How many times does a world-renowned audio team arrive from Paris for 24 hours and invite you to a salubrious London hotel, to listen to what they will only call "Mania"? Not often. And when such invitations come, you stop what you're doing and walk away.
Verá, como sabe cualquiera qu'esté familiarizado con Devialet, Mania is built from a solid stock. The French audio specialist's successes include the high-end Dione soundbar, the Phantom I wireless speaker and, more recently, a pioneering foray into luxury in-flight audio systems, to name but a few. algunos. Pero Mania will look different.
What you have is a futuristic eyeball-shaped wireless speaker with a charming little handle on top and iris-like bass radiators on either side. And at 2,3kg, it's reassuringly heavy, almost like a kettlebell, but so much prettier.
You will be introduced to two main proprietary technologies: ASC (Active Stereo Calibration) and SAM (Active Speaker Matching).
The former uses four microphones and built-in intelligence to allow the speaker to automatically adapt audio playback to their environment. No floating your phone around the room, no space age noise for several minutes, it just does its job in seconds. I placed it on various surfaces in the aforementioned hotel suite and never noticed the calibration happening. But from the audio performances that followed, I know in my heart (and in my ears) that it happened.
The latter acronym involves four full-range drivers in the top of the cabinet and these two SAM powered subwoofers in a push-push configuration, to promise true omnidirectional stereo sound from 30Hz to 20kHz.
The speaker is only 17cm tall, but close your eyes and you'll think it's much taller.
Opinion: Several smart speakers should be concerned about Devialet mania, mainly Amazon Echo
Devialet Mania: A strong aesthetic and sound performance, whatever the point of view. (Image credit: Future)
Other specifications? Why not: In addition to capacitive buttons on the device and a slider to mute the microphone, Amazon Alexa is built in (a first for Devialet) and configuration is done via the Devialet app. You also get support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect, 10 hours of wireless playback, and an IPX4 splashproof rating.
I took it out on the balcony, and as I looked out over central London rooftop terraces and listened to The Streets (and then Prince), I have to tell you, this makes even the best smart speakers, and in particular the best Alexa smart speakers. they sound miserably eager. (sorry, Amazon Echo, but I'm looking at you.)
It's not a complete review, but in the short time I spent on it, Purple Rain was backed by stout but nimble bass, while Blinded by the Lights revealed Mania's considerable rhythmic and layering talents.
If you wish, Devialet sells a docking station for easy recharging with the standard Mania (a special Paris Opera edition is also available, which is adorned with a 24k lunar gold deflector ring and comes with the standard docking station). ) for €80 / €69 / AU$100, but charges via USB-C otherwise.
Prices? Of course. The Mania is available now, in your choice of Deep Black or Light Grey, for €790 / €690 / AU$1400 (opens in a new tab).
The Devialet Mania Opéra de Paris edition costs €990 / €890 / AU €1,700 (it opens in a new tab).
So the Devialet Mania isn't cheap, and I suspect it's not ripe for a better deal on cheap Bluetooth speakers before Black Friday. But that is not the point. it's quite beautiful. It's the perfect no-frills product for the ambitious space I find myself in, and in case I forgot to mention, you can also wirelessly stereo pair two of them for many techniques.
The Devialet Dione is equally supernatural from above. (Image credit: Future)