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" treated–paper-cone woofer. Frequency range is said to be 46Hz–40kHz 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-Nagra—VPS phono stage, PLP preamp, VPA tube monoblocks—and 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.

john devore's picture

I have no doubt we'll be seeing the use of green materials like bamboo more and more in the future, in products at all levels of price and performance.

rsgibran's picture

Interesting super long speaker cable runs. Did you note the type?

Frank's picture

I'm surprised nobody has used bamboo in the past - it's a really excellent material.

Matthew  Rotunda's picture

Sounded great, JD !

Yuri's picture

You all conveniently forget Escalante Fremont speakers, which were reviewed by this publication not so long ago. They are made of bamboo and sound they produce is wonderfull.

john devore's picture

Hi rsgibran, those cable are pretty long, mostly so they would reach the far speaker without causing a trip hazard. They are Auditorium 23 cables.Thanks Matt!Yuri, the Escalantes did indeed come in bamboo, and looked beautiful, but I believe this was a veneer. The 3XLs are solid bamboo.

Buddha's picture

Those babies sounded so good, you could tell just by entering the room. GREAT sense of space, killer detail. They are lustworthy, for sure!

rsgibran's picture

John thanks for the reply. Is that a starburst finish on the front baffle or camera flash bounce? Damn things are are drop dead gorgeous!

john devore's picture

Thanks Buddha! The front baffles of the 3XLs are a high-gloss polished black, you're seeing the reflection of the room on the finish in this shot.

Clarke Robinson's picture

Bamboo is indeed an amazing cabinet material. I use the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 in my system, they're solid bamboo (and about 1/4th the price of the 3XL)...cabinet resonance is almost nonexistent.

Joe's picture

John, On that note, any plans to make the Gibbons in a Bamboo finish?

john devore's picture

Well Joe, actually yes. We're working on a solid bamboo gibbon 3 now. We sized the stands (in the photo) to work with both the 3XL and the standard gibbon 3.

Brad Levy's picture

Ascend Acoustics has been making solid bamboo loudspeakers for over 2 years now featuring premium Seas components. google Sierra-1, many amazing reviews.

bhoward's picture

I like them so much, hearing them at Pitch Perfect Audio in San Francisco, that I sold my Totem 20th anniversay mini-monitor, The One, and bought a pair. I take possession this week, along with a Leben 300xs integrate amp that make them sing. Can't wait!

nunh's picture

I'd love to hear 'em - I'm beginning to get the feeling that many audiophiles are angry people bent on making a point or being number one or out-commenting one another - pointless.

ceedee's picture

I know I'm late to the party,but where in new york area can the 3XL be heard? Sounds by Singer may have been an option but they're in a 'transition' stage right now..