Visit to KeithR

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
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38
E. England
#21
I'll keep the Zu flag flying.
Ron, you'll have a chance to hear them REALLY sing here when you get around to visiting me.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,059
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Beverly Hills, CA
#22
Yes, I will!
 

flez007

Member Sponsor
Aug 31, 2010
2,894
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0
Mexico City
#23
Great and simple setup! - I have not yet heard the latest from AR but, based on this report, I think I should! .. Well done Keith!
 
May 30, 2010
13,964
42
48
Portugal
#24
(...) Also, SET based systems do not seem to use AR and VTL type preamps, probably preferring simpler circuitry and not requiring the pre to that drive and slam and stage, so not sure if these upstream electronics that work with panels and cones work with SET and horns. Same would go for aesthetix IO
The Audio Research REF40 seems an exception ... :) https://audiocirc.com/2014/05/21/a-listening-room/
 

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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,459
7
38
Utah
#25

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
2,557
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Eastern WA
#26
This last Thursday I got to visit KeithR.

I was in Palm Springs for some family time, and went to Anza one day so my grandmother could meet up with people she went to school with - in a one room school house. The rental car was a Nissan Armada, 2018, so we could get 7 people in it. I drove that into LA and with 390HP I was able to monster-truck through traffic like a champ till Waze put me on a few one way alley type streets. I highly recommend Waze, it kept me out of traffic and tickets pretty darn well. I stopped at Record Surplus before I headed to Keith's, because I had a little bit of time since I tried to make it there before 3pm - when traffic picks up. I found one record, but have to say I doubt anyone would walk out without at least one. They have low prices, like way lower than Discogs, and almost everything is in very good shape - maybe they grade ultra conservatively. But I can say they don't seem to be hanging onto highly desired albums that are on the floor.

Keith has got a fantastic view that could nearly make someone take up smoking so they could be on the balcony all the time. But it was a bit smokey while I was there. The joke that seemed to be going around was, "go visit the LA area for some clean air"; since it's much nicer than the heavy smoke from fires all over.

Prior to my arrival Keith had been warming up his stereo a bit. But to be honest I think it took a few extra minutes before it got to it's full capability as a flamenco guitar album I brought sounded better on the second side. The guitars and such bloomed more and didn't sound as much like they came from a speaker by the second side.

At no point did I play Ron's SPL levels that got the needles really twitching up well above half way. But none the less I have to agree with a lot of Ron's impressions. The Devore Gibbon X's appear to be very nice. They can really play everything nice and linear without sounding like analytically-annoying studio monitors; and they don't need tweeter horns to do it. They're a bargain for sure, one that is well worth investigating for those looking in price ranges that are above the Devore's. The bass seems slightly harder to tame than some, as there was a narrow frequency range that the room seemed to act as a resonance enhancer but otherwise the bass goes deep, articulates nicely, and blends right into the mids without a seem. When I say narrow I mean it only happened on one song, for a brief moment. As far as who would like the speakers I think they're right for people whom are sensitive to tone and want a cohesive sound. If soundstage and imaging is all you crave then the 1st order crossover probably isn't your ideal. They sound more like linear music representation, less like a 3D mapping device.

The electronics seem like Keith did a great job of matching up his components. They have a tight well composed sound, no nonsense. They are smart choices from an engineering perspective. I like non-belt driven turntables, the cartridge seems to track really well, and the preamp recovered well from any tick or pop (keeps them quieter). Overall the analog seemed like it favored newer, hotter, recordings a little until the volume got pumped up a bit.

The digital sounded good as well, voices where dynamic and powerful from the MSB. But I was actually digging Keith's music selection more than playing analysis, for most of the digital tracks we gave a listen to. It's nice to run into someone who doesn't have all the same albums.

Unlike for Ron I got to hear his TVC based preamp with Wave Kenetic feet under it. We pulled them out and the sound became slightly more dull, slightly less clear. It wasn't hard to tell, but wasn't a difference that would make you think you changed speakers either.



If you get the chance and you got an invite, Keith is a great host, with a great stereo, and probably will introduce you to a few new albums/artists you'll like.
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,012
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38
Marina del Rey, CA
#27
Thanks for the kind words, Fulsom - I really dig the Devores and feel they need more exposure on this forum as well as others!

Really fun hearing your amp as well - look forward to seeing it a show sometime!
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#28
I enjoyed yesterday another wonderful afternoon of music and audio talk with KeithR! This time I brought some new (old) LPs.

I brought the Ray Brown / Laurindo Almeida Moonlight Serenade I first heard at MikeL’s. The direct-to-disc recording quality on this LP is equal to the very best I have ever heard (in-the-room real), but the music was less involving than I remembered. Every jazz fan should have a copy of this LP.

We also played the M&K Hot Stix direct-to-disc LP. Here the recording quality was not at the level of the Ray Brown / Laurindo Almeida, but the drum solo on "Caravan" certainly was exciting! (I am thinking that the recording quality on For Duke is better than the recording quality on Hot Stix.)

We played my brand new (old) Eva Cassidy Simply Eva 45rpm. MikeL posted that this is his least favorite Eva Cassidy LP, but I liked the simple acoustic guitar accompaniment. The vinyl was dead quiet, at least. Considering that the native recording quality was bad (a portable DAT recorder (yuck!), I think) I thought the sound quality on the LP was pretty okay.

We also played “Something Just Like This” from The Chainsmokers. (This is the first new pop/rock song I have liked in the last several years -- since “Wake Me Up” by Aloe Blacc and Avicii.) Yes, microstrip, I know this is a digital recording (JeffT told me this) but I love the song. So this track, also, gets a digital "pass."

Keith played some contemporary classical tracks, and some Dave Matthews Band songs and some Sting songs.

Keith’s system is not inexpensive, but I think he has achieved the highest sound quality per dollar of any system I remember. Every component is a high value item.

And I really like the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X! It is a full-range speaker (two 9” woofers per side) that does not take up a lot of room. The speaker is fairly sensitive at about 91dB, and is an easy load impedance. The speaker is coherent, no fuss/no muss. Why does it sound so smooth and coherent? Sorry, Marc, but I prefer this speaker over the comparable Zu.

No details are missing, but nothing sounds bright or harsh or analytical. The sound of the Gibbon X reminds me of the sound of a Rockport Technologies loudspeaker — but at half the price of the least expensive Rockport.

Keith’s ARC REF 75SE is a serious, fantastic-sounding and beautifully made beast.

Here again I find myself thinking "why do we have to make these systems so complicated and so expensive?" I can listen to Keith’s system indefinitely. I experienced zero listening fatigue over a long afternoon. The Gibbon X is rich-sounding (“rich timbre” or “tonal density” I think you fancy folks would call it).

The best upgrade Keith could make to this system is simply to locate the whole thing in a bigger room. And I would not mind getting him to audition a tube phono stage or a tube line stage. But the system already is warm and natural-sounding and I don't think really needs any additional tube "warmth."

If I had to come up with some component suggestion I would suggest trying an isolation platform of some kind under the Brinkmann Bardot.

Thanks to Keith for another fun afternoon!


From the DeVore Fidelity website:

gibbon X

An absolutely full-range and utterly transparent reference speaker for the gibbon series. Easy to drive and easy to place in any room. The gibbon X is a three-way system with a new 3/4 inch ultra-low-mass textile dome tweeter suspended in an inert chamber, a new 7 inch midrange driver with a phase-plug and inverted natural rubber surround in it’s own sealed enclosure and a pair of massive, long-throw 9 inch* woofers in a tuned 4-chamber enclosure.

Frequency Response: 23Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: 91.5dB/W/M
Impedance: 8.5 Ohms (16 Ohms max, 7.3 Ohms min @ 26Hz)
Dimensions: 44”H x 9”W x 17.5”D (not including feet)
Finish Options: Cherry Bamboo, Mahogany Bamboo, Mink Bamboo​


*I personally would not call 9" drivers "massive."
 

Hi-FiGuy

Member Sponsor
Feb 24, 2015
1,152
0
36
#29
This is great and all, what about the picture from the balcony! :D

Loved going to Record Surplus, I liked their inventory and decent quality. Have walked out many times trying to figure out how to get them all in the house undetected!

If I ever find myself in So Cal again, probably THE Show next year, I might have to make an imposition.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
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38
E. England
#30
Ron, do you enjoy making a grown man weep?
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
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E. England
#31
Ron, as you pointed out better than I could, my choice of 101dB spkrs on 70W SETs, using a 350W Class D subs, in an 800 sq ft/5500 cub ft space, is a really good solution FOR ME.

I’m not sure 91dB eff spkrs like Keith’s Gibbons would quite fill my space the same way.
And I refuse any system that requires the volume to be turned right up to come alive.

I used to run 90bB spkrs off 250W in my old space (similar floor areas) and the sound needed to be wound right up.
Even 35W on my subsequent Zus in that space saturated the air better.

But I acknowledge Keith preferring these to his old Zus.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#32

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#33
Ron, saying you prefer Keith’s Devores to my Zus. I’m a wreck.
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,012
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38
Marina del Rey, CA
#34
Here again I find myself thinking "why do we have to make these systems so complicated and so expensive?" I can listen to Keith’s system indefinitely. I experienced zero listening fatigue over a long afternoon. The Gibbon X is rich-sounding (“rich timbre” or “tonal density” I think you fancy folks would call it).

The best upgrade Keith could make to this system is simply to locate the whole thing in a bigger room. And I would not mind getting him to audition a tube phono stage or a tube line stage. But the system already is warm and natural-sounding and I don't think really needs any additional tube "warmth."
Thanks for stopping by on Sunday, Ron. Always a pleasure. You are correct, the next upgrade is a larger, more symmetrical room. And hopefully that will be completed by September :) We will optimize the TT isolation at that time as well.

As far as tube phonos, I am naturally biased against them (for good or bad) - and prefer to have tubes simply in the line stage. That said, I've always wanted to try the Lamm - just with a fully balanced system, I'm not sure that's a natural match.
 

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,145
1
38
Pleasanton, CA
#35

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,059
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48
Beverly Hills, CA
#36
. . . As far as tube phonos, I am naturally biased against them (for good or bad) - and prefer to have tubes simply in the line stage. That said, I've always wanted to try the Lamm - just with a fully balanced system, I'm not sure that's a natural match.
I understand. The high-gain phono stage can be a difficult application for tubes.
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,012
7
38
Marina del Rey, CA
#37
I’m not sure 91dB eff spkrs like Keith’s Gibbons would quite fill my space the same way.
And I refuse any system that requires the volume to be turned right up to come alive.
The sound doesn't really need to be "wound up." Its not just the 92db, but that the speaker is a flat 8 ohms with a minimum of 7.5. I wouldn't say the Xs are SET-friendly however.
 
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