Devore Super 8 and B&W 805s-shootout
I recently had these speakers in my home for close to a week. And I had an extensive shootout between the two, and quite surprisingly the 805s was more pleasurable to my ear on my equipment. I really wanted to like the Super 8 over the 805s, especially after all the positive press for Devore and my conversations with JD. Alas in the end, the ear doesn't lie, and rewards with personal happiness. I have learned alot about both speakers, and to my ear the 805s is an incredibly underrated speaker thats for sure-regardless of the B&W naysayers.
Whether it was my gear (all VTL) or my room I don't know. I had the Super 8 set up perfectly as instructed, played with positions etc, and all the same results. First thing I noticed was this speaker pulled me up from say the middle of the auditorium to the front row, a good thing for some. But the mid-range sound was a little thin comparitively, and sounded constipated on some of my best recordings, also somewhat glassy at higher volumes-not characteristics of the gear I own. Particularly with vocal jazz, I felt like voices in general took a back seat to the other parts of the performance, which represented a lack of tonal balance. I thought the tweeter was a little too 'present' and extended for my tastes. For a silk dome this was actually surprising, and I thought the 805s tweeter would be hotter for sure, not the case. Drums however with the Super 8 were spot on, very well done, and like none I have heard. Bass was also better than the 805s, tighter with a little less chuff. Which is understandable since the Super 8 cabinet is larger and rear-ported. To sum up, and give an overall: the Super 8 was just a snappier speaker, with a little more effervescence spark and speed than the 805s, and the imaging was definitely a little more effortless. But what it did not do was why I didn't buy them.
Once I went back to the 805s the smoother and considerably more romantic sound returned (switched back and forth countless times), much wider soundstage, and only at the expense of a small amount of inner detail I got with the Super 8. The mid range sounded richer, smoother, warmer, slower, and more accurate and delicate with a vocal presence that was delivered with realism, quite beautiful actually. The 805s just sounded altogether more neutral and balanced and ultimately more natural in reproduction of ALL manner of speech and Piano especially-my personal favorites. I felt they had better total integration for my listening habits.
I know these aren't usually characteristics used to describe a B&W, but its true-to my ear at least. And I did exhaustive listening, like I said I wanted to like the Devore. Just had to go with my gut. In the end, this audio passion is often a game of compromises, and as crazy as it may sound, I liked what the 805s gave up as opposed to what the Super 8 gave up.
Wanted to share this to help anyone who may be listening to speakers in this range. Hopefully this can help, but remember reviews can only take you so far (which is often not very far). So listen for yourself, it is the best way to evaluate.