"At some level," John explained, "we've been working on The Nines for about a year and a half."
The challenge of woofer placement was finally relieved when a breakthrough resulted in placing the additional woofer at the bottom of the speaker cabinet, firing downwards!
Still, John's work is not done. At the time of my visit, John was preparing to set this pair of Nines against a pair with rear-firing woofers. "Rear-firing woofers tend to make placement a bit more difficult, and that makes audiophiles nervous," John said.
"So, ultimately, you'd prefer to have the additional woofer facing downward?" I asked.
"For sales purposes, yes. It's definitely easier to sell a speaker with a downward-firing woofer. But if we find that The Nines sound better with rear-firing woofers, the result will be one of two things: We'll either work on a refinement of the downward-firing woofer, or we'll simply end up with rear-firing Nines.
"With the Super 8," John continued, "we found that the speaker sometimes editorialized the sound in big rooms; it couldn't really lock into the room. So, the goal for The Nines is to create a Super 8 that sounds full and can completely energize a big space.
"The Nines won't necessarily outperform the Super 8s in a room that's perfect for the Super 8s. But, in a room that's bigger or in a room that has serious bass issues, The Nines will sound more relaxed and confident, removing themselves from the picture completely."
We listened to a track from The Verve's "Northern Soul" and a couple of cuts from a John Zorn album. In an absolutely enormous room, with very high ceilings and very hard floors, the sound offered by these prototype Nines was excellent and inviting. If I didn't have to get back to the office, I could have listened for hours, I'm sure.
Over the last year, I've become familiar with DeVore Fidelity speakers, listening to the Super 8s at last year's CES, the original 8s at John's home, and the small Gibbon 3s in my own apartment. They all share a similar quality, which I quickly recognized again in The Nines - a superior grip on the music, an ability to really focus my attention into that magical space between the speakers, so that music is all that exists - an ultimate respect for the music. As far as I'm concerned, John DeVore has succeeded again with The Nines. I look forward to hearing a polished pair at January's CES!