So the Devialet 110s and 170s have begun to trickle into UK dealers over the past week. I have a demo of the 170 booked for tomorrow. The plan is to listen through some Harbeths and Sonus Fabers.
However, the side-by-side comparison of the Devialet 170 and MF AMS35i will have to wait for another week or so.
You'll be hearing from me!
What classical music are you listening to?
I haven't heard the M2 yet, nor the Wadia. You could add the Esoteric RZ-1 to the list of similar products (though this one also sports a CD/SACD transport).
Not sure how my RZ-1 goes on impedance under 4 ohms, and they are a bit iffy on quoting specs on their website (only quoted at 6 ohms). It would be nice if it had streaming functionality. Class D amplification. Great if you really want a CDP/SACD player. TBH, I think that it is way overpriced in the EU (5000 euro?) and US ($6000?). I bought mine retail for around 270,000 yen (just over 2000 euro?), and I think it is a fine piece of equipment at that price. Not at all in your face. Just a very clean, smooth sound. No recordings that I own are unlistenable and nothing is bright. Very black background. For some reason vocals are amazing on it. Just fantastic texture and emotion to them. I probably could have gotten better performance for the money, but I wanted an all in one for space reasons.
Observe the signature in its natural habitat.
Well? how did it go?
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
On pins and needles, Mac? I surely am!
Sorry to keep you waiting, gents, but I have to watch the cricket highlights and then have my supper. (Some things are more important than hifi.) I'll be online later this evening.
Sorry to keep you waiting, gents, but I have to watch the cricket highlights and then have my supper. (Some things arepre important than hifi.) I'll be online later this evening.
Are there highlights in cricket? (Sorry, I'm from the Continent...)
Sorry, I'm from the Continent...
Cricket as explained to a foreigner:
"You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
There are two men called Umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in, are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game."
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
That's even more complicated than football (men running for a ball, and when they get it, kick it away again).
So today I had a first listen to the Devialet 170. The source was a Copland CDA825. Having decided that the Harbeth Super HL5s are just a bit too bulky for my room, I asked to listen to the Monitor 30.1s. The dealer also suggested trying the (now discontinued) Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor Ms.
The first thing is to say that with both pairs of speakers the Dev sounded immaculately transparent. As I said about the D-Premier, it’s hard to find anything negative to say about the Dev. The sound is just so extraordinarily clean. The instruments appear out of and disappear back into complete silence. Every note is articulated precisely, with the crispest leading edges and really long decay. All of this -- and it’s especially noticeable with higher frequencies -- is as smooth as glass. In that respect the Devialet could have been a Class A amp. Its 3D imaging is also outstanding.
First up were the SFs. They have a very sweet tone at the top end. Really gorgeous. The bass is tight and fast and goes quite deep for boxes of this size. What they did especially well, I felt, was opening up complex music. I threw some pretty tricky stuff at them, and they didn’t disappoint. In comparison the Harbeths sounded both a bit pedestrian and slightly closed in. The SFs gave no sense of being boxes, whilst the Harbeths did. By ‘pedestrian’ I mean that the Harbeths sounded slower and had a duller top end. (I think the Super HL5s, with their super-tweeter, are an altogether different proposition.) Having said that, the imaging of the Harbeths was excellent.
Conclusions? I doubt if you could get a cigarette paper between the Dev 170 and 240, or at least not with speakers of this size/sensitivity. The 170 has bags of power and never sounded remotely stretched. The overall SQ is marvellous. I’ve been critical of the Harbeths, but the SFs are stiff competition. The Devialet-SF combination is a real winner, supremely sweet and musical. My best demo so far.
That is very encouraging.
IMO. If you can get the sound of a Class A amp, without a Class A amp, then that is what you should do......though it pains me to say so.
I look forward to seeing if the 35i is still a threat.....but you will have to hear them side by side (with the same source).
BTW. What cables were being used?
Thanks Matt! This is very encouraging and 170 is really very tempting!
Thanks for another very good review.
If I were ever to change the SHL5's, SF is a brand that does interest me... how would you say the Cremona Auditor M compares?
So is the plan now, to do a side by side demo of MF and the new Devialet?
I'm afraid I didn't take note of the cables. I'll see if I can find out.
I will increase your pain a little by mentioning two areas where the Dev is streets ahead of the AMS35i. Need I say "remote control"? ... And then there are the looks. I don't think I'm being unkind if I say that the AMS35i is as plain as a great big plain thing. The Dev may be shaped like a pizza box, but it's the sort of pizza box that Mrs Posh Spice would eat a pizza from (if she ate pizza ... or indeed anything at all). And then there's the configurability. And the onboard DAC. ...
I hope to do the side-by-side demo next week, assuming my local dealer has received his Devs before I head off on holiday for the whole of August.
"Tempting" is the word.
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