Drat, I was just going to say Devore, Zu (and probably some of the others) show at RMAF, right in your backyard, but I see RMAF is no more. What a shame.
Can't help with the audition (would that I lived on the front range), but I'm very keen on Devore: lovely builds and sound, at sensible sizes, and John Devore is a nice guy. Of what I've heard, I like the O93 and 096 better than the Nines, and think the 93 a good value, relative to the 96.
I also like Zu, both the company and speakers, though from what I've heard, they have a distinctive sound. Aren't they a reasonable road trip from you?
My experience is with low-watt class A SS, not tubes, but you might also consider Daedalus (which I now own), and Vaughn (which I used to own).
@jdoris Thanks. I wish RMAF was going, too!
@jperry How is that link supposed to help me? Are you suggesting I have not searched the audio stores in my area or is there something buried in the Yelp link that I’m missing? Because I have been to the 4 fine audio stores listed and they do not have these brands and they do not have many options for very sensitive speakers -- such as the ones I listed. And that is why I am posting on a forum. Thanks for trying to help, though!
@hilde45 As you already know, Denver/front range isn’t where you will find an Audio Note or Devore dealer. To hear these two wonderful speaker brands in a dealer environment, you might consider a 1 day round trip flight to Chicago. From DIA to Chicago and back is cheap and easy. Mike Kay/Audio Archon in Chicago is a dealer for both Audio Note and Devore and last time I spoke with him he had O96’s, the Super Nines and AN-E SPE HE’s. Your next best bet might be to fly to LA where you have both a Devore dealer and an Audio Note dealer and of course there is always Pitch Perfect in Palm Springs for Devore. Bespoke in Salt Lake City used to be a dealer for Audio Note and may still have some speakers and he may be picking up Devore. Tyson is a great guy, he deals mostly in one on one Shindo based custom systems. He may also have Audio Research, Meitner, etc but he has the large Shindo field coils in the event you want to ruin your speaker quest for all time.
Which Devores and Audio Notes are you most interested in?
I didn’t know if you looked at any local dealers or not. I saw one carried Klipsh and JBL, both high efficiency.
I also noted that one of the dealers in Denver carried ProAc. I owned Quicksilver amps at one point and they were a good match with ProAc speakers.
Arizona Hi Fi in Phoenix carries Devore O96 and Shindo Lafita speakers if you want a shorter flight than Chicago, but there is not an Audio Note dealer in Phoenix.
Good luck with your search.
@jperry Thanks for clarifying. I'll look for the ProAc. It looks like a flight may be in order.
@ghasley I may need to go somewhere. I'm interested in any Devore or Audio Note speaker. I need to grok their sound, in general, the way I was able to with the Spatials with a local bloke.
The point of this post is to see if any private individual in Denver has these speakers and might be willing to meet up.
I posted this question about Spatials on AudioCircle and had someone reply in less than an hour with an invite to come over to his house. We had a great time.
@hilde45 can you broadly describe your room and the desired setup? The sound between the O series and the Audio Note is vaguely similar but it all depends on the room because they each kindof get there via opposite origins. For instance, if you don’t have corners, Audio Note can be challenging. If all you have are near wall options in your room, Devore can sometimes over load the room. I’ve had AN-E and O96 in the same room with the same gear and lets just say it takes some work…its worth it but it takes work. Setup is key and the placement of these two speakers is not even remotely similar.
An interesting weakness of the direct sales-trial-return policy is that many do not have sufficient stock right now. I have heard from more than a few people that the wait is measured in multiple months of backlog these days.
The ultimate paradox during an environment like today is if a company has what you might want in stock and ready to ship, you begin to doubt the selection (if unheard). Kindof like pulling up to a restaurant with an empty parking lot.
No offense intended but I'm not so sure Audio Note or Devore get cross shopped very often with Klipsch, JBL, Zu or Tekton.
@jdoris No editorializing one way or the other about Zu from me. As a former Zu owner, I too love the company and the original guys behind Zu. When I said I'm not so sure they get cross shopped with Devore or Audio Note, it was a generic statement. Klipsch, JBL, Zu and Tekton make fine speakers...many are quite happy with their purchase. I was just drawing an inference from the Devore and Audio Note owners with whom I communicate...no one cross shopped with those four brands for various reasons. For me, sound quality, build quality and aesthetics must strike a meaningful balance. I won't compromise sound quality but thankfully I didn't have to.
@nonoise Been to Listen Up many times. Not sure they really have anything like what I'm looking for. But will check again. Home installation and a bunch of other brands that I've heard but am not taken with -- Focal, Goldenear, Sonus, B&W, etc.
You are always welcome to visit here, in Austin, with a little advance notice.
I will tell you that the amp-speaker combination makes a huge difference. I've been running Avantgarde Duos since around 2006-7, and they sound better than ever due to other things in the chain:
Additional subwoofers, using DSP
Change of cartridge using stone bodied Koetus, which have more gravitas and tone in the low end.
This system does not represent anything more than my personal preference based on the components I've chosen to use; I'm considering a more involved antiquarian horn system once I have the ability to travel.
The high efficiency, SET route is one path among many; I found bliss in it, but there's also a fair amount of set-up/trouble shooting to lower inter-component noise, assuming good power coming in; another thing in which I "invested" (no doubt at a loss).
And, with that, you are still limited by the room. I can't scale to a 2,000 seat auditorium, even if I had the equipment to do that. So, the room is obviously going to play a part.
But, I'm down with high efficiency speakers and low powered tube amps as a good way to reproduce music.
I just went through the process of auditioning high efficiency speakers. I liked Audio Note, DeVore, Klipsch and I especially liked Volti. Any of those would have been fine but I bought a pair of Charney Companion Excaliburs with Voxative drivers. I thought they gave more of that magical feel than any of the others.
A lot of my indecision comes back to some fundamental things I don't know, yet. What style of presentation for these sensitive speakers appeals to me? Single driver? Horn? Three way? Ribbon? Open baffle? Etc. That's one reason I'm trying to stir up occasions to go listen.
The Monitor Audio Platinum looks interesting. Hoping to find MTM in a tower. I know the Legacy has that.
@whart — most gracious of you. I love Austin and still have friends there from when I lived there for a decade, not far from Lake Austin. (I was on Enfield Rd., just west of Mopac.) Those Avantgarde Duos look amazing!
@fosolitude Thank you so much for chiming in. I need to audition some horn speakers — they've not been something I've heard yet, I'm ashamed to say.
I would add Tannoy’s to your list as well. Either the Turnberry or Stirling’s would be a great match for your Quicksilver mono’s. If you ever in Houston, come over for some Tannoy’s magic and Tex-Mex treats :-)
Coherency is the best way to describe a single driver speaker. The sense of integration clearly affects how the listener perceives the treble, midrange and bass response. Speaking of Devore and Tannoy’s, there is no trace of ‘one-note’ emphasis that some speakers exhibit. Instead, you get natural detail with excellent pace, rhythm and timing. Once you hear a single driver speaker, all else pales in comparison, IMHO.
Also add, Cube Audio’s Nenufar to your list.
@whart @hilde45 It is interesting to hear you both talk about Austin. I was born there in 1949 but now live in Fredericksburg. We retired here in 2016. Except for 4 years working in Amarillo I lived my entire life in Austin. The goto audio store was High Fidelity and I bought my first receiver there in the 60's, a Sansui. I kept it for many years but traded it back to them at some point. I bought my first McIntosh system from them in the early 80's. Good memories. Sadly High Fidelity closed in the mid 80's.
@lalitk — I will add Tannoy! Yes! I forgot about them. And I suspect we'd get on famously. I'll let you know if I go back to Houston. Gotta see the Menil again…been too long. Cube added to list. Hey — have you ever heard Pearl Acoustics' speakers?
@fgbbill Love Fredericksburg. Had some romantic times at a tiny little A-frame called, I think, Gasthaus Schmidt with my new bride, a Texan!
@carlsbad No, I won't overlook Tektons. And I'm not against modding, for sure. Thanks!
I didn't recognize any open baffle speakers on your original list, but if you're casting your net more widely, I'd vote for giving some a listen.
It's a distinctive presentation, but if you can give them lots of room to breathe, and an airy, holographic, soundstage you can "walk into" sounds appealing, you might like them a lot.
Since you mentioned GR in another thread, I'll say that I very happily lived with the 91db X-Statics for a year (while working away from home) using a modest 25wpc Napa hybrid amp.
I'm not sure what models to commend at a pricepoint comparable to, say the Devores (the X-Statics are much cheaper), although I know GR used to make more ambitious models, like the Super-V. (As a bonus, some OB models make comparatively easy builds, if you're into that.)
@jdoris I spent 3 hours listening to the Spatial X3's the other day. Quite enveloping and lovely. I'm not sure I fully love that approach to sound, but it may merely be the foreign-ness of it, compared to my decades of listening to box speakers.
One thing is for sure: a big, well made AMT tweeter is a magical contributor.
It is 26.5ft x 15.5 ft. x 7.75 ft. Normal rectangle with a couple window wells (it’s in a basement). I would be able to do whichever treatments, rugs, etc. seemed appropriate after choosing the right speakers to go with my 60wpc tube gear.
I’m not moved into the room yet. It was just created -- double drywall on ceilings with thicker drywall on walls and dedicated outlets and panel w/ surge suppressor at panel.
Agreed the OB experience is distinctive, and and perhaps a bit disconcerting, if you're used to the punchiness of boxes, as I am. (Ditto omnis and planars.)
The X3s, unlike those Spatials, are a hybrid design, with the bass drivers in a sealed box. Maybe a good compromise?
My bad, I meant the X-Statics. The X3s, as you say, are all open. My speculation was that the hybrid design of the X-Statics, with the sealed enclosure low end, might sound more familiar to those most familiar with boxes.
@larry5729 I have been to Soundings before and it is a good store, though increasingly focused on home installation.
Which speakers at that store are particularly high efficiency because that is the point of my question and I have not identified such speakers at that store yet. Please let me know?
Informative thread. Two weeks ago I stopped at Arizona Hi-Fi. They had a pair of the Devore O/96s set aside in their listening room. They were definitely something to be seen, and the first speaker my wife actually had questions about. Didn't have a chance to listen, but beautiful speakers nonetheless.
If we're talking about Zu and cross shopping, there's Omega Speakers, too - their Instagram page shows more than the website. Curious to see where you land hilde45!
An extremely overlooked speaker is living voice ibx line. they are hard to get in states borber patrol audio they are end game for high effincy speakers.not talking out of my ass i have owned every everything from kharma 3.2 to innersound panels and still have them. and lots of speaker not in same league.only speaker i would own in price class is tonian labs
I present this excerpt from a review by Herb Reichert of the Wharfedale diamond 225 speaker at 87 db sensitivity. My point being that you don't necessarily have to buy a 90db and above speaker in order to drive it well with a relatively low watt amp.
Listening with the First Watt J2
I wanted to find out if the 25W of First Watt's J2, designed by Pass Labs' Nelson Pass, would be enough power to make me, Metallica, and the Wharfedale 225s skip, mosh, and fist-pump through some densely vibrating air. I cranked "Battery" to old-man loud, and holy effing shit—these shiny little Brit boxes lit a hot flame that belied their size. They sawed fast and pounded hard. They got me up. I felt loose and free like I was 23. With easy clarity and ambitious drive, they powered my small room to average levels of 89dB and peaks of 96dB. No overcompressed muck. No congealed textures. No distortions of grainy hardness or stuttering vagary.
@audioguy85 It's good to know that the Wharfs can do that at 87db. My Salks don't do that at 87 db and I've tried numerous other speakers at around those sensitivities that are also not so nimble as what Reichert says he heard.
I'd like to see an impedance graph for those speakers, or some other data, to know why they perform as Reichert says they do. There is a very big difference in abject power requirements for an 87db vs 93db speaker, so knowing what else is going on would be valuable. At least one thing would be the capability of a solid state First Watt to deliver current vs. my tube amp.
@keithr Can you say a bit about the qualities that initially attracted you to Zu, then Devore and eventually to Fyne? I have a brother in law on this journey, too, and we'd really like to know how/why things progressed this way for you.
I've not heard the Fyne (F1 or F700 models) but given their design, pedigree and word of mouth reputation, my gut feeling is that they are high quality and very good sounding. Easy to drive 8 ohm impedance and 95 db sensitivity is a very desirable combination.