I would also like to hear this.
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I do not own the 3XL's but I have heard them several times and they are terrific for such a small monitor. In my reference system I have the DeVore Fidelity Silverbacks and so am very familiar with the sound of John's speakers.
The 3XL's use the same tweeter as is in the Silverbacks and the driver for the mid/bass is newly designed for the 3XL. My impression after hearing them the first time and each time thereafter is that they sound a little more "alive" or "organic" than do the Silverbacks. My impression only, of course, and I wonder if the solid bamboo cabinets have something to do with the sound difference that I perceive.
I use Auditorium 23 ICs and have used Aud 23, Nirvana, and Basis speaker cable with them. All of those speaker cables were excellent albeit different. I will soon be upgrading to Crystal Cable speaker cables.
I consider the 3XL's to be an excellent choice for most types of music except for large scale genres. I mostly listened to them with solo instrumental, solo vocals, small ensemble jazz and classical, and blues, and liked them very much for each.
They are extremely easy to drive. I have heard them both with and without a REL B2 sub and I liked them both ways. If I were to get them I would likely use them in a small to medium room and try them first without a sub.
I believe I need to weigh back in on my original post so that no one, especially John DeVore, believes that I meant to imply that the 3XLs are better in any way than the Silverbacks, because IMHO they are not. In terms of overall musical presentation and the capacity to reproduce all types of music (at least the ones I care about) with tremendous realism, I have not heard anything I like as much, let alone more, than the Silverbacks until we start to get well north of $30K.
One final comment on the 3XLs - they are the best monitor speaker I have heard at or below their price point.
Matro5 - My pleasure. I love talking about John's speakers. Every time I have heard the 3XLs they were on the matching stands. IMHO the stands make these gorgeous looking speakers look even better. Almost as if an interior designer was involved with the design process. And as I recall, there are now at least two finishes for the bamboo. These speakers and stands got a BIG thumbs up from my wife, musically and esthetically, as far as the WAF consideration goes. ;->
What are the dimensions of your room? What pre/amp or integrated would you be using?
Very nice nearfield monitors. I would describe the sound as smooth and heavily weighted around vocals. In the price consideration area, other speakers I have heard and really like are Verity Finns out of Canada and Zu Souls out of Utah. I would recommend all three speakers if you have tube amps. All three will have the WAF.
If you want a more clinical and analytical sound, I would recommend ATC speakers. These are professional reference speakers. You can pick up their model 19 for the same price and with 100 watts of solid state power, will likely trump the Gibbons.
In Living Stereo in NYC is a wonderful place to audition these. I just did this in the city recently, where I heard these exact speakers driven by a Leben 300 SX tube amp. Amazingly organic and sweet sounding experience. I demoed Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Radiohead. Really a pleasure to listen to these. I also listened to the Verity Finns hooked up to the same amp.
Very few speakers position well in small rooms. These are one of them. The stands match perfectly and they would rock in a den or bedroom setting. I love Devores that they are actually made onshore in Brooklyn, next to NYC, and believe they have this urban nearfield feel locked in better than most speakers. BTW, the ENTIRE Devore line has the best woodworking I have ever seen in a speaker line. Their flamed cherry is the single most beautiful speaker I have seen and is featured in the Nines and Eights. I call this the "drool" factor.
If your tastes run toward classical, the speaker with the closest sound profile to Devore are Opera speakers out of Italy. They are oftened partnered with Unico amps and I would imagine that these would also pair well. I can also recommend Luxman (N100 tube amp or the 550 class A solid state).
I'll be building an all new 2 channel system, and I will be looking to drive these with either a Leben or Shindo setup, so, the recent posts have been very helpful. I have an old Marantz receiver and I've fallen for its sound, so I think I'd prefer something with tubes. And luckily, I'm not far from Pitch Perfect Audio, so I should be able to hear them all together when the time comes.
I'm also looking at the Soul Superfly, so thanks also for that rec, Bongo.
Bongfury - Like you, I have also heard the Finns, but never the Finns and 3XLs in a head to head comparison. Aside from the obviously deeper bass with the Finns, would you care to comment on the similarities and differences between the two speakers? And I agree about the wood fit and finish of John's speakers. His craftsman (Anthony from Box Furniture), who is a master carpenter, gives new meaning to the term master carpenter.
I have a pair of the Gibbon 3 speakers that are the predecessors to the 3XL. These are front ported speakers, which may have been either a special order or a limited production. They were again upgraded by DeVore in August of 2006. They sound fantastic. In addition to being extremely balanced, they are dynamic, sparkly and very full sounding... especially for their size.
I heard the later generation of the Gibbon 3s while in NYC. Great speakers! They are definitely keepers; I wouldn't think of getting rid of them, so there's testimony for you. I've listened to them in both small rooms as well as in larger rooms with a sub.
Taking proper care for placement with these speakers really pays off. I found when I get the speaker placement just right with these DeVore monitors, they simply disappear with a generous sweet spot. They are easy to drive, as well as they do sound better with some high current power.
I'm not sure if my speakers are the same animal as the 3XL, but this is my experience with the DeVore Gibbon 3 speakers. So, I can recommend them because I have a pair.
Harbeths and Spendors are classic "English" monitors that put tremendous engineering around the mids. ATCs are very much emphasize an analytical approach--not warm like Harbeths--more clinical and don't favor sources or genres.
Devores are more organic sounding, like Opera and Almarro speakers. Very human: vocals and jazz are amazing.
I see that the Devores are ported, whereas the Harbeths and ATCs are not. Would this suggest a mid bass frequency rise?
I have heard many suggestions that ATCs are analytical, and also how well they play at loud volumes. I have SCM7s on my desktop which I find easy to listen to, and never play them loudly.
My main concern for this application is smooth non fatiguing sound and good midrange, for all day, every day listening.
So my sense is I might like Harbeth P3SERs, but would love to know if the Devotes "organic" and "human" qualities might win out over the Harbeths?
In addition to the DeVore Gibbon IIIs, I also have a set of Spendor S-20 speakers that are a similar profile - two way design both with 1" tweeters, and the Spendor mid-bass woofers are a little bit larger than the DeVores. The DeVore speakers are ported; the Spendors are completely enclosed. These two sets of speakers have VERY different flavors. The Spendors are "typically" British. They are very smooth, even paced and rather laid back compared to the DeVore speakers. However, IMHO, the DeVore speakers excel this particular model of Spendor monitors in every way. The DeVores "come alive." In addition to being sooth, they are dynamic and excited. The "organic & human" qualities of vocals and instrumentation are very present with the DeVores. The DeVore speakers are more transparent than the S-20 Spendor speakers. That being said, the Spendors are no slouches, but they have a very distinct sound. I would gather that anyone whose spent time with this type of British speaker would know exactly what I mean. Good luck!
I heard these at Goodwin's outside Boston, driven by ARC tube integrated and sourced by Nagra CD and dynavector/nagra vinyl. They were in a long wall setup in a medium to large room, not too far from the front wall, maybe two feet. I was perhaps two feet from the back wall. This setup worked very well.
I listened to Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall, Christy Moore Live at the Point, and Patricia Barber Modern Cool. this type of music seemed ideal for the speakers. Their sound was detailed and involving, with really good imaging, but I had the feeling that these would not be happy unless paired with tubes or warm electronics, similar to the original 3's, which I have in my bedroom setup. The 3XLs are bigger, and have somewhat deeper bass.
Very nice speakers, worth a trip to hear them. I was primarily interested in hearing the Magicos, but these exceeded expectations.
Devore Gibbon 3XLs: anyone have these?
I own a pair of 3XLs in mahogany finish (for 3 months now). These are the best looking and best sounding speakers I have ever heard in my 15 year high-end audio adventure. DeVores claim their spot in my system with such authority that I would only upgrade to Silverbacks if I ever need to. These are truly high-end speakers with an emphasis on naturalness and musical qualities.
I listen to a lot of music and it carries a lot of weight with me that my speakers are capable of sounding full and satisfying at low listening levels. To me, if I have to crank up the volume way up to get the right sound, it is useless as I abuse my ears which I need for a long time. If you enjoy sitting in your couch after a long and stressful day, turn the volume up a little bit and get this spectacularly detailed, dynamic and natural sound, you are a good candidate for 3XLs. They are very easy to drive but it would be unfair to use them with cheap electronics because they really flourish with high quality front-end.
It is remarkable how detailed and dynamic these speakers are without sounding too bright, lean or clinical. Whether you are listening to your amazing 192kHz file or a crappy recording of your favorite musician on a CD, 3XLs will make you happy. Kudos to John for his achievement.
Friends, I will not name names but these speakers put some serious industry icons to shame. They are not cheap but I would still consider them to be the best bang for the buck.
p.s. The fact that a lot of people use them with tube gear does not mean that 3XLs are for mid-range lovers only. People often pair Devores with tubes because they are very easy to drive and reasonably efficient.