Hifi Lounge DeVore Day – 12th September 2023
By George Sallit
By George Sallit
I have said many times before that local dealer events are one of the best places for seeing and hearing audio. Despite that, the current favourites are still large audio shows held in unsuitable rooms in a hotel, or even worse, large glass-sided rooms. Shows are reasonable places to look at audio and get a general idea of how they sound but that tends to be it. Despite that, they still remain popular.
There has recently been a significant increase in local dealer events. Not only can you see the audio equipment but you hear it in a purpose-designed room where the equipment has been carefully placed to get the best sound from the equipment. Whereas major shows tend to be set up quickly in order to meet the allocated times. I therefore admire what is achieved at big shows given those constraints.
So when Hifi Lounge decided to showcase DeVore speakers I jumped at the chance to hear these speakers. They are made in the USA and have acquired a reputation for being efficient and having a lively sound. A bit like Audionote speakers. And to cap it off the big DeVores would be accompanied by a lovely Western Electric 91E 300B valve amplifier.
As always Hifi Lounge accompanied the audio event with copious supplies of teas, coffees or cooling orange drinks to keep us all going throughout the day with some great nibbles at lunchtime.
In the reception area was a great-sounding desktop/mini system using a pair of DeVore Fidelity O/Micro speakers and an all-in-one Rose RS 520 streamer, DAC and amplifier. This system made an impressive sound considering its size and made an excellent introduction to DeVore speakers.
Next door was the first serious system consisting of a pair of DeVore Fidelity O/93 speakers, an Audio Research I/50 integrated amplifier fed by a dCS Rossini and a Melco N1 digital front end. I spent a lot of time here as this system was really well balanced and the valves from the intro Audio Research amplifier worked well with these speakers.
I liked the look and the sound of the speakers and DeVore has given the Fidelity O/93s a nice finish to make the most of these big square box speakers.
I have been trying to get an Audio Research I/50 amplifier in for review by the Wam for some time. Seeing and hearing one in the flesh I know why. This amplifier looks the part and has Nixie tubes to show volume level and comes with the top plate in a variety of colours. It is white here.
Next door to this system was the Coup de grâce with the DeVore Fidelity O/96 speakers with their big 10” (250mm) bass drivers. They were driven by a real work of art, the Western Electric 91E 300B amplifier using (surprise, surprise) Western Electric valves.
And yes, it looks stunning in real life and sounds well, glorious.
Having a front end of the dCS Vivaldi One helps no end.
And for the vinylistas there was the SME Synergy turntable.
I spent close to an hour here and enjoyed every second with a system that emotionally connects you to the music. Goosebump moments galore.
To finish this set of systems off, upstairs was a more affordable set-up with the DeVore Fidelity O/Baby speakers
Powered by a Prima Luna 400 integrated amplifier fed by the dCS Lina DAC + Clock.
The soundstage was anything but babylike and the Evo 400s filled the room with an orchestra or a rock band and had a detailed sound that was relaxing with powerful dynamics. I have a set of Prima Luna pre/power amplifiers at home and they are really well built, easy to use and importantly give a sound quality that you can listen to all day. And I stayed there a bit longer than maybe I should, but I enjoyed the sound they were producing.
All in all, it was a great day with a wide range of speakers and supporting equipment that had the magic mixture of being detailed and relaxing. It was a sound that you could listen to all day and still shock you with their dynamics.
For me, the stars of the day were the Western Electric WE91Es amplifier and the DeVore O/96s speakers.
These were some great systems put together by Hifi Lounge and they just worked.
To follow on from this Open Day, Hifi Lounge is going to hold another Open Day on the 21st of October featuring Accuphase Audio. Tempted or what?