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 has a different idea with the Devialet Mania, a high-end French speaker manufacturer that wants to make the most luxurious, best-sounding portable speaker available. priced at $790 (€790), the Devialet Mania is available today.
“We are launching a new product, the Devialet Mania. it represents the end of a long development process. We started with amplifiers, then Phantom speakers, Gemini earbuds and Dione audio,” said Devialet CEO Franck Lebouchard, “and we are entering 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 worked on batteries, but paired with a high-fidelity speaker.
“High fidelity means a lot of things. Of course, it means wonderful sound quality. Hi-fi also means stereo sound or at least stereo rendering,” Lebouchard says.
Devialet Mania is a spherical speaker that doesn’t distinguish between the front or the back. There’s a handle on the top of the device so users can carry it around in handheld form.
But you wouldn’t put it in a backpack to play in the park, as it weighs 2.3 kg (about 5 pounds) and might be a bit more appropriate when going on vacation.
On 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 between playing the left or right channel (clockwise: left, right, left, right).
This way, no matter where you sit, you will mostly hear sound from the two full-range speakers in front of you, which means that any area can be heard in stereo.
The device has four microphones as well as an accelerometer. Devialet Mania can detect when it has been moved to a new position. Thanks to its built-in microphones, it can also detect if it is near a wall. 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 side play the right channel.
The use of microphones to actively adapt the sound of the speakers was one of the selling points of Apple’s original HomePod. But Devialet also insists on sound quality, such as its patented SAM technology (Speaker Active Matching).
Devialet Mania works with Devialet’s own app and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. On the Wi-Fi side, it supports AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. the battery lasts up to 10 hours at normal volume.
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, which can be completely disabled via a physical slider button near the USB-C port.
In addition to the basic model in black or white, there is a $990 (€990) “Paris Opera” model with a gold-plated finish and an optional docking station – the dock 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,” 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 products, Devialet released an update to its Phantom speaker in January 2021 with updated components and a matte finish.” With the Phantom, we release a big update every few years,” Lebouchard said. When it comes to 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 the audiophile, Expert is an important product. We want to make the best amplifiers in the world because if we don’t sell the best amplifiers in the world, we can’t say we’re the company with the best sound in the world,” Lebouchard said. So I guess that means “stay tuned”.
In the past year and a half, Devialet has released products such as wireless earbuds, home soundbars and portable speakers, and Lebouchard tells me there’s one product missing from the lineup – headphones.
But don’t get your hopes up for Devialet headphones, because the company isn’t sure if this will be a strategic move.” Lebouchard said, “When you go outside, people will move from headphones to wireless earbuds.”