Usually when I visit the Linear Tube Audio room at a high-end audio show, their amplifiers are matched with Spatial Audio loudspeakers, which are a synergistic match. Or they’re paired with Fern & Roby speakers, and it’s once again a synergistic match. Or Daedalus speakers, and it’s a…well, you get it. But how about LTA and DeVore?
When I walked into the LTA and DeVore Fidelity room and saw this pairing, along with the LampizatOr Baltic 3 DAC and Cardas Audio cabling, I immediately smiled. Why not? DeVore speakers are typically easy to drive, and LTA’s ZOTL designs based on those famous David Berning-inspired ZOTL circuits–they usually have relatively low power but they still mate well with plenty of speakers. But while I’d imagine one of John DeVore’s Orangutan models would be perfect with LTA, this room featured a pair of DeVore Gibbon Super 9s and yes, I have a history with this model.
The new Gibbon Super 9 ($9,990/pr USD) is very different than the original Gibbon 9 I reviewed back in 2008 or so. First of all, it’s much smaller. Second of all, it sounds much bigger. While LTA usually has a tight grip on the lower frequencies, the bass in the LTA and DeVore room was staggeringly good, so much so that I constantly questioned if the LTA Ultralinear power amplifier ($6,800 USD) only had 20wpc or not. The Ultralinear and the MicroZOTL preamplifier (from $4,450 USD) still asserted themselves with their trademark crisp and clean presentation that snaps with excitement and precision.
Mark Schneider of LTA was in the room, and we spoke a bit about the phenomenal pairing between LTA and DeVore. LTA has been relatively quiet for a little while now, mostly because Mark has been making subtle changes to some of the LTA models that result in even higher performance than before. Also, he knows about system matching, going with what sounds the best with his amps–such as the LampizatOr Baltic 3 DAC ($6,600 USD), which was supremely musical on all sorts of material.
That’s why I’ll always stop by the LTA room at high-end audio shows–there’s always a surprise, and always great sound.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the show direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.