This review has turned into a trilogy about speakers, the fist about vintage speakers in general, this second part about the DeVore Fidelity Orangutans O/96s’ review, and then in the upcoming part 3 I will share the conclusion of my journey to see if I could find a speaker I like better than my Teresonic Ingeniums XRs. Now let’s get on with part 2 of this trilogy, the review of the Orangutans.
In part 1 of the trilogy I took a little walk down “speaker memory lane” and concluded: “From this little self therapy session I think it is safe to say everyone who has ever owned Quad 57s or Lowthers seem to be in a constant hunt of how do we find a speaker or improve these so that we get to keep this glorious sound but fix their shortcomings.” By the way I left out two speakers from the list that I owned briefly, the Dalquist DQ 10s and the QLN mini-monitors.
At the end of part 1 I listed six speakers that I still wanted to listen to at my house, in my system. I have listened to and reviewed four of those six already and while they were quite good, a couple even superb, none were in the same class as the Teresonic Ingeniums XRs. The DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96s speakers are the fifth on the list to make their way to my house.
After unpacking the speakers I simply set them in the same spot where my Teresonic Ingeniums had been. I knew this pair of O/96s had around 600 hours on them, but still I let them play for a day or two before sitting down to really listen to them. During that time the soundstage sounded small and the bass sounded overly warm. After two days of this not getting better I thought it was time to get around to working on placement.
After a couple of days of playing with placement I ended up with them seven feet apart measured from tweeter to tweeter. I have over the years found where my listing chair should sit for best bass response, which is about six feet from the wall behind it. So, the next thing to do was to find out how far from the listening chair they sounded best. This ended up being ten and a half feet, with them toed in using a laser, such that they were aimed just outside my shoulders. In this position the center of the front panel was 45 inches from the wall behind the speakers and 32 inches from the side walls.
This setup transformed the sound of the O/96s. I now had the biggest stage I have heard in my room and the bass was simply wonderful. Probably, the most overlooked part of speaker placement is their distance from one another. For some reason we always think first about the distance from the rear and side walls. When placed such that the tweeters were six feet apart the O/96s sounded a little thick and the bass seemed too prominent. By the way that was the same distance several speakers had sounded their best in my room. When I moved the O/96s so that the tweeters were seven feet apart the sound became very open, there was absolutely no sign of thickness or of the bass being to prominent. This openness and quicker bass in this location was despite the fact that they were now six inches closer to the side walls.
Distance from the wall behind the speakers is important too. I found it easy to tune them, and was able to get them close by moving them back and forth the width of the speaker stand. It was so much easier than with spiked speakers. When the center of the front panel was 42 inches or closer to the wall behind the speakers the bass was too heavy. By the time I got them out to 48 inches the midrange was too thin and the bass was a little light. At 45 inches things really locked in. I’m not suggesting that this will be the case in your room. I am sharing it to encourage you to take the time to dial them in. Don’t just give up and say they have too much bass, with just a little work they will reward you with really tuneful bass that is full of tone and color.
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