Tone Imports—DeVore Fidelity—Well Tempered Lab—Box Furniture Co

I hope this doesn’t gross you out or make you cancel your subscription or anything, but SEXY (in all caps) is the first word that came to my mind when I walked into the room hosted by Tone Imports, DeVore Fidelity, Well Tempered Labs, and the Box Furniture Co.

There was a lot of pretty stuff to look at and listen to in here. Amplification was from LM Audio: the big and beautiful LM-219IA 845 dual-mono, single-ended integrated ($7995); LM-218IA 845 standard single-ended integrated ($3495); LM-216IA KT88 push-pull integrated ($1850); LM-211IA EL34 push-pull integrated ($1650); and the super cute Mini 218 EL84 single-ended integrated ($800).

Source components included the Well Tempered Lab GTA turntable and tonearm ($3850) with an EMT TSD-15 moving-coil cartridge ($1950), running through an Auditorium 23 Hommage T2 step-up transformer ($4995) and AcousticPlan PhonoMaster SE tube phono preamp ($4495); and an AcousticPlan DriveMaster CD transport ($4995) working with an AcousticPlan DigiMaster tube USB DAC ($4995), and AcousticPlan Master PSU upgrade power supply ($2500).

Cables were all Auditorium 23 ($795/1m pair interconnects; $980/2.5m pair speaker cables) and racks and supports were all provided by the Box Furniture Co. (S3S single-wide, three-shelf, sapele: $2300; S3A single-wide, three-shelf, anigre: $2550; A1A amp stand, anigre: $825).

DeVore Fidelity had three loudspeakers on hand: the Gibbon 3XL ($3700/pair), Orangutan O/96 ($12,000/pair), and a preproduction model of the Gibbon 88 ($5000/pair, estimated). The Gibbon 88, shown here in a rich and beautiful mink finish, will replace John DeVore’s popular Super 8. Most significantly, the new design “incorporates the first fundamental redesign of the DeVore Fidelity signature driver, versions of which have appeared in the Gibbon series and the Silverback Reference as far back as 2001.”

The new driver is a 7” paper-cone, coupled to a more powerful motor system. The speaker’s cabinet is slightly larger than that of the Super 8, and is made from solid bamboo. DeVore says the result is “more bass power and slam, greater weight, and increased dynamic scale” without any compromise to the Super 8’s delicacy or musicality.

I sat down for a bit and heard a smooth, confident, and effortless sound, with imaging that didn’t so much thrill as captivate, entrance, and allure. Easy on the eyes and the ears.

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