You can have it in any colour, as long as it’s white and silver. The Phantom, Devialet’s hermetically-sealed loudspeaker, is a gorgeous lesson in how design should shape and inform technology.
Based on the principles of HF Olson, who proposed that a spherical shape was the optimal delivery method for one-way audio, the Phantom is a compact speaker which delivers up to 105 decibels of sound with minimal distortion, saturation or background noise. Its twin lateral woofers, which pulse when playing out, deliver what the company describes as ‘ultra-dense’ sound.
In practice, it sounds just as beautiful as it looks. Our demonstration involved a two-, four- and six-speaker set-up, showing how the Phantom can be used in a home environment. Even with a pair of the company’s standard 99dB devices the audio was rich and vibrant; when ramped up to a six-speaker set-up incorporating four Silver Phantom units, the space was filled with a powerful, balanced aural mix with formidable bass delivery. This worked equally well at high or low volumes, although a small amount of subtlety was lost in quieter moments during the tracks played.
That Devialet delivers powerful audio with such a small footprint is mightily impressive; the technology hidden beneath its elegant shell includes 88 patented innovations that allow it to combine analogue and digital amplification, emit extremely low frequency sound and a design that delivers omnidirectional audio with significantly reduced sound diffraction.
Speakers are controlled remotely using the company’s own app, Spark. This can control between one and twenty-four Phantom devices across the home, allowing users to select which speakers are playing in which room. The interface, like the rest of the product’s architecture, feels like a premium product, while switching between speaker configuration is wonderfully simple.
Several major streaming providers are integrated with Spark, including Tidal, Spotify and Deezer, although Apple Music is a notable high-profile absentee as it stands. For home deployment and multi-speaker set-ups, the Devialet Phantom is underpinned by Dialog, an intelligent audio router that controls play-out across the various speakers on a wireless network. Orders come with free shipping, a 45-day trial period and a free subscription to the Tidal music service.
Significantly smaller than most high end loudspeakers and with a brilliantly elegant form, the Devialet Phantom is the kind of audio device that you won’t mind hiding in plain sight.