Audio Research S80 with DeVORE FIDELITY O/96

Thank you for your input!

Anyone use an Audio Research S80 with DeVORE FIDELITY O/96 speakers?  Thoughts on selecting pentode vs triode?

Do you think these speakers will perform better with the S160 amp?

Thank you!


I have the 80S with a Ref 6 and the Devore O/93's.You definitely do not need the 160S, no matter how large your room might be. Pentode vs. Triode is personal taste. Triode provides a bit more depth to the midrange, Pentode provides more authority, faster and tighter grip over the drivers. I prefer Pentode. 

I have the ARC 150SE so I think I know from experience what you would hear-or very close to it- if you were to pair the 160S with the O/96's. You will again hear slightly more authority and even a slight increase in soundstage width and depth but is soooo subtle. 

Warning-the 80S takes more time than any other ARC amp I have owned to break-in. Instead of 400 hours I would say it takes twice that before you hear the sweetness and beauty of the amp. 

The O/96 is a phenomenal loudspeaker. I prefer it to the O/93. It is less neutral but soooo fun to listen to. In the average room you need no more than 30 watts to get the best out of the O/96. And eight watt SET will drive the O/96's. 150 watts is overkill. Won't hurt, but it won't help much. I suppose if you were into synth or classical with pipe organ and such played at tremendously loud levels that the extra grunt would be useful. Otherwise there is no way that you need that much power. 

It's always a good idea to combine overpriced components with each other. 12 grand for a couple of drivers in a box with a veneered front? Count me in! 

It's always a good idea to combine overpriced components with each other. 12 grand for a couple of drivers in a box with a veneered front? Count me in! 

@wolf_garcia Try finding equal sound for less.

In addition, all aspects of both ARC gear and Devore (other than the SEAS drivers) are painstakingly made in-house, by hand, and here in the US. Some of us (you) could care less if it made by hand or robot and overseas. 

The front of the O/93 and O/96 is not veneered. Each features a thick sheet of birch ply, many of them beautiful with mirrored grain and what appears to be some form of shellac. They evoke (to me) the Japanese esthetic with their wide and squat stance, particularly the O/96. They and ARC gear provide-to many of us- a satisfying pride of ownership that-to some of us-does not pertain to mass-produced gear. 

Last, though I have not met him, I am happy to see an ambassador for all that is important in audio, John Devore, succeeding in business. I like it when I know my money is going to someone in particular and not some nameless faceless board of directors and group of shareholders. 


Yes I agree.  I like supporting both ARC and Devore.  There are additional costs in supporting these U.S. businesses which rely on traditional HiFi dealer shops.  I understand that the direct to consumer manufacturers allow for higher quality product at a lower price but there are costs involved which are hard to put a price on, such as not having local HiFi shops to go listen to new product.  I'm sure direct to consumer product allows you to test product in your own listening room with free returns but I enjoy having a local dealer.  I wish I had even more local dealers which carried more manufacturers.  But I've also owned product from Schiit and like what GR Research is doing with product testing and upgrading.  Hopefully we can find a balance.  I remember buying a lot of CD/DVDs from CDNow, Amazon and DVDEmpire and now I miss going to Tower Records!  

For the record (is there a record?), my amps, speakers, preamp, cables, a DAC, headphone amps, and EQs (including a brilliant Loki Max I just bought) are all US made. DeVore’s cabinets are made in a furniture shop (surprisingly owned by an attorney friend’s brother in law) next to his "chimp world" or whatever he calls it, the 96 and 93 are absolutely veneered plywood that can (and does) peel off, and ARC stuff is circuit boards and tubes being sold for multiples of other brand’s components. Hand made...really? Ever seen a Collings guitar? I have owned and can recommend plenty of things equal to or better sounding than anything from ARC or DeVore, but if people need to spend on a Japanese esthetic I’m sure John and his cat will be happy.


I hesitate to respond at all. There is nothing in your response that calls for one-in fact it seems a bit irrational. Collings guitar?

Pricing of audio components sometimes has a black and white border such as when Lexicon took the Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray player at $500, put it in a fancy case, and charged thousands for it. But most times pricing is purely relative. Your "$12,000 for a box with two drivers" is someone else's "That's a pittance, I paid more than that for a phono cartridge". 

Not all circuit boards are equal. The latest Ref series of ARC amps implement premium 4 layer boards. Further, many audio circuit designers believe that circuit boards offer sonic advantages to point to point. A quick glance at the inside of your Loki Max reveals a rather pedestrian circuit board. Schiit is known, much to their credit, for coaxing fine sound out of lower priced transformers, inductors, caps, and other parts choices. Their short lived tonearm was a prime example. All the power to them!

But my main reason for responding is this; a FURNITURE SHOP makes the speaker cabinets? Oh no! Who would ever want that? Yes, Box Furniture Co, known for their artisan built equipment shelves/racks makes the DeVore cabinets in the same Brooklyn Naval Yard warehouse as DeVore's location.


I mention Collings guitars as an example of actual craftsmanship as opposed to what DeVore does. I'll always feel that ARC and DeVore are overpriced, and if ARC's recent financial troubles are any indication of this I'm not alone. Schiit makes astoundingly well designed stuff that sounds great without unnecessary frippery and sells it for a fraction of what many others might...the Max is 1500 bucks. A pedestrian circuit board that works well does that because that's all it needs. I understand that hyperbole sells and ARC and DeVore are well liked by some, but veneered plywood and machine made circuit boards simply aren't expensive enough to justify the selling price. Box Furniture is not known for "artisan built" anything...saw a board, make a box. 

On a whim I recently switched out my Cardas Clear speaker cables with Auditorium. 23 and switched from the 8 ohm taps to the 16 on my Ref 80 S. The results are quite positive.