Review on Devialet Phantom I 108dB
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The Review on Devialet Phantom I 108dB
A powerful, eye-catching and truly unique wireless speaker, but not the most entertaining at this level
Big, wide, room-filling sound
Heart-in-your-mouth bass Striking aesthetics
Lack of transparency and subtlety App is not a UPnP controller In-app multi-room flakiness
Despite welcoming many Devialet Phantom wireless speakers to our test rooms over the years, we are still struck by the beauty and bass response of the latest version.
This new flagship Phantom I simplifies and expands the iconic, brand-defining line: the compact Phantom Reactor is now ‘Phantom II’ (in 95dB, 98dB and special edition Opéra de Paris models), above which the ‘Phantom I ‘ (in 103dB, 108dB and Opéra de Paris variants).
Devialet has now also introduced a £349 ($350) Arch-configurable connectivity hub for Phantom, giving owners the option to add sources (including a turntable) either via the built-in phono stage and line-level RCA inputs, or alternatively two coaxial digital inputs.
Without that accessory, the Phantom I is network dependent, with support for AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, UPnP and Roon (both up up to 24-bit/96KHz) via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, although there is Bluetooth on board, as well as an optical input (up up to 24-bit/96KHz) on the back.
The decibel values associated with the names represent their maximum sound pressure level at one meter – something that sets Devialet Phantoms not only from each other but from most of their competitors, as they can go between the estimated relative loudness of a lawnmower and a chainsaw.
The sample being tested here is the Phantom I 108 dB, which is available in dark chrome or white/gold finishes and covers a claimed frequency range of 14 Hz to 27 kHz. The Phantom I 103 dB, meanwhile, is available in light chrome or matte black and has a slightly narrower bandwidth (16Hz to 25kHz).
Many of Devialet’s proprietary technologies are present in the new Phantom I, including ADH (Analog Digital Hybrid) amplification, designed to combine the benefits of Class A analog (high performance) and Class D (high efficiency and power) designs.
At the risk of using too many acronyms, HBI (Heart Bass Implosion) represents Devialet’s efforts to produce deep, punchy bass from the compact body; the ACE (Active Cospherical Engine) design ensures an even output of sound in different directions from the spherical chassis; and Speaker Active Matching (SAM) processing works to optimize the signal and performance in real time.
Such proprietary technologies have been part of the Phantom line-up from the start, but the new Phantom I aims to take performance to the next level with a next-generation system-on-chip and improved thermal dissipation (it’s four times more energy efficient than the previous model). To build
The Phantom’s iconic visually striking spherical design, which we compared to an ‘Alien bug’ and ‘Storm Trooper’s lunchbox’, lives on, but is not completely unchanged. It’s now like a miniature jet engine, with a matte finish, new signature side panels and LED status lights at the rear – it’s eye-catching in the best possible way.
The Phantom I comes with a new puck-style remote that’s as otherworldly and premium as the aesthetics and price of the speaker deserve. We like how you rotate the entire outer ring to change the volume (you can also play/pause and skip tracks with the central touchpad), although it’s not very natural to do this ergonomically.
The alternative is Devialet’s dedicated app, which offers similar playback features, as well as settings such as ‘AV sync’ to reduce latency if you’re using the Phantom I with your TV via the optical input, and ‘Night Mode’ to suck some up. of the bass from the performance (which it does effectively).
Slightly disappointing, the app doesn’t double as a UPnP streaming controller, so those who want to access local or network files or music services will have to use the paid Roon platform (the Phantom I is Roon Ready) or download another third-party UPnP app , such as BubbleUPnP (Android) and mconnect Player (Android, iOS), both perfectly usable free apps.
We’re also a little disappointed by the app’s imperfect multi-room and stereo pairing experience, which in our testing occasionally proves flaky by not displaying, or doing, the connection, but not launching through the speakers. If you’ve spent several thousand on a multi-room wireless speaker set,up, you might expect seamlessness. Sound
Devialet Phantom I 108db sound
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