From Vandersteen 2CE to Devore Gibbons 8 or Focal

I presently own Vandersteen 2ce speakers and I am less than pleased with the treble response in my room (too bright). I am thinking of buying (used) either a pair of Devore Gibbons 8 or Focal 836V speakers. I will have to travel quite a distance to hear either pair of speakers, so my question is in your opinion, which speaker would be a step up for me? I am looking for a smooth sounding treble which I don't get now. I listen kind of nearfield, about 7' from the speakers. Associated equipment is Classe 15 amp, Modulus 3A tube preamp and Raysonic 168 tube cd player.


Robert Vartanian
Have you played around with speaker toe-in, placement, and/or room treatments to address the issue before thinking of switching out the speakers?
I do not think the Vandys are bright. I think something else is your problem.

Maybe a new PC would help? Speaker wire?

I have not heard that particular amp but do not especially care for Classe myself.

good luck
this a pretty good sounding speaker and would say cabling also. I switched to a SUPRA 1.6 speaker cable & it sounded incredible w/my 2c,s Good Luck
The rap on Vandersteens is always too warm, never too bright; even more so with the pre signature models. It's surprising that you're having this issue with all tube equipment. The Focals, in particular, tend toward a prominent treble. You could consider listening further back, changing interconnects and speaker cables, or even using ferrite rings around cables to block rfi/emi. You could also contact Vandersteen for their input.
I have experimented with speaker placement. My cables are MIT Terminator 2 speaker cables and interconnects. I have replaced most of my source components, in addition to the Raysonic cd player, I have a Marantz SA8001 sacd player, a Magnum-Dynalab FT 101A tuner, VPI Scout/ZU Denon 103 cartridge. I have changed tubes in my Modulus 3A from the Sovtek 6922, to the 6h23eb tubes and have settled (for now) on the JJ 6922 tubes. I switched amps from my Classe 15 to the Classe 10 in my upstairs system. I also substituted my origional Modulus 3 preamp from my upstairs system.

This all started when I replaced my Vandersteen 2ci speakers with the 2ce speakers. If I put the 2ci's back in the system, it sounds fine. I even sent the Vandersteens back to the factory for a full check up and they came back fine. All I did was waste 200.00 on shipping to and from the factory. I am also getting very tired of the Vandersteen sound since I have owned them for 17 years.
ok...then time for a new speaker :-) of your two choices, if you are looking for a less pronounced and smoother treble, the Devores are the way to go. Plus you can use lower powered tube amps with them as they are fairly sensitive and more importantly have flat/stable impedance curve. Enjoy and good luck with the new speakers.
I agree with the posts above......I would not consider the Vandersteen character to be "too bright." My 1C's, with 55 watts of EL-34 tube power, sound slightly "on the warm side of neutral." Have you tried playing around with the treble contour control on the back of each speaker ? I found that bringing each speaker's treble setting down one notch really helped.

If, after 17 years, you've had enough of the Vandersteen sound and indeed want a change, that's fine. To my ears, the Focals are too bright (although that may have been due to the Krell amplification which drove them.) With your concerns, I would recommend listening to the DeVore speakers. I had an extended listening session with the Gibbon 9's, driven by Leben electronics, and the music was absolutely beautiful. I have not heard the Gibbon 8's, but I'm sure that their character must be very similar to the 9's.

Good Luck, and Happy Listening !!
There was a great deal for a pair of DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers on Audiogon, so I bought them. I am driving down to the gentlemans house on Wednesday to pick them up. I will keep everyone posted once I get them set up on Thursday. If anyone else has any comments about the 8's, please post them.

Use your own ears. After you get a feel for the new speakers, and have experimented on your own to maximize their potential, then maybe listen to others. Every room is different.

I too share the suspicion that your problem is not the Vandersteens.
Those DeVores look interesting. Too bad there is so little info on their website about the drivers, crossovers, etc. I can't tell if the Gibbon 8 is ported or not, or if it is a 2-way or 3-way.

If anyone can find that info, could you post it?
I too, don't find the Vandy's to be bright. Along with the other excellent responses, I wonder if your 7' listening distance might be just a bit close?
Mtrot, if you were to simply google "Devore Gibbon 8", you would have possibly a day's worth of reading, including many reviews. They have been one of the most popular and well-reviewed speakers around for probably five years now.

OP, at 7', you are of course getting almost all direct energy (as opposed to reflections) and so toe-in should indeed make quite a difference.

If you find this new model to be that much different (worse) in that regard, you could ask Vandy to pad down that tweeter a bit (or do it yourself). It may be that your new speakers are indeed a bit hot, or it may be that you just like treble a bit subdued, or it may be that due to xover changes your amp is putting out more power in the treble region due to an impedance hump, or it may be several things.

But, it sounds like you are set on new speakers, which I can relate to. :)
Hey Bob..........Congratulations on your purchase of the Gibbon 8's. My best wishes for many, many happy hours of musical enjoyment. Please post your follow-up thoughts as time goes by. Happy Listening !!
If the Vandys sound bright, which they shouldn't, then any other speaker may also sound bright. It's your room! Acoustics have as much of an affect on the sound as your speakers. Great speakers with bad acoustics=bad sound. Lower quality speakers in a good room will outshine the spendy speakers.
I picked up the pair of DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 8 speakers today from a gentleman on Audiogon. I drove 825 miles round trip in one day and I am too tired to take the speakers out of the boxes. I will set them up tomorrow and post my initial impressions.

I'm actually trying to secure a listening session @ In Living Stereo in order to hear the Super 8s. If that happens, I'll bring my amp, ARS Sonum Filarmonia, in order to get a true evaluation, if I decide to go this rout!
Stereo5, please post your impressions once you've dialed in the speakers in your room.
Good luck.


Yesterday, I drove 825 miles round trip to pick up a pair of DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers I bought off someone on Audiogon. I have finished setting them up and all I can say is WOW. So much better than the Vandersteens in every way. The mids and highs are now "just right" and the bass, although not quite as deep as the Vandersteens, is very articulate and of high quality. My initial impressions is WOW. I will update in a few days.
Just wanted to remind the folks here that your Vandersteens were at least 15 to 18 years old.
Fact is the only thing that is the same in a 2CE compared to the latest design 2CE SigII is the closet pole dowel design and Grilles. the new speaker sports all different drivers including the same patented mid driver that's in the 3A Sigs X over,the latest improved open frame design internal structure is now in a different league.
Happy New year
I bit the bullett and picked up the DeVore Gibbon 8 speakers which I bought off a fellow audiophile on Audiogon on Dec 30th. I have since set them up to my liking and have these observations based on 3 days of listening. Most importantly, the brightness I was getting from my 15 year old Vandersteen 2CE speakers are a thing of the past. In addition, the hootiness I occasionally heard from the midrange in the Vandersteens are gone as well.

The Gibbon 8 speakers excel at soundstaging (width, height and depth), they image like a champ and totally disappear into the music. The highs are "just right" to my ears and the midrange is magical. This afternoon I played the cd "Letters Never Sent" by Carly Simon, and her voice never sounded so good and sweet. In the midrange and treble department, the DeVore's are quite a step up from the Vandersteens.

I am having difficulty with the amount of bass however. The quality of the bass is excellent, in pitch and articulation, but in my room, sounds a bit thin. I have the speakers about 10 inches from the wall, 6-7 feet apart, and toed in slightly towards me. That has yeilded me the best and smoothest mids and highs, and has reinforced the bass.

With the Vandersteens, the bass was always good and never drew attention to itself and I never felt it lacking. With the DeVore, I am constantly wishjing for a little bit more to make the sound a little fuller. I am also finding I have to play the speakers a little louder than I would like in order for the bass to be more satisfactory.

Which leads me to this: I am thinking that a subwoofer may be in order. I wrote to John DeVore asking his thoughts on mating the Gibbon 8's with a subwoofer but as its a holiday weekend and with CES coming up, don't expect an answer for a couple of weeks. I am wondering if any fellow Audiogoner's has experienced this?

I am thinking of a 10" sub, used subtually, adding just enough to fill in the thinness a bit. I have seen a good deal on a new Velodyne Impact 10" subwoofer for 299.00. It has adjustable low frequency cutoff and a built in 200 watt amp and level control. I can run the second pair of outputs from my preamp to the sub and have a corner reserved for it already. I would appreciate anyones thoughts on this or other suggestions

Associated equipment: Classe 15 (175wpc amp), Modulus 3A preamp with JJ 6922 tubes, Raysonic 168 cd player with EH 6922 tubes, VPI/JMW9/ZU-Denon DL 103 low output mc. MIT Terminator 2 speaker and interconnects. All power cords and filtering courtesy of Shunyata.

The adventure continues................
stereo5, your fine speakers have a 6.5" woofer, correct? You really can't expect them to put out a lot of bass, in that regard the 836V is superb. The focals also have clean highs and mids. I have a pair of impact 10's that I may have for sale in a few days. They are excellent for the money, good output and control. Let me know if you are interested. You are better off using the speaker level inputs unless your preamp is quite close to the sub. That's been my experience with tube preamps and subs.

welcome to the lunatic fringe!

I am glad you like your speakers

If I were you I would try another brand of wire just to see if you could enhance the bass (I know nothing of MIT - just a guess)

my 2 cents...
I can't get over the 825 miles in one day. That's a lot of driving.
I have 3 different brands of speaker wire on hand, the MIT was and has been the best of the bunch. 825 miles is the furthest I have gone in a day for audio equipment. The worst part is I drove through the New York to Washington corridor which has a crazy amount of traffic. I left at 7am and got home at 12:30am.

I definitely need a subwoofer as I am really in love with the mids and highs of the DeVore. It's just a question of what. I only want 1 sub and it will either be a 10 inch or 12 inch. I am leaning towards a Paradigm subwoofer but not sure. Still hoping to hear from John DeVore before I make the plunge.
I would wait to hear from John DeVore for sure as I am sure he has dialed in many subs with the Gibbon 8s and Super 8s and so should be able to make very appropriate suggestions. Congrats on your new and excellent speakers. They are truly very musical.
DeVore 8s are fabulous speakers but designed for a small room. They will lack deep bass in any room and will sound unbalanced (thin) in a larger room. Yes, a sub or two is just the ticket.
I spoke with John DeVore and he said I don't need a subwoofer as the Gibbon 8 provide plenty of bass. He said to make sure the speakers are directly coupled to the floor. Since I have very thick carpet, I sliced the carpet (hope wifey doesn't find out) where the spikes mated the carpeting and now the speakers are directly coupled to the floor. I didn't hear any appreciable difference.

I bit the bullett and ordered a Paradigm 10" sub dsp-3100. It is a 10" ported subwoofer with a 200 watt rms class d integral amp. I also ordered a MIT cable to connect from the preamp to sub. The subwoofer has adjustable cutoof frequency of 25-150hz so I will start at 80hz and work down from there. It also has a fully adjustable 0-180 phase switch. This will be useful as the subwoofer will be located across the room (12' away) from the speakers, next to the couch in the corner.

My goal is to integrate the sub as seamlessly as possible. I just want it to fill the sound in a bit to take away some of the thinness. Last night, I played Muddy Waters-Folk Singer on a mobile fidelity cd on my Raysonic tubed cd player. His voice was so dead center and mesmorizing and everything sounded so right. It brought tears to my eyes. I should have the sub within a week, I will post an update once I have it set up.

Hey Bob........I'm sorry that you're stressing out so much over this. Remember to keep the goal of our hobby in focus, which is to ENJOY THE MUSIC !!! Your Gibbon 8's are wonderful speakers, and it seems as if you have a terrific system. So relax, stay cool, have fun, and enjoy the tunes !! Happy Listening.

I set up the Paradigm DSP-3100 subwoofer on Friday afternoon. After much tweaking I pretty much have the sound dialed in, but I may tweak just a bit more in the next week or so. I have the subwoofer cutoff frequency set at 60hz and the gain control at a little more than quarter volume. The Subwoofer is set 180 degrees out of phase with the DeVores.

The sound has filled in quite nicely and I have retained the huge soundstage and pinpoint imaging. Overall, I am quite pleased with the setup. I will get around to installing the spikes for the sub this week after I receive my MIT AVT3 audio cable this Wednesday. Right now I am using a cheap Radio Shack cord. Once the new cable is applied and the spikes are put on, I may tweak a little more. I am quite pleased with the sound and I think it will only get better in time.

Stay tuned.
You may have problems integrating a sub like that. You may distort the sound of your speakers doing it. If you blow a driver too soon you will know why. Try the Vandersteen 2Wq sub as thought is given for seamless integration.
How will I distort the sound of my speakers by adding the sub? The speakers aren't connected to the sub and I am running the sub below 60hz and have the sub volume only set a quarter way up. Also, kindly explain how I could blow my speakers? I have been into audio and never blew a speaker.
Bob, I'm looking forward to hear your speakers. I'm also happy I'm not driving 3825 miles round trip from Texas to RI to pick them up.

I bought these from you knowing that if there was one weakness to DeVores (with the possible exception of the Silverbacks) it's that the bass is sometimes less pronounced than the listener likes. Alas, I'm hoping to find some better synergy with one of my systems. The bass that is at times too overpowering (and imprecise) in my main system (Rogue Eighty-Eight Magnum Amp, Manley Shrimp preamp, Rega P3-24 turntable in "pink") with either my Klipsch Cornwalls (yes, "midrange HELL") or Rega R7s (excellent speakers; under-appreciated in the US). I'm hoping the Devore's might be a good match here, but I have think my "option #2" (below) will become their ultimate performance place.

Anyone who knows about DeVores knows that they seem perfect for smaller rooms, and that's the conclusion I expect I might reach also. I've got a pair of Rega RS3's powered by an Ebay special $225 15-watt Chinese "Oumeidanji" 6p3p x 2 tube amp in a smallish carpeted study. I bet this smaller room will be better for the Gibbon Eights. I think the bass will be appreciated more in this smaller environment. The next step may be to upgrade that Chinese tube amp.

In the meantime, I'm in a holding pattern (awaiting delivery) to see where they'll sound best...and I didn't even mention the bedroom and "other living room" stereos yet.
I am glad ytou are enjoying the speakers. I remember John DeVore voiced the speakers with Audio Note tube amps and he designed them for small apartment dwellers. Let me know yiur thoughts after a week of listening. I am so happy the speakers went to an audiophile who appreciates good quality.



I'm still enjoying the Devore Eights you sold me. I think they'll stay for a long time in my "smaller" room where I do more listening to jazz, pre-60's music, lounge and other acoustic music where less bass needed. I'm sticking with my Rega R7s for the rock n' roll in my larger room. When cranked the Devores really do sound wonderful with a smaller watt tube amp, but again, the proper place for them is in a medium sized room. So much depends on the room, carpet, amp, etc,. I think the front port helps with the fewer placement options in smaller rooms also.

After googling to check out your replacement speakers for these Devores (I was curious...) I read in another online site about the problem with rumble you were picking up from the Odyssey speakers. I'm suspicious about your conclusion...why did this not happen right away if it was dependent on placement, speaker, and phono? I'm thinking something might have happened in the phono cartridge.

Anyway, to stick to the subject per above, I mostly wanted to say I'm still enjoying the Devore Eights and had been curious to ask you if you ever considered getting Vandersteen 3A Signatures when you were changing from the Vandersteen 2ces? I had actually been considering those versus the Devore Eights myself. I know the bass would have kicked more. And I guess the sound would have been less neutral and more...I don't know....guess I'd just have to listen to them side-by-side.

I am glad you are enjoying the DeVores, they are a great speaker. The guy I was buying the magneplaners from re-negged on the deal. I didn't notice the phono problem right away because I hadn't played any vinyl for a few months. I think the problem is the rear port and the proximity to the rear wall. That and the fact that the Kismet speakers are tuned quite low. The bass I get from the Kismets is muuch deeper and tighter than I got with the DeVores and the subwoofer combined. It definitely isn't a problem with the phono cartridge. I played around with different isolation tweaks for the turntable, but the rumble filter was the best choice for me.

I didn't consider the Vandersteen 3A speakers because after I lived with my 2ce speakers for a long time, I grew irritated by the metal dome tweeter. It fatigued my ears and sounded etched at times. The 3A speakers use the same tweeter so I didn't bother auditioning them. I am really happy with the Kismet reference speakers and these are definitely going to be "keepers".

Enjoy those speakers. On a side note, I was listening to the MFSL Muddy Waters, Folk Singer and it sounded unbelieveable, but I think that the DeVores were a little better with the vocals.

Hi, I just would like to add that I have a pair of the Super 8's and they provide much better bass then the 8's. In
fact I have heard them in a fairly large room with Naim
gear and they had a tremendous amount of musical weight with
out ever sounding bloated.
I had heard that the Super 8s had better bottom end and were a little more efficient as well. I still feel they are more the Jazz lover and Chamber Music lover type of speaker. Perhaps it was because the Vandersteens being a much larger sized speaker conveyed that largeness that I also missed with the DeVore. Not sure, my room could have sonething to do with it too.

The Kismet References are Killer in my room and I am extremely happy. My being happy with the system doesn't happen too often either :)

Heard both almost side by side at a dealer. They had the 2CE anniversary and devore super 8. Liked the over all presentation of the devore and the scale / low end of the Vandersteen. Devore Nines---Best of both worlds.
I may have missed it but have you adjusted the tweeter and midrange levels on the vandy's.
I'm the proud owner of a pair of Focal 836v speakers and have been very happy with their bass response. Just recently I hooked up my Martin Logan Dynamo 700 10 inch subwoofer to the main channel pre-outs on my receiver to allow me to "fill in the bass" in direct mode for organ and other music that has low bass. I have it crossed over very low and the volume is almost at zero and it really makes the organ sound realistic, but I'm finding that I'm less satisfied with the majority of my music with the addition of the subwoofer. I can't figure anything out specifically, but something just doesn't seem quite right. I need to do a little A/B comparisions with the subwoofer on and off to see if it's having a subtle negative effect on the music that it really isn't necessary for. I hope you have the success that you're looking for. My sub was purchased for home theater and I think I'll be hooking it up to the .1 again soon and just not using it for critical 2 channel listening in direct mode.

I'm sure your new speakers are great, but I was pulling (after the fact as I read through this thread) for the Focals.
I had the DeVore 8 speakers and Paradigm dsp 3100 sub set up in my living room. I was never truly satisfied with the sound, particularly on rock music. I bought the Odyssey Audio Kismet Reference Loudspeakers off a guy here on the Gon for an excellent price. I had never heard the speakers but I spoke with many owners of Odyssey equipment, particularly owners of the Stratos Extreme amp whcih I had purchased in April, and owners of the Odyssey Lorelei speakers of which my speakers are based upon. (The Kismet Reference are a souped up version of the Lorelei's)

Everyone talked about the amazing synergy between the components, so I took a leap of faith. I am soooooo glad I did because the speakers totally transformed my system. I am a very happy camper now.