“What on earth is that? Is… is that a speaker?”
The guys at Devialet are used to that reaction. That’s because the Phantom sound system is more than just a speaker: it’s a weird shape, it doesn’t have conventional drivers and it… well, it moves.
Yes. Crank it up and the two cybernetic pods on the sides vibrate – and not just like a regular speaker driver; we’re talking serious excursion. It’s a bit like… actually, you know what? Watch this:
See? It’s extreme. Physical. Almost scary. And you can’t help but grin – which is what a select group of readers discovered at the event Devialet and What Hi-Fi? hosted at Devialet’s flagship UK store at Westfield London in White City recently.
They got the full Phantom experience, as well as having a listen of Devialet’s ultra-high-end Expert range in the shop’s soundproof demo room…
And one lucky reader, Leon Yiu, won a Silver Phantom sound system. “I’m in a bit of shock at the moment! It’s an amazing product, from what I’ve heard tonight – I’m looking forward to trying it out,” he said. Congratulations, Leon!
Phantom and Expert bring high-end, high-concept engineering ideas to home audio.
The Phantom sound system uses ultra-high sound-pressure levels (up to 174dB) inside its hermetically sealed spherical enclosure, plus those high-excursion 6in diaphragms, to produce huge power and huge bass from its compact form.
It can handle bit-perfect CD-quality audio wirelessly, or hi-res files up to 24-bit/192kHz via Ethernet, and lets you access a variety of online services through its companion app. It's also optimised for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for maximum connectivity.
The Expert packs in a royal flush of circuitry to let users configure everything – no, really everything – about their system’s sound. It’s a pre-amp, a power amp, a DAC and a phono stage, and all its inputs are tweakable in seemingly endless ways. What’s more, its Speaker Active Matching technology means your speakers’ bass response will be optimised on the fly for the rest of your kit’s sound. Devialet worked with more than 100 manufacturers to build acoustic models of 700-odd speakers – so yours are almost certain to be compatible.
Power and control
Both the Phantom and the Expert are powered by Devialet’s ADH (Analogue Digital Hybrid) technology, which combines the subtlety of Class-A analogue amplification with the power and precision of Class-D digital. And the Phantom is controlled by Devialet’s own Spark app – which gives you access to a raft of streaming services and files saved on your devices. Add the Devialet Dialog hub and you can connect multiple Phantoms together in stereo, multi-channel or multi-room configurations.
Same tech, different listening experience. And the listening experience is, after all, what it’s is all about.
So, the Phantom, then? Physical, striking, immediate and powerful. And the Expert? Subtle, refined, emotional and versatile. Both together? Perhaps all you need.