I was kidnapped by apes - DeVore Gibbon88s
... well, at least for an afternoon. And it was consensual.
I've been looking to try something new beyond my current 805Diamond + REL B1 pairing (driven by Naim electronics). John DeVore's speakers have been a consideration since my local dealer picked up his line a year or so ago. His rooms at RMAF the past two years have also been some of my favorite. A few weeks ago, he even debuted his new Gibbon X on a NaitXS with Flatcap at CES.
To date, my dealer here in Dallas has had the O/96, 3XL and Gibbon88's in for evaluation on a number of different configurations - Naim, Audio Research, etc. They sent the 3XLs back based on the logic that their cost with stands came too close to the Gibbon88s which they perceived to perform better.
So, a few days ago I set up an appt with them to listen to the Gibbon 88s (which they setup for me on a system that mostly matches mine 202/200 + LP12 all on Qspire). I brought a bag full of records, played hooky from work, and lost track of the time In the room next door, they were running in a new pair of O/93 that they had just taken delivery of (which I did not get a chance to hear in the store).
The Gibbon88s - compared to the comparably priced/configured PMC twenty.24 - was IMHO no contest. The PMCs sounded to me like what I'd expect a "good speaker for rock music" would sound like - harsh and somewhat blunt in the bass department. They were quickly removed from the system and the apes were brought in, dealer dialed them in and then we put them through their paces.
Record after record, I was struck most by their imaging (disappearing act), their articulate mid-bass presentation and totally smitten with the way they treated cymbals in that the color was right and they'd sustain forever in a very realistic way. Compared (mentally) to my 805Diamonds - I was getting the impression that what I was accustomed to was more clinical and a bit cold: but def not bad. Given the difference in load/sensitivity, my 805s at low volume levels are also not worth the listen.
So, now what... well, that's half the fun right? Stay tuned.
In the end, for those looking for a nice compliment to your Naim electronics, do not fear straying off the beaten path to a DeVore Fidelity demonstration. But if you do, don't forget to clear your afternoon calendar.
(ps - my vinyl selection that day consisted of an eclectic mix of some old ECMs, Agnes Obel, Ane Brun, Neil Young (Le Noise), Tom Waits, Ray LaMontagne, and a few others)