Devialet’s Phantom Is the Most Futuristic Looking Speaker We’ve Ever Seen
New speaker companies have been differentiating themselves by challenging the traditionally boxy shape of speakers with great success (for example, Beats By Dre’s “Pill” speaker). Recently, the French company Devialet–known for their high-end, rack-mounted amps–did the same with their own speaker, the Phantom.
Shaped like no stereo you’ve ever seen before, the Phantom is sleek and futuristic. It looks like something out of Minority Report or I, Robot, not a boombox in a movie from the 1980’s. The Phantom’s wireless, too, so it can work on your Wi-Fi network or with Bluetooth (it can also plug into your television with an optical audio cable).
Although it appears to be only one speaker, the Phantom has four drivers: one tweeter, a mid-range speaker, and two subwoofers. Inside there are four amps that drive each speaker, and a “hermetically sealed chamber” that drives the power.
Devialet claims the sound has zero distortion, zero saturation and a flat response. It’s also omnidirectional, so no matter where you’re standing it sounds the same. Furthermore, the frequency range on the Phantom is supposedly 16Hz all the way to 25,000Hz, which is practically the entire range of human hearing.
People who have tried the Phantom out say the same thing: it’s super loud. Like, really, really loud. It supposedly doesn’t have much bass, though, which isn’t good if you’re big on EDM. Getting music to play on the Phantom isn’t that simple, either. If you’re connected to it via Wi-Fi, you can only play music that’s stored locally on your phone, and you can’t use streaming services. To use streaming services you need to purchase a $349 Dialog, which is a network bridged designed specifically for the Phantom. Even then, the only streaming services available are Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal. Devialet says that Spotify and other services will come later.
The Phantom is available for pre-order now, and it comes in two different models: a 3,000-watt speaker for $2,390 and a 750-watt one for $1,990. So unless you’re trying to spend upwards of $2,000, this may not be the speaker for you. Also, the Phantom really doesn’t seem to work all that well yet. Being able to incorporate Spotify and having bass are two features I expect any speaker to have.
Until Devialet gets streaming services without the Dialog cost, increases its bass, and maybe lowers the cost of the unit, I’ll probably stick to my rectangular box. I’d rather look like Radio Raheem and hear some bass than go broke and waste my Spotify subscription.