I’ll admit that, at first, I was skeptical of Devialet’s claims. They were telling me that a single speaker, alone in an untuned room, would offer the kind of sound expected by snooty audiophiles and/or club owners. They talked up the rich bass, the excellent treble, and interesting separation. I wasn’t impressed. And then I was.
The Phantom is essentially a robotic speaker or a sound bomb. Built of metal and plastic, the case holds 1.2 tons of pressure designed to mimic the displacement of much larger speakers. The makers claim “sub bass at 16hz to ultra sharp sound at 25kHz with no background noise, no saturation, no distortion, all that up to 3000 Watts and 105 Decibels of power.” That means the bass is really low and rich but you can still hear the weird noises buried in Fleetwood Mac and the the skittering organ lines of modern jazz.
As an entry-level audiophile/guy who likes speakers, I can tell you that the clarity at volume is really nice. While you can listen to the Devialet at acceptable levels, turning it up in a large room truly makes it shine. It is like one of the speakers for doctor-waiting-room Muzak that allows the doctor, the patients, and the accountancy next door to occasionally fill an entire floor with sound and dance the night away. You could also put this into a big house and fill a room.
You can connect the speakers to a sound system via optical cable or, if you want to stream music from your computer or phone, you need a Dialog, a box that connects up to 24 Phantoms together on your network. The Dialog also allows you to stream, inexplicably, from Deezer, Qobuz, and Tidal but not Spotify. The company is promising further compatibility in the next few months.
That said this speaker isn’t for everyone. First, it costs $2,390 for the single silver model and about $5,000 for two. I would honestly recommend the more powerful 3,000 Watt silver over the standard model. Second, you have to have the room. Placing this in a small apartment might be overkill and it will definitely piss off your neighbors.
Finally, you will need to be patient with Devialet’s Spark app. This app works but not as well as I would have liked. In the early versions I tested it was almost impossible to use the app on the phone. This has been remedied with updates but it’s still a not quite there.
In short you should take a look at this speaker. It is smart, crisp, and loud. A very basic A/B test shows that even at very high volumes you get excellent depth of field in music and movies played through the device. However, like a powerful little motorcycle or a robotic wrestling coach, things can get out of hand if you get a little to excited. Pray that doesn’t happen.