The Deuvel Jupiter Loudspeaker
|The Deuvel Jupiter Loudspeaker|
Into Sonic Orbit
Over the last decade, I have found only five loudspeakers which filled all my audio needs. From the Avalon Radian of yore to present day masterpieces like the Ascendo System M, true finds have been few and far between. So when our esteemed editor, Dave Thomas, asked if he could spy something special for me at this year’s CES/T.H.E. SHOW (Due to the impending birth of my second son, I was unable to attend), it only took a moment to ponder before my Neanderthal gene kicked in and I blurted out, “Yeah. Find me a pair of big-ass speakers that will work in my room!” However, being an audiophile of modern times I re-stated to Dave, “I mean, be on the look out for speakers of appropriate size, which can fill my room adequately.
About a week later Dave informed me of a speaker he had heard in Las Vegas that he felt had some serious potential, the Deuvel Jupiter. I had never really heard of them so I checked out the Deuvel web site to sneak a peak. What I was confronted with could only be described as the bumblebee of high-end speakers. Like the bumble bee, the Deuvel, with its confounding appearance and construction, should not fly, but fly they do – in a big way. Standing 50” tall and weighing a manageable 150lbs., the Jupiter came finished in a carefully crafted applewood veneer. It is available in a vast variety of woods, lacquers and even brushed metal finishes. The production quality of the Jupiter is beyond reproach with every aspect of construction impeccably executed. Each corner of the cabinet has been cleverly transformed into downward firing ports allowing the rather ordinary looking 12” upward firing driver to breath easily. A downward firing 4.5” horn-loaded titanium mid/tweeter sits atop the speaker with the powerful magnet/motor assembly in full view. The drivers radiate into mirror image Hershey Kiss-like structures that are beautifully crafted with a lathe from what appears to be a cross section of multiple layers of wood. These dispense the sound in a 360-degree pattern creating an omni-directional sound field. Rated at 93db with a 6ohm load, the Deuvel can be driven with low powered single-ended tube amps given a room with modest dimensions. Internal wiring from Stealth Audio is optional and I’m told yields a significant improvement.
Once Ted Lindblad of High End Audio, a local East Coast importer and dealer arrived and uncrated the rather substantial Deuvel Jupiter, the critical set up process began. Compared to most speakers, the Jupiter is very sensitive to placement. Getting the correct distance between the speakers established is of utmost importance. Once dialed in, we established the front wall proximity, varying little from past speakers. We settled on 55” to the front wall and a hair under eight feet between the speakers. The last procedure involved toeing the corner-loaded ports towards and away from the corner boundaries. Even with only one corner in the vicinity of the Jupiter, I found the bass to increase or decrease quite audibly depending on toe-in. Feeling the imaging was a bit vague, Ted moved the left speaker in 1/2” towards the center yielding just the right amount of focus. Talk about sensitive!
After working the TacT 2.2x’s room correction magic on the Jupiter, the essence of its sound began to creep into my consciousness. Disc after disc played through the omni-directional Jupiter revealed the rarest of rare quality’s in a speaker: staggering resolution coupled to vanishing levels of coloration yielding intense musical involvement. These qualities are not exclusive to the Jupiter, but what makes them special is the totally relaxed and unforced means by which they are rendered. Despite Ted’s’ concern that the lack of room boundaries and over all enormity of my rooms dimensions would not support the Jupiter’s strengths, the Jupiter had no problem with imaging, soundstaging or dynamic range. While not what I would call a head bangers speaker like some of the other big ticket front-firing cone speakers I know, the Jupiter’s bass had no problem pressurizing my space when the source material came knocking.
But it is not bass pyrotechnics that define the Jupiter, at least not entirely. The Jupiter melds its many strengths into a cohesive whole in a way that is so engaging, so convincing, and so intensely involving, that there’s a sense that speakers that had come before were just a bit askew. The Jupiter builds its strength from the heart of the midrange and expands to the frequency extremes compared to my past reference the Talon Firebird. The Firebird’s center of gravity is in the mid bass and tends to darken the over all balance just a bit. The mid band of the Jupiter is as spot on tonally as any speaker I have heard. Smooth without veiling detail, rich without thickening instrumental textures, the Jupiter plays no parlor tricks to achieve any particular end. There is a striking lack of cabinet induced coloration that is hard to describe, as describing the lack of anything can be pretty difficult. Listening to Chris Isaack sing ‘Can’t Do a Thing’ from San Francisco Days [WB45116], his voice is surrounded in a halo of reverb. The vibes, organ, and guitar create an atmospheric backdrop with overlapping notes within the same key. This delicate mélange can easily be obscured and homogenized. Yet, through the Jupiter, the air and light infuse the mix revealing an open, grainless, and colorful picture unencumbered by any sense of cabinet, crossover or driver induced colorations. With all these elements in place, transients are so cleanly and naturally rendered, music is at once startlingly fast as well as relaxed, yet another paradox of live music so convincingly captured by the Jupiter.
When ever I get a product as accomplished as the Jupiter, there is always at least one instrument that is captured as never before. With the Jupiter, it is the saxophone. For once, the sax really opens up and blooms into a streaming column of color-infused air. Listening to John Coltrane swerve his way through “Blue Train” [Blue Note 46095] off the album of the same name, the Jupiter allows the harmonics to simply and thoroughly unfold whether the horn is dynamically full tilt, or reigned in.
From the mid band on up, the ingenious single driver design allows for a seamless transition into the treble. The upper frequencies are packed with a variety of upper octave color and texture. Cymbal’s, percussive attack and upper harmonic overtones and atmospheric reverb all mingle without flying off into a tangle of brightness, brittleness or homogenization. I could site anyone of my audiophile quality recordings to illustrate this point, but when a track like “Take it to the limit” from the Eagles Greatest Hits [Electra 105] is transformed to the degree allowed by the Jupiter, it goes from being an honest speaker, to one blessed with that little extra magic that squeezes the last drop of musicality from even the most flawed recordings. This area of the Jupiter’s’ performance reinforces its lighter, rather than darker overall balance. This open quality comes without the penalty of edge, forwardness or detachment from the mid band and goes a long way in solving one of the major conflicts in speaker performance.
When considering how the large 12” upward firing bass driver is configured relative to the upper frequency driver, one would have to conclude there would be a host of transitional issues between the two. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Jupiter remains open and transparent with no bloat, boom or leaning out of the bass. Perhaps the bass is not as densely packed as some other speakers, but the Jupiters’ quick, open and colorful bass allows the orchestra to maintain transparency into the cellos and double bass. This quality also prevented male (or female vocals for that matter) from congesting into “chestiness”. Yes, the Jupiter’s’ bass is agile. Though for those who prefer a tighter drier sound, the overall warmth, bloom and color of the Jupiter’s bass may not be seasoned to taste. Having said that, I find it difficult to believe that after living with the Jupiter for a short time, the listener would not find the Jupiter’s take on the bass preferable. In the end, it may only be the hard-core head-banger that could not adjust. It’s not that the bass did not go deep enough; it just didn’t have the ultimate authority or slam. This may be the nature of omni-directional speakers as I have yet to hear one that can mimic a direct radiating design in this regard.
Speaking of omni-directional designs, as with other speakers in this ilk, the Jupiter’s soundstage is laid back rather than forward. Unfolding three or four feet behind the plane of the speakers, the Jupiter invites you into the music rather than thrusting itself into your lap. With the level of resolution afforded by the Jupiter, the volume of air between and around the instruments render the subtle clues that help identify the images location while avoiding the razor sharp edges I have never heard in live music. The Jupiter renders the over all volume of space so convincingly, it feels like the air rendered is actually seamlessly integrated with the air in the room. I called this “Shared air”. This sense that there is nothing between the instrument and the listener really heightens the connection to the music. When pushed beyond its limits, this illusion largely disappears and the soundstage looses focus. Unless your room is as cavernous as mine, finding the Jupiter’s limit will be an exercise in masochism. One more thing, the soundstage is extremely stable for off axis listeners. I found myself intently listening while seated to the outside of the right speaker. What a joy compared to the paralyzing effect most speakers have on the listener’s position.
So you know these observations were not formed in a vacuum, Editor Clement Perry and fellow writer Key Kim, both possessors of great systems which just happen to include the great Ascendo speakers, were amazed by what they heard. It didn’t take extended listening either. In the middle of the first track, both sprung to their feet and circled the Jupiter mumbling sentence fragments something to the extent of, “What the …” “How the …” “These things are …” And my personal favorite, “Wow!”
Days before the Jupiter’s would need to be returned the new Boz digital amplifier arrived. This amp is the creation of TacT audio’s chief designer Radimir Bozavich. The Jupiter took to this amp like cookies take to warm milk. Without giving too much away, the new amp was an improvement in almost all areas, save ultimate power. The ability to recreate the deep silences rendered by the Boz amplifier showed a speaker that will only improve along with any system upgrade made down the line. Bottom line? If there is a problem getting anything less than great sound from the Jupiter, look elsewhere in the system for the answers.
As my pick for this year’s Most Wanted Component, the Deuvel Jupiter can only be described as a triumph in mechanical engineering and musical performance. Capable of great transparency and resolution while at once rendering colorful and rich complex harmonics, the Jupiter infuses all the sonic elements with air and bloom merely hinted at by most speakers. The Jupiter is anything but plodding, closed-in or lean. Simply put, the Jupiter can make a whole lot of competitors sound like they are constructing the music with boxing gloves on. The Jupiter also adds the dimension of owning a product that will make the eyes of all who gaze upon it bug straight out of their heads. Yes the Jupiter commands attention, yet once the music begins, the physical presence of the Jupiter becomes as visually and sonically inert as any other object in the room. Even if you are not in the market for a new speaker, do your self a favor and give the Deuvel Jupiter a listen. You might be glad you did.
Weight 9.9 kg
Diameter: 32 cm
Mid/high frequency driver:
Weight: 9.6 kg
Titanium cone: 100 mm
Mgnet: 220 mm
Phase linear crossover:
Impedance: 6 Ohm
Sensitivity: 93 dB SPL
Power handling: 200W RMS
Bandwidth +/-3dB: 30-20kHz
Width: 370 mm
Depth 370 mm
Height: 1270 mm
Weight: 70 kg
Warranty: 5 years
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