Wednesday 17 October 2018

Tech Review: Devialet brings high-fidelity quality to wifi world

Devialet Gold Phantom €2,589 from Apple.com/ie

Devialet speakers deliver a real audio treat
Devialet speakers deliver a real audio treat

Our post-hifi era makes it easier and cheaper to get music - all you need is your phone, a Spotify subscription and a Bluetooth speaker. But there's a catch which comes in the form of a diminution in audio quality.

For most people, this is a minor concession for the convenience and space savings we have with wireless systems, but for some, it's an irritation. This is why systems such as Devialet's Gold Phantom exist.

The French-designed high-end speaker unit seeks to overpower wireless constraints with a staggering 4,500 watts of output in a device about the size (and shape) of a Dyson vacuum cleaner. That's around 108dB/m - enough to fill a small hall with pretty clear, distinct music.

In the time I had it, I used this machine principally in a Bluetooth capacity.

That's actually about the lowest rung on the audio ladder around which the Gold Phantom operates. It can also connect over wifi and through optical cables, the latter of which is what really maximises your sound. However, I'm not much of a user of cabled music systems anymore.

Regardless, the quality that comes from the Gold Phantom was just gorgeous. Warm and rich, it was symphonic in comparison to the smaller (decent) Bose and Sony Bluetooth speakers I'm used to employing.

Ergonomically, the Gold Phantom is fairly neat. However, it weight a very hefty 11kg - around the same as 10 MacBook Pro laptops. For this reason, we didn't even chance placing this on any type of shelf or unit - it stayed on the ground.

As for its physical design, you'll either love it or think it weird. I was a little more disposed toward the former than the latter.

The bottom line is that it's not cheap. At €2,500 each (some audiophiles look to get these devices in pairs), this is aimed either at those who are deadly serious about their digital home music systems or who are simply rich and like to buy better things.

Either way, whoever gets one is in for a real audio treat.

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