When you talk about portable speakers, most people think of cheap Bluetooth speakers that you can easily carry in your backpack when you go to the park. But Devialet Mania from Devialet has a different idea, the French high-end speaker maker wants to make the most luxurious, best-sounding portable speakers. The Devialet Mania is priced at $790 (€790) and is available.
“We are launching a new product, the Devialet Mania. It represents the end of a long R&D process. We started with amplifiers, then Phantom speakers, Gemini earbuds and Dione speakers,” said Devialet CEO Franck Lebouchard. Enter a new market with this portable speaker”.
When Devialet decided to build a portable speaker four years ago, the concept was fairly simple. Devialet wanted to design a speaker that ran on batteries, but with a high-fidelity speaker.
“High fidelity means a lot of things. Of course, it means great sound quality. High fidelity also means stereo or at least stereo rendering,” Franck Lebouchard said.
The Devialet Mania is a spherical speaker with no front or back. There is a handle on the top of the device that users can carry around in a hand-held form.
But you wouldn’t put it in a backpack to play in the park, as it weighs 2.3kg (about 5lbs) and might be more suitable when going on vacation.
At the top of the device, there are four full-range speakers, each pointing in a different direction. When you place the Devialet Mania on a table in the middle of the room, the full-range speakers alternate the left or right channel (clockwise: left, right, left, right).
That way, no matter where you’re sitting, you’ll mostly hear the sound from the two full-range speakers in front of you, meaning stereo sound in any area.
The device has four microphones as well as an accelerometer. Devialet Mania can detect when it has been moved to a new location. It can also detect if it’s next to a wall thanks to its built-in microphone. In this case, Devialet Mania determines the front and back of the device. The two full-range speakers on the left side of the device play the left channel, while the two speakers on the right play the right channel.
Using the microphone to actively adapt to the speaker’s sound was one of the selling points of Apple’s original HomePod. But Devialet also insists on sound quality, like its patented SAM technology (Active Speaker Matching).
Devialet Mania works with Devialet’s own app and is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. On the Wi-Fi front, it supports AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. At normal volume, the battery lasts 10 hours.
There are built-in buttons that allow users to pause music, change volume, activate Bluetooth, and more. There is a single USB-C port on the device for charging.
Since the Devialet Mania has a microphone, the company has integrated Amazon Alexa for the first time, a feature that can be disabled entirely via a physical slider button near the USB-C port.
In addition to the base model, which is available in black or white, there is also a $990 (€990) “Paris Opera” model with a gold-plated finish and an optional docking station – the base can also be purchased separately.
“If we want to be a global player in the audio industry, we need to have products in every major segment of the audio market — wireless earbuds, soundbars and portable speakers,” Franck Lebouchard said. According to him, portable speakers and sound bars each generate 6 billion euros in sales each year.
As for the company’s older offerings, Devialet released an update to its Phantom speakers in January 2021, featuring updated components and a matte finish. “For Phantom, we release a big update every few years,” Lebouchard said. Speaking of amplifiers, the Expert Pro was the company’s first product, but it hasn’t been updated in a while.
“Amplifiers are not a priority for us because it’s a very small market. But for our brand, for audiophiles, the Expert is an important product. We want to make the best amplifier in the world because if it doesn’t sell the world We can’t say we’re the company with the best sound in the world,” Franck Lebouchard said. So I guess it means “stay tuned”.
In the past year and a half, Devialet has released wireless earbuds, home sound bars and portable speakers. There’s one more product missing from the lineup, Lebouchard told me — and that’s headphones.
But don’t get your hopes up for the Devialet earphones, as the company isn’t sure if this will be a strategic move. “When you go outside, people are going from headphones to wireless earbuds,” Franck Lebouchard said. “