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Alternatives for Devialet Phantom Gold?

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Andrew17321

Well-known member
Nov 12, 2008
22
0
18,520
Having both Sonos and a pair of the basic Phantoms for more than two years, for me the Phantoms are a huge upgrade to Sonos. I cannot comment on how the sound when played loudly as I have never listened to them above about 70 db, and I have only seen them flapping with low organ music. (Room is 6m x 4m with a vaulted ceiling.)

Whether you like Phantoms or not may well depend on what sort of music you play. For highly detailed chamber music or jazz I find them better than any other system I have heard. For large orchestral works I prefer my Arcam - Spendor system. Sonos 5s cannot compete for sound quality.

As a Mathematician and Physicist I can assure you that the principles of the Phantoms are sound: a smallish piston with a large movement is equivalent to a larger diaphragm with a small movement. Large cabinets with or without a port make the best of a bad job: a speaker in the middle of an outside brick wall will perform better than one in a cabinet. If you wish to find out how Phantoms work you should read the white paper on Devialet's Phantom web pages.

As my wife has a better ear for sound quality than I have, I always take her with me when I am buying new sound equipment. She had no doubt in recommending the Phantoms over a newer Arcam amplifier.

There is a lot of prejudice amongst HiFi fans to new paradymes. My son works for a top-end audio manufacturer. When I asked him why their amplifiers were so heavy he explained that their clients were very conservatory and identified weight with quality, so that was what they sold; they could have made them just as good for a third of the weight and a quarter of the size.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
617
268
19,270
drummerman said:
rainsoothe said:
insider9 said:
byakuya83 said:
Most my listening is low level but when my fiance is out of the house I do want to have some fun and fill the room with sound.
I'd question whether filling room with sound and listening loud are the same thing... for me they're not
+1. Also, no speculation on my part, I heard both the silver and the gold (briefly, granted). And they both sound horrible :) Typical class D garbage, only thing they're good for is making a LOT of noise, or a very expensive one-use football.
No speculation at all then on class D amplification :)
:) I knew someone would call me out on that. Of course there might be some good class D stuff out there, but it would've ruined the spirit of my post had I chose to elaborate :)) Besides, the very few class D models I heard had the same common trait: grainy/harsh trebble and way too dry of a carboardy presentation.
 

Andrew17321

Well-known member
Nov 12, 2008
22
0
18,520
drummerman said:
rainsoothe said:
insider9 said:
byakuya83 said:
Most my listening is low level but when my fiance is out of the house I do want to have some fun and fill the room with sound.
I'd question whether filling room with sound and listening loud are the same thing... for me they're not
+1. Also, no speculation on my part, I heard both the silver and the gold (briefly, granted). And they both sound horrible :) Typical class D garbage, only thing they're good for is making a LOT of noise, or a very expensive one-use football.
No speculation at all then on class D amplification :)
Phantoms are NOT class D amplifiers; they are class A with current dumping. (Read the Devialet site for facts). Sonos speaker amplifiers are class D.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
617
268
19,270
Andrew17321 said:
drummerman said:
rainsoothe said:
insider9 said:
byakuya83 said:
Most my listening is low level but when my fiance is out of the house I do want to have some fun and fill the room with sound.
I'd question whether filling room with sound and listening loud are the same thing... for me they're not
+1. Also, no speculation on my part, I heard both the silver and the gold (briefly, granted). And they both sound horrible :) Typical class D garbage, only thing they're good for is making a LOT of noise, or a very expensive one-use football.
No speculation at all then on class D amplification :)
Phantoms are NOT class D amplifiers; they are class A with current dumping. (Read the Devialet site for facts). Sonos speaker amplifiers are class D.
"The analog amplifier generates optimal resistance load, while four digital amplifiers generate Phantom’s incomparable power."

Yes, their marketing blurb advertises best of what class A and D have to offer without any of the drawbacks. They Phantom tagline is "the best sound in the world". How? I don't know, as I can't tell how you can quantify something so subjective, but what do I know? To me they are way overpriced, and I'm a Naim owner, so go figure!! And they sound bad to boot. Again, for me :)

If you can't cause a nuclear meltdown with it, at 4500W it's not class A :p
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
Mmmh. Never heard one/them but it seems pretty impressive what they've done technically regardless of looks which is subjective. Have they 'cheated physics?

Probably almost if the figures and some reviews are to believed. - No one else seemed to come up with anything similar either.

Not everyone wants speakers the size of a family fridge.

It may seem expensive for some but there is an awful lot out there in HiFi land which seems like worse material value than this Devialet product. - A considerable amount of R&D seems to have gone into the project.

I think they should be applauded for doing something different to the usual HiFi fare.

My 2c's
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
617
268
19,270
drummerman said:
Mmmh. Never heard one/them but it seems pretty impressive what they've done technically regardless of looks which is subjective. Have they 'cheated physics?

Probably almost if the figures and some reviews are to believed. - No one else seemed to come up with anything similar either.

Not everyone wants speakers the size of a family fridge.

It may seem expensive for some but there is an awful lot out there in HiFi land which seems like worse material value than this Devialet product. - A considerable amount of R&D seems to have gone into the project.

I think they should be applauded for doing something different to the usual HiFi fare.

My 2c's
Well it's good they're trying, but they just sound bad. And most certainly NOT "the best sound in the world". Again, to me. And anyone who's ever heard a real instrument in their lives :p
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Devialet Phantom Gold

​if you like them, then why not get them , or am I missing something?

​I thought they sounded good if that's what I was listening to at the Bristol show last year
 

byakuya83

New member
Mar 14, 2011
63
0
0
Andrew17321 said:
Having both Sonos and a pair of the basic Phantoms for more than two years, for me the Phantoms are a huge upgrade to Sonos. I cannot comment on how the sound when played loudly as I have never listened to them above about 70 db, and I have only seen them flapping with low organ music. (Room is 6m x 4m with a vaulted ceiling.)

Whether you like Phantoms or not may well depend on what sort of music you play. For highly detailed chamber music or jazz I find them better than any other system I have heard. For large orchestral works I prefer my Arcam - Spendor system. Sonos 5s cannot compete for sound quality.

As a Mathematician and Physicist I can assure you that the principles of the Phantoms are sound: a smallish piston with a large movement is equivalent to a larger diaphragm with a small movement. Large cabinets with or without a port make the best of a bad job: a speaker in the middle of an outside brick wall will perform better than one in a cabinet. If you wish to find out how Phantoms work you should read the white paper on Devialet's Phantom web pages.

As my wife has a better ear for sound quality than I have, I always take her with me when I am buying new sound equipment. She had no doubt in recommending the Phantoms over a newer Arcam amplifier.

There is a lot of prejudice amongst HiFi fans to new paradymes. My son works for a top-end audio manufacturer. When I asked him why their amplifiers were so heavy he explained that their clients were very conservatory and identified weight with quality, so that was what they sold; they could have made them just as good for a third of the weight and a quarter of the size.
Andrew, thank you. That's very helpful and interesting to read. The entry level model of the Phantom has been upgraded recently, which bodes well. Are your Phantoms the original 750 watt version?

I'm unclear how the type of amplifier can impact the sound (Class A, B, D etc) as I thought all amps sounded the same under certain test conditions. However, if Class D really is poor then that's B&O and Naim out of the equation.

What piqued my interest initially was that Devialet are doing something different, not just plonking amps and drivers inside an MDF box. And their recent amplifiers seem to be very well reviewed.
 

byakuya83

New member
Mar 14, 2011
63
0
0
mond said:
Devialet Phantom Gold

​if you like them, then why not get them , or am I missing something?

​I thought they sounded good if that's what I was listening to at the Bristol show last year
Just looking for opinions and suggestions as to possible alternatives. I want to weigh up my options before making a purchase.

Drummerman, I agree, they are doing/trying something different which is admirable. I think a lot of HiFi equipment is hugely expensive for what it is. However, I think the Phantoms (especially entry level version) are well priced relatively - it's a complete system, to me it looks like you're getting a lot for your money. The same with the AE1a you mentioned and similar devices.
 
Dyson looks with Beats sound.

Specs for the money are impressive, and the bass they produce for the size is crazy, but it’s like the sound came secondary to how small they wanted to be and what they wanted it to look like. It’s a shame, because they should sound way better than they do - there’s LS50 aspects to them, and they’re active, but I think the quality just suffered along the way when they tried to wring everything out of them they could, rather than just let them do what they do naturally.

I’d take the active LS50s - I know I can make them sound great.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
Yes, I am sure you could spend your money much worse than on the Phantoms (if you like the sound). Not a bad price for a super powerful system that also has some style (subjective). I wouldn't be to enamoured with the gold accents but I could imagine they look great with an Aarnio 'Bubble' (or half dome) chair.

http://blog.son-video.com/en/2017/10/review-devialet-phantom-silver-phantom-and-gold-phantom/

(especially interesting is the room requirement for deep bass ...)

I know which one I'd rather look at ... and its not the LS50a but I also think that the Kef driver is lovely engineered.
 

Nelis87

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2014
24
2
10,520
I dont know what you think is sleek but the new Ruark R7 mk3 sure is stylish. 2x 5,5inch drivers and an 8inch woofer.
 

Diamond Joe

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2008
88
6
18,545
rainsoothe said:
Well it's good they're trying, but they just sound bad. And most certainly NOT "the best sound in the world". Again, to me. And anyone who's ever heard a real instrument in their lives :p
That’s just the usual marketing department BS, they have to try to give the product an edge in a crowded and competitive market, even if they can't prove it. I seem to be very anti marketing at the moment, I don't know why, it's all best taken with a very large punch of salt anyway.

They're a fairly intriguing product though, I heard them at Bristol last year too, they sound OK to my cloth ears, and I'll confess I loved the pistons on the side but the 'novelty' would most likely wear off after a short while? I wouldn't have a pair though, I'm far too conservative and traditional (ie, a bit boring!)

Edit: "... a very large punch of salt..."? ouch!
 

Andrew17321

Well-known member
Nov 12, 2008
22
0
18,520
rainsoothe wrote:
Well it's good they're trying, but they just sound bad. And most certainly NOT "the best sound in the world". Again, to me. And anyone who's ever heard a real instrument in their lives

As a matter of interest, I do go regularly to Chamber Music concerts and know what instruments sound like close up. For me, the Phantoms were closest to the sound of 'real' instruments. This is why I bought them. I was willing to spend more than twice the amount on a new system but I could not find one which was as close to reality.

Byckuya, My Phantoms are the 750 watt white ones, more than two years old now. The new version of these and the gold ones are rated better on the Phantom users' forum: https://devialetchat.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=24
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
Andrew17321 said:
As a matter of interest, I do go regularly to Chamber Music concerts and know what instruments sound like close up. For me, the Phantoms were closest to the sound of 'real' instruments. This is why I bought them. I was willing to spend more than twice the amount on a new system but I could not find one which was as close to reality.
For me, that is the best way to judge a system.

As a matter of interest, what other kit did you try.

For the sort of music you like (similar to myself) , I like brands that include Unison Research, Jadis, Pathos, Sugden, Luxman and Accuphase; combined with speakers like Harbeth, Spendor Classic Range, Sonus Faber and Kef Refs.
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
Andrew17321 said:
As a matter of interest, I do go regularly to Chamber Music concerts and know what instruments sound like close up. For me, the Phantoms were closest to the sound of 'real' instruments. This is why I bought them. I was willing to spend more than twice the amount on a new system but I could not find one which was as close to reality.
The Phantoms are good at large dynamics and have good transient speed (high power, active XO with DSP for phase allignation). Adds a lot to the 'realness' (though the bass base surely helps too). I like them...
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
617
268
19,270
Diamond Joe said:
rainsoothe said:
Well it's good they're trying, but they just sound bad. And most certainly NOT "the best sound in the world". Again, to me. And anyone who's ever heard a real instrument in their lives :p
That’s just the usual marketing department BS, they have to try to give the product an edge in a crowded and competitive market, even if they can't prove it. I seem to be very anti marketing at the moment, I don't know why, it's all best taken with a very large punch of salt anyway. 

They're a fairly intriguing product though, I heard them at Bristol last year too, they sound OK to my cloth ears, and I'll confess I loved the pistons on the side but the 'novelty' would most likely wear off after a short while? I wouldn't have a pair though, I'm far too conservative and traditional (ie, a bit boring!) 

Edit: "... a very large punch of salt..."? ouch!
We all hear and prefer things differently, that's why I say that people should always try to audition. Either that or accept that they might not be happy with what they purchase, and will spend some money with all the swapping around
 

byakuya83

New member
Mar 14, 2011
63
0
0
If you can't believe the specifications then can you trust anything said about the performance or power? What is the point in HiFi companies publishing such specifications and measurements if they're not to be trusted?

Everything I have read makes me think what's the point in spending out on B&O, Devialet, Kef or Naim when the B&W Zeppelin performs the same function for half the price!? It has a similar array of connections, drivers and amps.

Hopefully I can find a suitable venue to test some of these one-box solutions and compare the sound. In the past the only comparison I've made was between B&O and Sonos when in John Lewis, and the B&O made such a nice sound in comparison.
 

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