WHAT THE HECK is an “Implosive Sound Center”? That’s how French audio manufacturer Devialet describes the new Phantom. The press release makes some bold claims (to say the least), so bold that many would take them with a grain or three of salt. However, if there’s one thing Devialet is all about, it’s relentless innovation. Thinking outside ye olde square seems to be the way these engineers go about their daily business.
So what is Phantom then? It’s a wireless speaker system, albeit one that seems to be at the bleeding edge of technology. Powered by 750 or 3000 watts of hybrid amplification depending on the model (Phantom and Silver Phantom respectively), the units have a claimed frequency range of 16Hz to 25kHz +/- 2dB, which is of course, completely insane considering the size and the sealed enclosure. Big floorstanders don’t get to 16Hz at -2dB, nor do many subwoofers, but Devialet reckons those numbers are spot on thanks to the unique design. After all, these units are intended to replace hi-fi and home theatre systems. Users can run a single unit, or a stereo pair or even run multi-channel combinations up to 24 units all connected. Inputs include the obvious wireless connection plus optical and Ethernet.
The Phantom is self-updating, pulling firmware updates as needed. It also ties in with a new Devialet designed app called Spark, which is claimed to be the most advanced music app ever. In addition, there’s a wireless sharing center called Dialog, which is intended to set up an ultra-reliable wireless connection (a CPL network and three hyper-powerful Wi-Fi networks of 300 megabits/second on two bandwidths: 2,4 and 5 GHz).
One would think that some of the claims are over the top, unless of course, they’re justified. As I found out in my interview with Devialet’s Andy Kennard (here), the company wants to change the way we listen to music, and they’ll do that by boldly going where no one has gone before. Looks like they weren’t full of hot air – frankly, I love the way these guys are breaking free of the old theories of how music is reproduced. Who says technology that was useful in the 1960’s is what we should be using to listen to music? I’m talking speakers and amplifiers here – I’ve got nothing against vinyl or even valves – at least they’re charismatic. It’d be good to see more audio designers changing the status quo.
In short, this spherical beastie may just be bloody marvelous. We hope it is, and we seriously can’t wait to get our paws on a review unit. We’ll update with the NZ RRP as soon as we can but the units are priced at 1390 Euros and 1690 Euros.
The video below is from Computer Audiophile.