Regardless of having welcomed many Devialet Phantom wi-fi audio system into our check rooms over the previous few years, we nonetheless discover ourselves struck by the wonder and bass copy of the most recent iteration.
This new flagship Phantom I brings with it a simplification and enlargement of the enduring, brand-defining line: the compact Phantom Reactor is now ‘Phantom II’ (in 95dB, 98dB and special-edition Opéra de Paris fashions), above which sits the ‘Phantom I’ (in 103dB, 108dB and Opéra de Paris variants).
Devialet has now launched a £349 ($350) Arch configurable connectivity hub for Phantom too, giving house owners the choice so as to add sources (together with a turntable) both through its built-in phono stage and RCA line-level inputs, or alternatively two coaxial digital inputs.
With out that accent, the Phantom I is reliant upon a community, with help for AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, UPnP and Roon (each as much as 24-bit/96KHz) over ethernet or wi-fi, though there’s Bluetooth onboard, in addition to an optical enter (as much as 24-bit/96KHz) on the rear.
Devialet Phantom I 108dB tech specs
Energy output 1100W
Airplay 2 Sure
Spotify Join Sure
Roon Prepared Sure
Dimensions (hwd) 25.5 x 25.2 x 34.2cm
The decibel scores hooked up to the names signify their most sound strain degree at one metre – one thing that units Devialet Phantoms aside not solely from each other however most of their competitors, contemplating they’ll go between the approximate relative loudness of a lawnmower and a chainsaw.
The pattern on check right here is the Phantom I 108 dB, which is on the market in darkish chrome or white/gold finishes and covers a claimed frequency vary of 14Hz to 27kHz. The Phantom I 103 dB, in the meantime, is available in gentle chrome or matte black and encompasses a barely narrower bandwidth (16Hz to 25kHz).
Lots of Devialet’s patented applied sciences are current within the new Phantom I, together with its ADH (Analog Digital Hybrid) amplification, designed to mix the advantages of Class A analogue (excessive efficiency) and Class D (excessive effectivity and energy) designs.
On the danger of utilizing too many acronyms, HBI (Coronary heart Bass Implosion) represents Devialet’s efforts to supply deep, impactful bass from the compact enclosure; its ACE (Energetic Cospherical Engine) design takes care of outputting sound evenly in numerous instructions from the spherical chassis; and Speaker Energetic Matching (SAM) processing works to optimise the sign and efficiency in real-time.
Such patented applied sciences have been a part of the Phantom line-up from the beginning, however the brand new Phantom I goals to take efficiency additional with a next-generation system-on-chip and improved thermal dissipation (it’s 4 occasions extra energy-efficient than the earlier mannequin).
The Phantom’s iconic, visually placing spherical design, which we’ve likened to an ‘Alien bug’ and ‘Storm Trooper’s lunchbox’ lives on, however not completely unchanged. It’s now like a miniature jet engine, with a matte end, new signature aspect panels and LED standing lights on the rear – it’s eye-catching in one of the best ways doable.
The Phantom I comes with a brand new puck-like distant that’s as other-worldly and premium because the speaker aesthetic and value deserves, too. We like the way you rotate the entire outer ring to vary quantity (you can too play/pause and skip tracks with the central touchpad), though ergonomically it doesn’t really feel all that pure within the hand to take action.
The choice is Devialet’s devoted app, which gives related playback features, in addition to settings similar to ‘AV sync’ for lowering latency in the event you’re utilizing the Phantom I along with your TV through its optical enter, and ‘Night time mode’ for sucking a few of the bass out of the efficiency (which it does successfully, too).
Considerably disappointingly, the app doesn’t additionally function a UPnP streaming controller, so these eager to entry native or networked information or music providers might want to use the paid-for Roon platform (the Phantom I is Roon Prepared), or obtain one other third-party UPnP app similar to BubbleUPnP (Android) and mconnect Participant (Android, iOS), each of that are completely usable free apps.
We’re additionally slightly let down by the app’s imperfect multi-room and stereo pairing expertise, which in our testing proves often flaky by not displaying the connection, or doing so however not initiating by way of the audio system. In case you’ve spent a number of 1000’s on a multi-room wireless speaker set-up, you’re maybe entitled to anticipate seamlessness.
You additionally anticipate a ‘wow’ efficiency, which in some areas the Phantom I delivers. This is likely one of the clearest, most bassy and broadest-sounding single-chassis wi-fi audio system we have come throughout for the reason that earlier full-sized Phantom we examined.
For a wi-fi speaker of its dimension, Devialet’s newest can, just like the iterations earlier than it, excavate a bass line. The jaunty electro-funk lows underpinning Infantile Gambino’s 19:10 are deep and impactful – and visually represented by the enthusiastically pumping side-firing drivers. Play one thing denser similar to 65daysofstatic’s Retreat! Retreat!, and it’s not afraid to get down and soiled with the cacophony of drums and electrics whereas guaranteeing they don’t bathroom down the entire presentation.
The Phantom I produces a broad, open soundstage that far belies its compactness. In case you’re searching for the most important sonic footprint from a small bodily one, a single Phantom I can output greater than is important to fill most residing rooms. However, whereas one of many Devialet’s distinctive promoting factors is its spectacular energy output, the presentation in the end turns into harsh and, consequently, much less listenable when actually pushed.
Such is the Devialet’s midrange readability that upon listening to it for the primary time, you’ll wish to queue up songs by your favorite vocalists. We discover ourselves doing simply this; Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, ANOHNI, and The Tallest Man on Earth’s Kristian Matsson come by way of with purity and polish. However it isn’t lengthy earlier than we realise that such tangibility isn’t complemented by the degrees of transparency we’d anticipate at this value – and particularly from a Phantom.
Whereas the Phantom I can distinguish between a soprano and a piano, it’s solely ready to attract the silhouette of a vocal or instrument relatively than reveal any of its color or shading. It doesn’t rise and fall with Simone’s dynamic supply, nor does it get below Matsson’s refined inflections.
We play Ludovico Einaudi’s piano-led Oltremare, and whereas the notes float throughout a soundstage that, in the event you closed your eyes, may go for one from stereo audio system positioned shut collectively, there isn’t the dynamic perception or finesse obligatory so that you can completely admire the variation in his masterstrokes.
We discover ourselves creeping the quantity up in an effort to really feel extra concerned within the piece – an indication of a efficiency that falls wanting charming. For the Devialet’s not insignificant asking value, we anticipate extra in the way in which of sonic sophistication.
Devialet’s unique Phantom arrived at a time the place wi-fi audio system had been slowly however absolutely maturing into the high-end market. Right this moment, that premium area is extra aggressive, and with it, the extent of efficiency has improved too.
You’ll wrestle to seek out one other that may fill a room or dig up a bass line fairly just like the Phantom I, however your seek for a wi-fi resolution – single-box or in any other case – able to extra perception for the cash can be simpler. The Phantom I stays a one-of-a-kind choice with undisputed skills, however general its efficiency leaves us slightly chilly.
- Sound 3
- Options 4
- Construct 4
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