Help with Shortlist of Speakers! (SF vs Devore vs Others?)


Hey everyone,

First time post but long time lurker. I've been aggressively researching and listening to speakers over the past several months and I could use some help with more experienced folks (who are not trying to sell me a product). Here are pictures of my space and dimensions. Essentially 22'X12'x11' but with an open concept into the kitchen and a hallway. A decent size space but the listening distance to speakers is relatively close. Right now I'm using a cambridge audio Azur 651w (amp) and Azur 851N (preamp/dac/streamer). I plan to upgrade the amp in the future so if the sound could be improved but is still enjoyable today I am OK with that.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RL9QojAHog3CjD6HFTToxoat3_i9a4zG/view?usp=sharing, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SO47Y5JEnRY2RGuAlWJsGUI9i8Q42twl/view?usp=sharing, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vNNNCKpn3ywU3ZzE-MxKOT0GjpFu0gF9/view?usp=sharing

So far I know I like a warm speaker with a visceral bass. I like to feel the music and have a very large soundstage. I do not like when the speaker is too bright or thin. The Sonus Faber Olympicas II/III and Devore Fidelity Orangutan 93/96 have caught my attention. A gentleman at the speaker shop recommended the Audio Physic Avanti but I have yet to try them out.

Given my space, what would you all recommend in terms of size? I'm torn between the SF II & III and the O/93 & O/96. I was scared off by a salesman at one of the audio shops here in San Francisco who said the Dynaudio Countour 30i (which I also liked) would be way too big for my space and really drove home the fact a bigger speaker would overpower the room. 

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have any other speaker recommendations that come to mind for <$15K.

Cheers!


jpearson3131
Wow so many great responses here! I'll need to digest them.

@audiokinesis - Yes there is a column that sticks out about 2 inches. I could move the speakers further to the right and avoid it. My current speaker are nice and warm but lack the bass and soundstage. They are Cambridge Audio Aero 2 speakers. I'm currently using a basic Velodyne subwoofer to supplement. The couch is in fact shifted slightly off center with the system due to another similar column on the back wall. The thing you likely see in the center is just a router :)

I think the speakers are a little back in the pictures but I can place any speaker about 24-26 inches from the front baffle to the wall. The larger speaker cabinets will go further back towards the wall but the measurement from the front baffle should not change. Assuming this is what's most important? I could pull the speakers out further during listening if I wanted.

There are lot's of awesome speaker suggestions here. I guess the one thing I'm still unsure about is whether the SF III's or the O/96 will overpower the room? Also, there's a high likely hood we will be moving in the next 1.5 years and so all of this could go out the window. So I suppose flexibility is also part of the criteria. I just love the look of both of these speakers!
My opinion is that SS amplification the broadly antithetical to the orangutan line. I heard them with NAIM and it sounded like disappointment. Much prefer SF with your current gear. Looking at pictures and hearing in person are very different things. Good luck. My suggestion would be to listen to Wilson Sabrina if accessible, which is a super pleasant sounding speaker.
Thank you very much for the additional information, jpearson3131.

I suggest the Larsen 8 or Larsen 9 as candidates for your situation. Here is a review of the Larsen 9; the reviewer is a concert violinist (whose day job is high up in the math department at UCLA):

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/larsen-model-9-loudspeaker

I have no experience with the Sonus Faber Olympicas but my instinct is that they are designed to be placed well out into the room. They might well have too much bass up against the wall, and their relatively narrow baffle implies that a fair amount of midrange energy will wrap around and reflect off the wall behind them.

The Devore O/96 looks more promising to me, as the wide baffle makes them less susceptible to negative interaction with the wall behind them in the midrange region. I’d suggest that you try plugging one of the two rear-firing ports, which would lower the tuning frequency and make the bottom end’s native response synergize better with placement up against a wall.

If by any chance you are open to used speakers, you might consider the Snell Type A, preferably in one of its later iterations. You might need to invest in some refurbishing as they haven’t been made in decades. But the Type A is one of the most well thought-out up-against-the-wall designs. That being said, the Larsens will probably give a better soundstage for off-centerline listeners.

If you are willing to go off the beaten path somewhat, PiSpeakers offers designs which work well up against the wall. The GedLee Abbey comes up for sale used occasionally, and is imo (along with the Summa) among the most acoustically advanced designs ever, though subwoofers are required. The GedLees and PiSpeakers can be toed-in aggressively to give very good imaging across the width of the couch. The JBL 4367 is also a candidate. These are all rather large loudspeakers, which may be an issue.

My other thoughts about speakers for your situation involve products that I’m commercially involved with.

But let me at least suggest that, in this price ballpark, it might be worth attending an audio show where Larsen will be exhibiting, or traveling for an audition. They have a dealer in Los Angeles. No affiliation.

Duke
What's the distance of your listening position? John Devore recommends sitting 8' away from the O line speakers to hear all they offer.
Consider auditioning the Devore Gibbons, they're neutral-warm with huge soundstaging and depth. Less lively than the O's but tonally correct with excellent focus.


As a O/96 owner I will say that they would pair poorly with your Cambridge 100w (@8 ohms) SS amp.  I mean the sound will be ok but you won't be hearing anything close to the sound they are capable of producing with a say a 20W-35W EL34 push-pull tube amp (think Leben or even A/N Cobra), a well built SET (preferably with a bit of grunt to control the woofers) like a Line Magnetic, or even low/mid powered Class A SS amp like a Sugden or Pass XA30.8/First Watt SIT-3.  

I think @verdantaudio provided some really good recommendations.