I've heard them on 3 occasions. A brief listen at sound by singer driven by BAT tubes(I think). Not that impressed the first time around, but these may have been prototypes that were later revised. 2nd time round was at the Stereophile show was much more promising. This time around driven by Sim audio gear, which wouldn't be my first choice as John Devore tends to voice more with tubes in mind. 3rd time was at In Living Stereo driven by Shindo Electronics, Reimyo CD player. Very, very, very good, and with Vinyl, exquisite, so the devores definitely show you what's up front and like all speakers the amp/speaker interface is key. I would recommend INLS for a demo things tend to sound better in their demos to my ears than at Singer.
I wouldn't be afraid to match your gear with the Devores as I run Gibbon 8's(so I'm obviously a fan) with a Lavardin intergrated (SS) and get superb results. I think that low power SETs of 8-16 watts are marginal for these speakers in your size room. I have an almost identical room and recently moved away from my 8 watt SETS on the gibbons.
Very much worth a listen, but as you know lots of great speakers in that price range.
Prfont. Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I have set up a demo at Living Stereo and am looking forward to hearing the Silverbacks. I'd like to probe one of your comments a little more deeply--that there are a number of "great" speakers in that price range. Actually, I have found quite the opposite. I've been on a quest for over a year to find an attractive, floorstanding speaker that actually sounds good to no avail. What do you like out there in the sub $15 K range that I might not have heard? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I had the opportunity to hear them at In Living Stereo when I was visiting in NYC. They had just changed the placement over the weekend when I went in on a Friday. It was the same equipment set up that was mentioned by Prfont. Jonathan was great to deal with and as I waiting to pick something up a gentleman went by and went into the same room. I went back in with Jonathan to do some more listening. Turns out it was Dr. Jules Coleman. Had a great talk with them and the speakers were wonderful sounding. The only thing I had to get used to was the rumble when the subway went by.
I had posted a response and am not sure what happened to it. I had the fortune to hear quite a lot over the past few years and hear are a few standouts in my mind - these are mostly below your budget. Merlin MMX: have always loved the sound of these and am always eyeing them on Agon. Quad 988 really open my eyes to the legendary quad sound - they come with some caveats as to what type of material you listen to, but in my mind one of the most musical speakers out there. Avalon Arcus, and Dali M4s are 2 others that in some systems, may float your boat - I think all of these can be heard in the NYC area.
In the name of full disclosure, I am Jules Coleman and I have reviewed the Silverback at www.6moons.com. I purchased the review pair, and just happened to me perusing this site to see what others thought about the Silverback when I came upon this thread.
Unlike some other speakers, the Silverback are not likely to overwhelm you with a casual listen. Everything is in balance and quite relaxed and composed. But you will find that not only is this an attractive feature of them over time, but it means that you will hear what you put in front of them. There is nothing particularly showy about them. If anything, they are designed to showcase the music and the musical chain that precedes them.
I drive them with a quite powerful 8 watt monoblock amplifier; I have heard them run quite successfully in average sized rooms with 10 watts. I have reason to believe that John DeVore voices them with tube amplifiers. Among tube amplifiers, I would suggest highly resolving and well balanced tubes. I would stay away from overly rounded, ripe or fat sounding tubes. You'll be missing too much of what the speakers can provide.
Though the speakers are visually unprepossessing, they are quite handsome I think and are clear technical achievements. There is a lot of sophisticated design and engineering involved, but all of it in service of the music. At least that has been my experience.
There are lots of very good speakers -- dynamic and otherwise -- and listeners look for different things from their speakers.
The Silverback suit me like no other dynamic loudspeaker has -- in terms of ambition, design, execution and aesthetics. I would not hesitate to recommend them as worthy of serious consideration for anyone. And like any piece of equipment, I would encourage you to try to hear it in a situation surrounded by good ancillary components and showcased by dealers who appreciate the product and work to make it shine.
Pragmatism, thanks for the lengthy and informative post. I recently auditioned the Silverbacks at In Living Stereo and agree that they are nice speakers indeed. However, my timing was not very good as I went during the week of CES and the dealer had cobbled together cables for auditioning purposes. Also, despite it being a Sunday, the store had a lot of traffic and I never got to really settle in for a listen. I'm hoping to go back soon to audition more extensively. I'm curious, given the fact that the Silverbacks have been designed to work with low power tubes do you think my Audio Research 100.2/SP 16 will mate poorly with the Silverbacks? I'm really not prepared or interested in changing electronics so I may have to drop the Silvers from my list if this mismatch exists. I'd certainly appreciate your thoughts.
Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you. I've been busy and away from 'audio.' One of the best features of the Silverback is its versatility. While it works well with lower powered tube amps, there is no reason to think that it won't shine with more powerful tube amps. I believe that the ARC VT100 is one of DeVore's favorite amps, but you can check with him to confirm that. I don't know the SP16 myself, but I can't think of a good reason why the Silverback wouldn't be a match for your electronics.
As I said in the review, the DeVore are among the most transparent to the source speakers I know, and this means that if you love the sound of your electronics, you are likely going to enjoy hearing them through the Silverback.
I hope this has been helpful to you.
Sorry, btw that you thought of my review as lofty. I don't think I said they made great music, blah, blah, blah :-)I thought I tried to describe in detail the approach to design deVore adopted and to contrast it with other approaches. I think I said it was immediate and vivid, like horns, but more coherent; more detailed in the lower frequencies than the B&W alternatives in the same price range; and while just as extended in the high frequencies as the WPSystem 7 considerably better balanced. Balanced top to bottom, coherent integration of the drivers, extended at the top and bottom, even handedly dynamic, immediate, vivid, extremely detailed without calling attention to the details, and a relaxed non-attention getting presentation. I think that's a lot more than 'great music, blah blah blah' :-)
I have the Gibbon 8s with an audiomat arpege in one of my systems -- it's great. I've been thinking hard about "upgrading" to the "super gibbon," but would like to know more about it -- even a review, if it's out there.
Spoke to John and he's got an ARC VT100 mk 3, I believe. Forgot to ask about pre-amp. One "bargain" choice is the ARC SP9 Mk 2. I've had one since 1990 and it's terrifc. According to know ARC afficionados and even Leonard, it beats some of their current offerings (and a dealer whispered that it beats the SP16). Just a great device.
Has anyone compared them to the Coincident Total Victory IIs? Both are high-sensitivity floorstanders with side-firing woofers, in a similar budget range.
Actually, I did "upgrade" to the Super Gibbon. And, with a mild whiff of regret, I "upgraded" right out of it.
I think it's a very good loudspeaker and just wonderfully detailed. However, I thought it lacked some presence and, like the original, is a bit trebly. Impressive at first, but a bit much after a while. Wonderful imaging, though, and uncanny levels of detail and handling of dynamics.
I would like to hear the Silverbacks. However, I rather think a Von Schweikert or planar speaker would be more interesting -- just based on my experience of owning two Gibbons.