Absolute Sounds launches Ten – an artisan collection

The UK’s foremost high-end audio distributor compiles a carefully curated collection of singular sonic artistry from independent makers – starting with DeVore’s O/96 loudspeakers

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DeVore Fidelity O/96 – the first entry to the Ten collection

The first piece selected for Ten comes from New York City’s DeVore Fidelity – a loudspeaker named Orangutan 96, or O/96 for short.

Made in Brooklyn, the O/96 exudes New York arthouse attitude, flying in the face of prevailing fashions to set its own agenda. This is not a speaker intended as a crowd-pleasing commodity; but for those who appreciate its singular artistry it is pure revelation. This makes it a perfect fit for the Ten collection.

The O/96 is a rarity in these modern times – a wide-baffle, high-sensitivity loudspeaker. The ’96’ in its name alludes to its quoted electrical sensitivity of 96dB; to put that in perspective, most modern speaker designs are rated in the 85dB to 90dB region. Decades ago, when low-output valve amps were commonplace, high-sensitivity speakers were all the rage. Now, in the age of powerful solid-state amps for which high-sensitivity is less essential, they are often viewed as a curiosity from a bygone age.

Those who hold that view have yet to experience a speaker like the O/96. It forms a perfect partnership with single-ended triode (SET) valve amplifiers, which have a modest power output – SET amps and wide-baffle, high-sensitivity speakers are a classic combination delivering spellbinding tone, texture and musical engagement. But the O/96 is not only made for SET amplifiers; other types of valve amp as well as low-power Class A solid-state designs and even amps with higher power outputs thrive when driving the DeVore speakers, prospering from their masterful skills in the art of musical communication.

The O/96 incorporates a bespoke mid/bass driver with a 25cm wood fibre cone and a motor system developed from DeVore Fidelity’s Silverback Reference drivers. This combines with a 25cm silk-dome tweeter built into a concave flange that lends a subtle horn-loading effect, driven by a powerful doublemotor magnet system with a tuned chamber at the rear.

Each speaker is handmade to perfection, its wood-veneered cabinet finished with polyester lacquer. The baffle is fronted by a choice of richly patterned veneers, with ebony wood, lace walnut, wild cherry and bird’s eye maple among the options. Paint finishes are also available; in fact, DeVore Fidelity will endeavour to match any finish that is requested by a customer.

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