Ultimately, though, it’s happiest when delivering a well-controlled storm of action.The company’s website describes the Gold Phantom as capable of “ultra-dense sound with physical impact” which – while hard to argue against – isn’t, we don’t think, an entirely positive thing.For all the fidelity demonstrated throughout the frequency range, there’s a lack of separation and space to the sound that makes the Devialet sound dense in the manner of fog – everything happens at speed, with an assertion that sometimes borders on aggression, and the small-ish soundstage as a consequence is not so much muddled as crowded.There’s the sense that Devialet has overachieved with the Gold Phantom’s bass response, almost to the extent the rest of the frequency range has been supercharged to match.
The Good: The upgraded Phantom can stream high-res 24-bit/192-kHz files and it sounds brilliant at both low and high volumes. It really has two secret sauces. First, its Heart Bass Implosion (HBI) technology, which allows all four drivers to work in perfect unison, maximizing efficiency, minimizing distortion and enabling the speaker to achieve a ridiculously wide frequency range. And second, its new improved ADH2 technology, which allows the speaker to sound way louder than you’d expect from a speaker its size. There are numerous connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Apple Airplay and Spotify Connect. Watching the speaker work, especially with songs with heavy bass like Wiz Khalifa’s “On My Level” and “Jumpman” by Drake, is a visceral experience — it literally takes center stage, no matter what else is happening in the rest of the room.
Who It’s For: Audiophiles, or average joes, that want a statement-piece wireless speaker. It’s a speaker that’s designed to be listened to and looked at. And even though it can work with other Phantoms (you can use them in a multi-room, multi-speaker setup), it’s really designed to work by itself. Also, whoever is buying this shouldn’t really be worried about price.
What To Watch Out For: It has no volume or playback controls on the speaker, so it has to be controlled by your smartphone. It doesn’t have voice control. Like all Devialet Phantoms, the new Phantom isn’t a true omnidirectional speaker. Its two woofers evenly spread bass around the room, but because the tweeter and midrange are located at its head, it’s technically a mono-directional speaker. You can pair two (or more) Devialet Phantoms together in a stereo setup, but that gets expensive and requires Devialet’s own app. The look of the Phantom isn’t for everyone; while some in our office thought it looked cool and unique, others mistook it for a fancy vacuum used to dry wet carpets — and it’s very expensive.
Depending on how you look at it, there are either a lot or no alternatives to the Devialet Phantom
. For a better multi-room experience, go for Sonos. For a better smart home experience, go for the Apple HomePod. The Naim Mu-so is probably its closest competitor as a standalone wireless speaker, which is almost as expensive and almost as unique-looking as the new Phantom.