Review: Devialet Phantom is a high-end speaker worth its weight in Kevlar

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
Developed by niche French audio firm Devialet, the Phantom has achieved wide acclaim from industry acolytes for impossibly low-distortion sound reproduction rivaling that of speakers ten times the cost and many times the size. It's also the latest chic accessory to be featured in Apple's retail stores.




Devialet, like many high-end audio component makers, has a penchant for puffery. Phantom's literature is rife with superlatives, a requisite flotilla of acronyms and detailed rundowns of imaginatively named technology -- "Magic Wire" being a personal favorite.

I cracked a grin as I read tale of Devialet's millions of dollars' worth of R&D that resulted in dozens of patents protecting hybrid analog/digital amplification, Heart Bass Implosion and other industry firsts. It was deliciously over the top.

Smash cut to me plugging it in and cranking up some Ludwig Van to 11. Phantom blew that silly smirk off my face, taking most of my Movember mustache with it.

Design



Both Phantom and its more powerful Silver Phantom sibling are decidedly biomorphic in design, that is they look like an organism, but not anything of this world. There is no close approximation to Phantom's aesthetic in contemporary consumer electronics, imagine the lovechild of a first-gen iPod and something out of an H.R. Giger-fueled fever dream.




On the outside Phantom looks like a shiny plastic, modern art kidney bean. A hard, white ABS shell wraps around an inner skin crafted from Kevlar. Despite its appearance, the unit is quite heavy at just over 24 pounds, with most of that weight tipped toward the front speaker assembly. The fins of a substantial heat dissipator are exposed out back, where the power input, Wi-Fi power button, Ethernet port and optical jack also reside. Two polished stainless steel sidewalls finish off the futuristic look.

Overall the build feels extremely solid and Devialet says there are only ten modules per assembly with no interconnect wires to speak of.




According to Devialet's white paper, the Phantom's distended egg shape is so designed to accommodate the two custom "Heart Beat Implosion" aluminum drivers that sit across from each other beneath two domes, again constructed out of thin aluminum. The diaphragms of both bass drivers, and that of the coaxial midrange and tweeter drivers situated at a 90-degree angle to said woofers, sit flush with a spherical superstructure, focusing sound waves toward Phantom's vacuum sealed center. The idea is to get as close as possible to creating a single point in space, out of which sound emanates.

It's worth repeating that Phantom's symmetrical bass drivers pulsate -- with reckless abandon at high volumes -- and without a speaker grille could end up touching nearby equipment. In short, Phantom needs some breathing room to operate at maximum efficiency.




Phantom's design principles are based heavily on the work of prolific RCA engineer Dr. Harry F. Olson, who proved that spherical speaker cabinets are far superior to rectangular boxes when it comes to diffraction loss. Called "co-spherical" by Devialet, the driver arrangement propagates sound waves evenly so every listener in the room is treated to the same sonic experience. Unlike traditional speakers, or "omnidirectional" cylindrical designs, there is no sweet spot.

Like any piece of audiophile hardware worth its salt, Phantom comes packed with cutting edge -- almost mystical -- technology. At the forefront is "Magic Wire," a "leak-less" electrical path that moves signal current from the 24-bit Texas Instruments PCM1798 DAC to the circuit's resistor and ultimately class A amplifier. Devialet figured out how to convert DAC output into high-voltage current without an op-amp or current mirror, making for an extremely quiet path.

The next stage is an analog/digital hybrid amplification system (ADH), which has at its core a class A amp assisted by multiple slaved class D amps running in parallel. Devialet managed to squeeze both the Magic Wire path and the class A amp on a single board, of which there are two in every Phantom. The last piece of the puzzle is Speaker Active Matching (SAM), a method of signal processing that dynamically matches amp output and driver motion, ensuring the peaks and troughs of generated sound waves mirror those of the original signal when it hits users' ears.

The speaker's circuitry might require an engineering degree to fully comprehend, but the amazing sound it produces does not.

Performance



Thinking of a way to adequately describe Phantom's sound results in antithetical word pairings. "Unbridled but sophisticated." "Loud but refined." "Raw but silky."

Phantom boots up automatically when connected to power, the two hemispherical aluminum domes pulse in and out twice, signaling the speaker is ready for use. There is no on/off switch, or any other audio-related physical controls for that matter, which means power cycling is automated. Opening the free Spark app or connecting via Bluetooth takes the speaker out of its resting state.




We put our 750-watt unit tester through the paces using a variety of codecs and file formats at bitrates of no less than 256kbps, including aptX (not available on iPhone), AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, FLAC and OGG Vorbis. For data transfer, we tested both A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles, optical input and Wi-Fi via Devialet's free Spark iOS app. Due to an incompatibility with files stored on our iPhone, we rarely used Spark save for volume control on connected optical devices.

At low volumes Phantom is clear and crisp, leaning ever so slightly toward a bright bias. The bass kicks in at normal listening levels (those that can't be heard through walls or solid core doors) tight and refined with punchy and immediate response. There was no sign of slop, echo or unwelcome decay.

Phantom is best when driven hard. Clarity and bass are present at low volumes, but it is at about 60 percent of max when the system comes into its own. Allowed to run free across their 26mm peak-to-peak stroke, the co-spherical woofers displace massive amounts of air for a deeply expressive thump. Bass hits are precise, closely mimicking the kick of a bass drum, the sustained moan of a tuba or a timpani's rolling grumble.




There is a point, about 95 percent full blast, where you think Phantom is going to crack. It has to, but it doesn't. The sound somehow gets tighter as the decibels rise. If you hear a shake, rattle or hum, it's the recording or whatever the speaker is sitting on.

Most impressive is the system's composure. The highs and lows are always in balance and tangibly separated across the acoustic spectrum, but more importantly timing is flawless with not even a suggestion of phase shift. It all equates to an exceedingly layered and complex, but candid, sound signature.

With its small displacement chassis and "implosive" driver design, Phantom cuts a well mastered recording to the core, threshing out chaff to leave it bare for your listening pleasure.

Conclusion



Phantom is priced well above mainstream wireless speaker offerings, but there is quite literally no other product like it on the market. It delivers on Devialet's promise of poise and power, and for many will be a steal even at $1,990.




If, however, you're looking for a true stereo rig, Phantom cannot oblige. The speaker's output is immersive to be sure, but one will need more than a standalone for a truly expansive soundstage. Luckily, Devialet makes an audio router called Dialog specifically designed to pair up Phantom and Silver Phantom models. Up to 24 can be chained together, great for multi-room mansions or commercial theaters.

After testing Phantom for a week, I'm sold on the sound, the tech, the price -- all of it. We suggest a demo at louder volumes to get a feel for the hardware's capabilities, which likely disqualifies the nearest Apple Store. Devialet does, however, offer a 45-day risk free trial. Barring, that is, the risk to your wallet.

Score: 4.5 out of 5



Pros:
  • Zero distortion
  • Faithful, uncolored sound reproduction
  • Gobs of power
  • Competitively priced high-end device

Cons:
  • Expensive compared to consumer products
  • Power goes to waste at "normal" listening levels
  • Single unit lacks soundstage


Where to buy



The Phantom and Silver Phantom are available through Devialet's website for $1,990 and $2,390, respectively. The company this week announced Apple had selected the device to be sold in select brick-and-mortar Apple Stores across the U.S., with more to come in 2016.
Amazedpatchythepirate
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    normmnormm Posts: 570member
    The statement, "There is no on/off switch" appears just above a picture with the on/off switch.  Also, you should mention that this thing is about a foot across -- I couldn't tell from the pictures.  Another interesting spec worth mentioning is that this thing can put out 105dB at 1 meter (using 3KW of power!), which is louder than a jackhammer at 1 meter.  That seems pretty loud.

    The idea of using a microphone to avoid distortion in a speaker system seems interesting.  It's obviously much easier to make a microphone that can accurately capture (
    highly attenuated) sound from a hard-driven speaker than to make a speaker that would be accurate at high volume, so you can electronically compensate how you drive to better match what you're trying to get.  So I believe this might be good at high sound volume.

    But the sound volumes we're talking about here seem kind of crazy to me.

    Soliargonautcnocbui
  • Reply 2 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,292member
    But ... but ... There is no such thing as good Hi Fi over 'wireless connections', I was told this over and over a week or two ago right here on AI!
    Soliargonaut
  • Reply 3 of 29
    No doubt this appears nice, but for $2000 for this seems overpriced compared to what $2000 can buy in A/V equipment these days.


  • Reply 4 of 29
    techlover said:
    No doubt this appears nice, but for $2000 for this seems overpriced compared to what $2000 can buy in A/V equipment these days.


    Very true! Companies and products like this get by (and thrive) on the fact that people don't normally come across true mid to high-end audio. The offerings of any reasonably "sound" audio company at that price range would not just be better than this speaker, they would be in another league altogether. A comparison with say, these:



    would make the difference laugh-out-loud apparent. 

    I actually think it's a shame that Apple aligns itself with companies that have the trappings of true audio quality — but are more about style. Sadly, this is such a case.

    I'm not saying this company is a charlatan. Perhaps $2000 is the true cost of this thing. If that's the case, it's an engineering failure. 

    There is a path to beautiful, and unceasingly astonish sound. Audio equipment such as the Devialet Phantoms is not that path! 

    Appleinsider, you are obviously paying attention to good sound. This is my urging, which would be lost on some: get thee to a true audio shop with a good listening room!

    Hearing good speakers in the $4000 price range (for a pair) will be not just a somewhat better sound. It will not be subtle. The Devialet speakers will quite suddenly resolve themselves into a postcard of the Grand Canyon, and the ho-hum boxes with front-facing drivers will sound like the actual subject of that bit of cardboard. Surely I exaggerate? My man, I do not!

    We love to poke fun at audiophile malarkey. As we should! Be that as it may, there is a level of hi-fi that most don't experience, because they don't know what the trip is — which they would be very pleased to have made.

    Lest you think I would feel triumphant in my sound system with just such a set of $4000 speakers, which I foolishly bought when I was young and without obligations:

    The sound achieved by true (and very expensive) hi-fi is just such a "real-thing" jump again. When hearing these, powered by ultra high-end amps... 

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.net/Speakers/Home_Audio/800_Series_Diamond

    ...I actually involuntarily vocalized "oh". This seemed just not possible. Hearing the first sounds of In Between Days (Shiver Mix) by The Cure, the effect was not just a clear stereo picture, and all that good stuff. I felt surround by instruments that, if I didn't know better, I would swear were being played in the room around me. The bass sounds at 2:10 felt like physical waves, and the synthesized voice sounded like it was... what... like that effect of headphones, where sounds feel like they're generated inside your head... only this sound was truly existing in the room. Imagine that, with every tone being equally superlative. 

    This was maybe 15 years ago, and I remember a like it was yesterday.

    Surely I exaggerate? No, AppleInsider, I do not! :) Here's to air molecules...


    stevie
  • Reply 5 of 29
    That YouTube link wasn't what I meant to link to. Not digging it... Sorry!

    Not that we're hearing the real of course, but this is what I meant to link to:



    Funny though, hearing these through an awful microphone, and then through laptop speakers, I actually think the brain somehow generates a hint of the original sound quality. Or maybe I'm imagining things, which would be interesting too I suppose.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    Does anyone know where this is made? France? China? Curious.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    alrui said:
    Does anyone know where this is made? France? China? Curious.
    France

    designed & manufactured
  • Reply 8 of 29
    BTW - 

    I've had the two (2) Phantoms and the Dialog (which serves as the hub for the speakers) since August and they are honestly amazing.  The software was buggy after one of the firmware updates and made my speakers drop off line every now and then - which is crazy.

    The finally got the firmware fixed and they are rock solid now. 
    The clarity and presentation is spot on across the full volumetric range.


    One kind of a bummer (which I found a work around) was with the new Apple TV (4) the optical output (which are the primary inputs for the Phantom system) was no longer available (on the Apple TV).  I bought a nice little HDMI/Pass-through, w/Optical out... Back to perfection.

    With the new Apple TV, it's a great system.  

    patchythepirate
  • Reply 9 of 29
    paulduv said:
    techlover said:
    No doubt this appears nice, but for $2000 for this seems overpriced compared to what $2000 can buy in A/V equipment these days.


    Very true! Companies and products like this get by (and thrive) on the fact that people don't normally come across true mid to high-end audio. The offerings of any reasonably "sound" audio company at that price range would not just be better than this speaker, they would be in another league altogether. A comparison with say, these:



    would make the difference laugh-out-loud apparent. 

    I actually think it's a shame that Apple aligns itself with companies that have the trappings of true audio quality — but are more about style. Sadly, this is such a case.

    I'm not saying this company is a charlatan. Perhaps $2000 is the true cost of this thing. If that's the case, it's an engineering failure. 

    There is a path to beautiful, and unceasingly astonish sound. Audio equipment such as the Devialet Phantoms is not that path! 

    Appleinsider, you are obviously paying attention to good sound. This is my urging, which would be lost on some: get thee to a true audio shop with a good listening room!

    Hearing good speakers in the $4000 price range (for a pair) will be not just a somewhat better sound. It will not be subtle. The Devialet speakers will quite suddenly resolve themselves into a postcard of the Grand Canyon, and the ho-hum boxes with front-facing drivers will sound like the actual subject of that bit of cardboard. Surely I exaggerate? My man, I do not!

    We love to poke fun at audiophile malarkey. As we should! Be that as it may, there is a level of hi-fi that most don't experience, because they don't know what the trip is — which they would be very pleased to have made.

    Lest you think I would feel triumphant in my sound system with just such a set of $4000 speakers, which I foolishly bought when I was young and without obligations:

    The sound achieved by true (and very expensive) hi-fi is just such a "real-thing" jump again. When hearing these, powered by ultra high-end amps... 

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.net/Speakers/Home_Audio/800_Series_Diamond

    ...I actually involuntarily vocalized "oh". This seemed just not possible. Hearing the first sounds of In Between Days (Shiver Mix) by The Cure, the effect was not just a clear stereo picture, and all that good stuff. I felt surround by instruments that, if I didn't know better, I would swear were being played in the room around me. The bass sounds at 2:10 felt like physical waves, and the synthesized voice sounded like it was... what... like that effect of headphones, where sounds feel like they're generated inside your head... only this sound was truly existing in the room. Imagine that, with every tone being equally superlative. 

    This was maybe 15 years ago, and I remember a like it was yesterday.

    Surely I exaggerate? No, AppleInsider, I do not! :) Here's to air molecules...




    Interesting you can make these claims without ever having heard the Devialet in person. There have been reviews done by audio specific sites and they also claim it sounds great.
    spock1234
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Thanks but I'll stick with my Bowers & Wilkins speakers, which are phenomenal.
    cnocbui
  • Reply 11 of 29
    But ... but ... There is no such thing as good Hi Fi over 'wireless connections', I was told this over and over a week or two ago right here on AI!
    IIRC, you have a wireless setup for your Home Theatre right? Which one is it? Is it 5.1 or 7.1? 
    I am keen on moving away from the wired setup I have currently and am looking at all options.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    The speakers have great sound but the software that controls them is quite awful. The app for iPhone is a mess and terrible to use, and the version for Mac is even worse.
    But the worst part is the optical input in the Dialog router, which is built in such a way that makes it impossible to use. It´s a recessed plug and despite trying 4 different optical cables, not a single one worked. They just don't stay firmly in place. I spent almost 5.000€ in a system with serious design flaws and the company doesn't offer a solution. I guess they spent too much time with the sound and forgot usability!
  • Reply 13 of 29
    paulduv said:
    techlover said:
    No doubt this appears nice, but for $2000 for this seems overpriced compared to what $2000 can buy in A/V equipment these days.


    Very true! Companies and products like this get by (and thrive) on the fact that people don't normally come across true mid to high-end audio. The offerings of any reasonably "sound" audio company at that price range would not just be better than this speaker, they would be in another league altogether. A comparison with say, these:



    would make the difference laugh-out-loud apparent. 

    I actually think it's a shame that Apple aligns itself with companies that have the trappings of true audio quality — but are more about style. Sadly, this is such a case.

    I'm not saying this company is a charlatan. Perhaps $2000 is the true cost of this thing. If that's the case, it's an engineering failure. 

    There is a path to beautiful, and unceasingly astonish sound. Audio equipment such as the Devialet Phantoms is not that path! 

    Appleinsider, you are obviously paying attention to good sound. This is my urging, which would be lost on some: get thee to a true audio shop with a good listening room!

    Hearing good speakers in the $4000 price range (for a pair) will be not just a somewhat better sound. It will not be subtle. The Devialet speakers will quite suddenly resolve themselves into a postcard of the Grand Canyon, and the ho-hum boxes with front-facing drivers will sound like the actual subject of that bit of cardboard. Surely I exaggerate? My man, I do not!

    We love to poke fun at audiophile malarkey. As we should! Be that as it may, there is a level of hi-fi that most don't experience, because they don't know what the trip is — which they would be very pleased to have made.

    Lest you think I would feel triumphant in my sound system with just such a set of $4000 speakers, which I foolishly bought when I was young and without obligations:

    The sound achieved by true (and very expensive) hi-fi is just such a "real-thing" jump again. When hearing these, powered by ultra high-end amps... 

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.net/Speakers/Home_Audio/800_Series_Diamond

    ...I actually involuntarily vocalized "oh". This seemed just not possible. Hearing the first sounds of In Between Days (Shiver Mix) by The Cure, the effect was not just a clear stereo picture, and all that good stuff. I felt surround by instruments that, if I didn't know better, I would swear were being played in the room around me. The bass sounds at 2:10 felt like physical waves, and the synthesized voice sounded like it was... what... like that effect of headphones, where sounds feel like they're generated inside your head... only this sound was truly existing in the room. Imagine that, with every tone being equally superlative. 

    This was maybe 15 years ago, and I remember a like it was yesterday.

    Surely I exaggerate? No, AppleInsider, I do not! :) Here's to air molecules...


    Thanks for the feedback. FWIW, I'd say I have a good grasp of what's out there - budget, consumer, audiophile, hyper luxury - and the experience to offer well-founded opinion. Wouldn't be reviewing this type of gear if I didn't. ;)
    Amazed
  • Reply 14 of 29
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    impossibly low-distortion sound reproduction rivaling that of speakers ten times the cost and many times the size
    Could you provide the distortion figures for the Phantom and the details of the $20,000 speaker they rival please. I feel like some humour, even though the article had me in stitches already. Wow, I'm so impressed at the kevlar and the sphericiity. Here's a little something I made some years ago: photo SphSpk_zpscf17f542.jpg The enclosures are carbon fiber. There is actually a second CF sphere inside with the gap between the two filled with sand. The mid-range driver has a kevlar cone and is a B&W unit made for car audio systems. The tweeter has a titanium dome. They are driven by a 70 watt per channel Nakamichi car audio amplifier and have a B&W crossover.
    edited December 2015 techloverstevie
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Can I trade 24lbs of Kevlar for this speaker?

    https://www.firemecca.com//p-962-scrap-kevlar-r-by-the-ounce.aspx

    :P
  • Reply 16 of 29
    cnocbui said:
    impossibly low-distortion sound reproduction rivaling that of speakers ten times the cost and many times the size
    Could you provide the distortion figures for the Phantom and the details of the $20,000 speaker they rival please. I feel like some humour, even though the article had me in stitches already. Wow, I'm so impressed at the kevlar and the sphericiity. Here's a little something I made some years ago: photo SphSpk_zpscf17f542jpg The enclosures are carbon fiber. There is actually a second CF sphere inside with the gap between the two filled with sand. The mid-range driver has a kevlar cone and is a B&W unit made for car audio systems. The tweeter has a titanium dome. They are driven by a 70 watt per channel Nakamichi car audio amplifier and have a B&W crossover.
    That's pretty cool! Very neat.

    I feel like that speaker you made as well as the Phantom in the review are similar to something one might see in the game Portal.

    If you don't mind I have a question about it.

    Why sand? I assume it's to give the enclosure a bit of mass so it does not sound "thin". But does the sand move about a little bit and vibrate? Providing a bit of a hiss or buzz. Or maybe you used sand mixed with a binding agent of some kind?

    Just curious since I have only made boxes out of stuff like MDF and insulation-type or egg crate-type of material stuffed inside.

    That carbon fiber sphere is a whole other level.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    techlover said:
    cnocbui said:
    impossibly low-distortion sound reproduction rivaling that of speakers ten times the cost and many times the size
    Could you provide the distortion figures for the Phantom and the details of the $20,000 speaker they rival please. I feel like some humour, even though the article had me in stitches already. Wow, I'm so impressed at the kevlar and the sphericiity. Here's a little something I made some years ago:
    techlover said:
    cnocbui said:
    impossibly low-distortion sound reproduction rivaling that of speakers ten times the cost and many times the size
    Could you provide the distortion figures for the Phantom and the details of the $20,000 speaker they rival please. I feel like some humour, even though the article had me in stitches already. Wow, I'm so impressed at the kevlar and the sphericiity. Here's a little something I made some years ago:  The enclosures are carbon fiber. There is actually a second CF sphere inside with the gap between the two filled with sand. The mid-range driver has a kevlar cone and is a B&W unit made for car audio systems. The tweeter has a titanium dome. They are driven by a 70 watt per channel Nakamichi car audio amplifier and have a B&W crossover.
    That's pretty cool! Very neat.

    I feel like that speaker you made as well as the Phantom in the review are similar to something one might see in the game Portal.

    If you don't mind I have a question about it.

    Why sand? I assume it's to give the enclosure a bit of mass so it does not sound "thin". But does the sand move about a little bit and vibrate? Providing a bit of a hiss or buzz. Or maybe you used sand mixed with a binding agent of some kind?

    Just curious since I have only made boxes out of stuff like MDF and insulation-type or egg crate-type of material stuffed inside.

    That carbon fiber sphere is a whole other level.


    The enclosures are carbon fiber. There is actually a second CF sphere inside with the gap between the two filled with sand. The mid-range driver has a kevlar cone and is a B&W unit made for car audio systems. The tweeter has a titanium dome. They are driven by a 70 watt per channel Nakamichi car audio amplifier and have a B&W crossover.
    That's pretty cool! Very neat.

    I feel like that speaker you made as well as the Phantom in the review are similar to something one might see in the game Portal.

    If you don't mind I have a question about it.

    Why sand? I assume it's to give the enclosure a bit of mass so it does not sound "thin". But does the sand move about a little bit and vibrate? Providing a bit of a hiss or buzz. Or maybe you used sand mixed with a binding agent of some kind?

    Just curious since I have only made boxes out of stuff like MDF and insulation-type or egg crate-type of material stuffed inside.

    That carbon fiber sphere is a whole other level.

    Thanks.

    The sand is to deaden the enclosure so as to minimise the sound it radiates, given a speaker driver pushes as much sound out the back as it does out the front. By adding mass to the cabinet you increase it's ability to absorb the unwanted sound energy.  The sand is packed in and has little to no room to move and generate any sound due to movement, however there probably is some movement at some scale which is why it works well to limit the transmission of vibrations from the interior to the exterior, but it seems to do it's thing inaudibly.  You can shake the speakers and you won't hear anything.  The cabinets are very dead in that with music playing there is no discernible sound coming from them.

    The system also has a pair of B&W 200mm woofers in a MDF box that I once made for a car I had (not quite so aesthetically pleasing).  They are driven with a Nakamichi 140W mono amp.  Apart from the 30A Power supply and the cabinets, the system is basically formed from car audio components adapted for home use.  It's a secondary system I use in conjunction with the TV with my main HFi being located in another room.  Watching any music programs on the TV sounds very nice, as does gaming on it.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 18 of 29
    cnocbui said:

    *lots of words deleted*
    Thanks.

    The sand is to deaden the enclosure so as to minimise the sound it radiates, given a speaker driver pushes as much sound out the back as it does out the front. By adding mass to the cabinet you increase it's ability to absorb the unwanted sound energy.  The sand is packed in and has little to no room to move and generate any sound due to movement, however there probably is some movement at some scale which is why it works well to limit the transmission of vibrations from the interior to the exterior, but it seems to do it's thing inaudibly.  You can shake the speakers and you won't hear anything.  The cabinets are very dead in that with music playing there is no discernible sound coming from them.

    The system also has a pair of B&W 200mm woofers in a MDF box that I once made for a car I had (not quite so aesthetically pleasing).  They are driven with a Nakamichi 140W mono amp.  Apart from the 30A Power supply and the cabinets, the system is basically formed from car audio components adapted for home use.  It's a secondary system I use in conjunction with the TV with my main HFi being located in another room.  Watching any music programs on the TV sounds very nice, as does gaming on it.
    Thanks for the response. I was really curious about it. The sand seems like a nifty solution, as does the rest of your set up.

    I am glad I am not the only one who has re-purposed car audio gear for use inside the home. I have an old JL Audio 12" woofer from one of my first cars that will shake the eyeballs inside your head if you want it too, and it's over 20 years old. Similar to you, I use it for movies and games these days when I want the low hit from explosions and sound effects. I try not go too crazy with it though because my neighbor next door (who lives in a brick house) has mentioned that it vibrates the pictures on their wall :)
    cnocbui
  • Reply 19 of 29
    paulduv said:


    I'm not saying this company is a charlatan. Perhaps $2000 is the true cost of this thing. If that's the case, it's an engineering failure. 

    There is a path to beautiful, and unceasingly astonish sound. Audio equipment such as the Devialet Phantoms is not that path! 

    Appleinsider, you are obviously paying attention to good sound. This is my urging, which would be lost on some: get thee to a true audio shop with a good listening room!

    Hearing good speakers in the $4000 price range (for a pair) will be not just a somewhat better sound. It will not be subtle. The Devialet speakers will quite suddenly resolve themselves into a postcard of the Grand Canyon, and the ho-hum boxes with front-facing drivers will sound like the actual subject of that bit of cardboard. Surely I exaggerate? My man, I do not!


    Engineering failure? Differences that are not subtle?

    Can I ask if you've ever even heard the Phantoms? Because you give no indication that you have. And if you haven't, well you seem pretty confident for someone who has no factual basis for what he's saying.

    I have a pair of Silver Phantoms. I also have a pair of B&W 802 Diamonds and owned for many years a pair of Nautilus 801s. So I have direct experience comparing the very speakers you reference (actually, better ones than you reference).

    Are the B&W's better sounding than the Phantoms? Well, ultimately, yes they are. But let's keep this in mind:

    The B&W's go for about $22,000 a pair. Oh, and they're not amplified like the Phantoms, so you'll need an amplifier with that. And you don't want any old amp, you want something befitting the 802D. I'm using a Rogers EHF200 right now, a 200 W/Ch tube amp that can operation in either triode or ultralinear. That's about $15,000. So yes, for nearly $40,000, this combination outperforms the Phantoms sonically, particularly as to dynamic range, the lowest bass octave and soundstage.

    But the phantoms -- in the Silver edition -- cost about $6K all in (for a stereo pair; a single Phantom is mono). So the question is, how do they compare to the B&Ws at about one sixth of the price?

    The answer is that they are damn good. No, you will not mistake them for B&W reference monitors of the type used in Abbey Road studios. Yes, they rely on large excursion, small-bore bass drivers and passive radiation, which gives the bass a notably tubby sound. But for their price -- including amp AND speakers -- they are very competitive with what you can get in the hi fi world at that price, and for even twice that price. And at the kinds of volumes most people use in their homes, many of the sonic differences just don't matter.

    But here's the catch. The Phantoms take up almost no space. And they operate over a wifi network (NOT just bluetooth, though they can do that too). So you can put them almost anywhere and setup is a breeze. So in the real world, with real houses and real apartments, these compact speakers that punch well above their weight will appeal to many folks who won't even consider the type of shrine you need to dedicate to traditional high-fi equipment.

    Ultimately, it's for the customers to decide whether Devialet is offering a decent value proposition. I do find a lot of their hype over the top, but the product? Its much better than you are giving it credit for.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 20 of 29
    But ... but ... There is no such thing as good Hi Fi over 'wireless connections', I was told this over and over a week or two ago right here on AI!
    I thought the same thing and you would be surprised if you were putting side by side a very expensive system (mine, Focal Nova Utopia Be, Simaudio W5, P5, Eclipse, Siltech cables), and play a CD vs the same cut from Tidal or an apple lossless version. Just do this and you will be surprised.
    I did that because I first laughed when I saw these at a High End store close by, but was asked to listen, and took them home for a test, and selling all my $75,000 equipment now. In the last 10 years, I had heard nothing better than what I had, or it was too expensive for the difference. It was time to downgrade (space), but it really wasn't that much of a downgrade!
    I might not get the same presence, same precision in the image as I had, but it is so close that I had to rethink the way I was going to listen to music now. And this base is amazing. And the Focal were no slouch.
    Of course, you can have wireless that is not hifi quality, and agree, it will not sound good at all. But this has nothing to do with these speakers and the Dialog, if you have two Phantoms. They are quite amazing, and for the price, the small size (your partner will appreciate..) and the flexibility of a wireless system, they are worth it. Just do the test. 
    I have read quite a few posts where folks did not even listen to these, did not compare, side by side, and show their nice (come on, forget the small B&W down there) system, but like me, put them to the test and you will be amazed.
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