Devialet is French for Audio Innovation in this new century. Their amplifiers have commanded rave reviews even from not so francophile reviewer and friend Ken Kessler, more a Dan d"Agostino fan than any French contraption, specially involving Class D and all sorts of digital gimmicks! Deviate strikes again with the ultimate boom box aptly named Phantom which just landed in Australia, "10 minutes by Tractor" from home at Len Wallis Audio. (For those of you who follow my food and wine adventures on my other blog, you will now that this is the name of one of my rare favourite winery in Australia...)
In one word (or two...) it is not short of sensational! The midrange and tweeter are very similar in concept to Cabasse "La Sphere" although much smaller. The time alignment is taken care of within the sophisticated electronics built in the very heavy armoured cabinet, and this part of the spectrum is amazingly clear and neutral, much more accurate and with a lot less distortion than its Cabasse Big Brother! When it comes to the bass section, one is fooled into believing it is near perfect because one gets mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the movement of the twin woofers on each side of the "object" and the significant amount and extension of bass this thing generates! Devialet claims a 16 Hz bottom end. I was not in a position to check on site, but this contraption does move a lot of air! If you read the specs carefully though, it say that at higher volume the bandwidth is reduced to 49 Hz because the driver would probably destroy itself tryingg to move that much air at a lower frequency.
The specification claims that the distortion is below 0.001%, but I doubt this true across the whole frequency range... More on this later!
The only way to feed the beast is via Bluetooth and an app on your iThing called Spark which in turn gets fed by Tidal or Qobuz or anything that can stream 44khz/16 bits or up to 192kHz/24bits. You can also connect it to your network via the Ethernet port or to your OPPO player via optical link.
Two versions are available, one delivering 750W peak and the other one 3000W!. These numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt though, as they represent the amount of power the electronics are capable of delivering. As there is NO specification of efficiency, it is difficult to know how much acoustic power is really available. However, this plays very loud indeed, to the point that I could not really hear another pair of speakers I was evaluating in an adjacent room with the door duly closed when the Phantom was playing!
As I have said before, I think to midrange and tweeter are near perfect, but what about the bass? Where is the trick? Look at this video first and then I will attempt to answer that question.
What strike me with the bass drivers is that, although they can move a lot, the return to the rest position seems to be lagging a lot, making me question the low distortion figure...
Don't get me wrong, this is an extraordinary piece of audio and electronic engineering, well worth all the virtual ink it has generated and all the money you would spend on it!
And it gets better, as you can use 2 or more of these beats to go stereo or multiform, with its ability to synchronise within 20 microseconds! That f....g quick my friends!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.