Devialet Phantom review
Sound and performance
So how does it sound? First, that depends on where you are in relation to the device. Devialet says the Phantom’s bulbous form is designed to produce room-filling, omni-directional sound, but that just doesn’t seem to work in practice. Those who aren’t directly in front of the Phantom are trapped in a treble blind-spot and receive only frequencies at the lower end, while those standing behind the unit are confronted with a wall of hefty low-end sound.
Get a better position at the front of the unit, though, and its performance improves. At low volumes the Phantom takes a while to get going. Although the highest frequencies are clear, the sound is uninspiring and slightly muddy. Lower-end can be non-existent at times, and the midrange seems to come and go.
Crank the Phantom up to party levels, however, and the Devialet begins to justify its price. This is great for Phantom owners who can enjoy their music in larger spaces or detached houses, but it makes the Devialet less suited to those with near neighbors.
Voices sound balanced and natural at optimal volumes, and the tweeter adds detail that sets the Phantom apart from other Bluetooth speakers. At the same time, the Devialet visibly comes to life.
Electronic tracks such as Sub Focus’ Torus are recreated in violently accurate detail, with the Phantom’s woofers putting on an a great display as they pulse to the music. In other tracks, such as Wilkinson’s Hopelessly Coping, the Phantom produces pristine vocals complete with every intake of breath in crisp detail. And when the track demands more bass, the Phantom delivers. It’s at these points that the omission of stereo sound starts to become forgivable.
Although the Phantom is confident with a variety of genres, it works – and looks – best when playing electronic music. What’s more, even when the Phantom is very loud, it maintains its balance, poise and clarity. Thanks to its extreme efficiency, the Phantom’s chassis doesn’t produce any noise of its own, even when working at high volumes.
Pricing and Verdict
So, is the Phantom worth its money? Of course not. Its asking price of £1,390 is extremely high, and its mono output means owners must pay a laughable £3,000-plus for stereo sound. However, it’s obvious from its looks alone that the Phantom isn’t about value.
Simply put, the Phantom is a masterpiece of engineering and shoe-horns crisp nightclub sound into an elegant package that would look good on any coffee table. The customers who buy the Phantom will be attracted by its drama, sound, good-looks and overall engineering, and it’s hard to blame them. The Phantom isn’t a speaker I’d ever buy, but it is one I’d love to own.