DeVore Orangutan Reference | High End 2019

A Touch of class comes to the big show

DeVore Orangutan Reference

DeVore Fidelity‘s new reference speakers were one of the main reasons for me hitting the show in Munich. This, and drinking beer while eating crispy pork knuckles. Never met with John DeVore in person, we had a couple of chats through social media but not much more, I knew the guy is cool as he has great taste in watches and I can now confirm he is as good of a speaker designer as they say.

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In one of the dreaded ground floor prefabricated rooms he managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the form of a 4-cabinet, 4-way, 5-drivers reference speaker system that worked marvels on both jazz and classical music. No, we did not play Royksopp, but I somewhat doubt the typical DeVore customer will anyway.

The new DeVore Orangutan Reference speaker system is an evolution of the Orangutan line (and a revision of the Reference the team saw in Denver last year); let’s say that it pushes the frequency extremes to the … extreme. In order to reach for deeper bass, there is a second cabinet with two bass drivers, one active that draws power from a 700W class D Hypex module and one that acts as a passive radiator which helps to keep the cabinet volume in the same size as the main unit. John explained that the speaker was slightly bass heavy until he added a super-tweeter to the mix which brought balance to the force. Bass is down to 16Hz, supertweeter reaches more than 45KHz. This is a Master Jedi system.

DeVore Orangutan Reference drivers

The system was a rather simple one, for Munich’s standards, with a Frank Schröder Mighty Mite turntable and CB tonearm driven by a VPI motor controller and Tellurium Q cables. Valve amplification was provided by Audiomat, the 40W Solfege integrated retailing only 8.000euros seemed like a great bargain for the price. Audiomat’s DAC was also on the rack but I enjoyed physical records of the dark side only. The cartridge was a Dynavector XV-1s.

There is not much more to ask from a speaker system and from the show’s performance as a whole. It had some of the most credible timbres, the soundstage was open and extended all the way to the room’s ceiling, the bass was good despite the well documented awful acoustics of these cubicles. Rachmaninov was better than what the speakers might have you waiting for considering the size, jazz was phenomenal. There is something less to ask, the price of the Orangutan Reference system is expected to be in the $90.000 ballpark, and for that kind of money, competition is very stiff. That said, if you are fond of the Orangutans there is little else out there that offers this kind of refinement.

DeVore Orangutan Reference system

DeVore Orangutan Reference frontal view

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About Panagiotis Karavitis 212 Articles
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  1. Is DeVore moving away from the high efficiency, low power systems he formerly espoused? Seems like it. I suppose the older model can still serve that need for the time being.

    • Actually no, I don’t think so. This is still a very efficient and tube friendly design. Reason why he uses a class D amplifier for the second cabinet, the main 3 drivers are easy to drive.

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