To clarify, my intent here is not to criticize the Devore O/96 which I think is a remarkably fine speaker. It’s an extremely musical and involving speaker which has much to offer, especially for enthusiasts of low power tube amps, SET amps, and low power solid state Class A amps. I just found the tweeter height to be an interesting choice by John Devore and wondered about his reasons for this. I’ll forward my question to him for a response.
Also had a question for owners of Audio Note AN-E speakers, which shares some design principles with the Devore O/96. Certainly they are different with AN-E designed for corner loading of bass, but the general philosophy seems to share some similarities, 2-way design, wide baffle, larger lightweight woofer cone, higher sensitivity, etc. Have AN-E owners experimented with speaker height to bring tweeter up to ear level? What are peoples experience with that speaker? Thanks.
I heard back from John Devore, who kindly replied to my question about this. He explained that the tweeter height is set low on purpose for the O/96s, with the ideal listening height being slightly above the top of the speaker cabinet. The system is aligned for that listening axis. With the Gibbon Xs, the listening axis is right around the tweeter height or slightly above, so the cabinets are taller.
Based on my own experience with the O/96 and Gibbon X, this is what I’ve observed also. I’ve noticed that the sound of the O/96 has added dimensionality and clarity when the listening height is slightly above the speaker cabinet.
Does the Audio Note AN-3 has a similar listening axis?
I currently own a set of devore's, and like the way they sound. listened to the o96's plenty of times and would own them if i could afford them. I am being earnest when I say I don't know what kind of background someone has graduating from RISD and being a audio salesperson has in designing speakers. But i guess that's a moot point when they sound great.
While it is uncommon, it’s not wrong to see a tweeter below the mid/woofer too, with the mid-woofer at ear level.
As a speaker designer and sometimes maker, yeah, the optimum twetter location can vary quite a bit, based on it’s off-axis frequency response. For instance, a tweeter may rise or ring at the top octaves, while off-axis becomes perfectly flat. Putting the tweeter off axis essentially equalizes it, without actually using more parts, and maintains good off-axis response as well. All in all a win-win.
A speaker designer who takes this approach demonstrates good balance of techniques and better than average contemplation of the drivers being considered. This is a variation on tilted baffles, and speakers designed to be toed in less than average, or not at all.
The speaker designer must take into account while making the crossover and cabinet, but it’s a perfectly good design choice, and in some cases better than the traditional.
This may be viewed as sacrilege, but let me ask you anyway: Does the Orangutan produce images at a height you find satisfactory? If yes, nothing more need be said. If no, here's a radical idea you could consider: Make stands for the speakers that raise them to a height that results in them producing the image height you desire. Yes, the time alignment of the drivers will then be not as designed, but the enclosures can be tilted forward until the driver alignment is restored to factory. The image height will be raised, but the speaker sound will as intended. That is, unless the boundary effect of the floor was a design element in the voicing of the speaker, a very real (perhaps even probable) possibility. In that case, if you desire a higher image you'll need a different speaker.
In my experience, the Orangutan produces an image height that is entirely satisfactory, with image height higher than the speaker cabinet. The O/96 can produce a very wide soundstage with excellent height too, when properly set-up. This apparently is exactly what Devore intended, with listening axis slightly above the upper edge of the speaker cabinet. The speaker sounds somewhat taller than you'd expect. :-) They have excellent clarity and imaging while producing a rich and musical tone with great dynamics.
I think the Devore O-93 and O-96 speakers are both overpriced. They have become the darlings of Stereophile light weights, Herb Reichert, Art Dudley.and the phased-out Sam Tellig, and other camp followers and "over-enthusiasts"
I also question how this guy drop onto the audio scene, (what) about 10-15 years ago. and still cannot justify his pricing or clarify his design philosophy. He also assembles his speakers in a warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. What no anechoic chamber?? or computer modeling technology?? He surely is not offering a "people's speaker" like the above cited models at $8400 and $12,000 in his "cottage industry" warehouse
His use of exotic materials like bamboo wood for speaker cabinets does not demonstrate design genius, but possibly, problems. with cabinet material suppliers
BTW, several years ago, and documented by blowhard Sam Tellig when he worked for Stereophile, Art Dudley and Sam were invited by Devore for an evening "brandy and cigars" listening session Such chummy pow-wows somehow make me less likely to become another "true believer" in Devore's speakers,or his alleged design genius
sunnyjim, I agree with others' responses. Where are you coming from with your comments about John DeVore and his speakers?
I owned, for several months, both the original DeVore Gibbon 8s and the Merlin TSM monitors, both sold at the same price. The Merlin speakers and their maker, Bobby Palkovic, had a strong following in the audiophile community but after months of A/B listening with both tube and solid state amplification there was no contest, the DeVore speakers were clearly better in every way, in my space, to my ears.
In addition, the customer service from DeVore was exemplary compared to that of Merlin, which was the worst I've ever encountered.
Can you please refrain with the use of such vile language? After reading your post I was very disturbed. As a matter of fact my wife and I could not sleep for days after the shock. Please use the word poo-poo in future posts.
Hey Sunnyjim, I'm sure that brandy and cigar was what convinced Art Dudley and the other reviewers to purchase Devore speakers and use them long-term. I purchased mine sans cigar. Bayreuth, that was a great question to start this thread, and thanks for getting the info from John. As an owner of the 0/96, I wondered about that myself and was often tempted to try to raise the height of the speakers, but now I won't waste my time. I've found that the default imaging height for the 0/96 is just above the height of the speaker, but when there is significant vertical imaging on a recording the Devore will "expand" upwards to reproduce it. But I should point out, I am listening with the speakers along the long wall (I get more even bass response that way) and am only about 9 feet from the speakers. When I auditioned them, it was in a much larger room and the imaging was consistently more expansive. I think they deserve a larger room than what I have, but I'm still very enamored of them.
I've been using Shindo Monbrison and Montille (CV391 version), and also a Croft integrated. It's the kind of speaker I'd like to be able to try a dozen different amp/preamps, because it seems to bring out the best in the amps and there are always pleasant surprises. I think the impedence curve has a lot to do with the speaker's success. The implementation of the 10-inch midrange/woofer is also quite amazing, and I'm wondering what it might sound like with a higher-power, high-quality SS amp. Or maybe a First Watt.
I have used the O/96 with a variety of SET amps including 300B and 845 designs with good results. The O/96 is very revealing of upstream changes in amps and preamps, and it is highly compatible with different designs, including SS amps. The O/96 works well with the First Watt J2 (as reviewed recently in Stereophile), but the speakers are even better with Pass Labs Class A amplifiers like the XA30.8. The resolution, bandwidth and imaging are superb with that amp. I also think the speakers benefit from higher damping factor of these amp designs compared to SET amps. I'm using the XA30.8 with XP-20 preamp from Pass Labs, a wonderful combination with the O/96.
wolf_garcia2,776 posts01-11-2017 1:41pm"I think dchang1981's post was pretty damn funny. I can only assume he's talking about Clem Devore who is a retired plumber and doesn't seem to be in the speaker business at all."
I have a pair of Clem Devore's top of the line speakers called the "A" Valve.
He has been able to combine his decades of plumbing knowledge with his audio expertise and has created one of the best speakers I have heard anywhere at any price. This is my last set of speakers, for sure.
I can't find the crossover point, found an old stereophile review with curves. Looking at those, I would guess that the crossover point is 2k... If I had designed these speakers. I would tell you to measure the height to the center of your ear off the floor when sitting in your favorite listening position. In my experience, that is normally 38 to 40 inches. Then take the space between the woofer and tweeter and positon that at the same height. By the curves, these speakers positioned at that height with a heavy or even full tow will sound their best. Looking at these, I would also think that the equilateral triangle type set up would work best... Meaning (whatever distance) say 9 feet between sweet spot of speaker --- (that spot between the woofer and tweeter), then 9 feet from that same spot to your ears.
sunnyjim, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, this is a forum after all. What I do not understand, and it seems others here as well, is why you come onto this particular thread and start commenting on the reasons why you don't like Devore etc., when the question from the original poster was actually a good question about Devores, not the merits or opinions of those that may not like them and why! Anyway, moving along....
sunnyjim, you're welcome to your opinion but unfortunately you are offering speculation. John's cabinets are made by a furniture maker in the same building - he designs fully custom drivers with Seas (which take several years to get right). yes, he has some unique design elements including controlling resonance in the bass. hardly any manufacturers have anechoic chambers while computer modeling is ubiquitous in the industry.
i'm sure we'd all like to hear the better speakers at half the price, but to demean a manufacturer when you haven't heard the speaker based on a measurement in stereophile is pretty weak. No, his speakers aren't cheap but they aren't made in China either.
ps. John responded to the measurement police at part-time audiophile which is more than most manufacturers do - feel free to read
To Keithr, I am not demeaning Devore as a person or speaker designer I would say almost the same thing and ask the same question about pricing about the $14,999 Harbeth's 40.2 speakers designed by Alan Shaw and touted as his "Masterpiece" by the TAS review in January, 2017 issue. Or that matter, the Magico S1 MK II reviewed this month in Stereophile which sells for a cool $16,500, the YG Carmel Mk II retailing for $24,999 ( I heard the first version at the retail $18000 and was very impressed, but not enough to buy them even at half the price) and also several models from Wilson Audio over the last 15 years.
I am NOT campaigning for a line titled the "People's Speakers" Maybe, the current line of Elac speakers designed by Andrew Jones is it. However, I am just questioning the price versus performance ratio. I don't think manufacturer's should get "carte blanche" when it comes to pricing their speakers, or for that matter any other audio components.
To answer one responder's question at my comment about speakers that cost half the price of the Devore's O-96,. or more specially the lower priced ) 0-93 speaker. I owned a used pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios for 6 years. They retailed at $4500, not including the outrigger stands ($220) which the buyer threw in to close the sale. I paid $1850 plus $550 shipping to Honolulu, Hawaii. from Wisconsin. They were amazing from A to Z (no pun intended) clean,. detailed, with volcanic dynamics, and tight bass to at least to 37Hz. My only complaint o them, they could be a bit edgy, but not fatiguing, and they weighed 78 lbs each. Not easy to move around for a progressively aging back. I decided to sell them when I returned to southern California. I could not find a buyer in the Islands. I bought then unheard, but read several positive reviews about their performance. They are the best sounding speakers I owned so far,. and grossly underrated by many reviewers and a mix of internet audio bloggers
BTW, I heard the Devore's Gibbon 8 when they first came on the market. The AZ Adagios blow them away from top to bottom.. SJ
Back to First Watt and DeVore pairings: I have the F7 driving Gibbon Super 8s ($2k used these days), great imaging and soundstage, excellent tonality. The speakers are tilted back and footers fully extended, they may still be a little low but I prefer not to put them on my mapleshade bases which would add another 6". I use Jim Smith's (get better sound book) recommendation and the distance betweeen the speakers is about 80% of the distance of each to my listening position.
An interesting question --- with an incredibly simple answer. "Dialing in" the final placement of each individual pair of speakers--by ear-- is the only valid answer. This tried and true method allows for the accommodation of all the inevitable minor differences in crossover,dispersion,beaming and lobing from even highly matched pairs. Create a way of adjusting height,roe in and angle and spend time listening to some well recorded music,I'd suggest solo instruments to start. This is an invaluable exercise which we lead you greater musical enjoyment --and appreciation of the value of the painstaking precision some of our leading high end manufacturers strive for. You don't need a "good luck" wish; just do the work and reap the rewards. If you know a woman who would be a listener with you give it a try.
I'm another who is disappointed by sunnyjim's posts. Two observations I made after listening to a range of 'tube -friendly' speakers, at different price points, over a 2 year period... (i) you generally get what you pay for (ii) the law of diminishing returns kicks in - so if a 'bit of edginess' doesn't worry you, enjoy, save your money and buy some music.
Bayreuth - you asked early on in this thread about the tweeter positioning in the Audio Note ANE's. I have listened to both the AN's and the Devore O96's, but not at the same time and not in exactly the same system. It needs to be remembered that the AN's load a room in a very different way to the O96's, and they sounded quite different to my ear. I found that the O96's needed far more room to breathe. However, the need to tweak tweeter height was not a noticeable issue with either speaker in my room. Can you tell me what differences you noticed between the Pass J2 and the XA30.8 with your O96's?
Not to go off topic but this is fun. Speaker talk is almost religious in this forum. Let’s face it guys, at the end of the day, it’s all about our taste. I’ve listen to the O96s for a good few hours with Shindo tubes. Excellent sound...I may have purchased a pair if I was living in a open space loft, but in my house in my living room it would never work. Add the other hardware I invested, for me the Vandy Treo CT was a much better choice. I do understand where @sunnyjim is coming from. John Devore didn’t design anything new here, he took an old idea and made it much better, which has its own merit and value but is also selling it at (what some would see as) a much much higher price. A friend of mine who does woodwork as a hobby recently built a Devore/Snell design like speaker, mimicking the Devore’s enclosure using the top of the line Seas components.... playing around with different crossover designs and for less than 1/3 of the price he built something that sounds pretty awesome. Is it as good as a the O96s? I don’t think so but does it get within that range yes. Did we include the cost of his labor and time for testing and tweaking...no. Although, the material cost was low, his time and effort was very high (it took him on and off 6 months). Did he save money, probably not. My point is, if it’s worth it to you then it’s worth it. All I know is that I can’t make a O96 or clone for that kind of money even if my life depended on it. :)
Slightly late, but for anyone interested in John Devore's speaker design, here is a personal response and insight into the measurements surrounding the Devore O/96: