Yesterday evening, while listening to some Kings of Convenience, I noticed a penetrant smell of burned plastic in our living room.
Followed my nose and... Yep, it's the Dev! I switched it off immediately, obviously, and this morning I called my dealer (who is open on Sundays). I can bring it to him this afternoon. Not sure how we'll handle this. I might have to temporarily downgrade to a Sonos Play:3 in the living room
We'll see how it turns out... And I had just planned some speaker demos in the coming weeks
hi Doc. first of all thanks for your input in my thread on CBT speakers. I saw your posts there only recently because I was most of the time away from WHF forum. I'll reply soon but don't know when exactly. I don't have too much spare time to use up on forum chatting recently.
now back to your topic. sorry for your loss. but I'd like to use this opportunity to introduce you to a product that may be of interest to you. before I start I'd like to let anyone know I got nothing against Dev. in fact, the more I read about it the more I get convinced this is the most accomplished and best performing piece of gear available to buy today. and I was considering going the way of Dev 170 myself had I not found this alternative. but why would it be a better option than Dev? simply because it takes into equation also the speakers, whereas the Dev leaves this variable alone.
I know Doc you'd welcome some well performing on-walls. have you ever heard of Opalum yet? now, what's good about it? apart from the fact that they are meant to be put on wall saving a lot of audiophile real estate, they are very thin so don't protrude much off the wall once hanged, and look super cool too (flow and breeze product line), they also pack a lot of digital and technological wizardry to boot so that they reportedly sound good too (this is a fairly new product so there's little to be found about it yet but this review on soundandvision.com is promising. note very flat frequency response of the flow.1010 not leaving a 4 dB window (+2/-2 dB) from some 75Hz to 20kHz) or here (use google translate if needed). now a few words on the digital wizardry I was just mentioning. the system consists of a control hub and a pair of speakers. the speakers are of active kind so the hub is by no means an integrated amp of any sorts. the hub's role is to receive PCM digital signals, or if it's analog signal then it's converted to PCM, and send it on to the speakers for further processing. it also sends power to the speakers on the same cable as the data stream making the whole arangement extremely neat! basicaly you get 2 speakers hanging on the wall connected with only a thin wire. you can even put the hub out of your sight since the remote communicate via RF, not IR. the hub can also control the volume. what's with the speakers then? from reading tech info on this site here's what I could gather. the speakers are powered with some sort of digital class D amps where PCM is converted to PWM to directly power the drivers. the amps seem to be of clean class D breed - read; similar in performance to Hypex modules. the speakers use some sort of digital modelling to acuraltely shape FR, impulse, crossover and LF extension (note small internal volume vs. LF extension). the internal circuitry also seems to to have movement of drivers in check and apply corrective actions if needed. this is like applying feedback on the drivers. this is not novel but rarely used and impossible to implement in any passive speakers. this is said to reduce driver distortion. me likes low distortion!
that's all I can say about the speakers for now. I love the concept of freeing a lot of living room space and getting the whole hi-fi jungle out of my sight (the hub and some streamer can well be hidden away in a board) so much that I'm really considering swaping all I have for a pair of flow.1010 or flow.4810 (if they are worth the extra over 1010). there are still many questions regarding performance that I first need to find answers for. but if I hear more or less what I want to hear then this concept is really a viable alternative for a whole stack of boxes IMO (it even makes the venerable AVI 9 speakers look cumbersome ). plus an easy way to integrate a sub, if someone needs one, is also very appealing; there's a sub out in the hub that when it sences a sub is connected the hub would automatically apply a 4th order LR xover @ 80Hz - all you need then is an LFE input and gain control on the sub. it can't get easier then that. (BTW I wish all hi-fi amps included an integrated sub crossover...). last but not least the system should also be quite toddler resistant seeing that most of it can be hidden away .
I wasn't going to mention those speakers on the forum before I was sure they are worth it. but since the initial impressions are promising enough to warrant further investigation and I'm not sure when I get a chace to speak to Opalum I thought I'd flag this product for you now Doc seing that you found yourself in not-so-nice situation with your amp.
PS. sorry for all the spelling errors. for some reason spell check is gone from my browser and I can't re-instal it despite my numerous attempts.
PS2. I need to confirm this but it seems newer versions of the hub may include some streaming device as well. if that's the case then the whole system may get even smaller by another box - the streamer. I need to find out if this streaming device is going to be some sort of DLNA renderer because that's what I'd need for my streaming needs.
PS3. check this website out, for instance, for price comparison: http://www.stoneaudio.co.uk/?manufacturer=opalum. while the system isn't cheap the price is definitely competitive with relation to what a Dev costs, even if you factor in a sub and some basic streamer (remember we need only a digital out, so it's really streamer's interface and reliability that counts).
Another left field suggestion, they seem to be your trade mark and me likes the left field!
First of all, I don't plan to ditch the Dev anytime soon. I'll have it either fixed or replaced. Period. But if Opalum is the business, I might house the Dev in the living room, feeding some nice floorstanders, and hang the Opalums in the library
I first read on this system in a Belgian(!) hifi mag, about a year ago, but didn't consider it 'proper hifi' as the reviewer put so much stress on the lifestyle aspects. After reading your post (and the links), I understand the concept is more than skin-deep. The PCM to PWM conversion reminds me of NAD's Direct Digital technology. Is that correct? There seems to be quite some DSP going on inside the speakers, including 'psycho-acoustic bass' That doesn't sound very hifi (in theory), but my open mind says it wants to judge for itself.
So I checked the Store Locator on the website, and my Devialet dealer happens to figure on the list. I dropped him a mail. If he has a demo set available, I could have a listen later this week. How about that?
If all goes well, I'll report back. Of course.
My concern about very high efficiency speakers would be that they compromise bass resonse, unless they have a very large box and huge LF drivers. That's the theory anyway. It'll be interesting to hear what you think of the Dev + AN combo.
AN speakers are different, in that if they are designed to be placed in the corners......where they use the whole room to re-enforce the bass, to great effect.
They sound great with SET amps, but I have no idea how well they will work with the Devialet.....it's an intriguing experiment.
Are you familiar with the different models (AN-K, AN-J, AN-E), Cno? Do they have a similar sonic signature? I'm gonna hear the AN-K, but having read the specs, the AN-J might be more what I'm after (or even the AN-E, who knows?). But it seems to be very difficult to audition these speakers in/near Belgium, so I'll listen to what I can get...
I only heard the AN-E / LX......they sounded like they were 3 times the size.
I very much suspect they will have a "family sound".......you just go in at the level you can afford. They produce more scale as they get bigger, and you get more vibrancy / detail / dynamics, with the very expensive silver cabling.
I would also be inclined to go for one of the bigger models, if you like what you hear.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
There seems to be quite some DSP going on inside the speakers, including 'psycho-acoustic bass' That doesn't sound very hifi (in theory), but my open mind says it wants to judge for itself.
If these can produce good bass, it will be an amazing engineering achievement. As I understand it, the top model, the Flow.4810, uses an array of 48 little 1" drivers. Whoah! I'll be really interested to hear your report on this.
In the meantime, I'm off some time next week to try out something much more conventional: the Marshall Choong CM-3s. A tiny manufacturer based in South London, they make a fairly ordinary looking range of classic 3-way boxes which are said to be outstanding.
What classical music are you listening to?
just wait a few years and you'll see that my left-field suggestions are not so much left-field anymore. I truly believe that in this age of affordable and widely available DSP modules passive speaker technology is at it's last breath. the benefits of going active DSP are simply too great to ignore.
First of all, I don't plan to ditch the Dev anytime soon. I'll have it either fixed or replaced. Period.
agreed. a Dev is a beauty to behold and performs likewise so I can see why people wouldn't want to let one go so easily. it's a shame though that it's so hard to find a pair of passive speakers with performance to match. I'd like to see an all Devialet sound system with DSP enabled speakers. that would be a treat.
But if Opalum is the business, I might house the Dev in the living room, feeding some nice floorstanders, and hang the Opalums in the library
wow, you have a library... I want one too. and another bedroom. and a bigger living room. and a bigger storage. and a lotto lotery wining ticket...
I first read on this system in a Belgian(!) hifi mag, about a year ago, but didn't consider it 'proper hifi' as the reviewer put so much stress on the lifestyle aspects. After reading your post (and the links), I understand the concept is more than skin-deep.
that's what it appears to be. it's like with B&O gear. lifestle design but backed up with solid engineering within.
The PCM to PWM conversion reminds me of NAD's Direct Digital technology. Is that correct? There seems to be quite some DSP going on inside the speakers, including 'psycho-acoustic bass' That doesn't sound very hifi (in theory), but my open mind says it wants to judge for itself.
yeah, bringing up NAD in this context is a good call. the DSP seems to be responsible, among other things, for frequency response shaping and controling of phase integrity. that alone should ensure at least good imaging, if not stellar. as for the bass, to be honest I'd opt for a sub instead. since easy integration is so well implemented why not take advantage of it? it's like with using any small speakers on their own. many tricks are used to fool you into thinking they sound bigger then they are but when stacked against reall big boys you know the small ones are just big pretenders.
damn you Doc! I really envy you that you have so easy access to check out things that interest me. I have hard time time auditioning things that don't interest me, not mentioning those that do. well, I guess it's time to move back to Europe then . anyway, looknig forward to hearing your impressions from the demo. I in the mean time will try to get on with Opalum and ask them a few technical questions about their products. if I hear what I expect then it really may be a viable option outside of legacy hi-fi products. let's hope Opalum are approachable and knowledgeble lot.
Giro, InTheGroove, Digit, ClassicOne, MG12
if you do your math then you'll find out that 48 1' drivers add up to rougly 6.8' driver. that's not too bad. I guess you could easily expect a similar performance in low register that you could get from a 6.5'er in a sealed cabinet. and since the speakers hang flush on the wall you don't get typical problems with baffle step response anomaly found in typical free standing box speakers. although I admit the excurtion of even the biggest number array of 1' drivers may be a problem on high level outputs. hence I'd opt for a sub instead since integration should be seamless.
Well, not that I have a pile of books or anything. We just call it "library" for the taxman
As for the bass, to be honest I'd opt for a sub instead. since easy integration is so well implemented why not take advantage of it? it's like with using any small speakers on their own. many tricks are used to fool you into thinking they sound bigger then they are but when stacked against reall big boys you know the small ones are just big pretenders.
But adding a sub makes it less "interior-friendly". So let's first see what they do on their own.
When I started my hifi-search, I thought Belgium was Europe's hifi-desert. But by now, I know my way in the desert pretty well! Having said that, the dealer didn't confirm anything yet...
Meanwhile, I'm still very interested in some more background knowledge. So if you learn anything more, please share!
Conventional speakers indeed, but they do look classy, with their copper plugs. Any particular reason you want to try them with the Dev (apart from making the fun last as long as possible)?
They're just one of a longish list of speakers I'd like to hear before settling on a permanent replacement for the Cremonas.
Pinched this off another forum, but thought it should be in this thread
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.
Good catch, Mac! Though the statement on B&O is bending the truth IMO.
Update: my dealer just confirmed he has the Flow.1010 on demo. We can give it a try on Thursday!
The (only?) UK dealer is Stone Audio in Poole. They stock some very good kit, e.g. Devialet, Sonus faber ( ). Sounds hopeful.
Doc, I will be whistling past you this weekend on the train to and from a conference in Utrecht.
Doc, I will be whistling past you this weekend on the train to and from a conference in Utrecht.
OK, I'll stand sentry and wave back as you pass by. You can recognize me by my funny hat and red mustache.
When in Holland, do taste the local gastronomy: a croquette bun with a mug of buttermilk! (Sorry, Cheeseboy)
I spoke to an Opalum bloke from Dennmark on the phone today. I have some mixed feelings. mainly because I got a feeling there's the highlight on the lifestyle aspect of the product at Opalum and the guy couldn't provide me with most information I needed. here's what I found out.
4810 and 1010 are 2-way speakers. 4810 have 3 tweeters covering HF and the rest of the array covers mids and lows groupped in 3 banks of drivers. similar situation with 1010 where single driver handles HF and the rest are responsible for remaining part of the frequency spectrum, again groupped in 3 banks of drivers.
common problem with driver arrays is comb filtering effect. Opalum claims to overcome this problem by delaying some of the drivers with relation to other. this information poured some optimism in me with regards design skillls of the people behind the speakers. delaying of drivers reminds me of CBT approach to achieve unified soundfield. however, I can't confirm it's really the case here because when I asked the guy about off axis behaviour of the speakers he couldn't say much about it as he didn't have any measurements for that aspect.
the guy couldn't tell me much about distortion levels of the speaker. which is a pitty. I'd rather know how loud could the speakers be pushed before you start feel uncomfortable.
the speakers don't employ "virtual sub" technology (this is propably to be used in small portable devices). all bass there is comes from the source material and the drivers.
wireless compatibility is via Bluetooth APT-X modul. useful for quick connecting of different devices. this is included in their Hub II. but I think to fully utilise lossles audio it's better to use a LAN streamer.
what I really liked when I heard is that the speakers are optimised in such a way as to generate a perfect impulse response. that means no ringing! and that means the speakers should be very easy on the ear. there should be no perceived harshness nor undue sibilance to the sound. on top of that the speakers' frequency response is tuned in such a way as to highlight it's inherent smoothness to the sound. the guy told me they lift slightly mid-lows and highs. this bit bothered me somehow as I would like to see a flat frequency response. but I can't deny Opalum have a point in saying the speaker should do what it's asked for in a way that's pleasing to the listener. then again if you check those basic measurements in the review of flow.1010 at soundandvision.com there's no hint of any frequency response shaping over neutral. you can see some shaping in the graph for stream.210 though.
I also wanted to aks about the volume control but I forgot. it's definitely in digital domain as the speakers and the hub are digital throughout. but what interests me most is if they use those advanced 32bit floating point techniques to obtain lossles attenuation (BTW this approach beats by a big margin any analog attenuation that there is).
all in all I wasn't overly taken aback. the guy was constantly stressing how nice the speakers sound. I guess hearing is believing. he suggested I could take advantage of their sales and return policy so that I could try the speakers at home if I opted to buy via their web-shop. handy. I guess I let my mind settle down for a couple of days and I might give them a call again to ask a few more questions. in the mean time I'm looking forward to reading your impressions from the demo on Thursday Doc.
BTW, a few weeks ago I was contacting audiostatic with a view to get some info on their ESL speaker as I am looking to upgrade on my MG12. the guy on the other side told me, and I was talking to Mr. Ben Peters - the inventor himself , that they are now finalising R+D on the new model which should be ready for sale quite soon. most likely in January. he mentioned they are using some new nano technology in the making, I presume it has to do with diaphragm material and coating techniques, and the new speakers will sound much better than any of his previous creations. I guess I'll wait a bit and see what his new babies are capable of and then decide if I slim down with Opalum or stay in legacy hi-fi world. although I must admit a Dev and stats look like a nice, minimalist and high performance set up. if only stats weren't taking up so much space.....
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