Vancouver 2015: Devialet


Vancouver-Audio-Show-CustomHave you ever been really surprised by something that you expected to be disappointed by?

Think of the time your friend set you up on a blind date and said “trust me…” and the girl ended up being the love of your life (for at least six months).

The Devialet Phantom is that night out and could possibly lead to more than six months of breakfasts in bed and spooning on the sofa watching Archer.

At least, that’s what I think (right now, please understand I’m on a post-show day high).

I was standing out in the hall on the sixth floor of the Hilton Metrotown texting on my phone like a wallflower at a high school dance when I heard a “thump-thump-thump-TWANG” and a collective gasp.

I slowly turned and found myself looking at a door marked 623 and “Devialet Phantom” and I went “ahhhh” as I remembered all the coverage online over the last few months about the strange football-shaped Devialet self-powered speaker system/DAC/wireless streamer.

I pushed open the door and was greeted by a wall of sound that even Phil Specter would be impressed by.

I cannot emphasize enough how impactful and mind-blowing these units are.

I’ve heard the Devialet 200 paired with some Revel F208 speakers and was very impressed, but it did not prepare me for the sound that was going on in room 623.

I had to squeeze my butt cheeks a bit because these things were going down, way down, in the bass department (16 Hz published specs):

  • Sound Pressure Level 99 dBSPL at 1 meter (Phantom) 105 dBSPL at 1 meter (Phantom Silver)
  • Amplification power 750 Wpeak (Phantom) 3000 Wpeak (Phantom Silver)
  • Bandwidth 16Hz to 25kHz at +/- 2dB
  • Digital analog converter : TI PCM1798 24bits/192kHz
  • Processor : 800MHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor, 512 MB DDR3 Memory
  • Aluminum dome drivers

Even though the units were mismatched (a Phantom and a Phantom Silver) it almost didn’t matter.

These Phantoms were placed haphazardly in a so-so hotel room and they were imaging like CRAZY, producing amazing tonal accuracy (to my ears; think live music) and had me tapping my toes and doing my best white-guy-head-bob ever.

The bass and slam, PRAT, and outright ballsy presentation gave every listener no quarter to hide and the visceral reaction that everyone had who entered the room was apparent.

These things really have to be heard to be believed and they will give every man, woman and child who considers themselves an audiophile pause to reflect and reconsider what makes a hi-fi-system a hi-fi-system. For $6,000 CAN you can have two of the 3,000 watt models and you need nothing other than a smart phone or tablet to make them work.

Think about that. $6,000 for a system that will knock your socks off day-in and day-out.

Despite the fact that I have an amazing girlfriend, I want to take these Phantoms home, spoon them and watch Archer together.

Sorry babe.



About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. It’s definitely a lifestyle product, but I’d be hesitant to say that its appeal would wane over time.
    Devialet, IMO, don’t build products without a lot of R&D and real-world testing. These aren’t some gimmicky surround-sound system slapped together that you’ll see on Craigslist in three years.
    Like Devialet’s other products, the Phantom boasts some of the most technologically-advanced digital-audio components found anywhere on the planet. The Phantom produces a very nuanced, dynamic and well-balanced sound. I was honestly astonished at how clear, and timbrally accurate it is – even with Mp3 files! – and how meaty, real, and present every instrument sounded through it, particularly voices. I listened for close to 45 minutes to the set-up and found it to be completely fatigue-free as well. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen, but it sounds incredible and I would put it up there with some much more expensive systems in a heartbeat for it’s ability to make an emotional connection for me to the music. A friend with a Shindo fetish (and a lot of their gear) commented to me that he would seriously consider the Phantom for a second system.

  2. Hi-
    The only negative reactions to the Phantom I’ve read so far are that the sound isn’t refined as true hi-end audiophile sound should be. Those people saw it as more of a “lifestyle” product that an audiophile wouldn’t like over time. Any sense of this?

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