DeVore Fidelity O/93 Loudspeaker

hfnoutstandingThe smaller of DeVore's 'Orangutan' loudspeakers still achieves that elusive goal of offering high sensitivity and an amp-friendly load, but without full-fledged horn-loading

Here's a platitude which should adorn a t-shirt made mandatory attire for all audiophiles: 'It's OK To Like More Than One Thing'. In my view, hi-fi is no more cut-and-dried than wine, cars or shoes. Components are not mutually exclusive. With speakers in particular, there are more competing, different-sounding technologies than just about any other part of the chain. And what DeVore Fidelity has in its £9998-per-pair Orangutan O/93 is a design which ticks numerous boxes, all the better to alleviate any guilt about loyalty to a single topology.

I admit to loving ribbons and 'statics and two-way mini-monitors. A pair of O/93s, on the other hand, is a bouillabaisse that allows you to profess multiple affinities in one speaker, brand owner/designer John DeVore unapologetically ignoring slavish adherence to the restrictions of a single genre. So, the O/93 employs a paper-coned woofer, dual-ported enclosure, a simple crossover and high-sensitivity dome tweeter. The tweeter plate has a short flare that manages both high frequency dispersion and provides a hint of horn-loading, the latter, along with the minimalist crossover network, figuring into the O/93's high sensitivity.

No Jacket Required
Specifically, the crown of the O/93's SEAS 28mm silk dome tweeter is recessed by about 10mm into the faceplate, and as the speakers are likely to be used sans grilles, that depth is also a boon to the naked drivers' survival. DeVore points out that even its carefully designed, magnetically attached grilles will affect the speaker's performance and recommends not using them for 'serious' listening. So I didn't...

Unlike the next model up, the O/96 [HFN Apr '21], the 902x381x254mm (hwd) O/93 is a single-piece floorstander – the wider-baffle 902x457x254mm (hwd) O/96 comes with dedicated stands. Both employ the same tweeter, but the O/93's 250mm paper-cone woofer is a simplified version of that in the O/96. The O/93's has a shorter voice-coil and a smaller magnet, which reduces the claimed sensitivity by around 2dB, while the tweeters remain at the same height relative to the listener.


The partially horn-loaded 28mm silk fabric dome tweeter is married to a long-throw 250mm paper-cone bass/mid driver with soft rubber surround. The latter is a variation on the classic Müller blue paper cone

As for lowering the cost of the O/93 by some £3500, DeVore attributes most of that to the smaller cabinet and no need to supply separate lacquered-wood stands. Yes, the cabinetry is that lavish, and therefore a major part of the pricing, up with the finest woodwork of Sonus faber and the recently reviewed Lowther Almira [HFN Nov '22], and there's a vast selection of exotic woods on offer, as well as custom paint finishes.

It's also worth pointing out that both loudspeakers deservedly boast a rare longevity in a market obsessed with fresh models: the O/93 was released in late 2012, some 18 months after the O/96. John DeVore told editor PM for our review of the O/96 that his goal was to create speakers which could work with the burgeoning number of low-power amplifiers and also fit into space-deprived, urban flats. This mission statement meant that buyers would not need to seek vintage or current high-sensitivity designs typically of massive dimensions, while expanding the usability of low-power amps around 10-20W. There is no escaping the irony of the diametrically opposed profusions of the past 40 years of hungry speakers and unsuitably low-powered amplifiers, especially single-ended triodes, some delivering as little as 5W/ch. That said, the O/93s can handle much more.

With the O/93's manageable size and weight of 21kg per piece, one person can handle the installation. Indeed, setup is a breeze due to single instead of bi-wiring and no fiddling with spikes thanks to the fitted hardwood feet. Even the positioning is hassle-free, with floorplans in the owner's manual providing a guide.

sqnote A Tale Of Two Rooms
To ensure that we got the measure of this remarkable speaker, as per the manual, I undertook two completely different listening sessions. At PM's larger and less cluttered space, I heard the O/93 set up as an isosceles triangle, powered by the Western Electric Type 91E tube amp [HFN Feb '23], and with the recommended toe-in. Thus I was able to experience both the speaker's room-filling capabilities and its ability to sing with the limited 14W/ch power available.

Then, in my smaller listening room, I was able to try them with the layout of an equilateral triangle (2.5m per side), but with higher power on tap. I know: maybe the amps should have been swapped, using a behemoth in PM's room and a small amp in mine, but those in my arsenal under 30W are not in current production. Instead, I drove the O/93s with an Audio Research REF 75SE and D'Agostino Momentum Stereo MxV S250 (rated at 75W and 250W, respectively).

DeVore Fidelity
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909