The first time I heard audio through a Devialet Phantom speaker, I thought the sound waves were going to melt my eyeballs out of their sockets. And then I heard the speaker’s $US2,000 ($2,627) price tag, and instead they melted out of my ears. Devialet is announcing an updated version of the Phantom — the Phantom I — with some new guts, updated colorways, power levels, and a few new accessories — oh, and it costs more.
In terms of design, Devialet hasn’t deviated from the Phantom’s signature oblong shape or overall look. Inside, the main difference is the Phantom I features a brand new, next-generation system-on-a-chip. Supposedly, its smaller size means the Phantom I will have better power efficiency, lower distortion, and “increased thermal dissipation for enhanced energy consumption.” TL;DR — Devialet says the new SoC should translate to better acoustics and be up to four times more energy efficient than previous versions.
If you’ve never heard the name Devialet, that’s pretty normal. It’s a French audio company known for making futuristic-looking wireless speakers with massive sound and equally massive price tags. Think Sonos, but more expensive. This year, instead of launching another $US3,000 ($3,941) ($US4,192 ($5,506)) speaker, the company is releasing some expensive truly...Read more
The Phantom I will also feature two power levels, 103dB and 108dB. That’s a small increase from the original Phantom, which came in 98dB and 108dB versions. The 103dB Phantom I features a bass-to-treble bandwidth of 16Hz to 25kHZ, and has the option of light chrome or matte black side panels. The 108dB Phantom I has a slightly larger bandwidth range of 14Hz to 27kHz, and dark chrome and 22-karat gold side panels. Both come in either matte black or a glossier white. The new Phantom I speakers will also have a “more intuitive interface” that includes LED signals at the rear and a new standby mode.
These are neat hardware upgrades, but this time around it also seems like Devialet is adding more in the way of connectivity. On top of a new Devialet OS, the new speaker also supports AirPlay 2 and better universal plug-and-play of up to 24 bits. Also on deck is a newly designed physical remote, and a new Arch hub accessory to enable analogue connectivity.
But, you ask, how much? Well, the 103dB version will retail at $US2,200 ($2,890) and the 108db version will be $US3,200 ($4,203). To be fair, that’s not the absolute worst we’ve ever heard of for high-end speakers aimed at audiophiles. There are, for example, hideous Bugatti speakers so expensive they don’t even list the price.
Still, it is pretty expensive for the average person, when you consider popular alternatives from Sonos and Apple’s original HomePod retail for less than $600. We can’t say whether the Phantom I will be worth it until we can get our hands on one in person. (That said, I’ve never met a Devialet owner who didn’t rant and rave about how great the Phantom is.) But for that price I, for one, would hope to be blown to smithereens, my eyes weeping from the auditory beauty.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.