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To tell a different truth, DeVore constructed the Gibbon 3XL cabinets from bamboo. All of DeVore’s cabinets are manufactured on site in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He leases space to master woodworker Anthony Abbate of Box Furniture Company who creates DeVore’s cabinets under John’s watchful eye. Check this SideBar for details.

"There were a number of reasons I wanted to use bamboo in the 3XL cabinets," DeVore explains. "The first was the desire to use a renewable resource and bamboo is a grass that grows incredibly fast. MDF can be made from recycled materials but the hardwood veneers obviously aren't. We tried composite and renewable veneers and just didn't think they looked right. Bamboo is a beautiful and natural material.

"Another motivation was the prospect of eliminating a few steps in production," he reveals. "While solid bamboo is much more expensive than MDF—around 10 times—it doesn't require veneering so the steps of veneer selection, matching, pressing, tracking, sanding and finishing become unnecessary. As a solid material bamboo can be machined to the final shape without having to then press a veneer over it. And sanding a solid material is far easier than a veneered panel as there is no risk of sanding through to the substrate.

"It's a different material with a different density than the usual composites we use," DeVore adds, "and so it sounds different. To explore the possibilities I built a pair of Gibbon 3s in bamboo for testing. We went through three or four pairs of cabinets to listen to different bamboos and different combinations of solid and veneered panels before I felt like I had a good grasp on the ‘sound’ of the material. Armed with that experience I designed the Gibbon 3XL from the onset with a bamboo cabinet."

The Gibbon 3XL uses the same tweeter as DeVore's Silverback Reference coupled to a 5" Seas paper-cone woofer built to DeVore’s specs. Frequency range is stated as 46Hz–40kHz, sensitivity is 90dB/W/m. Impedance is 8 ohms and the tallish 3XL measures 15.25" H x 7.3125" W x 10.875" D. The 3XL comes (at an extra charge) with dedicated bamboo stands, which are absolutely critical to get the best sound. (I A/B’d the bamboo stands against my Atacama steel stands and there was no contest. Music flowed via the bamboo while the sand-filled Atacamas tended to compress and flatten the 3XL’s sound).

After having owned various ProAc, Epos, Triangle and Totem designs the 3XLs are the best stand mounts I’ve experienced and thus a very easy and well-deserved Blue Moon award. The 3XLs’ sound is refined and sweet treble to midrange to bass, extremely detailed and quick and with an exceptional low end for such a small cabinet. It actually delivers high-quality defined low end regardless of its size. I own DeVore’s The Nines and while they are certainly more bountiful in the nether regions and create a serious real-world soundstage, the actual quality of the bass is matched by the standmount 3XLs. Of course they can’t match the Nine’s larger soundstage, ultra low frequencies or room-filling capacities but in my small NYC listening room the 3XLs were an even better fit. They’re XXX sweet, brother!

The 3XLs are manufactured to high standards. Signal paths are as short as possible, all direct and all hard wired. Even the binding posts are potted into the back of the crossover. Heavy silver-plated copper wiring is used throughout. DeVore runs a tight ship. This I learned the hard way.

When I first hooked up the 3XLs and ran them through their paces, I soon forgot about the reviewer’s job and simply enjoyed the musical flow. Playing Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe [LP on Discreet] I noticed a new not so friendly sound emanating from the left cabinet - a serious rattle and hum. Was a tube dying in my Shindo Allegro preamp?  Had a driver somehow gone loose? I don’t play music that loud! Bass was farting, my aural mind was fearing the worst. But I’d gotten lazy. A folded newspaper was lying atop the 3XL in question. One corner of The New York Times had worked its way down the backside of the cabinet covering the small port. And that was the problem! I removed the paper and the low end returned to normal, rattle free. Wow. I put my hand over the port during "St. Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast" and the silent swoosh felt like vacuum cleaner suction in reverse.

I also began my auditions with the stands facing the wrong way by assuming the broad panels should go in the back. Once John saw my photos, he pointed out this error. Lo and behold, turning the stands as intended so that the front baffle in effect continues all the way to the floor made a significant difference. Such are the tight tolerances and careful craftsmanship of the 3XL.