DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s - Duevel Shuttle integrated amp By
At $3,000 a pair, the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s are the most tonally pure, articulate,
dynamic and transparent bookshelf speakers I have yet heard.
DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s
Coming into my
listening space after owning small monitors from B&W, Revel, Proac, Spendor
and Epos, the 7.1s left me dumbstruck and downright horny for moré. Every
familiar CD revealed greater clarity and new levels of insight through the 7.1s,
from 60s Brazilian to Norah Jones Feels Like Home to the Great Jazz
Trios Someday My Prince Will Come, from SACD remasters of Scheherazade
and Zoot Sims to banging dance tracks by Lemon Jelly.
Though the 7.1s lack the bass of a floorstander or even boom-boom bass masquerading
as true bass, their ability to not only reveal every CD in its own singular
sonic venue and recording locale, but to do so with unswerving transparency,
focus and energetic delivery place them in a league of their own just like their
larger siblings. The small monitors I have owned, while typically focus and
imaging champs, have always made their liabilities known over time. The 7.1s
have been in-house for a few months and while they never fail to impress, their
sound is typically comfortable, natural and non-fatiguing.
Benefiting from beautiful cabinets and a variety of veneers (American Cherry
or Black Ash), the 7.1s feature Cardas binding posts round back, a top-of-the-cabinet
port up front with a driver compliment that reveals DeVores envelope-extending
designs. The 7.1s use a V-array midrange configuration, reportedly run at a
very constant 8 ohms, specd out at 45Hz-25kHz @ 90dB/W sensitivity, with
dimensions of 7.6 x 19 x 10 HxWxD.
The DeVore 7.1s revealed the separate recording space of every CD. Older discs
like John Scofields Electric Outlet sounded somewhat shut-in and one-dimensional.
Ditto for Bossa In Italy, a collection of Brazilian bossa interpreted by Italian
soundtrack composers from the 60s and 70s. But anything truly well
recorded like or the RCA Living Stereo SACD remaster of Fritz Reiners
Scheherazade absolutely lurched out of the 7.1s with nearly live dynamics. With
accuracy as their theme, the 7.1s were fast, detailed and articulate and I could
never isolate one part of the speakers spectrum that was out of whack
with its component parts. Coherence was first rate. And while they may not have
the amount, depth and scale of bass wallop one might expect with a floorstander,
the 7.1s low end was a coherent part of their soundstage and downright
ample when the source material allowed.
The DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s are special speakers indeed and without peer
as a bookshelf monitor in my opinion. If theres a downside to the 7.1s,
it would be that their extreme transparency might highlight inferior gear farther
up the signal chain. But if your system is already synergistic the 7.1s will
reveal your music collection in all its glory, be it club jazz or stadium rocknroll.
Duevel Shuttle integrated amp
The $3,395 Duevel
Shuttle integrated amp is an overbuilt, specialty integrated amp, weighing a
hefty 28.6 pounds and wrapped in a handsome metal case with one of the most
gorgeous faceplates I have seen on any piece of audio gear regardless of price.
An exquisitely machined slab of clear ½ Plexiglas with groovy rounded
corners, the faceplate holds two giant round selector knobs to the far right
of the unit, one for volume, the other for phono/CD/tape/ tuner/aux sources.
The selector dials are so massive and rotate so smoothly, it feels as though
you were operating the controls on a sleek German submarine. Round back are
two rows of standard issue RCAs for input/output duties and metal posts outfitted
with finger-friendly, heavy-duty plastic nubbies for attaching speaker wires.
Power rating is 70w into 8 ohms (a good comparison match for my 70wpc BAT VK-75
tube amp) and 110w into 4 ohms. The on/off switch controls the standby mode
so the amp is basically warmed up 24/7.
Overall, the Shuttle was not as liquid or as transparent as my three-times-the-price
Shindo/Art Audio pre-power combination, but that was to be expected. What I
did not expect was the Shuttles powerful bass performance. It nearly matched
my reference rig in that regard. And while this was solid state bass, it never
rocked the house with that car-bumper-to-the-brain thud appeal some love about
solid state. No, this was fat and juicy, with excellent bloom and a blueish
glow if you catch my drift. Soundstaging was decent if not spectacular, the
Shuttle really blossoming in the lower-midrange-to-bass areas rather than up
on top where the birds sing their hallelujahs.
v Playing Dave Holland Big Bands What Goes Around, the Shuttle laid down
the bass masters instrument with a great ripe tone and a long reach, sounding
as dense and woody as I have heard it. The Shuttle is a serious bass king champ.
It made drums speak with authority and slam and the bari sax of Gary Smulyan
growl with a bear-like roar. Cymbals, on the other hand, sounded more chingy
and defined rather than flowing and resonant though the Shuttles ample
detail quickly allowed me to discern when drummer Billy Kilson changed ride
cymbals. At louder volumes, the Shuttles upper frequencies were now certainly
solid state-like. Stacked horn lines had spit and spark but not as much body
and weight as with my macho tube rig. But what do you expect, fool? The Shuttle
did keep the pace with swift dynamics, speed, power and overall musicality.
The Duevel Shuttle Non-Feedback Integrated Amplifier does many things extremely
well. Its bass extension will give amps triple its price a serious comeuppance,
its soundstaging is first rate. I also found the Shuttle to be dynamically more
powerful than its rated 70wpc would suggest. It loved the boogie, nightlife
and pounding pulse of hot audio sex and dance music depth charges. But it could
also play quiet and sweet if you had the right speaker to charm its solid-state
heart. The Shuttle should certainly be on your must-hear integrated list.