Save the best for last, I'm told. I'm glad I did. By the time I arrived at Devore's monkey house, CES show-goers were already heading for the airport with hangovers and broken eardrums leaving me plenty of quiet time to listen to my demo disc on Devore's big Silverback speakers.
The night before, John (Devore), John (Halpern of Shindo, EMT, Leben), John (Hughes of VRS), Mike Lavorgna (6Moons) and I partied at the "Not For Sale" mini-rave among other hip hi-fi manufacturers, dealers and journalists. The NFS guys are weekend alcohol alchemists, crafting liquor from a variety of exotic ingredients (the active element in absinth being one).
John (one of the three, don't exactly remember) put a small plastic shot glass filled with glowing liquid in my hand and said, "Yo, you gotta try this!" I was about to knock it back like the good post frat boy I am, but they were like, "No, man, sip it." I later found out another main ingredient was Everclear. Upon reflection, either that little shot was liquid plutonium or John, John, John and Mike are the funniest people in hi-fi. Or both.
Check out Jon's (Iverson of Stereophile) great shots (2, 3) of the NFS room complete with trippy FX lighting. Sadly, I wasn't able to grab a pic of the hot tub filled with beer, wine and hard alcohol on ice. Next year I'll make sure I bring my camera and stay conscious long enough to snap some shots. Who said audiophiles are boring? Vegas After Hours is what hi-fi is all about.
As for the sound in the Devore room, well, it was one of the most enjoyable at the show. The sound falls roughly into the Smooth group -- absolutely zero harsh, etched, nasty notes while offering worlds of bass and attack. Power to the Devore Silverback Reference speakers ($15k) was provided by a beefy Ayre amp rather than low watt tubes of years past.
Where the show's euro Intense-style speakers have a cooler presentation and sharper dynamics, the Devore's sound was warmer and far more friendly. Compared to Refined-type speakers, the Devores offered a more lively midrange, especially on vocals. It's just a different style, one that I particularly like. It's up to you, of course, what kind of sound you prefer, but now I finally understand why Devore speakers are often called "high performance everyday speakers." There are only a handful of speakers that, to my ears, are designed with a lifestyle in mind -- Devore's are clearly designed with a love of the good life.
Check out our Devore gallery for more pics of the big system and the new Gibbon 5 LCR speakers featuring coax drivers using the same woofer from the Gibbon 8. The 5.1, with their double ports, are said to put out bass equal to the bigger 8. Pictured above are the Gibbon Nines next to the Gibbon Super 8.