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DeVore Constancy has been handcrafting world class loudspeakers out of its workshop in Brooklyn’s Navy Yards for nearly 20 years and over that point, I’ve been lucky to expertise a lot of its designs at residence, supplier showrooms, commerce reveals, and folks’s houses.
Wandering into the Common Wave Audio Hi-Fi room at T.H.E. Show in June 2022, was my first time in a few years to have the chance to take heed to considered one of John’s newest creations and after spending greater than 45 minutes listening to the O/child – I used to be left with some severe remorse in regard to an older pair of DeVore Gibbon 3s that I used to be pressured to promote again in 2009.
There’s a great scene in Carl Reiner’s 1967 comedy Enter Laughing the place Reni Santoni’s character enters the set with an insane chortle after which appears into the viewers and suffers the worst case of stage fright within the historical past of theater. After some prodding from Elaine Might, he recovers and will get higher with every scene, however it’s an excellent factor that he all the time had pharmacy faculty to fall again on.
John Devore doesn’t have to fret about going to pharmacy faculty, as a result of the smallest member of the DeVore line-up was positively killer. It required extra energy than the Gibbon Tremendous 8s or authentic Silverback Reference loudspeakers, however with the fitting amplifier; and never essentially a really costly one, it was among the finest 2-way screens I’ve ever listened to and simple to work with in the event you can’t get away with stands in the course of your room.
At 12.5”H x 6.5” W x 9.5” D, the Gibbon 3s weren’t precisely big; they only sounded that method. They have been manufactured and assembled in DeVore’s Brooklyn-based manufacturing facility and accessible in a number of stunning hardwood veneers. My private pair have been completed in a light-weight cherry and had a beautiful grain all through.
The match and end have been very good and whereas they weren’t cheap at $1,700 USD per pair again in 2006, there was nothing off-the-shelf (minus the Cardas binding posts) in regards to the drivers which have been custom-designed by Scanspeak for this particular loudspeaker to John’s very precise specs.
They have been additionally a rear-ported design that didn’t endure from bass bloat in the event that they have been positioned too near the wall behind them — a function that I all the time felt was distinctive.
Organising the Gibbon 3s was a whole lot of enjoyable, as a result of its measurement allowed me to attempt it in multiple room; and even inside a wall unit which is the place it’d find yourself for some listeners.
Audio system have come and gone through the years, however speaker stands full of sand by no means appear to get the trace. Being 6’ 3” tall, I require taller stands for stand-mounted audio system, so I attempted the Gibbon 3s on 24” and 28” stands (each have been of the 4-post sand-filled selection with these nasty spikes that pierce flesh), in the end preferring the 24” peak because of the tighter bass response and picture peak.
My lounge (on the time) was 20’ x 13’ x 8’, with my listening chair 4’ from the wall behind it. A 108” broad built-in maple/cherry wall unit took up a lot of the proper facet of the room. Extra seating, a hearth (opening was coated up throughout evaluations), and my tools rack occupied the left facet of the room. Our hardwood flooring was partially coated by an 8′ x 10′ wool rug.
The room was on the “vigorous” facet, however the wall unit, seating, and carpet did a good job of taming it. All of the home windows have been coated with absorbent horizontal blinds.
The primary place I attempted was on the 24” stands with the rear of the audio system 36” from the wall behind them. The skin edges of the audio system have been 20” from the sidewalls. I began with the audio system pointed straight forward, which is mostly how I’ve all the time positioned audio system in my room. The outcomes have been encouraging (after about 30 hours of abuse – AC/DC), however I felt that the sound could possibly be extra “open” with them pulled out even additional.
At 45”, I hit the goal. The gap from the sidewalls was not sufficient and I ended up pushing them nearer collectively in order that they have been 32” from the sting to the partitions. All the pieces appeared to gel, and I left them there (making them a straightforward goal for my child daughter) at some point of the overview.
DeVore Constancy’s literature claimed that the Gibbon 3’s frequency response was 45Hz – 30kHz (+/-dB?) and whereas we’ve no technical measurements to refute or validate that declare, my time spent dwelling with the audio system and particular amplifiers, proved that the Gibbon 3s have been definitely able to reproducing very deep and taut bass response; definitely, much more than its measurement prompt.
At 86dB (8 ohms), the Gibbon 3s weren’t a SET-friendly load, until one have been pondering of utilizing one thing with 845 output tubes. My Fi X amplifier loaded with Sophia 2A3s barely made a dent. No shirt, no footwear, no cube. The Fi solely provided a mere glimpse of the Gibbon 3’s un-boxy sounding midrange and prolonged prime finish.
The late-Don Garber even warned me earlier than I attempted his great amplifier that it was not a mixture that will work.
Subsequent up have been the Leben CS-300x built-in amplifier and Shindo Labs Montille energy amplifier; each push-pull EL84 designs providing 12 juicy watts. The Montille has acquire pots which will be raised/lowered relying in your selection of preamplifier (Shindo Labs Aurieges L and Fi Y) and I typically left them on the midnight hour. I often tried them at 1 or 2, however 90 per cent of my listening was carried out at 12 O’clock.
Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry’s rendition of “On a regular basis I’ve the Blues” could have been foreshadowing of some mischief but to return, however boy did it sound candy and expansive whereas it lasted. The Leben CS-300x was a extremely underrated product.
The Gibbon 3s are a really open and speedy sounding loudspeaker that excel within the midrange and treble; splendidly open, tonally wealthy, and blessed with prime finish extension that’s ethereal and by no means etched or shrill. Whereas fairly resolute within the bass, the Leben simply didn’t have the ability or grip to actually drive these audio system to ranges that tough rocking of us may demand.
Of us who get pleasure from jazz, blues, chamber, people, choral at sane listening ranges will in all probability deem me a sadist for complaining, however Inexperienced Day, Zeppelin, Floyd, and Flea have been merely “good” once I pushed the CS-300x/Gibbon 3s.
Mozart and Dolphy have been excellent; the midrange decision and presence made these audio system actually excel with vocals and string devices.
Eric Dolphy was a genius, and that genius made “G.W.” look nearly sensible by the Gibbon 3s. His Alto Sax and Bass Clarinet had chunk with out chewing one’s head off.
The Gibbon 3s and CS-300x are a successful mixture in the event you don’t dwell on a eating regimen of Pavement, Inexperienced Day, and Metallica at ranges that even Lars would threaten to kick your ass for listening to music at. Attempt for that emotional connection with out going deaf.
The Inexperienced Machine
The Shindo Labs Aurieges/Montille have great decision from top-to-bottom, and a barely heat tonal stability, which additionally actually complimented the speedy and open presentation of the Gibbon 3s. Not like the Leben CS-300x, which ran out of fuel at loud ranges, the Montille appeared to take it extra in stride and rolled off extra gracefully.
Hank Mobley’s “Bouncing with Bud” and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Take it Straightforward” each supply their very own distinctive challenges and the Gibbon 3s barely broke a sweat. I loved each tracks at high and low listening ranges due to the extraordinary element retrieval and readability. The audio system don’t gloss over dangerous recordings, which can most definitely annoy followers of over-produced formulaic schlock pop.
Nice sounding pop resembling Departure from The Mammals, Winterpills’ self-titled launch, and Ruth Gerson’s Wake to Echo saved me engaged for hours.
Completely, Your Worshipfulness…
My NAD T753 and T763 encompass receivers additionally labored moderately effectively with the Gibbon 3s, supporting them with much more energy, however the mixture that I actually loved was the Gibbon 3s with the Arcam Solo (which I borrowed for per week).
The Solo (“Why you caught up, scruffy lookin…”) was a 75 watt built-in amplifier/CD participant/AM/FM tuner unit from Arcam that basically blew the doorways off with a speaker such because the Gibbon 3s.
It didn’t fairly have the element retrieval or coherence of the Leben/Shindo Labs tools, however the value variations have been so monumental on the time (nearly 50% lower than the Leben and 75% lower than the Shindo rig), that it was onerous to disregard simply how effectively the mix carried out.
Ry Cooder’s Chávez Ravine was my sleeper album of 2005, and its distinctive, soiled, gritty taste oozed out of the Gibbon 3s just like the bean and cheese from an excellent burrito. It burns your pores and skin and stains like a mom on that new shirt you’re sporting, however man is it good. The Solo had surprisingly fats cajones for a Brit piece of package. The Gibbon 3s have been from Brooklyn.
KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” from Eyes to the Telescope had a handy guide a rough beat to it and the Gibbon 3/Solo mixture went alongside for the trip. Good album, gritty singer, nice music to get drunk and begin dancing to.
There should be one thing you didn’t like…
My solely actual grievance in regards to the Gibbon 3s contain their sensitivity; they don’t seem to be the simplest audio system to drive and that’s a disgrace as a result of I’ve little doubt that they’d sound nice with one thing just like the Fi Tremendous X, Almarro A205A MK II, and many others…which have been extra inexpensive than the Leben CS-300x and the Shindo Labs gear.
If you could find a pair at present in glorious form, they’ll work effectively with solid-state amplification that’s barely hotter sounding. Cambridge Audio, Rega, Arcam, McIntosh, Rotel, and older NAD amplifiers could be an amazing match so long as the ability output is there.
The Unison Research Triode 25 Integrated Amplifier that I reviewed final 12 months could be very good with these loudspeakers however that could be a moderately hefty funding
Their very good coherence, punchy and speedy midrange, detailed and ethereal treble, very good imaging, and surprisingly deep bass response all add up to an entire package deal that’s domestically pleasant and a really mature sounding loudspeaker that I by no means ought to have bought.