AXPONA 2016: Devialet mercilessly beats Magico into submission

Devialet D-900. Shhhh…

axponaRose gold, and solid copper-chassis Devialet D-900 Dual Mono amplification is not something you see very often. That’s because they’re as rare as hen’s teeth. According to the chap on hand from Hanson AV in room 316 at the Westin O’Hare (who kept giving me a dirty look, as I couldn’t stop touching the damn thing, and leaving marks all over it), only 100 units were made. Period.

Apparently the D-900 ($36,900 USD… if you can find one) is a heavily hot-rodded Expert 800 with a number of enhancements that boost the output to 900 wpc, and allow for better heat dissipation. The duo was mercilessly beating a pair of Magico S3 ($22,600 USD/pair, and yes, another room recognizing Magico’s efforts) into submission as I stood against a wall, and listened to the Devialet have its sordid way with the helpless, enslaved S3s.


AXPONA coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics
No speakers were harmed in this room review.

The Devialet was fronted by the very frothy Clearaudio Innovation Wood, that was sporting the Clarify tonearm, and the always titillating Goldfinger Statement LOMC cartridge. Belden‘s new high-end Iconoclast Silver-plated Tough Pitch speaker cable ($4,600 USD), and Ultra-Pure Continuous Cast Interconnects ($4,025 USD) rounded out the hook-ups, while Nordost Valhalla 2 AC ($5,999 USD/2m approx.) cables fed the beasts their go-juice.

Clearaudio Innovation Wood turntable w/Clarify Arm ($15,000 USD), Goldfinger Statement LOMC cartridge ($15,000 USD).

award-sighting-smBeck’s Sea Change by Mobile Fidelity was in rotation on the Innovation at my behest, and the Goldfinger was doing its Gods-honest best to pummel every plastic perfection from the grooves of the LP into sonic ingots. There was an almost preternatural immediacy, delicacy, and haunting nuance to every strum of the acoustic guitar on Golden Age, off side one of the album. Gobs of space were being created around both Beck’s vocals, and the back-up singers voices, giving them an almost ethereal, church-like quality with pinpoint, and rock-solid 3D-imaging of instruments throughout the track.

This was a dynamic, visceral presentation, and in my opinion highlights Devialet’s ability to translate some of the most sublime analog front-end signals into digital approximations that tend to mimic their electro-mechanical origins with a level of not only sophistication, but organic immediacy that few other systems can approach.

Wringing the best out of analog into digital.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream