Common Wave Hi-Fi is a Los Angeles-based audio/video dealer with multiple rooms at T.H.E. Show 2022 including an excellent system based around the DeVore Fidelity O/baby Loudspeakers. The O/baby use a horn-loaded .75″ textile dome tweeter and a new 7″ woofer using the same uncoated German paper as the O/96 and O/Reference.
DeVore Fidelity has worked with SEAS for the past decade on the drivers for the Orangutan Series and the O/baby continues that successful relationship. Steve Guttenberg has an excellent video interview with John filmed recently that fills in the gaps on these remarkable loudspeakers.
Having listened to the O/93 and O/96 loudspeakers multiple times over the years, I was rather excited to see what John DeVore could offer for $5,600 USD; the stands add $995 to the price of the system.
Common Wave put an enormous amount of work into the room which felt far more intimate due to the acoustic treatment and furnishings; I’m still baffled by manufacturers who don’t understand that you’re selling an experience — not just electronics.
The Audio Hungary Qualiton P200 Stereo Tube Amplifier ($5,500 USD) delivers over 100 watts/channel into 8 ohms; which is a lot more power then the O/baby require. Unlike other DeVore designs, the O/baby have a sensitivity rating of 90 dB (8 ohms) and seem like a very easy load.
According to the dealer, they are more demanding of amplification and power definitely doesn’t dictate the end result.
Having owned two pairs of DeVore speakers over the years, I would concur with that statement.
The rest of the system included the Audio Hungary Qualiton C200 Tube Pre-amplifier ($5,200 USD), Innuos Zenith MK3 Streamer, Merason DAC1 ($6,000 USD), and one of my favorite turntables; the Michell Engineering Gyro SE (with Michell TechnoArm 2) and a Cusis E MC Phono Cartridge ($995 USD).
The O/baby are not large loudspeakers (14.75″ w x 9.75″ d x 35″ h including optional stands) — and they definitely don’t sound like they appear.
Do they offer the scale of the O/93 or O/96? Not exactly.
They are definitely closer to the sound of the O/96 with sightly less transparency.
But what they do exceptionally well for such a small loudspeaker is deliver presence, texture, and the vibrancy of music — far more convincingly than other speakers in the category.
Listening to a number of indie rock vinyl recordings, I was immediately struck by the mid bass punch and organic feel of the presentation.
I would not use these in larger rooms; they will definitely perform better in small to medium sized rooms. They also don’t need to be pulled out as far from the walls as other DeVore designs.
When we switched over to jazz, the O/baby demonstrated that it’s a very intense and emotional listen; horns were pulled forward but with texture and excellent decay.
The bottom end is tight and quick but I wouldn’t expect the impact of the larger loudspeakers in the series.
The O/baby succeeds because DeVore has not tried to push the speaker beyond its limitations and create an O/96 for only $5,000; the more expensive loudspeaker delivers greater resolution, texture, color, and far more low end impact.
The width of the baffle does not restrict the size of the soundstage and there is a lively feel to the 0/baby that everyone present in the room found quiet beguiling. The O/baby doesn’t deliver the precise imaging of the DeVore Silverbacks but instruments have more body and presence.
The Audio Hungary Qualiton amplifier was an excellent match with the speakers delivering a lot of control, resolution, and clarity.
DeVore Fidelity is going to sell a lot of these based on my experience.
For more information: DeVore Fidelity Speakers