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Brooklyn beauties: DeVore Fidelity speakers

Yes, they still make great speakers in the States. Take Brooklyn's DeVore Fidelity, which designs and builds audiophile-grade speakers the old-fashioned way.

John DeVore, a couple of cool cats, and a bunch of unfinished speaker cabinets. Steve Guttenberg

Devore Fidelity, founded by president and chief designer John DeVore in 2000, builds state-of-the-art speakers in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

DeVore is one of the few speaker designers I've met who worked as a high-end audio salesman, so he can draw upon first-hand knowledge of what buyers really want. He's also listened to the very best stuff out there, and learned that components that measure well and sound impressive at first don't always sound great over the long run.

I've known John for a long time, and when he first decided to get into the speaker business, I was skeptical. Over the years, I've seen many try to get into the game--and almost all go bust. Designing a great speaker is one thing; running a business and getting your stuff out to market are huge challenges.

John not only succeeded where others failed, but he didn't cut corners. I visited his Brooklyn factory last week and was mightily impressed by his workers' craftsmanship. The speakers' wood veneers, made of walnut and cherry, are gorgeous.

Devore Fidelity is still a small operation, selling about 400 pairs of speakers a year. John puts a higher value on quality than on quantity, and his customers appreciate that. Even in these tough times, sales are holding steady.

John played his latest design, the 3XL, a two-way bookshelf model with a solid bamboo wood cabinet, in the factory's large listening room. The sound was vivid and musically engaging, and considering the speaker's modest dimensions, it produced very decent bass.

DeVore Fidelity speaker prices now start around $2,000 a pair. I reviewed the DeVore Gibbon 7.1 speaker for Home Entertainment magazine in 2004.