It has been a long time since 1876 when the first real speaker was invented and when we started to see the beginnings of stand-alone speakers. Many of the ‘name’ manufacturers had their brands. Most at a variety of price points to suit everyone.
There were some very basic speakers and some very good speakers. Some had very bland and minimalist designs. Others tried to get your attention with the way they looked. At all the levels, from budget cost-effective speakers to high-end ones, all offered about the same.
Someone woke up one morning and decided to do what no one else had done. They decided that they were going to be the best. No loud shouting or posturing; they just quietly got on with the job of achieving it. Speakers and sound were about to move to another level. The bar of excellence was about to be raised beyond the reach of the others.
So, what is all the fuss about? Let’s go through our in-depth Devialet Gold Phantom review and find out…
There is an order of things. If you were to ask who makes the best cars, you might rightly say the Germans, followed by the Italians. Who has the best architects? You might answer the Dutch.
If you were asking who makes the finest concert grand pianos, then these days it might be the Japanese. With Yamaha or Kawai right at the front.
What about audio?
It could be the Germans with Beyer or Austria with AKG. Similarly, the UK with Bowers and Wilkins, or a half a dozen companies in Japan.
But there is a country missing from this list. The country where a company produces what most agree is the finest stand-alone wireless speaker in the world. Surprisingly, that country is France.
And the company is Devialet. There’s little disagreement that the French produce the best wine and champagne in the world. They now have another feather in their cap. As you will see, the Devialet Gold Phantom is something else.
In 2015, Devialet introduced the Silver Phantom to the world to universal acclaim. Strikingly good looks and a performance level that shook the world of the wireless speaker to its core. Not to mention the 3000 watts of power.
Now its big brother is here, and any unsettled arguments are effectively moot. There isn’t that much difference in the design and the way it looks. In fact, it looks remarkably the same. But this time, it has a massive 4500 watts of peak power. How? Stay with us, and you will find out.
Substance in style…
It would have been easy to take all this excellence and just put it in a plain and simple box. So, why didn’t they? They are French, and they like a bit of chic and some style.
If you had to explain the design and the shape to someone without them seeing it, how would you do it? Maybe the egg from a large chicken from a science fiction movie. Possibly something from War of the Worlds.
In fact, we aren’t sure it wasn’t designed to look alive. The single eye at one end and curved face-like front end certainly give it a life-like appearance. Not to mention, the ears that pop out, disgorging its bass sound.
Enhance your home decor…
With some speakers, you would be quite content to leave them on a shelf somewhere. With this, you put it where the 50-inch plasma TV should be so everyone can see it.
It is the same size as the Silver at 10.23 by 9.84 inches. The difference between the Silver and Gold is the 22-karat gold plating on the covers on each side. How very French. That, and the extra 1500 watts, of course.
If you go into your local audio shop, there won’t be too many wireless speakers adorned with 22-karat rose gold. The structure is all metal, and with the gold-plated sides, it weighs in at a chunky 25 pounds.
The Devialet Gold Phantom is a 3-way system. If you think the externals look unique, then you won’t be surprised to find out the internals are as well. It has two bass drivers and a mid-range driver, plus a premium grade titanium tweeter.
The bass is delivered by two seven-inch aluminum woofers. The midrange driver has an aluminum dome and sits in front of the tweeter, which, as we said, is titanium. And it has a resolution of 24-bit/192kHz.
A personality all its own…
You might not be sure which way it should be facing until you turn it on. There is an interesting grille for the tweeter and mid-range driver that looks a little like a flower.
It could also be a mouth because as the music starts, the bass woofers mounted on the sides cause the flaps to vibrate. Looking head-on, they could to all intent and purpose be ears.
The bass that forms the main part of any discussion about this speaker and quite rightly so. The sound is quite stunning. We shall discuss this further, so stick around.
Digital processing with an analog sound…
In previous Devialet speakers, the Digital to Analog converter (DAC) was provided by Texas Instruments. This has now been replaced. Devialet has installed its own converter. This is placed within the ADHV2, which is an acronym for Analog Digital Hybrid.
This brings together the best features of Class A and Class D amps. It also reduces the system’s shortcomings to provide a more efficient amplifier.
The frequency range stretches the imagination somewhat. At the low end, it descends to 14Hz, where the bass is felt rather than heard. It rises through the frequencies to reach 27kHz. Not so useful for humans but great for dogs and bats.
Pushing the pressure…
The cabinet is sealed to extreme pressures – 1.2 tons to be precise. Therefore, the sealed woofers function under extreme pressure, which helps to create the superior sound. It also adds its contribution to the frightening 4500 watts of peak power.
If you are looking for gadgets, special gimmicks, or features, you won’t find any. It is quite a simple design and has just one job; play music. But play it loud.
However, if you could see what was going on inside the box, it would make the need for a Bluetooth connection to something quite comical.
What more do you need?
Of course, it has an app. What modern-day speakers don’t? We shall discuss this a bit more later on.
Is it a good build quality? Just a bit.
We are going to be rather biased when we talk about the sound in our Devialet Gold Phantom Review. Why? Because you cannot start to discuss the sound of this enormous speaker without talking about the bass.
We mentioned earlier about how this speaker was able to generate such power. And it isn’t just talk, regarding how loud it is, though loud is an understatement. It is a discussion on how good it is.
Our ‘science fiction egg’ features two woofers, one on each side. The drivers move in and out. As the music plays, they pulsate with the music. It creates the illusion of an elephant flapping its ears when viewed head-on.
This system, which Devialet has called ‘Heart Bass Implosion,’ thunders out to the extent that you can feel it as much as hear it. And we might point out from a relatively small speaker. It is able to do this because of the enormous pressure that is sealed inside the cabinet.
You can drive it and push it hard, waiting for the cabinet to explode. It doesn’t, and you are left giving up and telling the cabinet it has won as you turn it down.
A well-balanced bottom…
The bottom end is intense but not in a way that takes over from everything else. It is big, and it is fat, and even standing yards away, it still manages to smack you in the chest. Furthermore, it peaks at over 4000 watts, but the frequencies remain balanced.
The design of this cabinet, and the technology that makes it work, goes beyond just technology. It is a work of art. We fully expect to see one on display in the Louvre in the not too distant future. So you may have guessed we are impressed with the sound at the bottom end.
What about the rest?
You might think that with the assault coming from below that the mids might struggle to hold their own. Not a bit of it, they more than stand their own ground. The inclusion of a titanium tweeter was a shrewd move. It gives the mids a wider reach and control of transients and generates an all-over crisper sound.
With this edge, the mid-range frequencies stick out and complement the thunderous performance going on below them. Vocals especially benefit and come across as bright and articulate. The mids can only be described as superb. Each little nuance is delivered flawlessly, and the separation is excellent.
Way up at the top end, there is still more excellence. The SPL of this monster is 108dB, handled perfectly by the high-end titanium tweeter. They cannot hope to compete with the bass, but they deliver a sound that is way beyond good and powerful.
The definition of sound…
The bass, so powerful, so accurate, so consuming, provides the foundation. The rest sitting on top, filling the frequencies with enough separation to define them all perfectly. Just like a good band should sound in the studio.
The really amazing thing about these speakers is that if you drive them near to max, there just isn’t any distortion at all. This is something quite stunning given the size of the cabinet and the size of the speakers and the volumes you are achieving. But it also applies at low volumes.
There is also no loss of balance or depth. That bass is still there, and the sound is just excellent. Some speakers lose a lot of their natural acoustics when you don’t push them. Not these. This sound just sparkles with class. A class and style that the others will now have to try and match. Don’t hold your breath.
Is there a catch?
You may be thinking, with all this excellence, there must be a downside. If we are being realistic, then there isn’t. However, the soundstage and sound separation are not as good as a full range multi-speaker system might give you. But that is to be expected from a single speaker, which cannot possibly achieve that.
Not really a realistic complaint, just an observation. We suppose if you wanted to add that huge soundstage, you could always buy two of them.
We haven’t remarked very much on the volume performance of the Gold Phantom. 4500 watt probably does speak for itself. It generates the same sort of dB performance as you would get from an aircraft taking off or at a live rock concert. We think that is probably loud enough for most people.
It is devoid of any controls on the unit except for a speaker reset button on the rear. It might have a complex design and internals, but it is simple to use.
All you need is a smartphone…
Controls are operated using the Spark app via your phone to tablet. Spark is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows. It also has further options to refine how the speaker sounds.
However, you don’t have a lot of control over the sound. But, then again, you don’t need it.
The app will also handle any upgrades. It is made to be easy to operate, and it is. All you have to do is get ready to be impressed.
It can connect to just about everything you will ever need in WiFi, Bluetooth, TV, or radio.
If you are expecting a big pile of quality extras, you will be very disappointed. You do get a mains lead, however.
There are some options if you wish. These include stands for positioning purposes. There is a ‘Treepod,’ which, when attached, makes it look like the aliens from War of Worlds. The ‘Tree’ is basically a vertical stem to raise the height. Likewise, there’s a ‘Gecko’ for wall-mounting. Also, a remote control unit if you so desire.
These are ‘extras.’ You don’t need them for the speaker to operate at a high level. It is, therefore, not necessary to offer things to try and tempt you.
Devialet Gold Phantom Review Pros and Cons
- Incredible sound quality and performance.
- High-quality materials and construction.
- Beautiful, stylish, and unique appearance.
- Compatible with all kinds of devices.
- Simple and intuitive operation via an app.
- Limited color options.
Looking for Something Else?
Want info on non-wireless speakers? Check our reviews of the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Studio Monitor Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500, the Best Powered Speakers, and the Best 7.1 Home Theater System on the market.
If portability and wireless speakers are your thing, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, and the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers you can buy in 2020.
Devialet Gold Phantom Review Final Thoughts
If we told you we didn’t think it was worth the money, would you believe us? Of course not. It is worth every last penny. This speaker is something else.
You can sit and quote mind-blowing technical report numbers on performance until the cows come home. It makes no difference. The sound is just sensational and quite unlike anything you will ever experience from a wireless speaker.
What else is there to say. It looks great with its flash of French chic. It has a high-level build quality and simple operational functionality. And it will flap its ears and give you a visual to its performance as the bass ‘melts your brain.’
Is there something that will give you a better sound than the Devialet Gold Phantom?
Yes, there is. Two of them. Get your checkbook out. Vive La France.
Until next time, may the beat go on.