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Back to the Future-Fi: Devialet introduces Phantom I

  • When it comes to Future-Fi, the Devialet Phantom, first launched at CES 2014, is the OG. Its visually-striking dinosaur egg-like shape and low slung bass – firing symmetrically sideways to dip below 20Hz – secured mainstream appeal. A keen sense of transparency and micro-dynamic delicacy meant that audiophiles already hip to streaming (active!) loudspeakers wouldn’t turn up their noses. The original Phantom was then spun off into a series of newer variants: the Silver Phantom, the Gold Phantom and the Phantom Reactor.

    This week brings news of a Phantom range tidy up: the Phantom Reactor becomes the Phantom II (with ’95dB’ and ’98dB’ versions); the arrival of a new model in the Phantom I (‘103dB’ and ‘108dB’ versions); and L’Opera de Paris Gold Leaf special editions of the ’98dB’ Phantom II and ‘108dB’ Phantom I:

    Zooming in on the all-new Phantom I, we note the continuation of Devialet’s H.B.I. bass technology, S.A.M. speaker optimisation smarts and hybrid A.D.H. Class A/D amplification.

    So what’s new?

    Devialet’s advances in power efficiency and thermal dissipation have allowed the French company to reduce the size of the Phantom I. According to the press release, its digital signal processing (DSP) and amplification now reside on an SoC (System on a Chip).

    The Devialet OS app has reportedly been overhauled once again to bring users a smoother UPnP streaming experience and support for Apple AirPlay 2 has been added. Spotify Connect, Roon Readiness and Bluetooth inputs remain part of the feature set.

    The newly designed rotary remote control now features a visual display, is Phantom II compatible and ships with each Phantom I ‘package’ (presumably a stereo pair).

    Bringing vinyl enthusiasts into the scene, the all-new Arch streaming hub makes connecting a turntable to a Phantom system a whole lot easier than it was with previous models. The Arch’s back panel RCA sockets will convert an incoming line-level or MM/(MC?) phono signal to digital before streaming those ones and zeroes to a nearby Phantom system. Those same RCA sockets can also be used as S/PDIF inputs for anyone preferring to use a third-party network streamer or CD player.

    The Phantom I ‘103dB’ will sell for US$2200/£1890 and the ‘108dB’ version for US$3200/£1890. Anyone serious about imaging, soundstaging or stereophony should double those prices for a stereo pair.

    Further information: Devialet

    Spec Sheet Phantom II – Consumer + Pro – EN

    Spec Sheets Phantom I – EN

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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