KeithR's "Dream Speaker" Search

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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One year update:

A year with the YGs during a pandemic has been fascinating to say the least. I've gone through a half dozen amps (with some big names), mucked with power, grounding, fuses, cables, and even added a tube preamp to the stable. Perhaps being home all the time has allowed me to do this and really nail the setup- and I believe with certainty that I have. YG with LTA and Ampzilla is a really, really good combo and one that nobody on this forum probably expected to be the answer. The YG Haileys do what they do best - soundstage, flow, with microdynamics from a non-overdamped cabinet. I do feel that I'm missing some of that Sonja experience in my house (see pg. 31 for that review) and some of that push that other higher efficient speakers do better. Although there is a smooth and refined sound that YG produces that most of those speakers don't do.

Over the past few months, I've had several opportunities arise on other speakers I've really liked. A forum member offered me Duo Mezzo XDs and I seriously considered them - not to mention they were in an ideal color configuration. But ultimately I went back to my posts on the speaker and difficulty putting one in my current 19' x13.5' room without a lot of space to cohere properly. (speaking of horns, I still want to hear the Cessaro Wagner, but that's a trip to the east coast that's not on the table right now) I've also considered getting a pair of Zu Druid VIs or Cube Audio Nenuphars for fun and just having two speakers - one big rig and the other "anti-hifi". But as much as I like Zu, I honestly prefer DeVore and the Cubes just don't seem like a rock out kind of speaker.

When I heard the big Fynes, I thought that I might have experienced a modern blend of the two camps. That big, present dynamic sound but with some smoothness and refinement. An opportunity afforded itself with my friend and dealer Mike Bovaird, so I have a pair of F1-12s on order. I spent a lot of time evaluating the 10" vs 12" but ultimately determined I will prefer the low end extension on the larger loudspeaker even though the 10" is a more natural fit for my room. It's a gorgeous speaker in walnut and it will be interesting what I think about them in my room compared with my Haileys. And of course I can trade both for a pair of Sonja 2.2s if I get crazy later on :)

So I'm going to have two of my favorite speakers in house soon. The Fyne has different amplifier requirements being a 96db/8ohm speaker and I will borrow a few amps from local friends and dealers including the SIT-3, Dart 108, and Luxman m900. Will the Zillas keep their reign even on a more efficient speaker? The Lux as you might recall I *very much* enjoyed tonality and texture-wise so I'm thinking it could be an ideal pairing. We shall see in May.



ps. tubes still need not apply due to my disability and reliability concerns nor do I like SET amps anyways
Congrats, sounds like fun. A big coax can be pretty great sounding. A friend of mine has a Coax speaker from Live Act Audio that can really sing and my Dynamikks Athos 10 (8 inch coax with beast of a 10 inch woofer) also blend between the two worlds of cone/dome and horns.
 

DaveC

Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
3,511
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One year update:

A year with the YGs during a pandemic has been fascinating to say the least. I've gone through a half dozen amps (with some big names), mucked with power, grounding, fuses, cables, and even added a tube preamp to the stable. Perhaps being home all the time has allowed me to do this and really nail the setup- and I believe with certainty that I have. YG with LTA and Ampzilla is a really, really good combo and one that nobody on this forum probably expected to be the answer. The YG Haileys do what they do best - soundstage, flow, with microdynamics from a non-overdamped cabinet. I do feel that I'm missing some of that Sonja experience in my house (see pg. 31 for that review) and some of that push that other higher efficient speakers do better. Although there is a smooth and refined sound that YG produces that most of those speakers don't do.

Over the past few months, I've had several opportunities arise on other speakers I've really liked. A forum member offered me Duo Mezzo XDs and I seriously considered them - not to mention they were in an ideal color configuration. But ultimately I went back to my posts on the speaker and difficulty putting one in my current 19' x13.5' room without a lot of space to cohere properly. (speaking of horns, I still want to hear the Cessaro Wagner, but that's a trip to the east coast that's not on the table right now) I've also considered getting a pair of Zu Druid VIs or Cube Audio Nenuphars for fun and just having two speakers - one big rig and the other "anti-hifi". But as much as I like Zu, I honestly prefer DeVore and the Cubes just don't seem like a rock out kind of speaker.

When I heard the big Fynes, I thought that I might have experienced a modern blend of the two camps. That big, present dynamic sound but with some smoothness and refinement. An opportunity afforded itself with my friend and dealer Mike Bovaird, so I have a pair of F1-12s on order. I spent a lot of time evaluating the 10" vs 12" but ultimately determined I will prefer the low end extension on the larger loudspeaker even though the 10" is a more natural fit for my room. It's a gorgeous speaker in walnut and it will be interesting what I think about them in my room compared with my Haileys. And of course I can trade both for a pair of Sonja 2.2s if I get crazy later on :)

So I'm going to have two of my favorite speakers in house soon. The Fyne has different amplifier requirements being a 96db/8ohm speaker and I will borrow a few amps from local friends and dealers including the SIT-3, Dart 108, and Luxman m900. Will the Zillas keep their reign even on a more efficient speaker? The Lux as you might recall I *very much* enjoyed tonality and texture-wise so I'm thinking it could be an ideal pairing. We shall see in May.



ps. tubes still need not apply due to my disability and reliability concerns nor do I like SET amps anyways


Congrats! Those Fynes are a beautiful speaker, I like that aesthetic a lot. I also have a pair of coax speakers, Pioneer S-1EX with the Mg mid and Be tweeter, + dual 7" woofers.

If you like the Duos I should have my speakers ready to demo in 6 months or so. I'm in the Denver area, if you happen to be in the Front Range you're welcome to stop by. My speakers are probably closest to AG Duo or Odeon, but they can be listened to nearfield. Also, they use much higher quality parts vs AG, for example a basalt fiber/ CLD composite horn w/full roundover vs ABS plastic.

I understand about tubes, but those speakers would look cool with tube monos sitting next to each one. :) Luckily, there are lots of great choices out there of all types and I doubt a small SET would be ideal for such a large woofer, and IMO it's debateable whether a higher power 3-stage SET amp is really superior given the added complexity and expense, which is somewhat at odds with the concept of a simple circuit with few parts. I've considered building one for a long time but I don't really need the power and the cost vs a similar quality 2-stage <10W amp is insane.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Keith, interesting you say you struggle w Duos coherence in a small room. I've now heard Blue58's Duos Omegas in a 19x11x8 room on dozens of occasions, and they're an excellent fit to this size, their highly directional nature meaning there are few wall boundary issues despite the horns being very close to front and side walls.
There are other reasons maybe not to go Duos, but lack of coherence in a smaller room is not one of them from my take of hearing them for 5 years plus now.
 
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Blue58

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Ozan K

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I have not heard the Fynes but YG 2.2 is a hard act to follow imho. The Nenuphars, which co exist in my system now, are a totally different story though.
 
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COF

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Sep 30, 2017
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KeithR,

You mention being fond of the Devore speakers. I'm a big fan too (of the O/96). You might keep your eye on the updated O series speakers that John Devore is currently working on, where he's incorporating some of the stuff from the O reference in to the O/96. I think the working title of the new O/96 is the "O Bronze." I'm quite excited to hear it, though it will likely be outside my bank limits.
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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KeithR,

You mention being fond of the Devore speakers. I'm a big fan too (of the O/96). You might keep your eye on the updated O series speakers that John Devore is currently working on, where he's incorporating some of the stuff from the O reference in to the O/96. I think the working title of the new O/96 is the "O Bronze." I'm quite excited to hear it, though it will likely be outside my bank limits.
I saw this on his FB page - I would love to hear them. I believe you are correct that they will be more like double the O/96 price.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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KeithR,

You mention being fond of the Devore speakers. I'm a big fan too (of the O/96). You might keep your eye on the updated O series speakers that John Devore is currently working on, where he's incorporating some of the stuff from the O reference in to the O/96. I think the working title of the new O/96 is the "O Bronze." I'm quite excited to hear it, though it will likely be outside my bank limits.

I really like the O96 but I think they are at the right price. They are very good compromises, not all out assault, and therefore the price matters. Also they need space at the sides and at the back. Therefore, if the price goes up, then with space, many other options come up
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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I really like the O96 but I think they are at the right price. They are very good compromises, not all out assault, and therefore the price matters. Also they need space at the sides and at the back. Therefore, if the price goes up, then with space, many other options come up

What size room?
 

bonzo75

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What size room?

You need space from the sides at least 3 feet either side, if not more, and 5 feet from the back ideally, like a planar. 3 might just about do.

Then of course you need space between the speakers. To the listener you don't need much distance as they are very coherent so 4m should be more than fine.

But overall that's 18 to 20 feet as well as over 13 feet wide. I can start getting an universum or Anima in that size . At 6m I can even add trios with bass horns. Of these, the O96 is far cheaper and better looking
 
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PeterA

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You need space from the sides at least 3 feet either side, if not more, and 5 feet from the back ideally, like a planar. 3 might just about do.

Then of course you need space between the speakers. To the listener you don't need much distance as they are very coherent so 4m should be more than fine.

But overall that's 18 to 20 feet as well as over 13 feet wide. I can start getting an universum or Anima in that size . At 6m I can even add trios with bass horns. Of these, the O96 is far cheaper and better looking

That 4m distance to the listener is surprising to me. Does one need that distance for the drivers to integrate? Amazing to me that people listen to much larger speakers with multiple drivers at closer distances. (MikeL, SteveW) If 3m were enough for the O96, they would work in a small room like mine (15' X 16'). As it is, my speakers are about 4.5' from front wall and 4.25' to sides and 9.5' to listener.
 

bonzo75

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That 4m distance to the listener is surprising to me. Does one need that distance for the drivers to integrate? Amazing to me that people listen to much larger speakers with multiple drivers at closer distances. (MikeL, SteveW) If 3m were enough for the O96, they would work in a small room like mine (15' X 16'). As it is, my speakers are about 4.5' from front wall and 4.25' to sides and 9.5' to listener.

Possible 3m. I prefer out of the equilateral triangle or on the angle. Mike's set up is a special case, not really extendable to other experiences
 

bonzo75

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That 4m distance to the listener is surprising to me. Does one need that distance for the drivers to integrate? Amazing to me that people listen to much larger speakers with multiple drivers at closer distances. (MikeL, SteveW) If 3m were enough for the O96, they would work in a small room like mine (15' X 16'). As it is, my speakers are about 4.5' from front wall and 4.25' to sides and 9.5' to listener.

Yes they should work in that room then now you state how your current speakers are placed.
 

MadFloyd

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I was surprised about 4m listening distance as well.. but I was thinking that was around 16 feet (which would be excessive) but in reality it's only 13... so not that crazy.
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Possible 3m. I prefer out of the equilateral triangle or on the angle. Mike's set up is a special case, not really extendable to other experiences
You include much more of the room the further you sit from the speakers...
 

COF

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Sep 30, 2017
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That 4m distance to the listener is surprising to me. Does one need that distance for the drivers to integrate? Amazing to me that people listen to much larger speakers with multiple drivers at closer distances. (MikeL, SteveW) If 3m were enough for the O96, they would work in a small room like mine (15' X 16'). As it is, my speakers are about 4.5' from front wall and 4.25' to sides and 9.5' to listener.

I'll just add my experience for what it's worth:

I auditioned the O/96 very extensively, in more than one demo room, as I was deciding between the O/96 and Joseph Audio Perspective speakers (two speakers that really grabbed me, though quite different in presentation. I ended up with the Josephs and love them, but the Devore still call to me somewhat).

My main problem with the O/96 was that they REALLY needed at least an 8 foot listening distance in order for them to cohere and do what they do best. I have a similar size room to you, though even smaller - 15' x 13'. However it was remodeled with the help of an acoustician, and has a wide room opening, the result being that it's a great sounding room and every speaker I've put in there, even big Thiel 3.7s, have had no problem with producing even sound from top to bottom. I'd say from what I heard the O/96 would be the biggest challenge, as they are pretty ripe in the bass. But I can pull them out quite far from the front wall. I haven't had a home audition but may do so at some point.

I went with the Joseph speakers partially because they are coherent even from close listening distances. My situation has generally put be between 6 to 7 1/2 feet from speakers, and everyone I've owned has been fine (even my current Thiel 2.7s that I also own).

This is why I brought a tape-measure each time I auditioned the Devore speakers. With the Devore O speakers, be it the 96 or 93, at 8 feet or beyond they had an open, lively, snappy coherent sound. But moving even a bit closer than 8 feet the sound would "dissolve" a bit, lose some high frequency extension, that "snap" of the drums that were so alluring would darken and mellow and get a bit less dense, and coherency issues with the woofer and tweeter would start to arise. I tried getting back the high frequencies when closer by toeing the speakers in even more, but it wouldn't really fix the problem. They just need a certain distance to snap together and open up. Which makes John Devore's recommendation of 8 feet or more make sense. I've read elsewhere of even the skinnier more conventional Gibbon models requiring some distance to work as well, so I wonder if there is something in Devore's crossover/driver choices that drives this.

I only started re-considering the O/96s again when I realized a way I could eek out a bit more listening distance in my room, to get that 8 foot distance, which is why I may try them in my place at some point just to scratch that itch.

My most recent speaker purchase (I had to replace my Thiel 3.7s for some aesthetic/ergonomic reasons) took me on a tyipcally obsessive (for me) two year search auditioning everything in sight within a comparable price range (new or used). I auditioned various models from Raidho, Magico, Focal, B&W, Kudos, Kharma, Spendor D series, Audio Note, Audio Physic, JM Reynaud, Paradigm Persona, Harbeth, Revel, Monitor Audio, Proac, and others.

For me (and as someone who obsessively compares live to reproduced sound, even to the extent of doing my own recordings for such comparisons), nothing "did it" for me quite like the Devore O speakers. They simultaneously sound "more speaker-like" than some of the new-school speakers mentioned above, and "less speaker like" at the same time. More speaker-like insofar as the bass is a bit rich and not the tightest and the sound can be more obviously "coming from a big speaker box" at times than a Magico or whatever. On the other hand there is a "life-force" vibe with the Devores in terms of dynamic, feel and tone, that I don't get from those other speakers. The way I always feel the bass drum of the drummer, the way the tone of the Devore produces that papery "snap" of a snare that my brain recognizes as "right and real," makes drums, and many instruments just that much more convincing to my ears. I also adore how rich the O speakers sound, giving instruments a bigger size and heft than many ultra-clean speakers. That to me is actually more what I hear with real instruments - most reproduction to me sounds diminished, squeezed tight. Whenever I hear a real sax or trumpet etc the sound is SO much bigger and richer than anything I hear from reproduced sound in most audiophile set ups, and I find, whether it's a coloration or not, the O speakers enrich instruments in a way that reminds me of the real thing.

(I don't strive for absolute realism btw, that's generally impossible across the board - but I like when a system has characteristics that can remind me of what I love in the real thing).

BTW, I know another member here had MBL speakers that he replaced with Joseph Pulsars, happily. I had MBL 121s for many years and I had to sell them to get the Joseph Perspectives, and I find the Joseph speakers a very nice exchange, giving me much of what I loved about the MBLs, but some more conventionally pleasing aspects as well.
 

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