On Sunday, January 15th and Monday the16th, I had the privilege of spending the evenings in San Francisco at the first official Pitch Perfect Audio Greenhaus. It was Matt Rotunda, owner of Pitch Perfect Audio’s homage to the Monkeyhaus events that John DeVore of DeVore Fidelity has in New York. You may have read some of Art Dudley’s stories about these events. Matt wanted to do something special as a special treat for Jonathan Halpern of Tone Imports and John DeVore who were visiting Pitch Perfect after leaving CES 2012.
Sunday evening was basically the DeVore night. The evening centered around the listening to two different DeVore loudspeakers. We started out with the Orangutan O/96 driven by the Shindo’s Haut Brion Stereo 6L6G, a 25-watt-per-channel, push-pull stereo amp. The front end was a Shindo Vosne-Romanee preamp with a Garrard Turntable, EMT tonearm, and a Shindo cartridge. Even with all the people crowded into the room it was easy to hear that his system was full, rich, yet with nice transparency and natural detail. What it impressed me most was that I could have listened to this system all evening long. By the way, the fit and finish of these speakers was really beautiful.
I asked John DeVore what was the difference in the design of the Orangutan O/96 speakers and his previous speaker designs. I found his response fascinating; he said, his other speakers had all been more of a universal design that would work with a wide range of tube or transistor amps. With the O/96s he designed them to play with low-powered tube amps. They surely sounded excellent with the Shindo amps.
Another treat was to hear the DeVore Gibbon X speakers that had been introduced at CES. These reminded me more of the DeVore Silverbacks in both looks, finish, and sound. I thought they represented a significant improvement in sound over any of the Gibbon speakers I have heard in the past. To many in attendance, they were blown away by them, but as good as they were I have to admit that it was the Orangutans that I found truly extraordinary.
Monday night, those in attendance got to listen to the LM755 in the LM cabinet from Line Magnetic Audio. It is a single driver system using a LM Audio’s remake of the famous Western Electric 755A. Their field coil drivers have a power supply that uses 300Bs to power the magnets. They are true 94 dB efficient with an 8 ohm impedance. I think these speakers are going to be very appealing to a lot of tube lovers looking for a great sounding speaker that sounds wonderful with their beloved amps.
To start with, the LM cabinets are just plain beautiful in a very retro way. I have a beautiful, floor standing, 1937 Philco radio. This thing cost over $300 in 1937 and is drop dead gorgeous, while not quite as ornate the LM cabinets look a lot like my Philco. You can see them pictured both with and without their grills.
I was very impressed with their beautiful combination of a huge sound, warmth, coherency, detail, and just plain beauty. The piano and the drums on Ray Charles’ Porgy and Bess album were both just beautiful with exceptional layering and air within the instruments. They had that special combinations of transparency, warmth, and dynamics that you get from really good field coil drivers. Another interesting thing was how they improved each time we improved the system. When we changed from the Shindo Vosne-Romanee preamp to their Giscours it was easy to hear the difference as it was with the change to the Shindo 301 turntable, and the Shindo Lafton GM70 20 watts SET mono blocks.
The last sonic treat of the evening came when we switched to the big boys, the Shindo Latour speakers. As good as all the speakers we had heard Sunday and Monday night, as always the Latours stole the show. What magnificent speed, bass, top end, and absolutely lifelike midrange these speakers have. They truly bring the performance right into the room with you. Now, before you think any less of the other speakers, remember the Latours cost five times more than the next most expensive one.
One of the best things about the two evenings was spending time with other music lovers who appreciate the sound of some of the HiFi gear I enjoy so much. It was two evenings of great music, food, and good company. The place was really packed each evening, though by the time all the people got there I had gotten busy talking and forgot to take more pictures.
I must not fail to mention what a gracious host Matt, Jonathan, and John were. I have known Matt since he opened Pitch Perfect Audio, and while I had met both Jonathan and John at a couple of audio shows, this was the most time I had ever had to enjoy good conversation with them. I was amazed at both their love and knowledge of music and audio. I think it is very safe to say a good time was had by all.
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