December 4, 2022

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Devialet Launches High-End Portable Speaker • Eureka News Now

4 min read

When they say portable speakers, most people think of cheap Bluetooth speakers that you can just throw in your backpack when you go to the park. But Devialet has something else in mind with Devialet Mania.

The French high-end speaker manufacturer wants to make the most luxurious and best-sounding portable speaker out there. Devialet Mania costs $790 (€790) and is available starting today.

“We are launching a new product, the Devialet Mania. And it is the end of a long process. We started with amps, then came the Phantom speakers, the Gemini earphones and the Dione soundbar,” Franck Lebouchard, CEO of Devialet, told me. “We’re entering a new market with this portable speaker.”

When Devialet decided to build a portable speaker four years ago, the concept was quite simple. Devialet wanted to design a speaker that would work on battery, but a hi-fi speaker.

“Hi-Fi has many meanings. Of course, this means excellent sound quality. Hi-Fi also means stereo sound, or at least stereo reproduction,” said Lebouchard.

The Devialet Mania is a spherical speaker with no front or back. There is a handle on the top of the device, inviting users to pick it up and carry it around.

But you won’t put it in your backpack to go to the park as it weighs 2.3 kg (about 5 pounds). You can take it with you when you go on vacation, but it was mainly designed to be carried around the house.

Photo credit: Eureka News Now

When you start playing music, the first thing you’ll notice are the two woofers, placed in a “push-push” configuration to eliminate unwanted vibrations.

There are four full-range speakers at the top of the unit, each pointing in a different direction. If you place the Devialet Mania on a table in the middle of the room, the broadband loudspeakers radiate alternately the left and the right channel (clockwise: left, right, left, right).

That way, no matter where you sit, you’ll hear sound mainly from the two full-range speakers in front of you – and you’ll get stereo sound.

There are four microphones in the device as well as an accelerometer. The Devialet Mania recognizes when it has been taken to a new location. Thanks to its built-in microphones, it can also detect when it is next to a wall.

In this case, the Devialet Mania determines the front and back of the device. The two full-range speakers on the left side of the device transmit the left channel, while the two speakers on the right side transmit the right channel.

Using microphones to actively adjust the speaker’s sound was one of the selling points of Apple’s original HomePod. But Devialet also insists on sound quality, such as its proprietary SAM (Speaker Active Matching) technology.

“We’re the only ones combining wearable, hi-fi and auto-calibration,” said Lebouchard.

The Devialet Mania works with Devialet’s own app and has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. On Wi-Fi, it supports AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. The battery should last 10 hours at normal volume.

There are some built-in buttons that let you pause music, change volume, turn on Bluetooth, and more. There is a single USB-C port on the device for charging.

And because the Devialet Mania has microphones, the company integrates Amazon Alexa for the first time. You can disable the feature entirely with a physical slider near the USB-C port.

In addition to the base model, which is available in black or white, there is a $990 (€990) “Opéra de Paris” model with gold-plated finishes 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 a product in every major segment of the audio market – wireless earbuds, soundbars and portable speakers,” said Lebouchard. According to him, portable speakers and soundbars each generate sales of 6 billion euros each year.

Devialet Launches High-End Portable Speaker • Eureka News Now

Photo credit: Devialet

As for the company’s older products, Devialet released an update to its Phantom speakers in January 2021 with newer components and a matte finish. “With Phantom, we release a big update every few years,” said Lebouchard.

When it comes to amps, 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 the Expert is an important product for our brand, for audiophile enthusiasts. We want to build the best amp in the world because we can’t say we’re the best sounding company in the world without selling the best amp in the world,” said Lebouchard. I guess it means “stay tuned”.

Over the past year and a half, Devialet has shipped wireless earbuds, a soundbar, and a portable speaker. Lebouchard told me there’s one product missing from the lineup – and it’s headphones.

But don’t hold your breath for Devialet headphones as the company isn’t sure it would be a strategic move. “If you go outside, people have gone from headphones to wireless earbuds,” Lebouchard said.

Photo credit: Eureka News Now

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