CES: Highlights from Venetian Floor 30 - Loudspeakers


Some Burmester followers may already be familiar with the German firm’s large-ish Ambience BA71 tower type speaker, but for CES Burmester showed a new, more accessibly sized and priced Ambience model—a relatively compact floorstander called the BA31 (~$28,000 - $30,000/pair). The BA31 sports a front-firing, Heil-type ‘Air Motion Transformer’ tweeter flanked by a pair of dynamic-type mid-bass drivers.

On the rear of the BA31 a second, rear-firing AMT ‘ambience drivers’ with a control to very ambience output to suit listeners’ tastes. Cabinetwork reflects, as you would expect, traditional Burmester attention to fit and finish.

Danish manufacturer DALI introduced at CES a lovely new mid-priced range of speakers known as the Rubicon series. As long-term followers of the DALI brand can attest, some of the firm’s best value-for-money-orientated products come its mid-priced offerings, so the arrival of a new range is considered welcome news indeed.

Rubicon models, in keeping with past DALI practice, feature ribbon tweeters expertly integrated with wood pulp/composite driver, all contained in enclosures clad in traditional elegant Scandinavian woodwork. Rubicon models include the flagship Rubicon 8 ($7,995/pair), Rubicon 6 ($5,995/pair), Rubicon 5 ($4,595/pair), the standmount Rubicon 2 ($2,995/pair), and the thus far very well received wall-mount Rubicon LCD ($1695/ea.).

DeVore Fidelity
John DeVore of DeVore Fidelity had recently shown an almost-finished version of his new Gibbon X floorstanding loudspeaker at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2014. But, as dedicated designers will do, Mr. Devore sought out—and achieved—a handful of small but very worthwhile sonic improvements in final production version of the Gibbon X ($15,500/pair) as shown at CES.  The speaker uses a tweeter custom-made to DeVore specifications by SEAS, a roughly 5-inch mid-bass driver, and two roughly 8-inch side-firing woofers patterned after the design used for the woofers in DeVore’s flagship Silverback loudspeaker.

Over time, I have enjoyed any number of DeVore models (all of which are named after families of simians—hence, Gibbon, Orangutan, Silverback, etc.) at trade shows, but to my way of thinking the Gibbon X may stand the most well-rounded and capable of them all. What is more, I see the Gibbon X as a speaker likely to enjoy transcontinental appeal, in that it sounds somewhat like a perfect merger of the sonic virtues I have heard from great American and British loudspeaker in the past. Note, too, that DeVore—much like great British speaker makers past and present—knows and loves fine woodwork, so that the Gibbon X looks every bit as good as it sounds. Happily, DeVore announced at CES that his speakers soon will be available in the UK, under the auspices of the UK distributor GT Audio.

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