DeVore Fidelity | Dayens | Well Tempered Labs | Grado | Denon | Audio Note UK | Ortofon | Cinemag / Ned Clayton | Wright Sound | Rega | Schiit | Pine Tree Audio

Photos updated 07/22.

I live in a one-room old schoolhouse in a hill town in Western Massachusetts. This stereo plays the house brilliantly. 

My current set up is the present form of an ever-evolving process. Friends, online writers, and stereo shop folks have all influenced where I’m at now with two channel audio, but I’ve made a point to really stick my own personal tastes and proclivities. Those would be tone, texture, presence. If the human voice sounds sublime on my system, then I know I’m getting it right. I tried active preamps in front of the Dayens but kept coming back to a passive pre - was a Schiit Sys, now the classy but still simple passive from Pine Tree Audio.

Trying to have a nice balance between tone and warmth (Grado cart, tubed phono preamp, warm-sounding CDP) and lively directness (passive preamplifier, clean solid state amps). Not only do I not want to have the setup get more complicated than this, I often think it'd be great to just have once source into an integrated. Maybe someday - I seem to love analog and digital equally. 

The DeVORE FIDELITY Gibbon Super Nines are a recent addition and, as you might expect, have really been blowing my mind (previous speakers were Sonus Faber Liutos). Somehow they have both transparency AND tone, not to mention completely mind-boggling sound-staging and imaging. They sound brilliant anywhere but love being out in the room like I now have them.  

I enjoy the presentation of the Denon 103 - with the Aluminum Body cap - through the Audio Note SUT. But I always find myself craving a Grado. UPDATE - currently trying an Ortofon SPU Classic with a DIY Cinemag 3440AH based SUT. Loving it so far. 

Comments and suggestions are very welcome. Brands I’d love to check out include Linear Tube Audio, First Watt, Aric Audio, Shindo, Sugden, Auditorium 23, Belden, Soundsmith, an Ortofon SPU with different SUTs, Koetsu, Tannoy, Omega, Zu, and Klipsch. 


Room Details

Dimensions: 18’ × 17’  Medium
Ceiling: 8’

Components Toggle details

    • DeVore Fidelity Gibbon Super 9
    Purchased new from Goodwin's High End in Waltham in 01/21. Completely unreal.
    • Grado Sonata V3
    Joseph Long doing business as Groovetickler put on a different cantilever and a very nice stylus. Very different from the stock cart - more like the Reference, which I also own.
    • Well Tempered Labs Amadeus Junior
    New as of September 2021
    • Wright Sound WPP-200c
    Genelex tubes. Recommended!
    • Rega Apollo-R CD Player
    • Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit
    Makes some really beautiful music.
    • Pine Tree Audio SP-2
    Simple passive pre. Excellent quality.
    • Dayens Audio Ampino Monoblocks
    Early 2017.  Upgraded version; 50 wpc.
    • Pine Tree Audio All cables
    Stealth Power cords
    Iso-quad interconnects
    Coax and USB
    • Audio Note (UK) AN-S1
    • Denon DL-103
    With an Aluminum Body mod. I sometimes put this one in, and use the Audio Note SUT to go with.
    • Ojas 497 Speaker wire
    • Ortofon SPU Classic N
    Without the head shell. Comes with a little adaptor for a standard mount to tonearms.

    Using this with an SUT from Ned Clayton in Utah. Purchased on eBay. Cinemag 3440AH transformers, giving ratios of 1:9, 1:12, 1:18, and 1:36. 

Comments 16

Beautiful! Such a nice vibe. Would love to hear...


Donnedonne. I haven’t tried footers yet. I guess I figure Mr. Devore designed them for those cones, so I’ll stick with the cones. I’ve had more fun dialing them in in the room than anything. Even a few inches can change things. I also just prefer the simplicity of what came with the speakers.


Agree with you on the Devore S9s! In my limited space (small NYC apt...) I don't get much soundstage depth, but I primarily value them for their fleshy tone, texture and overall balance. Their "sheer humanity", as Art Dudley wrote about the original Nines. Haven't experimented with the spikes yet, or with putting rugs beneath them (currently no spikes -- on carpet, atop some 25 cent rubber anti-vibration pads from the hardware store). Have you messed around at all with footers?


Killer system and very well thought out.


Soldersplatter - Thanks! Yeah, I can't hang with tv screens in my living space - the hifi is the event, right? 

Cymbop - Thanks! Yeah simple is good, but also I look forward to playing around with amps and cables and sources going into the Super Nines.


Raw-looking--love it!  And you have it set up w/o a TV looming over everything, one of my pet peeves.  No doubt your system sounds fantastic and I dig the aesthetics.


I love this room and system.  I'll bet it sounds sublime.  Way to keep it simple and good at the same time.


Steveott - Thanks for the comment. These Super Nines are pretty incredible - I highly recommend demoing them if you can. Like everyone says, the soundstaging huge and the imagining is unreal. I can't speak too much about acoustic instrument timbre as I don't play one. The bass response is pretty insane - one of the reasons I chose these over the O/96s was that they sounded more 'contemporary', and this includes some pretty serious bass. Nothing these things don't do well - jazz, classical, folk, experimental, synths, pop are all brilliant. Hope that helps!


How is the bass,timbre of acoustic instruments, soundstage and imaging with the super nines?
Thanks, steveo


Noromance - I took your comments to heart and went out and got some patio stones. It does sound a little tighter! Many thanks.


Welcome to the concrete block rack fan club. Curious why you have what looks like paper under your turntable feet. I'd strongly recommend you sit it on a level sheet of glass or maple. The speakers too would benefit from standing on paving slabs.


Nicflight - I had a Bifrost multibit that was my first DAC and I thought it sounded great.  I wanted to see if I could hear what 'more' sounded like, as in, what could all that "extra" internal stuff do to digital sound?  The Gumby is indeed more - mostly more detail.  I think if you're coming from the Modi maybe try the Bifrost first.  Love Schiit's schit, generally.


I am interested in upgrading to the Gungnir from the modi multibit.  Any thoughts you could share on how you ended up with one.


Nice simple....I like it!


Well put together system on a budget, I'll bet it doesn't sound like a budget system, though. I like the fact your speakers are well out into the room, many speaker systems/rooms work well that way.

Nicely done, enjoy,

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

Well chosen gear to play your music.


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