Manufacturers' Comment

Editor: I would like to thank Art Dudley and John Atkinson for taking the time to get to know our Orangutan O/96 speakers. Art, you made me blush, calling my babies "classically beautiful" with a "lovely backside." I'm one proud papa.

These really were a clean-slate design for me, and it's heartening to know that this freshness came through in the listening. The goal was to bring a truly easy-to-drive, high-sensitivity speaker into a home without the tonal or aesthetic challenges that normally come with such a design. A nod to mid-century style with better-than-mid-century imaging. And I ask you, what nobler goal exists than to help Saint Bonham sound awesome?

I wanted to talk briefly about sensitivity ratings, because I've seen a lot of confusion around what is being measured and what the specification means.

As an example, Art found the O/96 to be highly sensitive, stating that the speaker "didn't break up under stress quite as soon as the AN-E/SPe HE"; and later, "the DeVores, which are notably more sensitive than the AN-Es . . ."

Art's reference speaker, the AN/E above, is rated at 98dB sensitivity. At the time of its review it was measured by JA, and he found it to be around 92.5dB. The Orangutan is rated at 96dB, but JA measured it at about 91dB. And yet Art heard the O/96 as notably more sensitive. How can this be?

The simple answer is that JA measures speakers using a solid-state amp. The classic solid-state amp will output half the wattage into twice the impedance. The AN/E is 4-6 ohms, while the O/96 is 7.5-12 ohms. JA's measurement amp is putting out nearly twice the amount of wattage into the AN/E as the O/96.

On top of this, tube amplifiers behave differently from solid-state amplifiers, most preferring higher impedances, and some even putting out more power into these higher impedances. This explains why the O/96s played louder in Art's room than the Audio Notes with the same amps, and why our sensitivity spec is higher than what JA measured.

The Orangutan was conceived as a low-powered-tube-friendly design from the beginning, and so the specifications were calculated on this type of system. (Our Gibbon and Silverback speakers have specifications calculated more in line with JA's approach.)

That is certainly not to say that the O/96 can be enjoyed only with a tube amp, as JA proves by listening to them through an amp that employs a circuit as far from a classic tube design as I can think of: a digital class-D switching amp. Even so, the combination allowed him to "appreciate the O/96's full-range, evenly balanced sound and superb clarity."—John DeVore, DeVore Fidelity

DeVore Fidelity
Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., Unit 259
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 855-9999

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
You apparently do like to make up the rules as you go along.

No, this has been our policy since 2005.

mrplankton2u wrote:
You will not post or upload User Content that includes personal or identifying information about another person without that person's explicit consent.

Okay, as you don't appear willing to give that consent, you will no longer be allowed to post to this website. I will ask Ariel Bitran to delete your user account.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

JohnnyR's picture

ANY excuse to delete people that don't agree with your personal outlook is the reason you are doing this Atkinson. Pathetic. You can't stand anyone criticising your precious opinons. So out they go. You are one sad person.

John Atkinson's picture

JohnnyR wrote:
You can't stand anyone criticising your precious opinons. So out they go.

Not at all. You will see that mrplankton2u's comments have not been deleted. However, he had a choice: either stop posting to the site, or, as he is, by his own admission, professionally involved in audio, add his affiliation to his comments and be allowed to present his opinions. He did neither. Instead, he argued that the rules were inappropriate and by extension didn't apply to him, leaving me with no option but to ban him. Arguing with the ref is never a winning strategy, please note.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile


JohnnyR's picture

You never liked the guy, never liked that he criticised you and your magazine, never liked that he showed you up as the buffoon you are........shall I go on?  Yeah yeah the rules and you are the "ref" Tell me just how many professionals have you banned over the years due to your "rules"?  Too many sadly, so all you are left with in your precious forums are dullards, morons, halfwits and the gullible. No wonder it's so empty in there. They all left for better places to talk about FACTS instead of magic bowls, cables, rocks and rainbow foil. So it goes. You must be proud of your "great" forum lmao.

King of the Dullards all hail the King!

Regadude's picture

Your argument about JA banning plankton, because he did not like him, is wrong. If JA banned everyone who was a nuisance and caused problems, you would have been gone a long time ago Johnny. 

All hail king troll!

pi's picture

Really don't get your arguments - there is any number of speakers (some of them commonly highly regarded), that measure much worse than this one - none of those has the excuse of being guided by the effort to make it tube friendly. For example:

Vandersteen Quatro $7,000: Significant on axis suckouts at 800Hz (very problematic) and 4000Hz, off axis response is not offsetting like it is for the Devores. In room response shows a major in room depression for the midrange and bass emphasis, which even careful placement does not remove.

Verity Sarastro $40,000: 10dB depression from 100-300Hz, uneven response above 1KHz, off axis dips at 3KHz. In room depression for the critical lower midrange/upper bas and with significant 10dB lower bass emphasis. Midrange driver of the verity is crossed over at a very high 4KHz.

MBL 101E MKII $70,500: Questionable concept (radial transmission), low impedance with significant phase roller coaster down to 3Ohm, so difficult to drive. Several resonance above 10KHz. Again, in room depression for the critical lower midrange/upper bass and with significant 10dB lower bass emphasis. 

In this context, it seem Devore HAS actually taken the effort to carefully balance the design to achieve reasonable measurement (e.g. balance off axis reponse with on-axis response), while providing a speaker that is extremely easy to drive and sufficiently compact to place in small NY style apartment.

So, JA seems spot on with his assessment.

JohnnyR's picture

The above speakers you mentioned obviously are flawed also and poorly designed regardless of them being"highly regarded" There are "reveiwers" that will give a turnip praise on some websites. Just because the OP review is about a speaker that doesn't have the same flaws , doesn't make it a $12,000 speaker nor a well designed one. We can always find something worse than what we are listening too to "compare". Doesn't make it worth buying though,

tmsorosk's picture

 Mr. A, please don't ban or delete mrplankton2u's comment's , he's the Archie Bunker of audio. Haven't had this many laughs in years. 


 Hot nobs, LOL.

Glotz's picture

I was really hoping half-way through the posts he would admit his obvious ignorance regarding the neccessity of multiple measuring points for an accurate picture of measurements.

Instead, he did turn into Archie... and showed his true self. 

I just hope he doesn't slap Edith around when he's mad. 

JohnnyR's picture

Multiple measuring points are a good way of getting an overall picture but can't turn a sows ear into a silk purse. $12,000 worth of speaker? Hardly.

 What's with the Archie Bunker reference one fo your heros?

ChrisS's picture

Mother Russia Broadcasting didn't allow you to watch "All In The Family" did they, JRusskie?

ChrisS's picture

Please check your messages, JRusskie. Siberia is calling.

ChrisS's picture

Being obnoxious and annoying = Being on topic?

tunesmith's picture

Wow! I've seen and heard the DeVore Orangutans at the past 2 Rocky Mountain shows and you are crazy if you think they are cheap. The finish is just stunning, easily among the best at the show at any price and the wood on the fronts is amazing. Sonically the DeVore room was definitely in the top three at the show both years, with all-around system prices that were much lower than the other top rooms.

John Atkinson even agrees with the manufacturers comments, and from what I heard at the show with a single 300B amp, I believe it too. The sound was huge, with amazing bass driven by 6 watts. Actually JA comments on the great bass with the same system here:

MVBC's picture

$12,000 for that? I have a bridge to sell too...

Dario's picture

A lot of interesting discussion here. The summary of the review would seem to be that this is a somewhat flawed yet surprisingly compelling loudspeaker. I read that it sounds great in spite of some shortcomings.

To those who are complaining about the price and suggesting their cost to build a similar speaker would be about 25% as much: ok. So don't buy this one and do build your own. This attitude shows a lack of business knowledge. I have no doubt somebody could build a similar speaker for less if you just account for the parts. How long did it take to get the knowledge? Where to do you do the work?

A real business needs to pay rent and utilities. And likely pay employees. And that's a retail price, which has to allow for a dealer to make some money. Saying you could make it for 25% of the retail cost is about right for a product that goes through a sales channel (rather than direct). But it's irrelevant - a company can charge whatever it wants for their products. The market decides the value.

I don't work in the industry and don't have formal training in electronics or acoustics. However I am an engineer and I like to see data. I'm also generally critical of Stereophile and other audio publications for praising the differences in equipment that can really make no significant difference (cables in general, power cables in particular). These difference all tend to disappear under measurement or controlled listening test. So what's the point?

I'm critical and skeptical of most audio equipment reviews. Speaker reviews are about the only thing I read. This review has the data, and nobody seems to be challenging it. I think it's fair to say the measurements are good enough to give an idea of how the speakers performs.

To those who are critical of the design, why don't you to listen to the speakers. Rather than sitting back and speculating about how terrible it must sound, maybe (just maybe) you'll have to ask yourself how it can sound as good as it does with that design. Or maybe your suspicions will be confirmed.

I'm impressed with how Stereophile has responded to and managed this discussion. For that you have earned an returning subscription. I'm not in the market for new speakers, but would go listen if there was a dealer near me.

Jceaves's picture

I'm always amazed at how emboldened and rude some people get on forums.

Most of us read this website or have a subscription because we want a perspective on audio products. In my case, I have low powered tube amplifiers and it really helps to read reviews on the few compatible speakers that might work with my system. It would never cross my mind to go all "freaky on yo' ass" (the understood yo', whether publisher or fellow reader), in response to any of the content in this magazine. I'm not here to argue. There are other audio forums for that.

The internet is a wonderful tool for communication, but too many people use it myopically, to vent anger and frustration. However, the individuals here who rant, spew anger, and insult others fully understand how lonely, or black and blue, they'd become if they were bold enough to behave this way face to face - because it's uncivil and extreme. To do it on the internet is just cowardly and sad.

Most of us listen to music for pleasure. It's fun and emotionally moving. That is the end game. The last thing I associate with enjoying music is enduring some bozo on a rant. I don't care how much any of you know about electronics or speaker design or anything at all. You aren't the star here. You aren't even on the playbill. I don't read Stereophile to get a look inside your caustic psyche. If you left, I'd be grateful.

I've heard the O/96's at shows and at Arizona HiFi, and I think that they are great speakers. The finish quality is amazing. I love their aesthetic. Are they worth $12k? That depends on taste, system, and listening room. The people who buy them think so. I'm glad that someone is writing about them because, I'm considering a purchase, and I live far away from a dealer. I hope that Art Dudley keeps the cheeky and fun tone to his thoughtful articles. This is all about pleasure, and he gets that.


Enter your username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.