HiFi Review: Devialet Phantom Silver Review. The Future of Serious HiFi is here..

PHANTOM

HiFi Review: Devialet Phantom Silver Stereo Pair Review. The Future of Serious HiFi is here..

By Steve Huff

UPDATE! My Devialet Phantom GOLD Review is HERE. 

(Note: This is a HIFi Audio Product review. I do these every few months as it’s another Hobby of mine and I came to realize years ago that many camera enthusiasts were also fans of HiFi. So if you do not want to read about audio/stereo/HiFi, this post is not for you 😉 )

Never in 100 years would I have imagined that one day my HiFi Hobby that has been with me for almost FOREVER (since I was 13 or so I was bitten by the Audio bug) would lead me to writing a review of a wireless speaker that is shaped like an egg, smaller than most bookshelf speakers… yet has 3000 Watts of power inside each speaker, with a stereo pair coming in at 6000 watts of  total power. I remember back when I was in High School and I was so proud of my cutting edge 100 WPC stereo system. I thought I had the holy grail then, with massive volume and great sound. I listened to that stereo EVERY SINGLE DAY and spent my allowance as a kid on one new record per week.

Man, I bet if I went back in time to those days I would be so disappointed with my system. Compared to what I have to play with these days that old system was muffled, boomy, and had no “air, space, soundstage or magic” to speak of. But man, did it thump out some amazing ZZ Top with a thumpy drive I remember to this day. If you are new to HiFi terminology..words like “air, space and soundstage” refer to the “magical elements” that gives us HiFi buffs a sound from our music that is not possible with single speakers, a car audio system, Sonos system, etc. Once you experience these things, it is tough to not get hooked on “THAT sound”. If you are picky that is.

As I get older, my musical tastes have evolved, as has my tastes in HiFi. When younger I wanted huge speakers, huge power and a stereo to look serious. Today I want refinement, great imaging, a nice wide soundstage and enough power to get my feet tapping but at the same time, Bass performance that is tight, taught and powerful..reaching down to the depths when needed, but without any boom. I also want great off axis listening so I do not HAVE to sit in the “sweet spot” where a stereo was set up to perform its very vest. THAT my friends is tough to get unless you start to get up into the $15, $20 and even $50k systems..and remember, I am talking TWO CHANNEL audio here, old-fashioned stereo. I have listened to systems from one hundred dollars to one million dollars (crazy huh?). While I would never even entertain spending a million on a stereo (even if I had 100 million in the bank which will never ever be a reality) it was interesting to listen to. Remember, diminishing returns is very real in HiFi. The more you spend you get very little back. Usually.

If some of you are not aware, I have been into HIFi for many years (and I started reviewing some pieces a short time ago HERE), and I have been building a system for 20 years or more, upgrading every now and then as many HiFi dealers allow you to upgrade every year by giving you full credit for what you paid toward a new, better piece. That allowed me to spend years upgrading my system until I assembled what I thought was the best for my room, which is my office in my home that is part-time office, part-time dedicated listening room.

After listening almost daily for the last year to my mega system, we decided we were going to move, to a smaller house, quite a ways from my current home. My system would never ever fit in the new home as it consisted of huge Focal speakers, McIntosh separates and a 40lb Turntable. So I decided to look for a smaller, but still amazing quality system I could live with. I tested out the beautiful and small Naim Muso, which is a soundbar looking device that is one of the best wireless speakers you can buy for $1500, truly. It was and is amazing for its size, cost and what it does. But it did not give me the stereo effect..it was more like a mono speaker and could not fill my room or energize my room for anything but loud background listening. No imaging, no air, no soundstage width or depth. BUT MAN it sounded so good and the bass performance was off the charts (until I heard the Silver Phantoms) For me, that could not cut it as for my whole life I have had a legit, 2 channel stereo and I love music. So while the Naim Muso was an amazing solution for most, I wanted even more.

See the Silvers in my room playing Vinyl on a Marantz TT15S1 – Late night low level listening sounds amazingly gorgeous…

Seeing that I am a huge fan of what Devialet is doing (and I am a past Devialet 200 owner) and I remembered the big hoopla when they announced the PHANTOM, which promised to be comparable to $50k systems in a wireless all in one speaker that comes in at $1800-$2900 each depending on the model you go with (normal, silver or gold). You can take 700 watts per speaker, or 3000 or even 4500 in the gold edition. A pair of middle of the road silvers and the $350 piece you will need to wirelessly connect them, the Dialog, will set you back around $5100 + when it is all said and done. That’s $5k for 6000 watts of refined stereo power, and the most technologically advanced speaker system I have ever had the pleasure to use, test and now own. Part digital (for the power and overall grunt) and part Analog amplification (for the sound quality). Amazing.

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THE PHANTOM WILL BE THE FUTURE OF HIFI…

What I mean by that is that these speakers are so freaking crazy amazing for what they are, I can see others trying to copy and even expand on this kind of tech to the point that I think these have laid the groundwork for future HIFi developments. I’ve had these two silver beasts set up in my listening room now and have been listening, and sitting here in shock by what I hear in this room. While not the best I have ever heard, it boggles my brain to think these two small, relatively inexpensive (for what you get and compared to other big $$ audiophile products) speakers are delivering this sound in my room. It may not equal a $50k system but I will say right now that what I am hearing from this properly positioned (and on stands) pair of Silver Phantoms is up there with my old best system that consisted of $25k speakers from Sonus Faber (that took me 10 years to build and upgrade to). It may even best it in some ways, and while it can not match the Sonus Faber’s organic flow and warmth or magical midrange, it beats them with bass PERFORMANCE and clarity and imaging. Just wow. $5k speakers actually meeting and in some cases exceeding a $25k pair of speakers (that still will need a $$ amp) is beyond WOW.

After having these two Silver Phantoms in my room for a while I am gobsmacked. If only I have tried these a year ago. There are so so so many positives to these over a big bulky system of separates. At the same time, there are things one may miss from a big separates system as these are not miracle machines, though they are close. Very close.

Let me explain…

Each Phantom can be used alone, or in a stereo pair or you can add up to 24 of them throughout your house. One in each room, easily controlled via app for whatever music you need, want..in any room you need or want. They are hefty and around 30+ pounds each, and built to what appears to be a crazy high standard. These are not cheap best buy boxes…these are devices that were millions of dollars ($30 mil) and many years in the making (10). You can move these anywhere in your house, easily. Since they are wireless (just a power cord from each one), and need NO amp, NO dac, NO real physical source…just plop them where you want powerful sound. So versatility is amazing here, and the volume you can get from just ONE silver Phantom is insane. NO one would EVER need more volume.

Bluetooth, WiFi, Optical connections can be made, and you can use an airport express hooked to the optical for Airplay functionality. I use my Sonos streamer into the Optical where I then use Tidal, Deezer and stream my local files.

105 Decibels. That’s almost illegal in some countries. That’s what the silver puts out. Alone. In a pair it jumps to 108 Decibels. Watch your windows…

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Listening to one Phantom reminded me much of the Naim Muso but with a bigger and more impactful sound. When I added in the 2nd Silver Phantom…I mean, WHAT A JUMP in sound quality. It went from a directional mono big beefy sound to a magical performance by the artist right in front of me. Imaging to die for, some of the best imaging I have experienced in my life. Power you feel (when you want to) and low volume night listening is just as good as loud as the bass is still there in low volumes and I have never ever had low level listening sound THIS good and rich. The bass performance of these guys are astonishing, and a part of what makes these desirable.

In my small 12 X 12 room, the bass CAN get overpowering when too loud with some music (electronic mostly) at louder volumes but if that happens I just touch the night mode (in the spark app) which takes off the lowest bass registers. Meant for night listening (as to not wake your house) it also helps cut the bass when it gets too energized 😉

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So let’s see what positives I have so far before I start to talk about the negatives…

They are small but hefty and very well made. Just as well made as any $20k speaker I have seen.

They are POWERFUL, up to 4500 DIGITAL watts each speaker. You will never want for more volume unless you are half deaf already. 

Amps are BUILT in and are part digital and analog. Digital for the power and analog for the sound quality. Brilliant.

Built in DAC’s deliver rich beautiful and yes, AUDIOPHILE quality when set up on stands as a stereo pair.

At the price of $1990-$2990 each (depending on power level) this is one of the best buys in HIGH END HiFi. At the price, I know of NOTHING that can even touch these for what they offer. So they are pricey if you are thinking of them as a wireless boom box, but when you look at them for what they are, a serious modern day audiophile solution…then they become a steal at the price point. You will not need a pre amp, amp, dac, cables, or CD player here…so you are saving a ton while getting amazing sound. Some spend more on speaker cables than a pair of these will cost you!

Easy to place in your room. No expensive cables to buy. Access to almost ANY music via Tidal, Spotify, Deezer or whatever music service you prefer. All from your smart device like your phone, ipad, etc.

Amazing imaging, some of the best I have ever heard for this. Instruments and voices are right where they should be.

The bass is crazy powerful and goes to a crazy low 16hz with the standard and Silver and 14hz with the Gold! Yep, so low we will not hear it but we will damn sure feel it at the right volume in the right room, and I have indeed. 

SO FAR SO GOOD RIGHT? Well, there are some negatives that almost had me give up in frustration and send them back the same day they arrived.

When these two arrived to me via UPS they arrived with the DIALOG which is needed  to connect more than one Phantom together, for stereo purposes. It’s basically a WiFi hub that has an optical, USB and Ethernet connection.

I also received the remote which is a thing of beauty and I also wanted to connect a turntable, digitally to see how good these would sound with an Analog converted to Digital turntable using Optical out.

SO I was all set. My office was cleared out of the big guns to make room for the small but deadly Silver Phantoms.

I set them up according to instructions, using the SPARK app. When they were powered on, they produced a musical hum and the “ears” which are the bass drivers started pulsating. I touched the top of each one and they came back with a click and bass driver “pump” to let me know they were found.

The app said they needed to be updated, so I started the update. Devialet always updates their products and improves them for the life of your product. This is awesome as one day you can wake up and have improved Phantoms and sound quality. BUT all was not good as I spent 3 hours trying to update them, only to have the Update download continually error out.

After spending an hour searching online about others with the same issues, I read I had to update one at a time, while plugged into Ethernet on my router. So another hour goes by and they update. Then when I sit down to test them for the 1st time, I only get sound out of  the left Phantom. Time to reset and start over.

I was frustrated beyond belief. Hours later I am sitting here wasting my day trying to get these things to work, and they are having a hard time with it.

After the reset BINGO, they updated and started working.

I pulled open the spark app, pulled up TIDAL (of which I am a member) and played some of my playlists…NO SOUND. Pulled up DEEZER using the Spark app. It showed music was playing but no sound at all. UGGGG.

I then pulled up internet radio using SPARK and sound! But it sounded weak and trebly to me. Much smaller sound  than my Focal Sopra #2’s.

Hmmmm. Maybe these were all hype..those were my thoughts.

But since I spent 6 hours working on this, I was not about to give up. I plugged my Sonos Connect base station into the DIALOG via Optical and used the SONOS app to play my Tidal and Deezer music. It worked, and it worked SO WELL. I mean…wow.

So while I still to this day can NOT get these streaming services to produce any audio through my Phantom system using the official Devialet Spark app, I can indeed listen using my Sonos Connect and app. So I am happy as the sound is simply amazing…powerful…impactful..and has many tastes of super high end audio while giving us a taste of the future, of what is to come in the next few years. Technology is getting insane and these are some of the most technologically advanced *ANYTHING* I have come across in life.

So at the end of the day, those 6-7 hours of setting these up was well worth the effort and I am so glad I did not pack them back up to ship them back. These are simply amazing on the next level. No hype, no BS. 

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SO TELL ME ABOUT THE SOUND STEVE? 

So after all was settled I left them in the room and played them all night and beyond. As I sat in my listening chair, the same spot I have auditioned super high end pieces from, I was just amazed at what I was hearing. It was as if my brain did not want to accept that these little guys were putting out HUGE HUGE rich powerful sound even at lower to mid volumes. Again, power or volume will NEVER leave you wanting, but we all know if a speaker has all bass and power it usually fails on delicate, intimate listening tests. Most bass heavy speakers muddle up the mis bass as well, making the speaker sound muffled and closed off. It’s a balancing act, and one the Focal Sopra #2’s do so well. But believe it or not, these do it better.

But can the Phantoms match the sound of my Sopra #2’s that come in around $14k? Well, YES, and also NO. Will they match my old $25k Sonus Fabers? Yes and NO. Will they match my old Wilson Beneche speakers? YES with ease.

It’s tricky.

While these Phantoms deliver earth shattering impact and power, they are also VERY good at low level listening, with vocals and instruments. I always look for an emotional experience with speakers and audio gear. If I can get that, I know I have something I can live with. By that I mean if I can get pulled into the performance, if I can feel like the artist is in the room with me, or if I feel a huge rock band is playing 10 feet in front of me or if I listen to a great classical performance and it gives me goosebumps….a connection to the music. This is not easy, and for me I have achieved this only a few times in life with my Audio hobby.

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One of the best was my Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution mated with a Line Magnetic tube amp. That system delivered so much magic for vocals and jazz and blues and acoustic instruments (try the album Fingers and Thumbs from Adrien Legg) but they also lacked a bit with high energy music like metal and rock as the bass, while plentiful, did not have “impact” anything like the Phantoms. Not even close. They also did not have the clarity or imaging performance of the Silver Phantoms. The Guarneris though, did sound bigger and looked more beautiful.

So as I sit with these Silver beauties, no matter what I put on…Jazz, Vocal, Bluegrass, Rock, Metal, 70’s music or Electronic/Ambient I am blown away by what I am hearing in regards to the size of these guys, and even if they were MUCH larger I would be shocked for what we get for the money. I know I said this already but it can not be understated. If you own ONE Phantom you seriously owe it to yourself to save for two. It takes up the experience 100X. One phantom is “good” for a boombox experience but add two, set them up right and you will be blown away. These need to be taken VERY seriously in the Audiophile world as it will only get better as time goes on.

With one Phantom I preferred the $1500 Naim Muso. With two, I am preferring the pair to some of my best systems I have owned in most ways, but not all.

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POWERFUL, BIG, DETAILED but NEVER ANALYTICAL. THESE ROCK.

So did the Silver Phantoms pass my “emotional” test…well, I did not think they would but THEY DID. I mean, they are NOT PERFECT but they do lack in a few areas from my other systems I have owned but I would say that these beat out most $10k speakers, and a few $20k speakers and maybe even fewer $30k speakers. Let’s dig in a bit…

SOUNDSTAGE – The soundstage width of the Silver Phantoms could be a little better. They get nowhere close to my Sonus Faber Guarneri’s but do match and surpass the Focal Sopra #2 in this regard. Instead of the sound expanding to the side walls, with imaging placed in that sound stage, I am getting a narrower stage..but..BUT…I am getting superior imaging from these over any speaker I have owned or tested. Up to $30k. THAT IS NUTS.

THE IMAGING IS INCREDIBLE –  Instruments are placed right where they should be with no exaggerations or artificial space added by cables or cords. To some this will be bad, for others it will be preferred. With all of this said, there is a soundstage with the Phantoms, but not to the level of $20-50K speakers. They are close. Excellent but not the Holy Grail for those who crave a huge enveloping stage.

AIR – When listening to Enya I do get the huge sense of space and air as the vocals float in front of the speakers in the middle and the sound, the music behind the vocals is rich, full and NEVER weak. Even at low volumes of 20-30 at night. This is quite the feat as some speakers and amps can do vocals magically perfect but the music usually is obscured in the background on some tracks with light bass and weight. These Phantoms deliver it as one solid coherent package. It’s an amazing thing to hear, and SEE when you are looking at these robot egg looking  things and making your brain try to accept what is happening.

TREBLE and MIDS: If there is one weakness of the Silver Phantom, and only to VERY picky Audiophiles it would be the treble. To me, the vocals of say Enya, or Flo Morrissey (try “I only like his hat not him” for hauntingly gorgeous vocals on ANY system) sound fantastic and intimate but if I had to be picky I would say the treble could be more refined to add some magic in. Supposedly the GOLD Phantom coming in at around $3k each has changed up the sound signature a tad, and improved upon it with a titanium tweeter. I have not heard the gold but at $1400 more for a pair over Silver, not sure it would be worth it as the Silvers are 95% there. That last 5% will cost you. In comparison to my Focal Sopra #2, the treble on the Phantoms is not as refined or smooth. The mids are 95% as good. But overall, the sound of the Silver’s are just flat out amazing (again, in the right room, as a pair and set up correctly).

BASS – Everything you have heard about the amazing bass performance of the Phantoms is true. It exceeds what most think could be possible. These deliver more solid bass  than any speaker I have owned, ever. The sheer amount of bass depth (that you can feel) is amazing. 16hz. Unreal. Low volume listening is never thin, or lacking. It’s also never muffled in any way. There is never ANY distortion, never any muddled mix at higher volumes and never a sense of strain, at all, ever. But in my small room (12X12) the bass can be a tad much with SOME electronic music when jammed. If I tweaked the placement more I probably could improve on that. With the Phantom we get the  bass we crave without it harming the mids and treble or muddying up the sound. It’s quite the feat.

Also, we just can’t blow these guys as there is protection from SAM enabled, Devialets amazing way of making these sound and perform so well.

The bass of the 6L sized silver goes down to 16Hz. This full size 120L speaker goes down to 30hz. Wow. THIS IS THE FUTURE MY FRIENDS!

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USING THE PHANTOMS WITH A TURNTABLE?

YES, you can use ANY turntable with the Phantoms, and yes, it’s worth it if you love your vinyl. I purposely hooked up a $289 Audio Technica LP 120 with an AT100 cartridge using an Analog to Digital adapter that cost me $11. This allowed me to plug the TT into the Phantom’s dialog box using an Optical digital cable that cost me $8 on Amazon.

So for $300 or so I had a complete low budget TT setup. How would it sound?

To my disappointment it sounded about 85% as good as my $6k turntable. I mean, here I was with a high megabuck TT and this low budget solution was sounding almost as good…not as clean, not as detailed but rich, full, fluid and had me tapping my feet. Wow. It worked well. I then added a $249 phono stage and that improved the detail and sound dramatically. So $460 for a TT that now sounds about 80-90% of my megabuck setup, in my room. Crazy. There goes those diminishing returns again!

This is the best most well made TT I have seen under $900 and while it may not be the be all end all, the AT 120 is a STEAL. A STEAL. Let me repeat that…A STEAL. You can not lose if you want your 1st or 2nd TT or like me, considering dialing back your TT costs. With the Silver’s the TT sounded gorgeous. Just as Vinyl should sound. Left me wanting for nothing really though 80% of my listening is through Tidal, Deezer, etc.

I will admit I also put in a Marantz TT15S1 with a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and it took me PAST my old $6k Turntable. BAM. It sounded 20% better than my old rig, while coming in at $1300 with cartridge, set up and new. (I have a great local dealer, $1500 at Amazon).

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To see what I bought for my TT solution with the Phantoms, see the links to Amazon below (I bought my 120 TT locally for $239 though)

Audio Technica 120 TT

Cambridge Audio Phono Stage

Analog to Digital Converter

Optical Cable from Converter to Phantom Dialog

Added later: Marantz TT15S1 and it is just a perfect match to the Phantoms. I now get that wide enveloping soundstage, with VINYL!

Added: Audioquest VODKA Optical Cable from A to D converter into Phantom. Also one from Sonos to the Dialog Hub.

So as I have it now, the Phantoms are set up in my dedicated listening space using a Sonos CONNECT to stream Deezer, Tidal, Radio and my own music. I then have the turntable setup above for my Vinyl fix every now and again. That’s it. No uber expensive cables to buy, no external components to add, and so far the only frustration and disappointment I had with these was all with the initial setup, which some go through in five minutes.

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BOTTOM LINE ON THE DEVIALET SILVER PHANTOM

What can I say? I was shocked at the performance of these Silver Phantoms only due to their size. I NEVER thought they could fill my room with music in such a powerful and intriguing way yet they did. They not only fill my small room but out in my living room which is much larger than my listening room they do just as well and fill the room without effort.

While I am missing that huge wide deep soundstage of my megabuck system, this system was 1/5th the cost and gets 95% of the way there (Update: With the new TT15 and Virtuoso Cart the soundstage is much improved).

That tells you about “diminishing returns” right there.

These speakers are doing so much right that I can only imagine what the next few years will bring for HiFi. If Devialet can get the setup process as smooth as silk (its not there yet), if they can refine and improve the treble (they may have already in the Gold), and if they can get their Spark app fully functional (I still get no sound from my Tidal or Deezer using their Spark app) then this will be the end game for many and I mean MANY. I used that term before with HiFi but that was before this technology and these Phantoms.

Some will use them solo as a general wireless speaker. Some will use them as computer speakers and some will use them as I am here, as a fully setup 2 channel audiophile solution. As a two channel system they are unrivaled for the money and even if you spend quite a bit more you may not get better sound.

NO they may not have the total refinement of a $50k system but did anyone think they would? Me, I would take these over systems costing up to $20k, all for $5-6K. They are versatile and can be moved easily to any room in your house. They are amazing in sound and performance and the looks…well, some will love them and some may be cold on them.

Me, I feel the treble and midrange needs some work to be truly “magical” and to please most Audiophiles, but again, this may have happened with the new GOLD Phantom that is rolling out now at $2900 or so for each Phantom. After extended listening I find the treble to be somewhat soft, and these lean to the warm side of neutral in my room due to the tweeter and the bass which is not lacking at all.

I’d love to test the Gold’s because if the tweeter is improved, and the bass has been tweaked to be less powerful (sometimes it can be too much of a good thing) I feel Devialet will have literally struck gold.

THEY DO look like an Apple product from packaging to presentation. The remote (that you must buy separate) is so worth the cost. It’s a thing of beauty with a large weighted dial. To activate it you just hover it over the Phantom. Pairs instantly.

Other than that I would love to see these in a gloss black with rose gold highlights 😉 I see a gloss black Phantom with rose gold tweeter cover while the sides that are now white, silver or rose gold being black, maybe matte black. That rose gold tweeter cover would make them pop and they would look pretty classy IMO. Who knows, maybe Devialet will offer a color choice in years to come.

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If you are coming from wireless bluetooth speakers, these will blow your mind. If you are coming from a Sonos speaker system, you will be in disbelief when you hear these. If you are coming from an Audiophile background you will think they need a tad bit of refinement in the treble but when set up carefully and correctly on stands you will appreciate them very much.  Not sure how anyone could NOT be impressed with a stereo pair of these.

I feel these Phantoms are truly giving us a sneak peek into the future of HIFi. There is NO wireless speaker better than a pair of these. There are very few high end speakers from 15-$20k that would be worth the expense over these. If you can deal with wireless audio and a digital turntable solution, take along hard look at these Phantoms, as they are unbeatable for the money. Just put them on a good stand if you want to get the best from them. Devialet offer the TREE here. 

To those picky audiophiles who say these can not be up to par with higher end separates and systems that cost a bit more than the set of Silvers, I say “You have not heard a pair of these set up correctly, in a good room”. These are just as much audiophile as any serious system I have owned and while they are not as refined or transparent as a $40-$50k system, what they do offer makes up for that last 10% of performance (size, no cables needed, sound quality, bass performance, wireless, imaging, cost) in a much smaller, much less expensive package. The Silver Phantoms are amazing and a peek into the future of HiFi and these are what I chose for my new home listening room, and I am thrilled with my choice.

If you do not need the crazy volume and slam of the 3000 WPC Silvers, you can save some cash by going with the standard Phantom.  Me, I am excited to test out the GOLD’s if I can get a pair 😉

See more details and specs on all of the Phantom line at Devialet. 

Order the Phantoms, standard or Silver, at Amazon (they ship from Amazon using prime). 

Order the Dialog (needed for more than one phantom)

Order the Remote

SEE MY GOLD PHANTOM REVIEW HERE

TIP: TO HEAR SOME SERIOUS BASS WITH THESE TRY:

“BARCELONA” FROM HENRY GREEN. 

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66 thoughts on “HiFi Review: Devialet Phantom Silver Review. The Future of Serious HiFi is here..

  1. Hi Steve, thank you for the post, it’s really useful.

    Although I’m not an audio expert, growing up with a dad, who is a sucker for great sound, I’ve read your other post with all the set up and this is exactly what I’m trying to do with my Phantom Gold speakers and dialog and the AT-120LP.

    I tried analog -> digital output with the toslink with just the vinyl, I couldn’t get a good sound out of it, only one Phantom makes some sound, I have a feeling that I need a better toslink cable. I don’t have a huge budget for the setup that you have, so I am considering getting the Sonos connect with amp and a better toslink cable (may be not as expensive as the one you have). Since I already have my TV connected to the dialog, would you be able to recommend a solution for the TV and the turntable with digital output? I tried using a splitter, but it’s absolutely useless. I would be very grateful if you can recommend a solution for a simpler set up with the TV and turntable.

    Much appreciated!!

    1. For the turntable to sound its best here you will need a dedicated photo stage, do you have one? I use a Vincent tube unit. So turntable to phono stage, phono stage to my Sonos analog in, and the digital out of my Sonos to the Phantom where I use an Audioquest Diamond cable. That is how I run my TT setup. It sounds beautiful.

      1. I don’t have a phono stage yet, I am looking into that. I have to consider the set up with the TV as well, so I am wondering if there is a receiver with good phono stage built in would work? If not the same phono stage that you have, is there another one that you would recommend? Thank you!!

          1. Thank you! I ended up got the Cambridge phono stage. What’s your configuration on the Spark and on the Sonos app? I don’t seem to get any sound. My turn table is set on Phono, plugged onto the Phono stage, and to the Sonos Connect, with Toslink to the Dialog. I tried before with the Denon Heos 2 instead of the Sonos Connect, I got sound from one Speaker, but the other one is very fuzzy with a lot of noise. I tried with the Toslink to one Phantom speaker, same thing. So I got rid of the Heos and got the Sonos Connect, exact same set up as yours, just can’t seem to get any sound. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. Even if the cable isn’t as expensive as yours, I should at least get some sound out of it, but I got nothing. Y_Y

          2. You may have to set up that output using the Sonos app. It’s been so long since I set it up, I do not remember exactly but I do know. had no issues at all. Your TT should not have a switch, but if it does you do NOT want to use the built in photo stage of the TT, so turn that off. Then the RCA’s go to your phono stage input, then RCA output to the Sonos. Then optical out from the Sonos to the Dialog. Also found this online: “For the optical cable, you will need to activate it within Spark. Spark also have a specific feature named “Autoswitch” which will automatically be played once a signal is push through this cable to your Phantom or Dialog”

  2. Great review, Steve, but I do have a concern. You’re saying that switching out digital cables has an effect, but that makes no sense. None. We’re talking ones and zeroes here, right? Swapping out digital cables should make no difference, and this has been proven repeatedly in A\B testing, very famously so.

    I can understand how the different inputs (wifi vs toslink) might have some variation due to the physical electronics in the speaker, but for this kind of money, that is completely unacceptable.

    It seems that you’re muddling up the digital and analog domains, and that jeopardizes my confidence in your opinion and reviews.

  3. Hey Steve,

    Have u had the chance to audition the Phantom Gold yet ?

    I have a pair and I’m considering if I should sell them for the Sonus Faber Olympica I.

    Pls advise! I’m stuck in the “upgradtitis” stage!

    Thanks !

    1. No have not had the chance to try them. The Olympic I’s are decent, I tested them for a week or so when they came out. They will give a darker sound, and less bass than the Phantoms. The treble is pretty detailed on the Olympica and they are gorgeous to look at, but keep in mind I owned the Guarneri Evolutions and am now happy as can be with the Silver Phantom pair. While the Phantoms are obviously not as good or course, they are 80% there for 1/7th the cost as you do not need speaker cables, amps, days, etc. If you go for Olympica make sure to get good speaker cable, pre amp, amp, dac, etc.

    1. Oh it is so, and I am 100% happy with that choice. Again, don’t knock them until you heard them properly set up, as a pair, with the right stands, and again, set up. They deliver a truly amazing experience. So yea it is 100% so 😉 They may not look as pretty but they are spectacular (again, as a pair, set up correctly, with a VERY good optical cable)

  4. One of the worse sounds I have ever heard came from a pair of these. You should try your Line Magnetic amp with a pair of DeVore 093s or 096s then you will understand what real music sounds like. Because it certainly doesn’t sound real coming from these things…

    P.S. The amp is not digital. You still need conventional power transistors to drive the speakers. It combines Class A (a few watts) and the rest is class D so the majority of the sound is switched or pulsed to the speaker by an analogue amplifier.

    1. I have tried Devore, I have tried so many systems, amps, speakers, SET amps, the gear, high power SS. If you heard these in my room you would see why I will never sell these (unless i go for the gold). They are AMAZING when set up correctly. Most will not do this. You need a pair, you need the correct stands (some put them on shelves, which will make them sound awful). You need good optical cables (YES there is a difference 100%) and you need the right source. I’ve listened to systems from $1k to a million and these are absolutely jaw dropping for what they cost, and they are giving me much better sound than some $30k systems I used to own. But if you do not set them up right, like any speaker they will sound like trash. It took quite a while to dial them in, but now I could not be without them.

  5. I auditioned the Gold Phantom today and it really is quite a leap on from the Silver. It has added extra sparkle and verve to vocals, the bass is the same as before but definitely, the extra clarity on the mids, adds to the whole Phantom experience and is to be welcomed.

    Although it might seem exaggerated, a Gold mono really is actually, literally, more pleasing to my ears than a stereo Silver setup.

    As a wireless setup, i rate the Gold Phantoms at the very pinnacle of what is currently available. I imagine when more clients aspire to own them, the Devialet team will make the bodyshells available in a variety of colours.

    1. So now I went and bought the Gold….. and already it looks like I will have to get a second one fairly soon….. so I guess I will have to wait until 2017 before I get my new Leica M….

  6. Steve
    Following yours an other reviews I made the mistake of going to Oxford Audio yesterday so only have you to blame. My Quad 66 system and Ae1’s have done me well for 25 years but the pre-amp just died and has been shipped back to quad to be fixed, but it will all be sold shortly, its time to move on – modern digital system, simple, less boxes and wiring. I have just spent the day listing my hundreds of cassette tapes and vinyl.

    In short, I took the AE1’s and put them through the new devialet 130- It really made them sing, but next to the phantoms they sounded ‘boxed in. The Phantoms were astonishing, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Tracks had so much more soundstage and detail it was like listening them for the first time. It took two minutes to hook me, an hour and a half listening to favourites and I was lost. I spent half an hour after leaving the shop wandering around but there was no choice, they had been extraordinary, they exceeded everything I had read. I did also pick up a project turntable that is devialet badged with internal phono to digital stage so My Vinyl will stay.

    My old system is now in boxes, tapes listed and ready for the bin and Phantom Silvers sitting boxed in the corner awaiting the dialog to be sent…… Thanks Steve – May be no Turkey for xmas, but the music will compensate 😉

  7. Thanks for the review Steve. I have a pair of the 750w and I am very impressed. Do you think the Dialogue will go six channels if I decide to use 6 of the speakers for my home theater? That will be a blast with the good bass from each speaker.

    Manny

  8. Hi Steve,
    Great review!
    Have you had a chance to hear the Golds yet?
    Wondering if they may make up for and deficiencies the Silvers have.
    Keep up the great work!
    Bill

    1. Not yet but maybe soon. Im still listening to the Silvers EVERY day and they are amazing. I changed out one optical cable (the only cable) and wow, what a difference. Now I have a soundstage and presence I only have had with $20k speakers. I can only imagine what the Golds would sound like in this setup/room. I’m still in disbelief at what these can do. I, in no way at all miss my old systems. In fact, I prefer this to them in all ways now. These are truly game changers in the world of HiFi.

      1. Thanks Steve!
        Pretty sure I’m going to replace my D200 and speakers with a pair of Golds and a Dialogue.
        What optical cable did you change to? I’m looking at Audioquest and Wireworld right now. Interesting that you got this big jump – cables matter! I’m also looking at hooking up my Rega Planar 3 2016 turntable when I get the Golds.
        Are you using the Spark App or still using the Sonos to stream?

        1. I have tried Audioquest Forest, Vodka and Diamond. I was surprised to see a pretty big change from each. The Forest was shrinking the soundstage and details ,the Vodka brought out details and helped the soundstage a tad but the Diamonds are the best of all worlds. Less hard than the Vodka, and MUCH MUCH more spacious sounding with low level details now audible that were not heard before. Soundstage width and height grew dramatically. I hated it but the Diamond won, easily. I am using Sonos as the Spark app does not work for me, at all. No sound when I pull up Tidal, but with the Sonos I have Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and can use my Turntable which sounds beautiful.

      2. Hi,

        Which optic cable have you changed? Whoever goes from Devialet Dialog to Sonos? How have you optimized your power supply, any suggestions? A few more cables you should replace? Thanks for the help!

        Andreas

        1. Audioquest Diamond. I tried Forest, Vodka, and Diamond. All three, somehow, someway, had pretty big differences. Forest was good but Vodka was better and Diamond just opened it all up and made the soundstage grow HUGE. I switched back to Forest from Diamond and it was a substantial improvement. I bought the set of Diamonds from Amazon thinking I would return if it did not make a difference, but it did, and I kept it. Many say these make no difference but they do, and in order to really appreciate it one must have these speakers (or any) set up correctly, on stands, etc.

  9. I’m going to purchase a set of Phantom Golds after seeing ur review ! I hope that it’ll sound better than the Silvers. Otherwise I’ll be very disappointed ! I heard from somewhere that the golds could be refurbished “whites” as they have the same plastic driver and chrome side plates I am hoping it’s not a marketing strategy to clear off their old 700w ones.

    1. Lol, the golds have an upgraded midrange, an upgraded tweeter, new DAC, and a few other new improvements including 4500 watts each. The Gold are NOT the standards, but the silver are the standard with more power. Enjoy.

      1. You’re my favourite reviewer from cameras all the way to Hifi. Please keep up the excellent work and I’ll be waiting for your review on the Phantom Gold.

          1. I just bought a pair of gold phantoms. Although I find the music to be much fuller than my DynAudio Dm2/7 and Naim Nait 5i, i also feel that the soundstage is not as wide and the imaging is very centralized. Do u toe in your phantoms ?

          2. I say so in the review ‘) Tidal does not work using spark for me, neither does deezer. I can log in, yet no sound, and play button freezes. Connect works for me very well as it allows me to play any streaming service I want, I can use the SONO app which is far superior to spark and I can also hook up my Analog and have it convert to digital and it sounds beautiful. For me, the Spark app is atrocious.

    1. Drivers are the same, so all you get is 3000 Watts with the Silver, and the matte silver grille and silver colored woofers. The standards give you 750 Watts and an all white style with a shiny solver grille (sides). BUT there is more to watts than loudness. The more watts, in this kind of scenario, can add to more control and impact so it does change the sound, even at low volumes. From what I understand, these do better at low volumes but the next step up, the gold at 4500 watts each does even better than these. IMO, Standard and Silver are close, but Gold should be a jump with the new drivers. First reports are a more forward midrange and more defined treble with the Gold. So I feel the Silver could be the sweet spot in the line.

    1. Well, that’s a whole other thing! The 200 is fantastic. BUT it will depend on the speakers you use with it. It can either be good, great or wow. I do know that one would have to spend MUCH MORE on a 200 system with speakers and cables than one would on the Phantom Gold even, let alone silver. For $5100 what we get is a full on music system. Add stands (nice heavy stable ones recommended) and you have a setup that when set up correctly (not hard at all to do) will meet or even possibly beat the 200 and speakers up to $10k easily, I feel. So add up the 200 and cables and $10k speakers and you are looking at 4-5 times the cost of these Silvers. While you may gain a bit of the audiophile things with the 200 and speakers like (more dimensional sound, more holographic sound and more “air”) those gains will be small in comparison to the money spent, and you will still not have the bass performance of the Phantoms for low level listening or louder listening. It takes a HUGE expensive speaker to deliver bass like these do and can.

      So one has to decide if they want that last 5%-10% and to pay $10-$15k MORE for it, or if they can live with these, and me, I could easily live with these as I just can not believe what I have gotten for the money. I am used to overpriced and underperforming in HiFi. NOT this, which is paying less for OVER performance!

      Best bet for anyone interested is to take advantage of the Devialet 45 day trial, or even Amazon prime as they offer a full money back policy as well, for 30 days.

  10. Ok…not to be too superficial but am I the only one who rather dislikes the white finish on these?? I wish that at the very least they offered the same speakers in a piano black. Unless you live in an ultra modern home the white really will look a little odd in my opinion.

    Heck, it would be easy for Devialet to offer the exact same speakers in a variety of colours: blue, red, black, white etc. Just a thought…

  11. Heard them at 4 different dealers, only the last one would admit what I think is the truth here; nice to have in your kitchen if you are rich, but they do not offer natural sould. Try ProAc for true high end, IMO.

      1. true – a good dealer (of trust) will never let his customers down. When I bought my Adam Column MK 3 the dealer convinced me to hear (for free for almost one year) the active version and in parallel (in case I wanted) the passive version without built in amps.
        This is how you convince people to buy into your system to at your shop.

        One thing is for sure – a well tuned active concept should always win but it has less things to play with – something Audiophiles will definitely dislike – but I was so amazed by am Adam speakers that I bought now 5 of them replacing my previous setup.

        Interesting read here and something I will definitely listen to at the next HighEnd fare in Munich next May (in case they are there) – but I will also take a very close look at the Kii Three which has a more compelling technical explanation for me.

        Currently I could not be happier than with my Column MK III in active configuration but there is always room for improvement.

        The Dr. Heil tweeters are IMHO unmatched by any other system I’ve ever heard – and I heard also systems the would exceed many life times luxury spendings ,-)

  12. Hi Steve, great review and very informative on these silvers that I’ve been curious about since first reading about them a year ago.
    How do we get you to test drive a DAC that decodes High Definition Audio files?
    The heck with streaming and vinyl, a DSD recording has 64 times more data than CD and blows away vinyl that cannot produce the insane realism you get from HD Audio.
    You of all people have to give it a whirl!!
    I know a dealer happy to send you one…….just say the word.
    -Captain Ethan Lee
    56 South Logistics

    1. Ive used a few DAC’s in my time and have had high end DSD players and DAC’s in my system. I love it all of course but this was to test how these did just on their own, with a low end turntable and source. Once I get settled again I may take you up on your offer. Thanks!

    2. I second that comment on a DSD capable DAC. I bought a Sony HAP-S1 that I use strictly as a DAC and in my opinion it is the bargain of the century….unreal DAC quality, never heard anything like it for $1000.

      As for these Phantom Silver speakers….I have to say I’m intrigued. I’m going to check them out at my local dealer in Vancouver.

      1. Yes, these Silvers seem very interesting…….and I only mention the DSD DAC as a simple $500 will make ANY system sound like you just spent $15,000 on it.

        I’ve been using an iFi Audio iDSD DAC “Micro” model ($500) for two years now and have connected it to just about everything….A B&W Zeppelin self contained speaker system, some Bose 301 shelf speakers, various car systems in the many rental cars I use at work…bluetooth self amplified box……. and of course my home system that is Audio Research LS25 MKII (tube preamp) > McIntosh MC601 monoblocks > B&W 802 Diamonds.
        The little iFi iDSD Micro DAC can even be used as a preamp, in preamp mode, and i connected directly to the McIntosh Monoblocks for super clean sound.

        By the way, the software to send the HD Audio files to the DAC are around $48.
        Amazing sound for just a little cash.

        and the results are always the same: OUTSTANDING!

        Regardless of the system components, it sounds a hundred times better with high definition audio as the source…..with any decent serious Hi-Fi system the results are simply mind-blowing.

        I’ve been writing Steve Huff photo for a year now hoping he’d write a piece on HD Audio as a source since I know many of the camera nuts (like myself), who also really dig great tunes, would benefit greatly greatly by adding a little $500 to their stereo system. I agree with Steve, somehow cameras and hi-fi go hand in hand, (the wife seems to appreciate photography a little more for some reason). And this HD Audio format is a massive leap forward in amazing quality, a much bigger advancement than when we went from cassette tape to Compact Disc. Anyone who cares about and enjoys music on a regular basis has to ditch the streaming and all the thin souless MP3 media and check this out!

  13. Thx a million for the review Steve.
    As I am about to buy the 8000 McIntosh plus speakers, sources etc. I’m now officially considering to go your way and save some bucks…
    Just wondering if the Phantoms are able to give you the goosebumps and emotion I expect when listening to e.g. Lana del Ray or so, or are they just very explosive and clean with no emotion which I’m a little scared of ???

    Would be great if you could tell us your opinion on that a little more.

    Cheers from your biggest german fan 🙂

    1. Funny you ask! I had a 5 hour listening session last night from 11pm to 3AM. It was addictive as I could not stop listening to streaming, or vinyl. I repositioned my stands and did a full measured set up. I sat in my chair and was literally blown away by what I heard. Here is the difference between say an MA8000 and Soeakers vs These Silvers…

      1. MA8000 and GREAT speakers (something like a Focal Sopra #2) will be more transparent and gentle sounding. The midrange of a Sopra will be about 10% more “real”. With that said, the “realness” is there with the Silvers, just not as transparent. If the MA and Focal bring me a hauntingly beautiful vocal performance, the Phantoms bring me, with the same recording, less transparency and sweetness in the mids but more than make up for it in the bass and midbass. I am not talking bass power or thump or impact here, I am talking listening at 20-30 volume late night with a beautiful fullness to the sound while being as detailed as I would want with imaging that beats the Focal and McIntosh setup. I achieved a great wide soundstage last night and my vinyl NEVER sounded better, over 15 years. That’s no joke or exaggeration. The Phantoms sounded a touch “smaller” in my room but if I go side by side, I realize it would be silly to spend $20-$30k when these get me very close and in some cases improve upon the more pricey system.

      If you miss the little bit of transparency lost you will love the gains in the overall sound and detail and imaging while NEVER sounding thin, analytical or like it is missing something. I often missed some heft and punch with my music (when I expected it) even with pricey speakers. Not with these. While they may not be as refined as a $30k set of speakers, for $5k these can not be touched for even quite a bit more.

      If I were you, I would give Devialets 45 day trial a run (if they allow a stereo pair trial) but make sure you try a pair, and with stands. I simply can not see anyone being disappointed with these when set up correctly. I am super curious now about the Gold’s as well with the new Titanium Tweeter and new Midrange driver. If it is what I think, the Golds may give that extra bit of transparency that one would lose with those higher end much more expensive speakers.

      All I know is that I have had Turntables that were priced from $200-$6000 and last night I never heard my Vinyl sound as good, ever…all playing on a table I paid $240 for new, with a $70 cartridge running into a $250 stage and out to an A/D converter then to optical to the Phantoms using an Audioquest $35 forest optical/toslink cable. Yes, my vinyl is sounding better on this system than my bug rig mega system. How? Has to be these Phantoms. Devialet is on to something with these and I can only imagine a few years from now where they will be. Could spell trouble for the megabuck systems.

      Some who try these fail to set them up properly though, as many just see them as a wireless speaker or something that plays loud and with huge bass. They are so much more than that and so much better than some “audiophile” speakers out there that cost much more. No expensive cables to buy, no DAC to buy, no power conditioners needed (or wanted with these), etc. If these were made by McIntosh they would be charging $20k+ a pair.

      Whatever you do, enjoy it! MA8000 is amazing for an Integrated but requires great speakers, decent cables and a great source to beat the Phantoms.

      1. Thanks for the thorough reply. I was considering getting the “golds” anyway so just in case you have a listen anytime it would be great if you let us know how they perform in comparison and overall. Did you change the power cords or anything like that?

  14. Hi Steve. Nice review. I am looking for speakers that will be child-safe / can be wall-mounted without totally sacrificing the bass/soundstage. How are the Phantoms close to the wall?

    (In terms of wall mounting I was thinking of a very solid shelf with an isolation device such as the Synergistic Research Tranquility or Townshend Audio Seismic Platform under the speakers, and padding on the rear wall to dampen vibration)

    1. They do make a great wall mount for these, available at Devialet’s site. I found placing them close to a wall closed them off a bit but not nearly as much as a normal loudspeaker.

  15. Excellent review Steve. I auditioned the 750W (white) and i was amazed at the amount of volume this egg can pump out with almost zero distortion. The bass extension was fantastic but i always thought it was an overkill in a small room of 10*11 feet or a 10*15 feet room. But then again i thought the same thing about the KEF LS50 and now i regret not getting them after i thought it was an overkill for a small room too.

    1. The KEF LS50 is in no way overkill for a small room. I tested the LS50’s for a month and enjoyed them though the lack of bass was killing me. Other than the bass, the LS50’s were sweet. These are different than the LS50’s in sound signature. The LS50’s will be brighter and more detailed, the Phantoms have a slighty warm sound signature but still have plenty of detail. Thanks!

  16. I went to the local dealer to listen to these I was definitely impressed but I still prefer my 1970s
    Esl speakers and quad combo and my old ess ls4s with a British amp total cost 600 plus a apple express to stream . I also didn’t like the fact you had to buy extras which cost another 1500 in Canada stands and a streaming wifi unit that was it for me reminded me of Sony always making you buy some extra thing other than all that they sounded great ugly but good sound

  17. Quite a different audio world today. From my early teens I built many amps and tuners from kits, but my system stabilized with Dynaco amps and AR3a speakers about 1970, and I’ve kept and used that system ever since, having repaired woofers and such through the years. So I’m stuck in time, but content with it, along with my Leica and lenses from the same time, and my ’73 VW.

  18. The only thing with any review no matter what the review is about is that the reviewer can only review for his or her own self no two people are alike we are all different, and the other thing is that the reviewer doesn’t have it long term so can check reliable

  19. Hi Steve, if you want to go next step with the Phantoms you really should try to optimize the electrical power supply, if not allready done. I changed everything which comes originaly with the combo and it’s a huge step in definition with a good main block and cords. I have spend around 1k more on these parts and it’s really not excessive for the final difference.

    Thanks a lot for your job on the site, I’m reading it two or three times every day. Maybe I will send you a few pictures some day, as I’m also taking (and selling) some pictures.

    Regards,

    Jean-Marc.

  20. Now I want to hear that Devialet sound even more 🙂 What stand are you using, as this does not seem to be the Devialet Tree one?

    Also, how are you connecting several sources? I need at least 2-3 optical inputs, and the Devialet hub seems to only have one… Thanks!

  21. Enjoyed your review. If I need to downsize from my current large Magnapan speakers and tube gear, I will certainly considers these.

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