If this is a full-range loudspeaker capable of subtlety and refinement across the frequency ranges and at low and high volumes, where does that leave traditional high-end audio? Does the Gold Phantom live up to Devialet’s original statement on the subject? What more traditional high-performance loudspeakers offer is more mid-band openness, more dynamic (or microdynamic) shading, greater dynamic headroom especially at higher volume levels, rock-solid imagery, and the impression of physical instruments in the room. What is impressive about the Gold Phantom in these respects, however, is that it does all of these aspects of high-end loudspeaker performance well in its own right, even if there are more traditional high-end speakers that excel in one or more of these individual parameters. Put another way, it’s hard to not like everything the Gold Phantom does!
What people want from a Phantom is still hard-wired into the Gold Phantom, and those looking for an ‘audiophile loudspeaker shrinking ray’ and are in search of a small loudspeaker that delivers all the sound of your giant, six-figure super-speaker will not find it here. But what the Gold Phantom shows is what the concept is capable of, and that is incredibly impressive. Although ultimately it has more to offer, the Gold Phantom should be considered one of the best ‘bridge’ products in audio. It is the product that brings 21st Century audio levels of ease of use to audiophiles, and it is also the product that raises the bar for those more used to those convenient 21st Century audio products. It’s a gateway to better performance or functionality, depending on where you are coming from. That is worth seeking out.
Type: Wireless active networked loudspeaker
Drive units: Titanium grade 1 high frequency unit, aluminium mid and bass drivers
Amplifier type: Devialet ADH v2, 4.5kW peak power
DAC: Devialet DAC embedded in ADH v2 VLSI, up to 24-bit, 192kHz precision
Processor: ARM A9, with 512MB DDR3 memory
Connectivity: Bluetooth A2D and AVRCP profiles, aptX, AAC, SBC audio codecs, Spotify Connect
Network: Wi-Fi Dual-band (a/b/g/n 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz) Ethernet RJ-45 10/100/1000 Mbps (Gigabit) CPL Homeplug AV2 Toslink optical input (TV, CD player, Blu-Ray, video games console)
Audio formats supported: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 kbit/s), WMA (16 bit), MP3 (16 to 320 kbit/s), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV, FLAC, OGG, VORBIS
Frequency Response: 14Hz-27kHz (@-6dB)
SPL: 108dB @ 1m
Finish: White RAL 9016 ABS and aluminium dome drivers, 22ct rose gold sides
Dimensions (W×H×D): 25.3×25.2×34.3cm
Price: £2,190 each (Dialog £249)
Manufactured by: Devialet