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)
Cto007- Glad you enjoyed. I have owned the Nines, and now 0/96's. I have never heard either with Naim, but have heard it's a nice match. I heard that about the Naim w/ Gibbons anyway. I assume the 88's retail in the 5-6K range, is that accurate ?
I was audition for a couple of hours last week a pair of Silverback amplified by so e 300B from MasterSound and the sound was terrific.
I enjoyed a lot big scene (fron wall to wall) but with the right scale of instruments/voices. Microdynamics and transparent sound imho are the best points of these lovely manufactured speakers.

And they don't cost so much!!

I also enjoyed a lot Oranguntan's but they are not my sound taste....
I bought a pair after auditioning them at the Dallas dealer. In my room at home they sound best with a subwoofer.
Thank you for reading, gents...

- Fjn04: Yes, that's accurate. $5500 + Tax [w/ a 2 week(isn) turnaround] I've heard great things about his earlier models (Nines, Silverbacks, etc) but have not had the pleasure of listening to them. Regarding cost, yes, perhaps not having to mess with exchange rates from imported goods etc. keeps these products feeling like quite the deal.

- Pojuojuo: Agreed. My concern with the O series is the height of those speakers relative to my listening position. I seemed to prefer them more the farther I could sit. In my room, however, I would have a limitation. The form of the Gibbons alleviates that issue.

- Docdan50: Brilliant. It also appears you are using a REL sub as well. Did someone from Audio Concepts come over and help voice them together in your room?
I would like to hear about the Gibbon 88s vs. O/93 comparisons. I imagine they sound very different but I have no idea how.
Thanks for the post. I have a little Naim Nait 5i and I've found that it seems to pair very well with anything that pairs well with tubes. Hearing that Devores were designed with tubes in mind had me curious also to hear how Devores respond with Naim gear. I was looking to pair a used pair of Super 8s or Nines with an XS. After reading your post, I'm really curious now.

I'd also like to hear Naim with Living Voice or Audio Note.
I added the rel and voiced it myself. Wasnt hard to do.

I've read in some reviews of the 88 that they may sound "strained" with rock music. Did you hear any straining during your listening session ?
I know someone that is a big Naim fan and I have always been curious as to how my Silverbacks would sound on Naim gear. Thanks for the post.
It appears Devore is now marketing towards the solid state crowd. Why not I suppose if you're into that sort of thing...

The 88s sound very good not unlike my ProAc D2s which do very well with rock music.
Actusreus: the 88s I listened to had been run in past 300 hours. They sounded very open and effortless. Apparently, the break-in stage is the trick (according to my dealer who had spoken with John DeVore).
Thanks Cto007. The 88 look absolutely delicious I must say :) Will you be getting them? If so, congratulations. I used to live in NYC several years ago and got a chance to listen to the Silverback with Shindo at In-Living Stereo when DeVore was still a relative newcomer on the market. The sound was very detailed and transparent; I found them a bit lean for my taste, but honestly I was just beginning my audiophile adventure, and likely confused superbly defined bass with lean bass.

Anyway, I wish there were more DeVore dealers in Southern Cali where I currently reside. I'd love to hear this gem of a speaker.
One of my most memorable days in a "stereo store" was a few years ago in a great shop in Montreal. Two hours of beautiful blues and jazz through the DeVore Nines driven by Leben tube amplification and a Clearaudio analog front end ! Absolutlely fantastic !
I am truly happy with my current system, but it's great to have meaningful "audiophile memories," and the DeVore - Leben combination was truly sublime.