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Reviewer: Ken Micallef
Financial Interests: click here
Digital Source: MacBook laptop, Mhdt Laboratory Paradisea 3 (upgraded with 1940s Mullard tube), Western Digital T2 Mirror Drive (X4)
Analog Source: Kuzma Stabi/Stogi turntable/arm combo, Denon DL-103, Auditorium 23 Denon step-up transformer [on loan], Thorens TD550/EMT Labs TSD15 cartridge with Super Fine-line Stylus [in for review]
Preamp: Shindo Allegro
Power amp: Shindo Haut Brion
Speakers: DeVore Fidelity Nines, DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3XLs [in for review]
Cables: Auditorium A23 speaker cables, Shindo interconnects
Stands: Salamander rack, 2" Mapleshade platforms (8" x 15" x 2")
Powerline conditioning: JPS Labs Kaptovator, Shunyata Black Mamba and Anaconda Vx Powersnakes, Shunyata Hydra 4 [on loan]
Accessories: 3" studio treatment foam damping/ceiling-wall treatment
Room size: 24' x 12', short-wall setup, suspended wood floor, 1-foot deep plaster-covered 2 x 4 walls, wood-beam 10' to 11' ceiling
Component under review: $3.700/pr, matching bamboo stands $595/pr

My girlfriend was away for the weekend. I went about pursuing selfish interests hunting LPs. 'twas a beautiful Sunday afternoon in New York City. I smoked a toke off my latest cigar and began walking. My destinations were Academy Records on 18th near 5th Avenue (cleaner, less picked over content than the Williamsburg store) and closer to home, Other Music on West 4th and Broadway. All in all a one-hour round trip on two legs.
But once you enter these stores and begin browsing, time slips away of course. I came away with a bag of goodies. Academy is one of NY’s final vinyl holdouts, a treasure trove of DVDs, CDs and LPs. Their prices are reasonable, the staff is knowledgeable and Academy consistently unearthes riches such as pianist William Kapell’s ChopinMazurkas [RCA Victor LM-1865 Red Seal]. A tragic figure, Kapell died in his 30s but not before setting the classical world ablaze with his mighty solo piano works.

Wiki: "Kapell had achieved fame while in his early twenties, most especially with his performances of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto in D flat, his world premiere recording being an enormous hit. Eventually he was nicknamed "Khachaturian Kapell". Besides his exciting pianism, Kapell's good looks and mop of unruly black hair helped make him a hit with audiences."

In 1953 Kapell died in a plane crash at the age of 31. By 1960 all his recordings were out of print. What better way to explore this rare LP and celebrate Kapell’s life than with John DeVore’s next to latest speaker (the latest would be the O/96), the Gibbon 3XL. I’ve owned several pairs of DeVore’s finest so I can attest to what is practically a house sound - ease of sonic delivery; a speaker that is exacting (and extracting) of detail without ever sounding harsh; a smooth and reveling midrange; and finely hewn bass notes. But more than that DeVore’s speakers consistently reveal the truth from both recordings and gear placed upstream. You can’t handle the truth? Don’t bother with DeVore Fidelity. As I said his speakers are consistently easy on the ear (and his designs just keep getting better and better) but they are also always truthful.