DeVore Orangutan Reference at RMAF 2018

DeVore Fidelity took a giant leap upmarket at RMAF with the debut of their still-to-be-priced Orangutan Reference loudspeakers.

Here’s what we know.

  • Bandwidth: 16Hz-45kHz
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Impedance: 12Ω

Like their stable mates, the DeVore Orangutan Reference (the O/Ref) is meant to be played with any amp you want — they’re ridiculously easy to drive.

The DeVore Orangutan Reference is a system — there are four cabinets, not two. Each is more-or-less the size of the old O/96 that we have known and loved, but the duties are clearly split between the two-pair approach. The O/Ref/A has a 10″ papger-cone woofer (like the O/96 — reviewed here), but it sits in a cast bronze basket. The motor is a huge AlNiCo magnet, with copper Faraday rings above and bleow the cap, a titanium former, and a machines bronze phase plug. Desinger John DeVore says this results “in a far better magnetic and inductive linearity, iincreased sensitivity, and an order of magnitude lower distortion throughout most of the frequency range.”

The O/Ref/A also has a 1″ silk-dome tweeter “loaded by a cast & machined bronze horn.” The “all new tweeter motor utilizes a new rare-earth magnet and an underhung voice-coil for increased linearity at lower truble frequencies and higher sensitivity.”

Last but not least, there is the 3/4″ silk-dome super-tweeter, also in a cast & machined bronze horn and sporting a rare-earth magnet.

And that’s it for the drivers. But around the back, the dual exhaust port tubes are also cast bronze, and yes, they are decoupled from the cabinet.

The O/Ref/B, like it’s partner, features a 10″ paper woofer, but this one gets some extra treatment for strength. There’s and “all-new motor system with long-throw, oversized voice coil, copper Faraday rings above and below the gap, a titanium former” and a bronze phase plug (painted black, here). The “new woofer is reflex-loaded to below 20Hz in-cabinet with no EQ used.

The B is driven by a custom 300 watt class A/B amp with a linear power supply. The amplification is an all-analog signal path, and does feature user-adjustable EQ at 20Hz and 35Hz for those of you looking to tweak it for your rooms.

Shown here with a pair of Air Tight ATM-211 amps and a DAC from TotalDAC.

The sound in the room was dynamic, refined, and powerful. It was clearly popular with the attendees, with much oooohing and aaaahing, fading to looks of stunned awe once the music started playing. I heard a lot of what I know and love about the O/96 in this speaker — the lineage is clear — but the elegance is turned up way past eleven.

I have no idea if it’s the incredible bronze work, or the luscious walnut woodwork in the wall-of-speakers, but I just love the look of the DeVore Orangutan Reference. Mmm, mmm, delcious. I’m sitting here, imagining the patina of the bronze and the rich redness that will come out of the walnut, as they age. Gorgeous.

The DeVore Orangutan Reference will, obviously, take up a lot less space than similar multi-cabinet high-sensitivity setups from Living Voice or Volti or Avantgarde (all horn speaker systems, to be fair, but a reasonable comparision I think), which is great, but if I have any hesitation it’s the expected price point, which will probably be in ballpark of $80k/for the set of four. That’s an eye-opener. I spoke with John DeVore briefly about it — from the custom cabinetry, integrated components, and the overall workmanship, you’re getting a lot for that money, for sure. But us poor students are going to be left pining and drooling into our sleeves. Insert sad-face here. My hope is that someday we’ll be treated to some baby-Reference improvements down-stream. Maybe bronze on the Gibbon X?

Beautiful work and great sound, all around. Magnificent evolution from DeVore!