sounds and their styles.

Singing voices were clear and uncolored, if timbrally a shade richer than the mean. Dame Janet Baker's voice in Elgar's Sea Pictures, with Sir John Barbirolli and the London Symphony Orchestra (LP, EMI ASD 655), had its usual mettle, while the performance of fellow Brit Peter Pears in the definitive recording of Britten's Billy Budd, with the composer conducting the LSO (LP, London OSA 1390), was realistically warm and supple, with no hint of the slight cupped-hands coloration that dogs it through my Audio Notes. Commendably, the O/96 didn't break up under stress quite as soon as the AN-E/SPe HE, making for smoother, more pleasant listening to opera and very loud choral music.

Electric music was also well served by the DeVores. Led Zeppelin's drummer, the late John Bonham, sounded awesome: The O/96 communicated the force of his playing better than any non-horn loudspeaker with a 1" tweeter and a high-Q woofer has a right to. Bonham's entrance in Led Zep's "In My Time of Dying," from Physical Graffiti (LP, Swan Song/Classic SS 2 200 1198), was especially impactful—and, cliché though it may be, it startled the hell out of my dog. (I'm listening to it again as I write this, and she's moved to the next room, still barking.)

Among the amplifiers I own, the 20Wpc Shindo Haut-Brion served the O/96 better than Shindo's 25Wpc Corton Charlemagne, pushing from it a tighter, more rhythmically engaging sound. But the 4Wpc Fi 421A also loved the DeVores, in a similarly distinctive way. The Fi-DeVore combination wasn't the last word in center-fill detail, but it produced the best and biggest sense of scale I heard from the O/96s. While Jascha Heifetz's violin, in his rightly famous recording of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with the New Symphony Orchestra of London conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent (LP, RCA Living Stereo LSC 2603), sounded a bit more recessed than usual, the Fi and DeVores gave an engagingly good sense of the orchestra's size in every dimension. (By contrast, the Quad ESLs do a somewhat better job of allowing solo instruments—and voices, too, as in the above-mentioned Sea Pictures—to stand proud of the rest of the mix.) Subtle details, from the "sound" of the room to the occasional foot-tap by, I assume, Heifetz or Sargent, were clear. Musical sounds through this combination were also wonderfully physical, as with the many pizzicato notes carried by the cellos about a third of the way through the Bruch. Harp arpeggios blossomed richly, and overall tonal balance was spot-on perfect. And, surprisingly, the modestly powered Fi never seemed to run out of steam in a harsh way; it just ceased to get louder at certain points.

Among the performance characteristics that are as difficult to describe as to quantify—and that, coincidentally, rise above others in distinguishing vintage from contemporary products—is a loudspeaker's ability to convey the substance of musical sound, rather than suggesting a pale if attractively pellucid sonic outline. The DeVore O/96 hit the latter goal more handily than most modern loudspeakers I've heard, and if it didn't go as far down that road as, say, a Western Electric 755A, the DeVore was nonetheless very satisfying. There's a great new reissue of Glenn Gould's recording, with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, of Beethoven's Piano Concerto 4 (LP, Columbia/Impex MS 6262); the O/96s played it with an exceptional sense of sonic flesh and blood. Just as remarkably, the Orangutans did that while conveying far more of the recording space around and behind the instruments than other speakers no less substantial. That, I think, will be heard by some as the O/96's unique strength.

The most inviting comparison was that between the O/96 and the outwardly similar Audio Note AN-E—inviting but not entirely straightforward, as the two speakers load the room in such different ways. The Audio Notes, with their corner placements, use the room corners for a bit of gain and, more significant, to enhance their own sense of scale: early reflections reach the ear in a manner that ultimately suggests size, and the effect can be lovely. On the other hand, the DeVores, which are notably more sensitive than the AN-Es, did seem to reach a little further into the bottom octaves (although a dip in the Audio Notes' "richness region" makes them sound as though they have punchier bass with some recordings). It also seemed that the DeVores' response was flatter, overall, in my room—and their ability to convey image specificity and stage depth with stereo recordings was markedly superior.

Conclusions
Although it sells for less than any of Stereophile's Class A full-range loudspeakers—and far less than most of them—the DeVore Orangutan O/96 is an expensive loudspeaker by the standards of average consumers and audio perfectionists alike. Given that the DeVore Fidelity line, as a whole, leans to the more affordable side of the fence, I wondered about the level of value provided by their newest entry. According to John DeVore, the O/96's bass driver is particularly expensive to make, as is the speaker's Brooklyn-built enclosure. "A speaker is a major decorative item in a system," he adds, "and, with these, I felt it was more important to achieve beauty than, say, for an amp. And getting end-grain plywood to look like glass is not easy!"

My own view is simpler: The O/96 is neither a budget version nor a luxury version of anything else. It's an extremely well-crafted loudspeaker that achieves a combination of strengths that is, as far as I know, unique. The O/96 is distinctly easy to drive with low-power amplifiers, yet it's clearer, wider of bandwidth, and more spatially accomplished than most other high-sensitivity loudspeakers.

Colorful yet uncolored, the DeVore Orangutan O/96 is the loudspeaker many of us have been waiting for. Yes, an old Western Electric horn or even an Altec Valencia has more punch and drama, and a Quad ESL has even more clarity and nuance of texture and timbre. But the O/96 gives a lot of everything and sacrifices little of anything. I'm thoroughly, giddily impressed.

COMPANY INFO
DeVore Fidelity
Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., Unit 259
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 855-9999
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COMMENTS
bplexico's picture

Art - I enjoyed reading your review, not least because I am a happy owner of the DeVore O/96s. But beyond any need for validation that I may or may not have made the right choice a year ago, I have learned so much from your writings and along with Michael F, they re-kindled my interest in both analog and putting together a system that would satisfy me emotionally and allow me to really connect with my number one priority, music.

With the aid of a wonderful dealer in my area, who has spent an inordinate amount of time with me, allowing me to listen to a variety of systems, I have been able to acquire at last a truly satisfying setup. Oddly enough that system is composed of Shindo, Garrard, EMT, A23 and DeVore, go figure.

A belated thank you for sharing your passion.

Barr

mrplankton2u's picture

"Well balanced"? "Uncolored"?

To start with, 5 db of difference in sensitivity between published specification and measured response is pretty ridiculous for a pair of standmount 2 way speakers costing $12,000. If you can't produce a product that's a little closer to spec than that for that kind of money, then what else could one expect? 

For starters, one could expect a lousy power response. But to the technically educated, crossing over from a 10 inch woofer to a 1 inch soft dome tweeter was going to be pretty predictable. Interestingly, we're not told in this review or in specifications where the crossover point is. But the mess that is the off axis response betweenn 1.5 and 3khz is a pretty good indication.  This might explain the toe in fussing and limited window of accuracy beset upon the listening position. 

And I haven't gotten around to the pretty cabinet that rings like a cow bell...

 

John DeVore might be a great guy. I've never met him. But the tone of this review has me wondering how different it might have been if the "factory" wasn't down the road from those doing the reviewing and the relationship between reviewer and manufacturer of the product being reviewed was a little more "arm's length" - say, made in Taiwan or merry old England. This review reminds me of the $6000 dollar 60 watt tube amp whose volume control got excessively hot to the touch, yet still managed a "very highly recommended". And surprise, surprise - it's builder too was located in New York. Could this be a trend? Hint to budding niche high end audio entrepeneurs:

LOCATE YOUR BUSINESS IN NEW YORK AND INVITE CERTAIN AUDIO JOURNALISTS OUT FOR A DRINK NOW AND THEN....

John Atkinson's picture

mrplanton2u wrote:
the tone of this review has me wondering how different it might have been if the "factory" wasn't down the road from those doing the reviewing...

To address your comments in reverse order:

Art Dudley lives 220 miles from the DeVore factory, which is indeed real, despite your scare quotes.

Regarding your skepticism about the match between a 1" tweeter and a 10" woofer, I shared your skepticism unitl I auditioned the speaker - see my comments in the "Measurements" section of the review.

John DeVore addressed the matter of the O/96's sensitivity in his Manufacturer's Comment.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

However, (are you surprised - I'm sort of the critic in chief around here - someone has to be), John Devore's explanation about the published sensitivity isn't making any sense. True sensitivity isn't defined by electrical power dissipated. It is defined by the acoustic output typically measured at 1 meter at 1khz. In  more comprehensive testing regimes as you have sometimes done - the measured acoustic output is averaged over a span of frequencies to which the average human ear/brain have been found to be sensitive. This means that the output impedance of the device driving the loudspeaker under test is or should be irrelevent. If 2.83V (the widely accepted standard) of drive voltage is measured at the loudspeaker while the tone or sweep is being generated, you will obtain the correct sound pressure output of the device under test. If the source impedance is 50 ohms instead of .05 ohms, it really doesn't matter. When 2.83V is measured across the loudspeaker, you will get the correct specification output albeit with a much higher drive level voltage being necessary at the source to overcome internal losses. This is basic electrical engineering 101 and I would hope by now that Mr. DeVore has passed that technical milestone but his explanation doesn't appear to suggest that.

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
If 2.83V (the widely accepted standard) of drive voltage is measured at the loudspeaker while the tone or sweep is being generated, you will obtain the correct sound pressure output of the device under test.

Except that with a speaker like this, whose average impedance is greater than 8 ohms, 2.83V will be equivalent to less than 1W. John DeVore specifies his speaker at 1W input power rather than 2.83V input voltage, meaning that my measured sensitivity will be somewhat lower than his O/96's specification. Like you I think of loudspeakers as being voltage-driven devices, which is why I am consistent with using 2.83V as a drive level when measuring sensitivity, but this is a convenience as speakers are actually current-driven.

The source impedance of the amplifier becomes relevant when you are discussing the transfer of power from a source to a receiver, as in the olden days of telecommunication. Power transfer reaches a maximum when source and load impedance are the same.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

The sensitivity rating should be defined as acoustic power output vs applied voltage drive level. The efficiency rating should be defined as the acoustic power output vs. eletrical power consumed. The two are frequently confused because manufacturers love to use the one that makes their product look better - calling them both the sensitivity rating. Regardless, DeVore's explanation was a useless distraction. Speakers are supposed to be rated based on the actual signals applied - not what type of amplifier is being used. If you know what the current through load,, voltage around the load, and phase between the two is - that's all you need to know. The rest is BS fluff.

As for what this speaker actually measures, my guess given the impedance plot and sound output at 2.83V of drive is that it is a few decibels down from the 96db rating with one watt consumed at 1 meter's distance at 1khz. Still pathetic for a loudspeaker that costs six figures. That's one thing I would expect from an expensive speaker - close adherence to published specifications. Is that too much to ask? I guess so.

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
The sensitivity rating should be defined as acoustic power output vs applied voltage drive level.

Except that it isn't defined that way. It is sound pressure level  - pressure being the acoustic analog of voltage - on a specific axis at a specific distance for a given voltage input. See my discussion of sensitivity vs efficiency at www.stereophile.com/content/measuring-loudspeakers-part-one-page-3.

mrplankton2u wrote:
my guess given the impedance plot and sound output at 2.83V of drive is that it is a few decibels down from the 96db rating with one watt consumed at 1 meter's distance at 1khz. Still pathetic for a loudspeaker that costs six figures.

I disagree, Loudspeakers as sensitive as this DeVore Fidelity and that measure as well are relatively rare - see fig.1 at www.stereophile.com/content/measuring-loudspeakers-part-one-page-4 - and almost always expensive.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

I intentionally used the words "acoustic power" and "should" for a reason. But you apparently weren't perceptive enough to notice the intent to draw a distinction. Sensitivity in scientific pursuits typically involves a stimulus and measurement of response to stimulus. Applied force is considered the stimulus and reaction forces are considered the response. The laws of conservation of force and momentum govern.  Efficiency in scientific pursuits typically involves a process undertaken over time that measures total energy input to establish a given process versus the actual amount of energy consumed in the process itself over a specific period of time. There, the laws for conservation of energy govern.

This is why I used the term acoustic power because the important distinctions between the two concepts could be more easily illustrated. Your attempt to correct me actually points up your lack of understanding between these concepts. Sound pressure vs. wattage relates force to power and thus energy in a steady state system. Sound pressure to voltage relates force to force. As for your concern about the propriety of using the term acoustic power - that only points up your lack of familiarity with the subject since acoustic power is readily converted from sound pressure in free space - they are two sides of the same coin. Based on the above background in common scientific methods, the proper definition for sensitivity is applied force or voltage to sensed force or sound pressure. The power consumed (force acting through a distance) versus sound pressure (force) is thus not the appropriate definition for sensitivity - at least where proper sceintific method is concerned. Not everyone who reads the drivel of Stereophile is a novice or was born the day before yesterday. It's about time you recognize that fact and accord potential readers with the respect they deserve.

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
I intentionally used the words "acoustic power" and "should" for a reason. But you apparently weren't perceptive enough to notice the intent to draw a distinction.

It looks as if you didn't read the linked article. I was discussing "efficency," in terms of acoustic power output (in watts) for electrical power input (in watts); and "sensitivity," in terms of a sound pressure level at a specific place in space, conventionally expressed in dB against a  reference level, and input voltage. If you mix these up, as you are doing, wanting to specify sensitivity in output power against input voltage, you are committing what my physics professor used to call a "dimensional error": ie, there is a mismatch between the units on either side of the statement.

mrplankton2u wrote:
As for your concern about the propriety of using the term acoustic power - that only points up your lack of familiarity with the subject since acoustic power is readily converted from sound pressure in free space - they are two sides of the same coin.

Yes they are two sides of the coin but that doesn't mean that they are "readily converted." You seem to be disregarding the fact that a loudspeaker is not an omnidirectional radiator at all frequencies but instead has a directivity that varies with frequency. You can't, therefore, assess a loudspeaker's acoustic output power by looking at what happens at just one point in space.

Look, there are four measurements you can make: input voltage; input power; output sound pressure level at a specific place in space; sound power output. Examining output power against input power gives you the efficiency; examining output spl for input voltage gives you the sensivitivity. Three of these parameters are readily measurable: input voltage and power, and spl. One, output sound power is not. To measure output power, you have to integrate the spl readings over the entire solid angle into which the speaker is radiating, which means making a large number of measurements over the surface of that solid angle in an anechoic chamber. Or you use a true maximally reverberant room, which is rare and expensive.

So if you are truly interested in efficiency, you have a long and complicated task ahead of you. But efficiency is not what anyone apart from you is interested in. The underlying question is: How loud does this speaker play for a given input voltage? And the voltage sensitivity, which is straightforward to measure, gives you an answer to that question.

And you keep referring to the DeVore's problematic dispersion, without grasping the point that what John DeVore appears to have done is to balance the anomalies in the O/96's on-axis response against those in the dispersion, the result being that the power response conforms to one of Floyd Toole's criteria for good sound quality, that it be smooth and gently sloping down with frequency. You get an idea of this from the spatially averaged in-room responses published in this review. Above the region dominated by boundary effects and low-frequency room modes, the DeVore O/96's in-room response is commendably smooth and even and gently slopes down with increasing frequency.

I suggest you actually listen to these speakers before passing further comment on their sound quality.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

"I suggest you actually listen to these speakers before passing further comment on their sound quality."

So much for measurements meaning anything or should I say the "interpretation" of the measurements? If every speaker is just going to be praised left and right and the flaws ignored then lets just STOP with the measurements and pile on the praise!  Glory Hallelujah!!! Gets out ur rekorddds and tube amps and full range 15 inch speaker in a huge box and let ur ears have a blast!!!!!!

Glotz's picture

You have no idea whether it's worth $12k or not.

Lots of offensive, shitty attitudes coming from multiple people who wish they owned their own magazine.

JohnnyR's picture

......it's not worth $12,000 simply from reading what drivers are in it and the box construction and layout, then the measureed response and panel vibrations. A flawed design from the beginning with very little thought put into the final result other than the price tag. Minimum effort for maximum profit. Plenty of better speakers out there for less money.

Sorry but I don't want my own magazine , I just want some truth in the ones out here already.

MVBC's picture

Here is a European example with high quality drivers:

http://www.toutlehautparleur.com/enceintes-en-kit-c-153/davis-acoustics-klarence.html

Roughly $2,000 a pair. Have a professional do the enclosure for you and you're done for $3,500 max. $12k for those De Vore is simply outrageous. 

Audio Legend's picture

You did recommend a flawed product. While I do not appreciate the tone of some of the posters, the facts are pretty clear, and actually this conclusion is drawn from your very own words:

"DeVore has accepted the inevitiblility of the promblems caused by the o/96's physical concept...."

Devore does, but should the buyer for the handsome sum of $12,000? What speaker desinger starts with a flawed concept?????

You go on to say:

"Even though I knew about the low treble resonoance and lively enclosure, these problems were considerably less audible than I was expecting."

You did not say INAUDIBLE, but LESS audible.

It really is stunning. I really don't know how it serve the reader to recommend a clearlyflawed product.

JohnnyR's picture

It really is stunning. I really don't know how it serve the reader to recommend a clearlyflawed product.

It DOESN'T !!!! It's all about "reviewing" a FLAWED product in such a way as to not insult the designer ,yet convey to the reader that "Hey, this isn't so bad after all, so just buy it and try it out"  That the reader could buy a MUCH better speaker for FAR less money goes without saying.

mrplankton2u's picture

Yes it is stunning that a product could be designed that violates fundamental best practice design principles resulting in inferior performance - yet still receives a "recommendation" from the reviewing "authority".

Most novices in the speaker design field (read any DIY speaker website) know that you don't operate a loudspeaker transducer outside its effective frequency operating range if you want a good final result. This is so basic that it truly is stunning to think a professional in the speaker building business would knowingly violate such a principle without any apparent or perceived benefit. Operate a sizeable woofer into the low treble and you have a serious reduction in response off axis. You also run a greater risk of producing cone breakup and distortion that IS audible. Run a tweeter too low in frequency and you wind up with a serious increase in distortion due to over excursion with the possibility of overheating and damage at high sound pressure levels. Additionally, you experience an off axis response flare from the beaming woofer to the wide dispersion tweeter. 

In other words - IT'S ALL WRONG. STUNNINGLY WRONG, until of course the writers of Stereophile step in to tell us that it isn't so bad. So what's next on the horizon Stereophile? Are you going to try to convince your readers that the next beautifully stained and clear coated speaker whose enclosure is made of 1/4" pine plywood walls that ring like a siren isn't such a bad idea as long as you put cotton in your ears when listening? Yes folks, this is stunning but sadly, not that unusual for a lot of audio related trade magazines today.

Art Dudley's picture

Mr. Plankton, if the tone of my review strikes you as overly reverential toward the product's maker, that's your right; I could declare, truthfully, that I don't allow those sorts of things to influence the content of my reviews, but I suspect that nothing could change your mind on that point -- you're obviously having too much fun in the sty you've created for yourself here -- so why bother? I will, however, say that the maker of your favorite knob lives and works a few hours from here (I don't know for sure, as I've never been there, nor has Mr. Gibboni ever "taken me out for a drink"), and that I only get to Brooklyn (a 5-hour drive from my home upstate) about once or twice a year. I'm not sure how you explain my fondness for products whose manufacturers and representatives aren't located in New York State, nor my antipathy for some products made and repped by people with whom I *have* socialized -- but, again, you're free to hold and express whatever point of view suits the personna you wish to maintain in this forum.

BTW, the crossover frequency wasn't in the review because the manufacturer doesn't make it public, and I didn't comment on the discrepency between the published sensitivity spec and JA's measurement findings because I never see the latter until weeks after my reviews are written and submitted. And, although you don't seem to enjoy the experience, I'm grateful that you not only read my work in Stereophile but that you appear to follow it so assiduously! 

mrplankton2u's picture

[Gratuitous flame deleted by John Atkinson]

Mr. Dud, there is no other way to characterize it - you gave a product that was obviously defective a "very highly recommended rating". Whether you believe it was an intentional (by design) defect or not, it was in fact a defect. No audio amplifier intended for home or professional use is or even should be considered properly operational when the volume control becomes too hot to the touch during normal operation. Most "normal" reviewing entitites (if they were gracious) would return the product under such circumstances and allow the manufacturer to correct the defect. Other not so gracious reviewing entities would accurately desribe the product under review as having been defective and not award said product with a "very highly recommended" rating. When it comes to the consuming public, just as a singer/songwriter is often considered only as good as his/her latest or sometimes worst recording (in some industries, if the screwup is bad  enough, you don't get a second chance), when a reviewer blows up his credibility with a stupid review, it's very hard to rebuild it. And that is precisely where I place your professional credibility, sir - in the gutter with all the other exploded rubbish.

 

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
No audio amplifier intended for home or professional use is or even should be considered properly operational when the volume control becomes too hot to the touch during normal operation.

It appears you are fixated on this Rogers amplifier. The volume knob gets hot because the amplifier's design places the four output tubes close to the chassis metalwork, which over time heats up accordingly and passes that heat to the control knobs. Suboptimal design, but not a serious flaw, in my opinion.

And please note that "too hot to touch" is a projection on your part. Art's actual comment was "its volume control became uncomfortably warm to the touch during listening sessions longer than an hour." As a responsible reviewer, he noted that fact, which is how you found out about it, and moved on to the product's sound quality, which was sufficiently good for the Rogers amplifier to be recommended.

And again I must warn you to refrain from making personal comments. I will continue to delete such contents and if you continue, will delete your user account.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

While we're on the subject of "personal comments", perhaps you could refrain from calling posters here "trolls" or uttering abusive,, inflammatory phrases like "STFU".  And perhaps you could curtail writers like Dudley from talking about the "sty I made for myself". Your double standards are obvious and ridiculous for someone trying to appear so proper,objective, and impartial.

My standards of posting/communication etiquette mirror those of other participants in this particular forum or as some Stereophile writers would say, this "clusterfuck" of a forum..Before you cast stones, take a long hard look in the mirror.

smittyman's picture

Actually I was the first one to raise a comment about the volume control.  My point was, and still is, that I don't think the volume control, or any other user control for that matter, on any amplifier should overheat.  The fact that it is a $6K amp that we are talking about makes it even less acceptable.  Please note that I did not resort to hyperbole in my original post on this subject because, as you point out, Art Dudley did not say too hot to touch. 

I think a high priced product should be judged on all facets of its operation, not only the sound.  I seem to recall that Listener ran a couple articles about the importance of basic usability and it also seems to me this amp is right up against that criterion.  You are right that it was responsible reporting to identify the issue but I still don't think an amp that isn't designed well enough to disapate heat away from the controls should get such a 'warm' recommendation. 

John Atkinson's picture

smittyman wrote:
Actually I was the first one to raise a comment about the volume control.

Understood. I was referring to the fact that mrplankton2u took your ball and has now run with it in multiple threads.

smittyman wrote:
I don't think the volume control, or any other user control for that matter, on any amplifier should overheat.

Just to be clear, the control did not overheat, it simply got hot.

smittyman wrote:
I still don't think an amp that isn't designed well enough to disapate heat away from the controls should get such a 'warm' recommendation.

Okay, but I'd better quit now before the discussion gets too heated. :-)

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

 The crossover frequency COULD have been determined during the measurements but yeah , you know .....EFFORT.

The tweeter is a run of the mill tweeter nothing special regardless of the words used to fill up the report. A plastic cup glued onto the rear of the magnet is pretty much standard fare.

This design is nothing special. The Dynaco A25 used a 10 inch driver with a large tweeter YEARS ago. I hardly see $12,000 worth of parts or engineering in this thing. An unbraced cabinet and off the shelf drivers no doubt (Edit: I see that he "designed" them himself. Anyone with a checkbook can order custom drivers in large quantities). People can do way better building or buying a Zilch design using waveguides on the tweeter to match the off axis frequency response of the mid-woofer and end up with a MUCH better spaker at a MUCH lower price. Please stop saying it's a high sensitivity speaker. For less $12,000 you can buy  a bigger amp to drive a lesser sensitive speaker and still have money left over. This is just a not well thought out design, other than the seller making a LOT of money for not much thought put into the product.

mrplankton2u's picture

Atkinson suggests this speaker has a surprising level of balance for a 10 inch woofer crossed to a 1 inch soft dome. The off axis roller coaster response in the crossover region between these two drivers together with the fussy setup and restricted "good imaging" listening area say otherwise. And I agree, if one is going to try to design a two way with a large beaming woofer, a well designed and robust tweeter/waveguide combination are mandatory. Without a waveguide or horn, running a 1" soft dome low enough to pick up a 10 inch woofer is always going to be problematical. And it doesn't matter what tweeter you use - including Scan Speak's best..The spectral decay plot for this speaker also looks lousy - particularly in the (surprise!) crossover region. The contrasts in response curves and decay plot between this and the KEF speaker reviewed below it are night and day.

John Atkinson's picture

Quote:
Without a waveguide or horn, running a 1" soft dome low enough to pick up a 10 inch woofer is always going to be problematical.

If you look at the photos of the DeVore speaker, you can see that the tweeter is indeed acoustically loaded with a short waveguide.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

mrplankton2u's picture

Low frequency gain from that? Surely you jest. 

For a soft dome to reach down into the 1.5 khz range where one would need to cross over to a 10 inch woofer, you'd need a minimum of a 6 inch diameter waveguide. The low frequency gain afforded by the  "waveguide" used by DeVore isn't worth talking about. But the peak off axis and cancellation on axis at 3200hz attributable to this "waveguide" probably is worth talking about. Predictably, you didn't talk about it.

JohnnyR's picture

..............correct. I suggest you get up to date on speaker design by reading more in other forums where people actually build their own and have advanced the art of design way beyond what some manufacturers think is correct.

Regadude's picture

Hey Johnny and Plankton, how many speakers have you guys designed and sold? You two sound like the guy who drinks 6 beers watching a football game, and then states he could do better thatn the team's coach...

[Edit by JA} What is your expertise, your accomplishments in speaker design?

JohnnyR's picture

......want to go there?  Really?  Last chance. Lets just say I have designed quite a few well regarded speaker systems over the YEARS and I have put in the man hours of study and research REQUIRED to know what I am talking about. Lets see how much info you have supplied when it comes to telling us what is right or wrong with this design so far..........ZERO. Come back when you have something that is on TOPIC. Reading your insults and mindless banter is tiresome. Can you keep up or even suggest anything technical? So far I've seen NOTHING from you.

Regadude's picture

I do want to go there Johnny. You talk a good game, so lets get your credentials. Let's see if the talk and the walk match.

To answer your question: I would never buy these speakers. They are way overpriced. Although I have never heard them, I don't expect they would sound very good; certainly not 12000$ worth. The materials used are very ordinary. A plain rectangular MDF box is ok for a 500$ speaker. One can get real wood veneers in a much sturdier and nicer looking, sculpted cabinet for a lot less money. I don't like the looks of these speakers either. 

Having said that, I would not disparage someone for buying them. It's a free country, and people can spend their money on what pleases them. I would not act rudely towards the designer/seller of the equipment either. I won't get into techno babble with you, because I am not trying to prove to the world that these speakers aren't any good. I have my personal opinion about these speakers. I just don't see the point of repeating it ad nauseum, and trying to convince everyone that my opinion is a sacred thruth that should be shared by everyone else. 

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