RMAF 2018: DeVore Fidelity Orangutan Reference loudspeaker system

We’ve all lost something that we swore was just there ”a second ago.”

You know what I’m talking about, you put down your phone, or a book, a CD or tape… you turn around to take your coat off or just to sit down and poof it’s gone. Vanished into thin air.

Now, a pen, your wallet or a pair of glasses suddenly not being there is more palatable to our delicate psyches because of their size. These are all small items and are easy to misplace with our modern, cluttered minds and the thousand myriad things racing through them in this hyper-information age at any given micro-second. We’re a distracted lot at the best of times, so when I’m standing in the middle of our living room with a blank stare on my face as I try to remember what the hell did I do with my phone? this is not surprising, nor is it uncommon.

But what if we were talking about something much larger, like say a four-box reference loudspeaker system going missing?

Now, that’s something big and for something of that size and weight to leave one’s periphery, to vanish from the room, that’s something bordering less on mental distraction and more on the dark arts. I say this because I was sitting in the DeVore Fidelity room on Saturday afternoon at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and while I was concentrating on listening to Brooklyn speaker designer John DeVore’s new Orangutan Reference system they completely disappeared.

Some talk of pinpoint imaging, and of course others – myself included – lean on that John Woo (Hard Boiled) standby descriptor of saying the music sounded as if “in the room.” Timber, tone, vocal inflection, warmth, resolution – theses are all used to describe how well a high-fidelity system is propositioning you. And I would say the this new four-box design by DeVore does all of these things so well that I would have gladly taken them home with me, if only I could find them. Because I’ll be damned if I can tell you that any music was coming directly out of those speakers as far as my mind was concerned.

There were performers, singers, bass players, trumpeters, sax mavens, piano hammers striking strings with ridiculous weight and percussion syncopationists occupying those deep pockets of darkness between the lowest octaves rock steady as rain on a roof. But, it was all happening everywhere in that room other than directionally from the two .75-inch super-tweeters, two one-inch silk-dome tweeters or two 10-inch paper woofers pointing at my seating position from the gorgeous walnut cabinets of the matching pairs of stereo imagers DeVore is calling the O/Ref/A and the O/Ref/B.

The man himself, John DeVore.

The O/Ref/A features a 10-inch paper-cone woofer in a cast and machined bronze spider basket with a newly-designed AlNiCo-magnet woofer motor featuring copper Faraday Rings above and below the pole gap, a titanium former and machined-bronze phase plug offering “…better linearity, increased sensitivity and an order of magnitude lower distortion throughout the frequency range” over his previous design according to DeVore. The one-inch silk-dome tweeter is loaded by a cast and machined bronze horn and has a new rare-earth magnet and underhung voice coil. Supertweeter? Yeah. It’s .75-inch, is comprised of a silk dome and is also loaded via a cast and machined bronze horn and sports the new rare-earth magnet. A pair of solid machine bronze port tubes are “decoupled” from the cabinet and look like a pair of Ferrari 275 GTB exhaust pipes out the deep-vee shaped rear panel of the Ref/A.

The O/Ref/B has a 10-inch paper woofer which is specially treated for increased strength and is equipped with an oversized voice coil, copper Faraday Rings above and below the pole gap and a titanium former and machined-bronze phase plug as well. The woofer cabinet is reflex-loaded to below 20Hz in-cabinet with no equalization and has a custom-designed 300-watt, Class A/B amp with a linear power supply. Listed bandwidth of the combined unit is 16Hz~45kHz, impedance is a tube-friendly 12 Ohm/98dB efficiency and it has a 20Hz/35Hz user-adjustable EQ to tailor response in-room.

DeVore curated a formidable signal chain from source to his new transducers and I listened to both the analog and digital front ends during my two times in the room and both were equally impressive. The analog rig consisted of a Brinkmann turntable and two tonearms (one Mono, one Stereo), Air Tight ATM-211 tube mono blocks with Air Tight ATC-5 Line/Phono preamplifier, with the digital domain being exquisitely translated by a totaldac, here of the d1-tube-mk2 DAC variety.

In the end this was a showstopper of a room where time and space seemed at odds and had me low-whistling a few times at what I was hearing and while this new system is looking to come in price-wise well into the five-digit range ($80K-ish according to DeVore) considering the years of R&D, retooling, custom fabrication and relationship-building with new parts suppliers this leap from the roughly $15K ceiling of his previous models seems not unjustified.

All I can say, is "John. If you do ever find those speakers and would like to send me a set, you have my address.”

DeVore Fidelity
63 Flushing Ave., Unit 259 Bld 280, Ste 510 Brooklyn, NY 11205

volvic's picture

Afraid if I do I might get really depressed given their retail price. BTW the finish looks to be impeccable.

Everclear's picture

There is a Binaural video of these DeVore reference speakers posted on Darko Audio website ..........

Sue's picture

I watched the video at Darko Audio. That's a whole lot of speaker. I doubt my listening room (15x21) would be large enough for those but I'll take a pair anyway.

Rafe Arnott's picture
I'm not sure how much space they'd really need, as the hotel room wasn't huge by any stretch.

I'll be doing a Q&A with DeVore in the near future on this system and get into specifics on what he thinks their requirements would be regarding placement/space needs for them to sound best.

Suffice to say, he has truly pushed the boundaries of what I've what I've personally experienced as far as wide-baffle, wood-construction loudspeaker design goes. YG is the only other manufacturer I can think of, off the top of my head and no coffee yet, that offers a four-box option.

Everclear's picture

The new Kii Three with BXT woofers, also offers 4-box option ....... Another example :-) ..........

PeterMusic's picture

I'm sure you'd agree that your perception of the sound is much more important than the 4-box configuration. But...isn't any dual subwoofer setup a comparable 4-box solution? If you insist on a single manufacturer, the B&W 800 series with their matched and automatically integrated DB subwoofers would be another example.

Everclear's picture

For a million dollars, Wilson Audio also offers WAMM speakers with Thor's Hammer sub-woofers ........ Another 4-box option :-) ..........

Rafe Arnott's picture
The sound is always going to be key IMHO, regardless of setup, and while there are several companies which offer 'sub-woofer' options, no one else is doing that in the particular fashion which DeVore is. That is why I specifically said "as far as wide-baffle, wood-construction loudspeaker design goes."
Anton's picture

Stupid 'Mega Millions' and 'Power Ball' are not cooperating with my plan to get a pair.

They even look gorgeous.