RMAF 2011: DeVore, LM Audio

DeVore Fidelity was showing off a pre-production model of the Gibbon 88 ($5k, est), which will replace the Super 8. The 88 has an all-bamboo cabinet and new, upgraded drivers. The sound? Delicate, detailed, punchy. They sounded great, actually.

I expected to see and hear Shindo gear, as this was DeVore’s usual MO, but sitting in an orderly little row behind the display speakers was some new electronics from a new-to-me company, LM Audio. Each time I was in the room, the $8k (honkin’) big LM-219IA 845 dual-mono, single-ended integrated was running the show. Ably, if I might be so bold as to add.

Other LMA gear on display included:

  • LM-218IA 845 standard single-ended integrated ($3495)
  • LM-216IA KT88 push-pull integrated ($1850)
  • LM-211IA EL34 push-pull integrated ($1650)
  • Mini 218 EL84 single-ended integrated ($800)

Spinning tunes came from a Well Tempered Lab GTA turntable and tonearm ($3850) with an EMT TSD-15 moving-coil cartridge ($1950). An Auditorium 23 Hommage T2 step-up transformer ($4995) was paired with an AcousticPlan PhonoMaster SE tube phono preamp ($4495).

The digital side of the house (again, not in use while I was in the room) was an AcousticPlan DriveMaster CD transport ($4995) working with an AcousticPlan DigiMaster tube USB DAC ($4995), and AcousticPlan Master PSU upgrade power supply ($2500).

All cabling was Auditorium 23 ($795/pr interconnects, $980/2.5m speaker cables).

New, unfamiliar gear. New, unfamiliar speakers. Needless to say, it was hard to pin down what was doing what. So, it was with some relief when the following day, John DeVore had switched out the new Gibbon 88s for the recently released Orangutang O/96.

Not that I’ve ever actually heard them, but they were different, so it was helpful. In this humble attendee’s opinion, however, the O/96 are the speakers to own.

My notes read: big, bold, beautiful. The tone on the O/96s were delightful, more organic and rich than the 88s, with a big sound stage, better imaging, and better speed.

Of course, they’re also $12k a pair. Oh well. While hardly a “steal” in anyone’s book, these are remarkable sounding (and looking) speakers. Worth a listen if you’re into good, low(-ish) power tubes.

John DeVore, posing with his Orangutang O/96 loudspeaker.