HiFi: The Devialet Phantom GOLD Speakers. Full Stereo Pair Review.

gold

The Devialet Phantom GOLD Speakers. Full Stereo Pair Review.

By Steve Huff

ATTN: This is an Audio HiFi review. We all love music, and I have been into HiFi since my early 20’s. Well over 20 years now. I have had systems ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars when I hit my Audio Life peak after years…decades.. of upgrading my system through my dealers where they allow you to trade in your gear year after year while getting full value for it if you upgrade to something that costs quite a bit more.  It has been a life journey as I love music just as much as I love cameras. 😉

Some of my other Audio reviews can be seen on my HiFi page HERE.

If you love music, and want to read about some of the best speakers I have ever owned or heard in life up to $50k (while coming in at under $6,000) then read on, as this may interest anyone with a taste for uber high end audio while not paying those uber $20-$50k uber high end prices. As I said in my Silver Phantom review, I feel that THIS IS the future of HiFi and after having these Gold Phantoms on hand now I can say that with an even stronger conviction.

Each Phantom Gold Speaker contains the amps and the DAC and all you need to start enjoying music like you have never heard it before. 4500 WATTS of refined distortion free power in each speaker. Zero noise, with the lowest and most powerful bass I have heard from any stand alone speaker ever. QUALITY bass here in the Golds. 

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Its been just a few short months since I reviewed the Phantom Silver (Stereo Pair) and you can see that review here. I was blown away by these little alien egg-shaped wonders that pumped out 3000 watts per speaker, with thunderous bass that went deeper than any speaker I have ever experienced up to $45k. Yes, $45k. Those little Silvers come in at under $5000 a pair, and for that kind of money there is nothing that comes close to them (as a stereo set) and what they offer. Period. If you think they do, think again.

I have extensive experience with HIFi and systems ranging from $100 to $45,000 speakers. I have had $200 amps and $15,000 amps. I have had high power solid state amps and low powered 3WPC tube SET amps. Today, I have a pair of Phantoms and a turntable, thats it. I have saved so much money on cables, amps, DAC’s and all of those components that we (used to) have to add to our systems to make them just how we want. These Phantoms have saved me money, and I have no desire to ever go back to big separate components as the sound I get is NOW up there with the best I have ever had for a fraction of the cost and size. That in itself is amazing. I was able to bank a ton of cash into savings by selling my old big rig system and buying the Phantom Silvers. I have had no regrets, at all.

The Golds all set up in my room

system

But ever since Devialet released the newest Phantom GOLD’s, I knew I had to try them. I tried to get a review set from Devialet but no luck, so I did the next best thing… I bought a set from Amazon, and yep you do get a 30 day trial (devialet offers a 60 day trial direct) so I knew if they were not up to the hype I could return them.

The Gold’s come in at 4500 watts per speaker and have an improved titanium tweeter and smoother more flowing mids as well as some improvements with their ADH technology itself. Devialet says the GOLD’s are for the Audiophiles, and since I am an Audiophile I would be forever wondering about them unless I tried them out. I mean, I had to! 

The Silvers were and are amazing but if you are like me, and are used to that magical high-end sound that is only possible with true high-end systems then you will notice that the highs of the silver phantoms are a tad soft, and the bass is much more prevalent than any audiophile speaker you may have heard. They are very FAT sounding speakers those silver Phantoms. The Silvers are good for ALL music but perfect for dance, trance, dub and electronic music. If you like your high energy dance music, the Silvers are for you but they are not perfect for vocals and delicate music, or classical. While the silvers do all music very well, even rock and metal, I wondered if the Gold’s would improve on vocals but lose out a bit with rock or dance music. That was a concern to me as I enjoy all music from bluegrass to rock to metal to pop to the old new wave 80’s music. I listen to Enya, Frank Sinatra…Buddy Guy and all kinds of genres. Right now as I type I am listening to Depeche Mode but just before it was the Rolling Stones! Gotta love Spotify Connect which is compatible with the Gold’s (not the silvers for some reason). It makes listening to ANY music as easy as a button press on your phone or tablet, all wireless using WiFi which each Phantom has built in to its shell. I also use an Analog turntable into my Phantoms, and its the best my Vinyl has sounded..ever. Really.

4500 WATTS per speaker, 108 DB, Low as 14hz. CRAZY!

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THE SET UP

After setting up the golds, going through the same awful updating process as the silvers where I had to connect one at a time to ethernet to update them (wireless never works, hoses up and errors out), it was well worth the wait. Since I remembered the laborious update process from my Silver experience (took me hours) this time it only took about an hour to get them unboxed and set up. Not bad. I set these up just as I would a $20k pair of speakers. I have a room where I have measured and placed my stands just right, for the perfect sound. Let’s face it, when you get to this level the room makes a ton of difference, and when you are an audiophile, it becomes something you just automatically do as we are obsessed. As I said in my Silver review, I would not recommend just buying ONE of these. With one you have the worlds best and most expensive boombox. With two you have one of the best audio systems you can buy today for MUCH less than competing products. If I were high-end old school speaker and amp makers, I would be afraid. Very afraid.

On the stands. The ones I own are HERE at Amazon, and they do wonderfully. I HIGHLY recommend stands for a pair, not just sitting them on a table as this will also effect sound quality. 

stand

Right after set up (same location as the silvers) I heard a much larger soundstage, MUCH more air on the high end and more of the typical “magic” found in really high end speakers when compared to the silvers. I noticed a brighter more refined but smooth treble and mids were cleaner. I say “brighter” but it is never “bright” nor are they ever analytical. The bass was much different as well compared to the Silvers which surprised me, but in a good way. Where the silvers have that fat mid bass which warmed up the overall tonal balance, these seem to be tuned to deliver much less warmth and fullness in the mids, and the bass pops in when called upon. Much like when I was a kid, my 100WPC stereo I thought was the be all end all had a fat midbass that made any song “pleasing”. But if you want “accurate” then “pleasing” is not going to cut it. Think of  the Silvers as “Pleasing” to any genre of music. Think of the Gold’s as “Accurate” to the source.

These Gold’s are very different sounding speakers over the Silver, and if you read otherwise somewhere online as I have, they were not set up correctly for that person. I have seen in some audio forums “they sound the same, I heard them in a shop”..well, they probably heard a single phantom, in a store, not set up correctly. As a stereo set these two are very very different. They are like opposites in many ways yet retain the same signature.

ALL YOUR MUSIC, ALL YOUR SOURCES.

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Like I said in the Silver review and again earlier, these truly need to be set up in a pair to really know what they are capable of. These Gold Phantoms are up there with the top speakers I have ever heard or owned. They sound like a big full range audiophile speaker when set up as a pair, correctly and on solid stands.

In fact, as I sit in my listening chair I am in awe and shock at the same time. I expected them to sound slightly different from the silver but they are indeed filling my room with a very scarily clear and huge sound, but without that fat mid bass of the silver so the overall vibe is CLEAR as all get out with a huge room filling sound and some amazing imaging going on as well. As I take notes, I write down that many out there may actually prefer the Silvers depending on the music they listen to. But in comparison, to these ears, the Gold’s are superior to those who have that audiophile ear. To 95% of the public, the White or Silver will fit the bill. For the perfectionist, only the Gold will satisfy, and damn, satisfy it does.

Forget about the extra 1500 watts of power in each speaker, that is not even really noticed besides in a small volume bump. It is the new titanium tweeter and whatever else they did inside that makes the difference. Using Spotify connect was simple, easy, fast and the sound was simply beautiful. I have never experienced the clarity, smoothness, air, soundstage width, bass performance, and the entire cohesive package as I am with these, from any speaker. Usually there is a compromise somewhere, but not here. Sure, I have had some amazing systems in my life, and some that cost 8X what these did. Are these as good as the best system I have owned? YES, and to be brutally honest, even better. The top to bottom performance with the Gold’s is about as good as I have ever heard and while there are systems out there that can and do beat them, the value for the dollar goes to the phantoms without question.

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Set up a pair of these in a room, on stands (this is important), away from the back and side walls (Mine are 2 1/2 feet from my back wall, 2 feet from the sides) and place your listening chair in the sweet spot and be prepared to hear music like you probably have never heard. Devialet makes a wild claim with these…”THE BEST SOUND IN THE WORLD”. Now that is as subjective as it can get but from this experienced audiophile, I will say they are 100% without question the best sound in the world under $20k. For $20k one would need to buy a reference DAC, AMP and SPEAKERS to come close and I am not so sure the $20k set would beat these. Mine in the past have not, so that says A LOT right there. Besides, most “reference” amps are $10k and up, most Reference speakers are $10k and up, and most Reference DACS also run into big big bucks. With these Gold’s, around $6k for the speakers (pair), $300 for the Dialog which is NEEDED 100% (A must) to operate a pair and you are set. Sign up with a Tidal, Spotify or Deezer account and have just about any music at your fingertips. You can also add a source like a CD player, Streamer, or be an oddball like me and add a Vinyl rig. It’s pretty cool.

Compared to the Silver,  I prefer the sound of these Gold’s as it is more like the sound I remember from my past Focal Sopra #2’s, just better. Yep, better and bigger. These may look odd, but the sound is out of this world and I suspect there truly may be Alien technology in these speakers. I just can not explain how they can do what they do.

Truth be told though, most audiophiles would NEVER admit these are serious speakers as many Audiophiles just can not believe that a set of these would even come close to their big buck systems. They do. I do not have the snob factor and I will admit when something cheaper is the way to go. I expect Devialet will keep developing these and soon we will have the “Phantom Diamond” at 6000 WATTS. Who knows, I just know that these Gold’s are a far step from the Silver’s with a more refined and cohesive sound. Much more air and soundstage width, and depth and height.

If you are not sure what that means let me explain…

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THE EXPERIENCE OF THE GOLDS

I turn down the lights in my listening room which doubles as my office. I sit in my sweet spot chair that was set up with the speakers during set up. I pull out my iPhone and bring up Spotify connect and search for my music. I decide to put on Enya’s Christmas album “And Winter Came”. I start with Journey of the Angels as it is a fave of mine and bam, instant goosebumps. It sounds like Enya is about two feet from me, dead center. I can not tell that her voice is coming from the left or right, it’s right in the middle. It’s real, it is palpable. It is haunting. As music is behind her, I hear it all over the room far beyond the speakers. The music is filling the room with sounds coming from the left, sides, above me, and overall when I close my eyes it is magical. Like I am transported to a private concert just for me. Her voice haunts me as every little detail is floating in space. WOW. Yep these Gold’s are the real deal and it is very hard to comprehend and believe.

But remember, I set these up just right for this kind of experience. When I sat in my chair listening to the Silvers I also had some of that magic but all of that magic was reduced by about 35% and that extra 35% really opens these up, and open they are. They do not sound like “speakers” or a “box” they sound like music machines that deliver the music as the artist truly intended. I would bet that 98% of people have never heard music in this way simply because to get to this level of performance in the past one had to spend $20k and up. At $6k for the set this is unheard of and why I say manufacturers of standard HiFi should start  to get nervous about this French company who is really doing something no one else is or ever has done.

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But what do  these Gold Phantoms excel at? Just how much different are they over the Silvers and are they worth the extra bucks over the White or Silver?

Well, when listening to something like Enya, the Golds are just head and shoulders above the Silvers. There is a realness to the voices and a clarity that is hard to describe. Never sterile or bright. On the opposite end of the spectrum, with a band like KISS for example and the Alive II album, the Golds sound a little bit thinner than the silver, but also much clearer and wider..more spacious. With rock and roll, I would recommend the Silvers as they have a huge bass impact and fill in the mids with a thumping driving beat. The Silvers would be a good mate to AC/DC 😉 The Gold’s, playing the same album sound great but they are missing just a tad of that thumping driving beat due to the bass being less prevalent. I mean, the bass is there and more capable with the Gold’s (and any other full range speaker I have owned) but the bass only comes in when the recording truly calls for it, just like a good Audiophile speaker. To the average Joe, this could lead to an illusion of sounding a little bit thin. To the Audiophile it is just as it should be and can be magical, amazing and therapeutic even. It is for me. If I ever get stressed, even a little I sit in my chair and listen for a while. I always feel much better afterwards. To me, music is part of my world, my life and I feel we can emotionally connect to it. It can be powerful.

If you are considering the Phantom line, you can go for White, Silver or Gold. Each one is a step up but the White and Silver are more similar than different as their sound signature is almost 100% the same. The Silvers just have more power and volume than the Whites. The Gold’s are indeed, as Devialet says, for the Audiophile. Listening to classical on these is almost a religious experience due to the power and volume they can hit during peaks. They can shake you out of your chair and they do indeed shake my entire room. If you have something on the wall, and you jack these up to 80 watch out, you may knock it all down!

Weaknesses? 

The set up/update process, the Spark app..all could be improved greatly. Other than that, for the price..NO faults I can find. While I say the Silvers and Whites may do better with Dance, Electronic and Rock due to the more prevalent mid bass, these also sound phenomenal with those genres. It’s like the best of both worlds.

My Marantz TT15. I added LED’s under it  – Took me 2 minutes and cost me $10

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Vinyl?

I have my Marantz TT15 hooked up to my Phantoms as well. I use a Sonos connect with my analog out to a phono stage the Sonos, and the optical out of the Sonos to the Dialog (what you need to configure a pair of these). I then can wirelessly choose my Turntable as a source using the Sonos app and play my vinyl which has never sounded better. I use Spotify connect for my daily listening. Wireless, easy, no cables required at all. Uses WiFi.

With the Silvers I felt the bass in my seat, with the Golds I feel more of the music and experience. 

I SAVED A TON OF CASH!

I was able to sell my old McIntosh separates, my old speakers and my cables and put it in the bank. I had enough left over to take an exotic vacation every year for the next 5 years and I am as happy as can be, with no regrets. That’s what I call bang for the buck and while these sound crazy expensive to  those who are not into high end HiFi, to those who are into it, these seem rather cheap 😉 Either way be ready for the heart bass implosion. 

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WHERE TO BUY?

I bought my Gold’s from Amazon using Prime. They now sell the entire Phantom line:

Phantom Gold at Amazon (I recommend to buy these ONLY in a pair as a single would be waste in the Gold IMO) – 4500 WATTS – ROSE GOLD sides

Phantom Silver at Amazon (listen to lots of dance or rock? These are for you, but again buy in a pair) – 3000 WATTS – SILVER sides

Phantom White at Amazon (This is the only one I would recommend as a single speaker as a take anywhere solution) – 750 WATTS – White sides

NEEDED TO SET UP A PAIR, THE DIALOG. (not needed for a single phantom but mandatory for a pair)

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The Dialog

More EXTRAS that I recommend:

Phantom Remote

The ONLY Exotic Cable I Use is for my Turntable:

Audio quest Diamond Toslink for my Turnatble/Analog Setup. But no need to go that crazy 😉 Any GOOD Toslink will do but only get this if you want to add a CD player or source other than your wireless source. 

Phono Stage I use:

Vincent PHO 700 

Speaker Stands I Recommend and USE:

Pangea Audio DS400

More info…

You can add a CD player or any digital source to this system by plugging in a Toslink cable from your source to the dialog or one of the speakers itself. You can add a turntable as well, and I use a Sonos Connect by taking the analog out from my Turntable, into my Vincent PHO 700 Phono stage, then out to the Sonos Connect. Then I use the Optical Toslink out of the Sonos into the Dialog. Sounds gorgeous, rich and is the best my vinyl has sounded..ever.

UPDATE DECEMBER 13th 2016

Hey guys! It’s been a little bit since writing this review and I wanted to give an update on what these have done for me the more I listen. These Gold Phantoms, to me, are the best speakers I have ever had in this room and this is saying a lot. I have had speakers ranging from $500-$50,000 in this room over the years and the absolute most satisfying speakers that I have had in here are these GOLD’s. Truly, and for many reasons. What would those reasons be?

  • Size is small yet these sound like huge full range speakers. HIGH QUALITY full range.
  • These are just as much “Audiophile” quality, if not more than most of the speakers I have had in this room
  • They offer me the best most quality bass performance I have ever heard, from any speaker ever (not talking loudness or boom, but quality bass when called upon)
  • They have an amazing balance between treble, mids and bass offering stunningly and haunting vocals that sound so so real. Never had vocals sound this real or emotional.
  • The imaging is stunning.
  • The soundstage is blowing my mind. Matches my old benchmark, the Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolutions. But these sound better due to the improved treble and vocal performance. Bass is also much less boomy and thick. The balance, not sure how Devialet did this but its perfect for my ears.
  • No more expensive cables, power cords, dacs, amps, or source. I simply use my Marantz TT15 turnatble, a $500 phono stage, and Spotify connect using Spotify premium. Never has bringing up my favorite music been easier, never has it sounded better.
  • Usually there is some form of regret when buying high end expensive speakers. I had it with my Amati’s, my Wilson Beneseche, and even my old Audio Research components. With the Gold’s there is none of that as I feel I stole them for the price they sell for. When I was able to switch to these and bank $25k into savings while improving my sound and experience..I only regret that these were not available sooner.
  • No matter what music I play with these…50’s through today, it all sounds fantastic. Reference recordings are MAGICAL but even bad recordings are pretty damn good. Seems like there may be magic fairy dust inside or something. Crazy.

THE DOWNSIDES, THERE ARE SOME

  1. Not sure what it is but when an update is available for these, updating them is a chore that takes me an hour. The wireless update NEVER works for me, it freezes and hangs. So I have to remove my speakers from the stands, one at a time, set them on my floor ever so carefully, roll them over and plug in an ethernet cable from my router and update one at a time, hardwired. Then the system gets confused and thinks I have one phantom, and then it will not find the other. I go through a long process to get them both updated so when I see an update I sigh and frown. NOW, this does not happen for everyone, and I am not sure why it is happening for me. Same with the Silvers I had before. I even tried a different modem and router, same issue.
  2. SPARK APP, for me is unusable for anything. My tidal or deezer accounts will load in, but when I try to play there is silence. No sound. Garbage app. I use Spotify Connect now and love it. Works instantly every time.
  3. The fact that these may end my audio review hobby as I cannot imagine getting rid of these to pay more for something else to downgrade. I can’t imagine selling them to buy a $500 set of speakers either, and being very disappointed. I am now hooked on these.
  4. SET UP! To get the performance out of these that is possible you must use a PAIR of them, and set them up on STANDS correctly. Set them up for your room size, find the sweet spot and bam. You will hear magic. But if you do not set them up or just set them on a table of shelf you will probably get maybe 35% of the performance out of them. These deserve the set up of $50k speakers. So if you buy a set and say “These don’t sound like Steve described”, be sure you set them up!

SOME MUSIC TO TEST YOUR NEW PHANTOM GOLDS

Bon Iver – 29 #Strafford APTS

Enya – Last time by Moonlight

BECK – Heart is a Drum

Henry Green – SLOW or Barcelona

Haunted Laundry – Cheated

Lord Huron – Ends of the Earth

Lana Del Rey – Once Upon A Dream

dne’ – Asos Model Crush

Kaleo – Way Down We Go – STRIPPED. (Amazing Vocals here)

Dan Owen – Made to love you

ENIGMA – Amen

Bon Iver – Holocene

Jose Feliciano – From Moulin Rouge Soundtrack – ROXANNE (turn this one up and listen all the way to the end…may leave you breathless)

First Aid Kit – Emmylou

Tom Waits – ALICE

Leonard Cohen – Almost Like the Blues

Flor Morrisey – If you can’t love this all goes away – Single Version

 

 

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88 thoughts on “HiFi: The Devialet Phantom GOLD Speakers. Full Stereo Pair Review.

  1. i am looking for a single speaker for my upstairs – this is not for a hi fi sit and listen type of situation but rather something to enjoy music while cleaning, moving around the house etc. considering this and your experience with the phantoms, would you suggest a single white, silver, or gold, or something else? thx

    1. I wouldn’t bother with a single phantom as the thing that is special about them, all of them, is what they do with stereo. A Single phantom will sound like a big bass boombox in mono. I’d spend less on something else. Maybe a Naim Muso http://amzn.to/2z3s3VB

      Nicer looks, beautiful build quality and lovely sound for $1300. The B&O Beosound 2 is also nice, and has 360 sound. More pricey than the naim but I have heard this and it’s very nice. I’d take these two over a single phantom. I have tested the single phantom silver and gold and they sound maybe 1/20th as good as they do when connected as a pair, which is when it turns magical if set up correctly. The Naim, IMO, is a better solution as it gives you everything you need in a much easier to operate system, and it looks great as well.

  2. Hey Steve,

    Do you used fixed or variable volume for the digital output on the Sonos Connect? I thought fixed volume would be the correct setting but I heard there was a software update and fixed volume is no longer bit perfect. I don’t know if it’s just in my head but I feel like the sound quality isn’t as good when I play through the Sonos as opposed to Airplaying to the Dialog directly.

  3. Hi Steve
    I enjoy your reviews and the comments here are good for more inputs on the Phantom speakers. I just received an email from Devialet informing me of an update (thru Spark) to my Phantom pair to increase power from 750 watts to 1200 watts. This is an advance Christmas gift for me. I really noticed the increase in details specially my hi-rez music files. At the same time I save some money as I was planning to upgrade to a pair of Silvers. Thanks Devialet and all I can say is WOW! For the money these speakers are the best bargain for a long time. Audiophiles may now say goodbye to expensive amps, cables, etc.

  4. Hi Steve,
    Incredible review – I have recently purchased a pair of golds and have the tree stands.
    Absolutely breathtaking speakers but I do have a couple of niggles.

    1. Sub Bass. To me the golds seem to have too much of it in certain songs. I am moving from Sonos play 5s and LcD 3 headphones so perhaps I’m not used to it?

    2. I’m also looking to connect my record player to these speakers using a Sonos Connect. I’m hearing that the Sonos Connect downscales the sound to 16bit quality so wondered if you found you could hear this degrade through the Golds? I haven’t found another device I can use yet to may go this route too but ultimately I just squeeze as much quality from the Golds as i can.

    3. You mention the Kefs are more detailed. Can you expand on that a bit as I need a detailed speaker 🙂

    I’m still on th 30 Day return window so any info appreciated 🙂

    1. Hey Dan! Thank you. The Golds have less sub bass than the silvers by quite a bit. To me they sounded just right but the KEF’s have much less than the Golds in that dept. The KEF’s are detailed and balanced. No frequency sticks out. They aren’t as “hefty” or big sounding but in a small room they are wonderful though quite different from the Phantoms. I use the connect for vinyl and the sound is nice, warm, and as I remember vinyl being but better. I do not know of any other solution so for now, I use that and enjoy it. I am learn to be less picky as I get older, and just enjoy the music. Also, if you are used to the LCD-3 sound, the phantoms may be too beefy sounding until you get used to them.

  5. Hi Steve, thanks for all you advice on the Devialet Phantoms. Just wanted to let you know I went ahead and purchased one Gold (with the intention of eventually buying a second), and I can say this about it. It is loud and clear. But as a single speaker you are totally right. There’s no audiophile sound about it. Some songs sound better than others. BUT I went to a showroom yesterday that had two connected up properly in their sound room and whamo! Thats what I’m after. Wow what a difference. It all comes to life. It sounded cleaner and obviously less directional. I find the one speaker is as good as my old KEF floor standers. But two is quite simply the best sounding system I have heard. So I am very enthusiastic to get a second now. And as you say if you can only afford one and won’t be getting a second. Don’t bother. You need two!

    1. Congrats! And yes, you NEED two if you want that magic, and they deliver as a pair. I think you will be very happy when you add that 2nd! (As you have experienced) Have fun.

      1. I’ve had my Gold Phantom over a month now, and it sounds much better after a month of use. It was good to start with, but now i’m really happy with it. Half way to getting my second speaker for the ‘real magic’. I couldn’t hear any difference between HiFi Tidal and Spotify 320kb via my iPhone. Maybe i’m doing something wrong? Do you know if I maybe need a dialog to get hi-fi from Tidal? Or maybe I need to connect my MacBook direct to the speaker?

  6. Steve, I know buying two is obviously the best option but if I only have the funds for one right now would you suggest getting one now and then upgrading to a second one at a later date (next year), or would you suggest going another route and using the funds to purchase a 2 channel setup right now? Currently I dont really have any setup, I am just using a cheap battery powered speaker but have wanted a quality setup for a while so anything will be an upgrade.

    Thanks

    1. I would never buy only one of these. In this config it sounds like a glorified boom box and is not worth the expense. Id take a pair of KEF LS50’s Wireless Speakers over one Phantom Gold ANY DAY of the week. In fact I am listening to the KEF LS50 powered speakers now, amazing. I always tell those thinking of the Phantoms that if you can only do one, buy something else.

      1. Not even if I was planning on getting a second one in a couple of months? How do 2 gold phantoms compare to the KEF LS50’s?

        1. Id wait until I could buy two and have two. One Gold will not be as good as the KEF’s which cost less than one gold as well. Two golds WILL beat the KEF’s ; ) When set up correctly, using stands, etc.

          1. Steve,

            This is the first time I’ve read your thoughts that two Phantom Gold will beat a pair of KEF LS50 Wireless. Seeing that you sold the Golds and went with the LS50W, I thought that you felt the LS50W beat the Golds. Apparently not?

            Much grateful for any additional insights you may offer.

            Thanks.

          2. Nope was purely a financial decision. The GOLDS will put out much more power and have more impact. The KEF’s will sound “cleaner” and more detailed but still have great bass (but no where near the earth shaking phantom golds). The Golds are better but the KEF’s are $4k less expensive and for me, just as enjoyable in my room. If you have a large room, the Phantoms will be amazing and beat out the KEF’s. In a smaller room both will be great but different.

          3. Wow Steve, I can’t believe you parted with the Golds! I still have mine and eight months in I continue to be astounded by how good they sound. I do agree however with your prior lament (although clearly no longer an issue for you) of the fact that there is no more need to chase the dragon. The Golds require no upgrading or tweaking and thus have taken the “hobby” out of being an audiophile. “Financial decision” not withstanding, I wonder how much “the chase” factored into your deciding to unload the Golds?

  7. I auditioned them. They were amazing with Rock/Pop. I listened to Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond. I never new the synths pulsate at the beginning of the track. The entry of the lead guitar and then the bass guitar were superb – the instruments were totally separated from the synths and it really did sound as if those instruments were in the room.
    BUT. They are awful for classical music. I listened to some Bach orchestral music and the sound was stuck in a box.
    My conclusion is they are superb for “simple” music i.e. a single vocal and bass line. But anything more complex and they struggle.

    1. I ordered the Phantom Gold and I have decided to keep them. They sound awesome with rock / pop music. But I do agree with you: as soon as the music is more complex, the speakers seem to struggle. Also, it would be nice if they added an equalizer.

    2. Steve, but why? Why would you unload the Golds and then repurchase them? It seems like the KEFs are astoundingly good for a fraction of the price of the
      Devialets.

      1. Long story. I was moving to a smaller home, sold the golds for the KEF’s to prepare. House fell through. The KEFs are fantastic, very good. More than good enough. But I miss the big rich sound of the Golds. The KEF’s give a wonderful clean, precise sound. The Golds give a large, huge rich sound. Totally different sound signature. For some music, the KEF’s can excel, for most the Golds do.

  8. Hi there Steve! Great review.

    I am a 20’s something rather new to the whole high-end hi-fi world. Having worked in an audio shop for a bit, I’ve managed to have a good listen to some proper speakers like the B&W 800 series and the Dali epicene series.. For me financially these speakers are way out of range because of the fact that u need big amps etc.

    I have heard the Silvers in a dedicated room in a very high end store and was blown away…

    From that point on I started saving money and now am at the point where I can buy them (though it will still mean noodle and peanut butter for quite some time 😉 But somehow now I have my doubts…

    One of them is concerning your third downside as I think is the main reason that the entire High-end community is somethings on two thoughts with these things… Hence if u buy them.. no more upgrading, no more playing with different components to find the perfect system, which doing in the second hand market is off course a very fun but also long proces.

    So someone might come into the high-end store and be looking for a system.. When buying anything else the store I listened them in, would probably set you back 1000’s of dollars or euro’s in my case more, and keep you coming back for more year after year..

    I also make music in my room, and are somewhat now in doubt whether I want good ‘audio’ speakers and new and much better monitors, or to find some solution where I could use them for both..

    Of course buying two separate pairs or systems would make each of them substantially less… But is it nessecary? tough question…

    So there is the doubt for me like are these speakers so much better than say dedicated active monitors from the likes of Opal, Genelec, Adam, PMC etc… Because 2500 euro per piece also isn’t a lot in this playing field… And it would be nearly impossible to do a a/b comparison as no shop on earth sells both the phantoms and good studio monitors (as far as I know)

    Not really a question as u see…. I’m just a little in doubt….

    1. The Phantom GOLDS are some of the best speakers I have ever owned, listened to or had time with. They are the best bang for the buck in HiFi and other HiFi manufacturers hate them, spread false info, etc as it would spell the END of them and their overpriced amps and cables. The future of HiFi is with products like the Phantom Golds. The Silvers are nice, but the Golds are on the next level. I would choose the $6k golds over a $50k system.

  9. Hi Steve,

    Really enjoyed your review. I’m dipping my toes back into audiophile land having previously built out a beautiful setup around a Jadis Orchestra with Sytem Audio 50’s. That’s sold now and I’ve a home theatre based around Klipsch RF7-ii’s with a very big airy soundstage that I love.
    I’m intrigued to see you compare these (what look like a very small speaker relatively speaking) to the focal sopra 2’s (my dream speaker!). My wife on the other hand thinks they look amazing so half the battle is being allowed to bring new speakers in the the house!

    Is the soundstage from the devialet really as wide as the Sopra 2’s?!
    I’m also interested to know if you have played any orchestral music through the phantom gold’s. I like natural sound with a warm rounded preference over an overly saturated base and sparkly bright highs.

    Really appreciate your feedback.

  10. I get the urge to move to something smaller and more manageable, but there is a ton of marketing hype going on here and I’ve seen no real numbers posted on how this speaker manages to get to 14 hz at any sort of meaningful level, let alone below 30 hz. There is no way this thing is putting out 4500 watts. If you want a real setup for less money and will look great and small in your living space and knock the socks up your ass, go this route.

    A pair of these guys for 3000, https://www.svsound.com/products/sb13-ultra, mated to a pair of these for 800. http://www.klipsch.com/products/the-sixes#the-sixes

    You get all the connectivity these offer, plus the ability to hook up to a turntable. The speakers are smaller than the Phantoms, and while only a box, offer a true 2-way speaker with a midrange and tweeter. The subs would be 16″ cubes you can place anywhere, and if you’re really anal you can get a wireless unit to hook those up too. The output is actually measured on their site, and completely is in a different league than the Phantom.

    If you want to upgrade the subs to crazy levels, SV Sound just released a 16″ subwoofer, yea it’s bigger but it has twice the output of the 13″ for a grand more for the pair. You’d have 4x the output of the Phantom at less cost and more connectivity. Don’t believe this hype.

    1. The sixes are not even in the same ball park as these. I have used them both and reviewed both. The sixes are mid fi at best, and I said so in my review. Adding subs always complicate things, and the beauty of the Phantom Gold’s is their sheer power and dynamics as well as amazing low level volume listening. They are small, no subs needed, no cables needed. Just plug in, connect and play. There is nothing like these, and the hype is real. Set up a pair on stands properly, feed it a good source and you will be amazed at what you hear and feel, with no boom or exaggerated bass. These speakers are game changers for the world of HIFi and a bargain for what they cost. You can spend $50k on a high end separates system and not get as good as these.

      But the Sixes, not even close, at all. Even with subs.

  11. Hi Steve,

    Great work. I have some questions.

    1. Do you use a power bar / power distribution for your Phantoms?
    2. Did you “connect” the Phantoms to the stands or you just placed them on stands ( the tree stand connects to the phantoms )

    1. I have mine connected to the wall, but a power bar would be fine. Though Devialet does not suggest any kind of power conditioner. My stands, they are sitting on them but my stands have a large platform and these speakers are hefty and do not move, budge, shake or vibrate even at top volume (though my house shakes). Stands make a huge difference in sound, HUGE! I do not want to switch to the tree stands as my sound is EXACTLY as I like it, and just so amazing I do not want to spend $750 to change it. 😉

      1. Hi Steve,

        Thanks for your reply. I was thinking to use just a simple power distribution that has only a fuse ( just in case of a s). No filter or any other electronics.

        I have 2 more questions.

        I have a very quiet room and I can hear 2 things from my Phantoms:

        1. I hear a buzzing noise when I don’t listen to music. Do you hear any? You might have to go close to them to hear the buzz and I can hear around the gold colour area.

        2. Do you hear any pink noise? Regardless of the source, I can hear a pink noise from the tweeter. and is quite low and constant between 0 and 60 % volume. As soon as you go over 60 % volume, gets amplified and very loud as you turn the volume up. It is quite difficult to hear and test over the AirPlay, built in Services or bluetooth because it disconnects the source almost as soon as you stop the audio, however, if you connect to optical you can easy do this test. Another way to test is to play something that has no noise for a while.

        Thanks Steve!

        1. 1. Mine are silent, I have never heard any noise from them at all. With my ear UP TO the tweeter I may hear a slight hiss but move back a few inches and its gone.

          2. No noise is audible to me from my listening position at all and that is something I can not say for most speakers I used to own. But why would one turn up the volume to 60+ to hear the noise. Just listen to and enjoy the music my friend and you will not hear any noise at all.

          1. Hi Steve,

            Again, thanks for your reply.

            It was more like and observation discovery that I had on my phantoms and I was looking to see if you experience the same.

            I use the computer and I need to get the volume up on my Phantoms to around 60% and manage the sound from computer and it works great for me so I don’t need to use the remote or phone or anything else. When I did that, I found the hiss noise. It doesn’t bother me because %60 is all I need as a volume, however, Deviale claims 0 BACKGROUND NOISE Well, that is not true. I hear nothing from the Devialet 120 with any volume.

            Thanks Steve

  12. Hi, I bought 4 of the silver phantoms and had to return them. Not because I did not like the speakers, even my wife liked the shape and the sound. However there is a few more issues that weigh a ton on the downside.

    1. the speakers do not have a standby mode, such thing just does not exist. 2 Devialet’s and the Dialog are wasting 70 Watts of energy at any time. In today’s world where electronic devices will go into standby when not in use and with most of the devices using less than 1 Watt of energy when in standby, 70 Watts is insane. Their support suggested to use a switch to disconnect the speakers and assured that keeping them on would not hurt the speakers. When I read their response I was ROTFL. Where I am living, the costs to keep these on at 70 Watts 24/7 is 170 Euros per year.
    2. The volume can only be set through the app or through the optional remote. The app is ok when you are listening to an internet streaming service but I really don’t want to use an app to control the volume when I am playing music from my CD player. It does not make sense to control the tracks using the cd players remote control and to use an app for controlling the volume. How can their engineering team think this would be ok?
    3. Phantoms can not decode any signal other than stereo. When feeding the dialog through spdiff from a TV cable receiver on most of the channels the speakers will stay silent because most TV channels are not providing a stereo audio channel anymore.

    For me sending the speakers back to the vendor was not easy. I wanted to keep them but to be honest I can not own a product that is poorly design in such basic aspects of the functionality. I have asked Devialet support to send this feedback to their developers and I am hoping that one day all these issues will be resolved.

    1. I believe the total output in standby is 38 watts for two Phantom Golds and a Dialog. Once you have set them up it is retained in memory, Even 38 watts is not ideal and I contacted Devialet for advice. I discovered s couple of key points. 1. If left on standby you should never cover them. Even the dust cover provided will cause overheating. 2. There are no fans, so you can turn them off immediately after use without worrying about heat disepation. So I have placed mine on a separate power block and simply turn them off when not in use, so I don’t think the standby can be regarded as an issue. Re volume, yep, it is a bit quirky, but not enough to send the speaker back. In years gone by such things as remotes were regarded as contaminating devices and you had to get up and walk to your amp to turn it up. I use volume on my iphone either through Apple Music or Spark app. It’s not perfect but has no effect on sound quality. Another quirk is that there is no power indicator lights. Again, the purest would be happy, but some indication that the speaker is receiving mains current would be nice. All in all none of these issues affect the sound, so it sounds like madness to send back for such reasons. There is one reason to return the speaker however, which is their fragility. They are not child or pet friendly at all. The woofers are a massive temptation for amimals, kids and even adults to touch, and if they are damaged they are not repairable due to the manufacturing process. So I recommend to anyone to ensure you have a good insurance policy. Devialet are also very strict on warranty, so beware of buying second hand or from unofficial dealers, as the warranty will not be supported without a valid invoice. All in all I thinks Steves review is spot on. My room is not ideal with a hard floor and at times the base just overwhelms, but this is no fault of the speaker. I will continue to experiment to see just how much I can get from these speakers, but even now, I can safely say they are the best speakers/amp combination I have ever heard and I heartily recommend to anyone to buy. I started with one and then went to a pair. While one speaker can’t compete or create an image, it is still a serious piece of kit sonically and I would still recommend, but it is indeed another world when you put two together. My whole music collection has come back to life and MP3 sounds pretty amazing too!

  13. Hi Steve, thank you for the great review. Now, I am considering replacing my bulky speakers with the Phantom’s, previously I was looking at the Focal Sopra 2.
    Btw: what happened with the Sopra’s? I remember your review where you said these were the perfect speakers and you would not want any other.

    Thanks,
    Peter

  14. Absolutely Incredible!!! I auditioned the Phantom Golds and was completely blown away with their performance. I immediately purchased a pair along with the Tree stands and a Dialogue. Mere words cannot express my level of satisfaction with this system. I agree 100% with Steve’s assessment. The Phantom Golds produce pure high-end audiophile quality sound. They have that “magic” in spades! I had some initial apprehension simply because these are such a departure from the traditional 2 channel setup (solid state or tube separates w/traditional standmount or floor speakers) but after listening to the Phantoms for the last two weeks, I can’t imagine any system I could have afforded or any system costing significantly more than I could afford, sounding any better or quite frankly, as good. Thanks for the heads up Steve! I’m good from here.

  15. Hi Steve,

    Great review.

    For me buying a single Phantom is a value proposition, as I only have hearing in one ear.

    Current possible choices to replace my current system (around 10K AUS):

    MUSO $1799 AUS
    Phantom White $2999 AUS
    Phantom Silver $3590 AUS
    KEF Wireless LS50 $3799 AUS (pair, possible to add SubWoofer)
    Phantom Gold $4690 AUS

    My preference is for one Gold Phantom, but my current speakers (Martin Logan Motion LX16’s),have Folded Motion Tweeters which sound very good.

    Have you compared Phantoms to speakers having Folded Motion (Heil) or Ribbon Tweeters ?
    Comments welcome.

    1. Well, all I can say is if you are happy with what you have, you should keep it. This hobby or passion…the toughest thing is finding that one set of speakers or amp or whatever that truly makes us happy long term. To those of us with the “disease” is is impossible, lol. The Gold phantom for me is used daily and I love them to death for what they do, and how they do it and how they sound doing it. I would pass on the white phantom, and honestly when side by side with the gold, the silver is much “warmer” sounding..fuller. The Gold, for me is perfect. I would say the Phantom would deliver to you a larger sound, better bass (not just more but more and quality bass) but you may lose some of the delicacy that comes with your tweeters.

      1. Hi Steve-
        Let me start by saying you do a great job conveying your enthusiasm for the equipment that you review. So much so that based on your review (and a subsequent audition) I’ve ordered the Line Magnetic 518ia and I am supposed to pick up a pair of Sonus Faber Olympica I’s (also auditioned) tomorrow to go with it and I couldn’t be more excited to get this system in my home, or so I thought. After reading your review of the Phantom Golds I am totally, once again, caught up in your enthusiasm. I will, of course, audition them but I’m wondering if you think the Golds would be Significantly better than the Line Magnetic/Sonus Faber pairing? Your glowing review of the Line Magnetic really called me to action. Keep up the great reviews!
        -Val

      2. Hi Steve,

        Thanks for your candour.

        I think I’ll keep my current system for a while, and try to actually audition some Phantoms before I decide on anything.
        It will give me a chance to sell some surplus stuff in the meantime.

  16. Hi,
    For a while now I have been interested in replacing my current “separates” system with active speakers and I am glad that advanced active designs are gaining ground also in the “hi-fi” segment. Every pro monitor manufacturer and people working in the pro industry knows that skillfully constructed active speakers with active cross-overs are simply better than passive speakers. Until I had the change of comparing the Gold Phantom with the Kii Three speakers from Kii Audio (Bruno Putzeys new company) I was on my way to go for the Phantoms. Now I am aiming for the Kii Three instead since they are simply even better than the Gold Phantoms. Their cardoid bass and other advanced DSP-based solutions put them in another league than the Phantoms.

  17. I have a tube pre-amplifier and amplifier and a pair of highly sensitive French horn speakers each with 2 x 30 cm bass speakers with 2 separate cabinets: one under the horn, the other on top of the horn. The speakers are 2 meter high and rated at 100 db/1 meter. I have expensive siltech interconnects and speaker cables made of pure silver, and a CD player with tube stage.
    Since I bought the pair of gold phantom the old system just sits there and takes a lot of room.
    I am trying to sell it but there is no market for them here (in Tahiti).
    Now I listen only to my Phantom with Spotify premium connect in high quality, and once in while I hook them to my TV set or DVD player and watch concerts on DVD or on Utube.
    I find the sound has both the velvety sound of tube in the midrange and highs and the bass muscle of high powered digital amps. I agree with you that the set up is very important to get this magic imaging that audiophiles crave for. I use old floorstander speakers as floorstands for my phamtoms.
    I have a large outdoor terrace (I am lucky to live in Tahiti where summer lasts all year long).
    I put the speaker on each side of the terrace doors, facing outward, 3 meters apart.
    This way I solve the room reflection problems: there is no room, only the great outdoor.
    In this set up the phantoms sound incredible: I have never such a full sounding system: it is both very smooth sounding (never agressive or rash) and with a lot of muscle/contrast, like a good live outdoor concert. Imagine you have a “contrast” setting like you have on TV sets or PC screens.
    Well the Phantom sound like the old system with the “contrast” setting way up there. The sound is captivating, even at low volume: you can easily hear all the details of the music, but still be able to speak to someone in the same room.
    Compared to my old system the bass has much more impact/muscle , and the voices/mid are just as natural and “there” than with the tube/horn system. The phantoms are just addictive. I am listening much more often to music now, as it is as easy as opening my spotify app.
    And when I am tired of sitting in the “sweet spot” on my terrace, I head to my swimming pool in the downstair garden. I push up the volume on my Iphone, and I swim while listening to what seems to be a live jazz concert going on upstairs…
    What can I say, whatever your system and your taste, if you love music and are tired of upgrading this or that, just go for the gold, and remember: the best cable is no cable at all (and the best listening room is no room: you outdoor terrace or your swimming pool).

  18. Hi Steve,

    I was so intrigued by the enthusiasm of your review that I have ordered a pair of the golds. I already have three silvers in the house, but did not really consider them for real Hifi. My current setup is setup is Wilson watt puppy 8,Wadia intuition, Aurender, concept turntable. All Nordost Valhalla cables.

    I am not sure I have set up the golds well, but they just do not have the delicacy of the current system. I don’t think they are bad, but after your really positive review I was hoping to simplify as well. Truth be told, I like them a lot, but at less than one tenth the price, it is probably not a fair comparison,

    To my ears they just don’t have the space and openness that the current system has. However, I would concur they are worth a listen.

    Any advice you can give from your own setup?

    H

    1. Well, I think rooms make a huge difference as well as a sound you are used to. My room is small, 12X12 and these honestly sound better than previous $25k bookshelf speakers and larger or smaller. These are huge, wide open, delicate and some of the best vocals I have heard. Are you using quality stands? If not, that is your problem. If so, could be the room, the setup or even your source. There are so many variables at play. Also, if you are comparing to a $60k system they are probably going to fall a little short for you.

      I would say make sure you are using quality heavy stands, toe them in, set them up as you would your big speakers and play music you are used to. The sound will be different form your setup now, and you are used to that sound. Run them for a week and give them a chance. But I found by taking mine off of the stands and putting them on my table killed the sound, it was then they sounded like a boom box. Back on the stands and set up, it is magic. Me, I have never been happier with any setup of mine in this room. Now, if I moved and had a large room or different shaped room maybe it would be different. No idea. But for now, these are staying for me long term.

      Thank you, hope you get it figured out.

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply Steve, will definitely try the stands. I have ordered the Devialet tree stands, but I’m not sure they will be up to the job. They are currently not on stands at the moment, which may explain the boom box like sound.

        Many thanks,

        Herman

        1. That explains it. They will transform dramatically when placed on stands and set up. Anyone using these on a table or shelf or whatever will never experience what they can do. I use the stands I linked to in this post and love them. I hesitate to buy the tree stands as I feel looks wise that they are fantastic but sound wise, I think the ones I use will be better, and less expensive.

  19. Hey Steve. Nice review. I upgraded my D120 to the 220 pro. It’s a nice upgrade but these Phantoms intrigue me more and more by the day 🙂 Quick question: are you using the stock power cables? There is a pretty strong consensus among Expert owners that AC cables make a difference.

  20. Given how much you like this, and your budget for audio in the past, perhaps you should get a pair of the Tree stands to have the full visual unity and I read that it also improves the sound.

  21. Hi Steve,
    Exceptional and well thought out review. I fully agree, that other equipment manufacturers must be questioning what hit them! With one sweep, Devialet eliminated a lot of variables, such as cables, cables and cables, fancy unit cases, exotic finishes, and the lot. After all, audiophiles pay through their teeth for lovely looking Hi Fi, sometimes things of beauty, but acoustically below par.
    Let’s be honest, one does not listen to ten coats of lacquer, or exotic finishes! Most of the time we are kidding ourselves. Sometimes wonder why, the majority of audiophiles are men!
    I agree fully with the fact that this is the future of HiFi, but feel that we are not there yet. The opportunities and solutions taken up by Devialet are mind blowing. All other HiFi seem ‘antique’, cumbersome and bulky.
    Will wait a couple of years before taking the plunge. I’m excited. This will separate the snobs from the audiophiles!

  22. Hi steve, i am wondering if there is any delay if you use the sonos connect on these speakers compared to other sonos speakers at the same time?

    greets Derek

  23. Hi Steve! Very enlightening review of Golds. I have listened to a pair of White Phantoms at home. Nice speakers, but being an audiophile I immediately started to wonder how a pair of Golds would sound! After reading your article I think I know… As I use room correction I did some measurements. Have you measured the Golds? Frequency response and other things like waterfall is very room dependent so the only meaningful measurement would be the step response. REW can display this. If you’ve got measurements, please share.
    Thanks!

    1. I agree that it would be helpful to see measurements of the Phantom Golds. Unfortunately none have been published by any reviewer that would offer a true comparison to other speakers, let alone between Phantom models. Perhaps Steve can be the first for the Golds…hopefully he even had measurements against the Silvers he had so we can get a true idea of how the Golds differ. Probably the hardest part though is level matching them to other speakers (or not?).

  24. Great review Steve!! Really considering a pair and selling off the old world!! When do we see your playlists?? Jan , sweden ! ( cold !)

  25. Hi Steve, thanks for a great rewiew, I’m a violaplayer and love all details in your listening.
    Do you toe the Golds in, or do you prefer them straight?
    And what about sand in the stands?
    Jon

    1. No, I toe them in as they sound much better to me this way. IN fact I was listening last night and made a conclusion that yes, these are indeed the best sounding speakers I have ever owned. They beat even my highest end systems, and that is quite the accomplishment. I do not have sand in the stands as of now, but one day I will. I really do not want to change a thing as the sound is magic. Thank you.

        1. Actually I do not, it makes it worse. Somehow, I have been blessed with a perfect room, which should not in any way be a perfect room for audio. I used to dabble in acoustic treatments but in this room, not needed. It takes me usually 2 hours to set up a set of speakers in here but when they are truly dialed in that is when I can find the true performance of a speaker. These Gold Phantoms..truth be told and to be 100% honest as I can be, are the best speakers I have ever owned in my life in regards to sound. If an audiophile snubs these, it’s out of snobbery. I have had speakers in this room ranging from $500 (Wharfedale Dentons) that were very good to speakers that cost $10,000 to $15,000 to $25,000 and up to nearly $50,000. The worst ones in this room out of them all? The $50k speakers. These Gold’s are neck and neck with my old Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution but better as the vocals and voice is reproduced in a more real way. Also, soundstage, imaging..all up to the Guarneri’s but now I no longer need that $8000 amp, or those $5000 speaker cables, or $3000 interconnects or crazy power cords or expensive DAC and source. These speakers saved me so much money, and at the same time have become the most pleasurable listening experience I have had in my life. These may end my audio review hobby as I truly will only replace these with something else if they break down or have a fault later on. I do not see that happening but with new technology, that is the risk. I now use these, my turntable, and spotify connect using spotify premium and I could not be happier. Thank you. OH, as for finding the sweet spot, here is a place you can start: http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_main.php

          1. Hi Steve,
            First thx for your tremendous job here.
            You say you use Spotify Connect, correct me if i am wrong but Tidal is supposed to have lossless quality (hi-fi option), isnt it a better option for us owner of phantom beauties ?
            Do U think the Spotify Premium (320mp3) will produce an as good sound as Tidal Lossless ?
            Thank U

          2. Well, as it says in my review I can never get any streaming services to work through Spark for me. With the Silvers I used Sonos into the Dialog and streamed from there. Now I use Connect and the sound is beautiful and lacks in no way at all. Spark, IMO, is garbage.

        2. Thanks Steve. I get my Golds soon and wonder, is the sound consistent also at higher volume, or is the bass getting more flat and the hole sound more clinical? I read this in a rewiew.

          1. NO, I can go as loud as my room can handle – walls shake, lights dim and the speakers never falter. They hold onto the sound. It’s incredible, never seen anything like them. I gave someone a demo last night and they were absolutely blown away and left the room breathless. I think we almost knocked some things off the wall but he speakers never shake, vibrate or sound stressed, ever.

          2. I have done the same to a few of my guests, the flickering lights in my house when the speakers are sucking in all the power they need and the PUNCH rather than the boom of the bass really hits them for six, right in the chest like at a concert (classical or rock)!

            Then….. the delicate nature of the vocals leaves them breathless. Even at high volumes.

            This hybridisation of analogue delicacy with digital oomph is probably the way forward. I am rediscovering so many elements to so very many tunes that I have listened to countless things.

            Although I listened intently in the past, I am learning now that there are so many things that I just did not hear before in my favourite tunes. Hard to explain it really and I have listened on systems that have run well over €100k. Perhaps as I age, my ears and my hearing are changing……

      1. Thanks Steve. I get my Golds soon and wonder, is the sound consistent also at higher volume, or is the bass getting more flat and the hole sound more clinical? I read this in a rewiew.

  26. Hi Steve! When I saw your Phantom Silver review I wondered just how long it would be before you got the bug to try the Phantom Gold’s. HaHa! Anyway, these things have my interest not only for 2-channel stereo, but for a L/C/R front line for a HT rig…even behind a AT screen.

    Thus far I only have seen suggestions for using two (L&R) but I’d want three Golds for all the L/C/R lineup. ie a Pre/pro into the Phantoms. Any suggestions as I’m not sure the Phantoms have that capability or I’ve overlooked something…what to do, what to do…?? Thanks, Steve!

      1. Thanks brother. I thought maybe I overlooked something. I did see this page, and checked further into the Phantom connection options on the Devialet site. Unfortunately, at this stage of the game you can only run Phantom L&R (fronts) only, no center (or, centre…heehee) leaving the LR, Front Center, RR speakers in a 5.1 system using other speakers out of a AV receiver.. Rumor has it that Devialet is working on a 5.1 option for Dialog…so I guess there is no way to conventionally hook up the Phantom to a AV pre/pro at this time. Thanks for trying, Steve. Really appreciate it!

      2. I bought the Golds as a pair and they are to my ears, and all listening/hearing is subjective, better than quite a large number of the high ends out there, which in fairness, are subject to wires, cables, DACs, CD players, amps, preamps etc. etc. Devialet seem to have figured this out in giving the holistic package.

        Re the cinema setup, I spoke to the Devialet team and they are working on the licensing for cinema sound via the Dialog. They have something of sorts for cinema via their Expert series of equipment but not just yet via their Phantoms and Dialog. I am watching that space though as this Devialet Phantom sound is amazing – I really can see why they named it the Phantom because the sound and imaging it produces really are haunting…. I genuinely cannot get over how GOOD these are. Listen to Daft Punk, Disc Wars from the Tron soundtrack……it is mind blowing on these speakers.

        1. I have been listening more and more and they are absolutely BLOWING my mind with just how good they are. I was listening to that Tron soundtrack last night, lol. Amazing.

        2. hi sadly i purchased the silver phantoms and they are the biggest piece of shit i have ever heard – I had the same insane setup troubles but none of the joy of music listening because they are a glorified ghetto blaster – i had the branches volume etc – Spark is the worst app ever and that setup is so bad and i do IT for a living – nothing and I mean nothing is worse than the setup and the dialog is utter total rubbish subject to wireless interference etc and terrible connection options your supposed to run extra outputs from your branch bottoms because the dialog does not have enough wow shit design like French tanks ww11 -nothing is good about the design they don’t even switch off when no music 24 hours later i discover these junk buckets are boiling hot with nothing playing you have to purchase remote power points for the dialog and Phantoms sadly 2 weeks after getting this crap Devialet took down the cinema surround sound claims for the dialog -because the piece of shit cannot do it i know someone who works for them and they admitted as much there are 2 places where you can hear Phantom surround Devialet head office and here in Sydney where they especially commissioned a setup the hardware to do surround is supposed to be around $3500 or so AUS so if I had known this i would have saved my money I desperately tried to sell this shit sounding setup and everybody preferred my conventional hifi -so much that the Phantoms helped me sell 4 pairs of other speakers -serious! even $3000 less than new people purchased my other speakers and amps etc so Steve you know full well oral memory is fickle and cannot be relied upon unless compared at the same time. The bass is just very poor and is adaptive so as you turn it up it gets less so the junk buckets do not blow up -so how is that high end? there is no detail in the bass it is lumpy – my Kappa 9.1 have so much more bass detail it cannot be compared . This is all about streaming music and I am not paying to listen to music when I have a gigantic hi res library myself that sounds so much better -anyway I will set these shit boxes up again and see if I can get through an afternoon without one Phantom disappearing or interference ruining the musical experience . One of the speakers that these were compared to were Definitive Technology BP 7001 sc and out of 6 listeners over a 3 day period no one preferred the Phantoms -there is something really ordinary about that treble for sure anyway – I am glad you liked the Gold In Aus they are so overpriced I wouldn’t waist the money on them
          I always enjoy your reviews but a large speaker in a large room -which you don’t have kills these just not even close

          1. You either had a defective set or did not set them you correctly. In my room, the golds beat my previous $50k system. Thats a fact. I would never ever get rid of these to spend more for less. I also enjoy the convenience. I sit down, pull out my phone, use spotify connect and have the greatest listening experience i have ever had in my home. I spent hours setting these up, which is mandatory as are dedicated heavy stands. Without this, and using a pair, you will not get anything like I describe. SO many want to buy something and not put in the effort. BTW, I have compared these, side by side with a $26k system. These blew it away in EVERY area. The $26k system sounded bloated and with a wonky midrange. No comparison. But I have been at this for 25 years, and again, know how to set them up. That’s all it takes.

          2. But as audiogod66 pointed out, is it true that thePhantoms don’t turn themselves off? If so, that’s disappointing. Also you mentioned in your review that the silvers had more fat bass. What frequency are you referring to when you say ” fat bass”, can you be more specific please? Thanks for the review. I’m trying to decide between these and the klipsch stadium which was also reviewed by digital trends as replacing a HiFi and matching a true subwoofer in sound pressure levels and depth. Have you herd the stadium? How does it compare to the Phantom Golds? Thank you.

  27. Thank you for the great review. I started reading your reviews when I got the Sony A7r. Like you, I have had hundreds of audio components over the past 40 years. The system I had before the gold phantoms was a modwright 2 piece pre-amp ($10,000) and a pair of pass labs Rushmore speakers ($50,000), they weighed 275 pounds each. I also had a jungson CD player ($3,500) and 4,500 cds.

    Now I use tidal, with FLAC (cd quality) and two golds with stands. In a lot of ways, it sounds better than the previous system. I enjoy music more than ever!!!

    I cannot believe the gold phantoms sound so amazing! And cost about the same as just my old cables.

    Once again, thank you for all your reviews.

    1. I am hoping, like how Beats headphones dominate the mid-fi headphone market, that Devialet will dominate the hi-fi speaker market. I have been to many high-end audio shows and I have always wondered what speaker technology would look like if it were freed from the endless box enclosures that flood the market. Devialet breaks through this glass ceiling. Of course, companies like MBL have been innovating this space along with electrostatic speakers designers. I wonder how the Devialet Gold compares to these other speaker technologies? Devialet is putting all other hi-fi speaker companies on notice by ushering in a new era of innovative speaker design.

    1. Just wanted to say that video has some incredible footage. Now I know the quick cut editing was probably at the request of Devialet. Is there an unedited version so I can watch more of each process?

      Once again, amazing job to you 🙂

  28. This system is intriguing to me but there are a few things that bug me. The cables coming out of the back look gawdy and terrible. For speakers of this price it would be nice if the cables were a little easier on the eyes. Also, are they long enough to allow for proper cable management instead of just hanging in the air like in your photos??

    Also, the Dialog hub….it has almost no connections on it. I realize the system is supposed to encourage wireless but if you have to have a HUB why not allow it a few more connections like a pair of analog and an HDMI. Also, does the USB connection allow you to directly connect a hard-drive???

    1. Those cables are concealed if you use Devialet’s dedicated stands. They look incredible on the dedicated stands.

      The Dialog component allows optical in. An HDMI version is supposed to be released sometime in the future to allow audio delay compensation from home cinema. There are no analog connections as this is a digital system. But if you need to, there are plenty of analog to optical adapters to allow you to do it.

      The USB on Dialog does not allow a connection to an external drive. However it is uncertain what the future holds for the USB port.

  29. Wow! As much as I miss the old Steve Huff Photo where you did everything yourself and you stuck to cameras only, there are still great things to be had by you. When my inbox showed you did a review of the Devialet Phantom Golds, I just about jumped out of my seat with excitement. I had to read this and, as usual, you did not disappoint. It’s certainly difficult for me to digest the look of these speakers. They are ugly and the gold bling on the side certainly isn’t purposeful. Other than that, is the rest of the speaker an exercise in, “form follows function”? If so, it’s an odd iteration of this principle but perhaps this is what innovation looks like. I have no doubt that the sound quality is superlative and, wow, would I love to own 6 of them for my apartment but that would cost me a down payment on a house. Steve, could you dial it down a bit for us plebeians and review the Naim Mu-so and Naim Mu-So Qb? It’s a step down from the Devialet’s but a step up from Sonos. I’m tired of my Cambridge Soundworks radio and need to step up my game. Thank you for a great review.

    1. Hey David, thank you. I had the MuSo here for a while, and enjoyed it. If I did not have these phantoms, and wanted a smaller setup, it would be the Muso for sure. I have not listened to the Qb yet. But I can highly recommend the Muso, and will review it soon. As for the old stevehuffphoto, I was unaware of the changes 😉 I’ve been doing guest posts for 6 years now, and I do reviews when something comes along that gets my blood pumping. It’s hard for me to write a review, and always has been, of a product that does not get me truly excited about it. Last one I did here that had that effect was the EM1 MKII, and now these. In the future, after the new year I will be doing a couple new things here (all photo related) as well. But thank you for the comments and kind words!

    2. Interesting. Having had a fair number of speakers, the Phantoms are the most beautiful speakers to me. So it is subjective. And yes, they are very very good indeed – especially the gold.

  30. Hi Steve.
    Great review of this high-end system! As it’s well outside of my budget (Though a former audiophile myself, I’d much rather put those funds toward upgrading my Fujifilm X-System gear.)
    Anyway, I thought you’d get a kick out of this story…About 30 years ago, when I really was into high fidelity, I attended a Stereo Review convention in Madison Square Garden, NY, and saw/heard the most awesome speakers I had ever experienced…called “MagnaPlanars”, rather than the typical speaker “box”, they resembled those old 6ft.x6ft. standing folded screens in old movies, where the ladies would change clothes behind. In fact, that’s exactly their size and dimensions…6 feet high and wide, and about 2 inches deep! Not having conventional “cones” or drivers, the sound emanated from that ENTIRE 36 square foot surface, and sounded freaking awesome! Of course I don’t recall the system driving them, but have you heard of this brand? Anyway,Steve, thanks for this review, which brought back fond memories of my audiophile days!

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