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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Patricia Barber
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Cirque Du Soleil
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Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
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Andy Timmons Band
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Ralph Towner
Time Line
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Anoushka Shankar

Amos Lee
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Amos Lee
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Julius Curcio
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Alligator Shoes
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"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
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Audio [Issue #22]
: DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s - Duevel Shuttle integrated amp
By Ken Micallef

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 Trio’s 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 DeVore’s envelope-extending designs. The 7.1s use a V-array midrange configuration, reportedly run at a very constant 8 ohms, spec’d 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 Scofield’s 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 Reiner’s 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 speaker’s 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 7.1’s 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 there’s 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 rock’n’roll. Highly recommended.

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 Shuttle’s 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 Band’s What Goes Around, the Shuttle laid down the bass master’s 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 Shuttle’s ample detail quickly allowed me to discern when drummer Billy Kilson changed ride cymbals. At louder volumes, the Shuttle’s 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.

DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1s - Duevel Shuttle integrated amp

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