A company like Devialet seemingly churns through products at a fair lick. Since the launch of the D-Premier, there have been several different products launched, upgraded, uprated, and enhanced. And that’s before we include the newer Phantom line. Add in changes in distribution, prestige stores, exotic advertising campaigns, and lots of venture capital driving the whole brand, and it’s little wonder there is some confusion.
Let’s backtrack and explain. The original D-Premier eventually became the Expert 250, and still remains (albeit with completely redesigned ’Pro’ internals) in the catalogue to this day. When the D-Premier became an Expert, it was joined by two other models; namely the Expert 130 Pro and the 220 Pro. The 220 Pro and 250 Pro can upgraded with their own matching Companion models, and there are two twin-chassis only designs: the Expert 440 Pro, and the Expert 1000 Pro tested here. Users of older D-Premiers or Experts used to have an upgrade program, where their product was given completely reworked internals, but that upgrade path expired earlier this year.
Between these launches, there was a short-lived but very significant special edition of the D-Premier – The Original d’Atelier. The significance of this product was that it incorporated many of the design developments that now go into the latest iterations of the main Devialet amplifiers, and in particular what lives inside the Expert 1000 Pro.
Internally, the differences between the Expert 1000 Pro and the older models are significant. The new amps deploy what Devialet calls ADH Intelligence in its patented Class A/Class D Hybrid amplifier design. This is effectively a redrawing of the amplifier circuit, effectively uprating the precision of the ADH core control architecture by a factor of four. This makes the ADH feedback loop faster, improves the resolving power of the Class A amplifier from eight to 10 bits, and this results in lower overall THD. Both the Class A and Class D amplifiers have been completely redesigned, with the Class A amplifier now a greatly simplified circuit, and the Class D amp pulled straight from that of the Original d’Atelier, with extensive beefing up. It’s effectively added 50% more power to the previous models, and includes more filter inductors per channel. The analogue to digital conversion stage (Magic Wire in Devialet-speak) is new, too, knocking 6dB off the THD and cutting the noise floor by 2.5dB. Add in a power supply that can now deliver 4kW and a very sophisticated (and large) thermal management system, which includes a 2.5kg copper base plate, and it all becomes clear that this is not simply old wine in new bottles.