(Pocket-lint) - Devialet makes premium audio devices; we've been hugely impressed with the Devialet Phantom in the past, the company's Bluetooth speaker.
Devialet is known for creative design and excellent performance and this French company is now turning it sights onto home cinema, with the launch of its first soundbar, the Devialet Dione.
We sat down with the new soundbar prior to launch to get some first impressions.
We've always been impressed with Devialet's speakers, that sense of drama with unique designs and impressive performance. The same applies for the Dione and it's great to see this French company branching out in a new direction.
The premium soundbar market has a few contenders like the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar or the Sony HT-A7000, both of which are single box solutions and neither that look as good as the Devialet Dione. Other premium Atmos bars like those from Samsung or LG often have additional subwoofers and rear speakers, making for a larger installation.
The Dione won't appeal to everyone. It's priced at a premium, but it offers great performance for those who want something that sounds as amazing as it looks.
- Looks unique
- Sounds great
- No need for a subwoofer
- Good wireless connectivity
- It's huge
- It's expensive
Design and build
- Anodised aluminium, acoustic fabric
- 1200 x 77 x 165mm, 12kg
- Surface or wall mounting
Much of what the Dione represents is a fresh take on design. Soundbars by nature aren't the most interesting of things and there's only so much you can do with a black rectangle. We've seen round soundbars, hexagonal, the ubiquitous oval - and some who try to slim it down to make the soundbar less noticeable.
Devialet, however, is all about statement design. In some ways, it reminds us of the approach that Sonos took with its Playbar, offering something that could sit flat or be wall mounted within its rectangular design.
The Devialet Dione is substantial, weighing 12kg because the core is anodised aluminium. This gives it strength to ensure that those powerful speakers and do their work without distortion from the construction.
In the centre of the Dione is the detail that makes it stand out - a wave in the surface to accommodate a spherical Orb. This houses the centre channel speaker and can be rotated so whether you place the Dione on a surface, or mount it flat on the wall, that centre channel can fire straight towards the listener.
The soundbar is wrapped in acoustic fabric, with touch controls on the surface so you can control the soundbar when you're standing next to it.
One interesting thing is that these controls appear to have fixed icons. When on a flat surface with the orb to the front, that means these controls make sense, with volume down closer to the front and volume up towards the rear.
When you wall mount the Dione, the Orb is designed to be at the top, so the soundbar is essentially flipped, meaning those volume controls are slightly illogical, with volume up on the bottom and volume above it - not the up and down arrangement you'd expect.
First impressions of this soundbar from a design point of view are really solid. It looks great, it has a feeling of quality to it and a unique design so it really stands out.
- HMDI 2.1 eARC
- Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2
There are direct physical connections on the rear of the Dione, offering HDMI 2.1 with eARC support, optical for legacy connections and Ethernet so you can enable a wired connection to your network.
Supporting eARC with CEC means that you can connect it to your TV and have high quality audio like Dolby Atmos played through the Dione. The CEC side of things enables control, so you can reduce the number of controllers you need for your system.
The optical input will support older devices and the Ethernet means you can have a solid connection to a network without having to worry about wireless interference - which could be important if you're installing in a basement for example.
But the wireless offering is also good. There's Bluetooth, so you can directly connect from a phone for example to play music, but also Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, opening up the possibilities. That means you'll be able to control the Dione from your Spotify app on your phone really easily.
On top of offering those services, the Dione also sits in the same ecosystem as the Devialet Phantom, supported by the same Devialet smartphone app and able to use Devialet's separate remote.
There's no passthrough or additional HDMI connections.
Speakers and performance
- 5.1.2 multichannel
- 9 full-range drivers; 8 long-throw subwoofers
- 950W RMS
- 24bit/96kHz support
- Dolby Atmos support
There's a 5.1.2 arrangement in the Dione, with a total of 17 speakers. These are split into nine aluminium full-range drivers, making up the left, centre and right channels, but also used for height and width, with drivers on the ends of the soundbar firing outwards.
That's why the soundbar needs to be all mounted with the Orb at the top, because there's drivers in that leading or top edge which switch from being the left or right channel into the height channels for Dolby Atmos and would be firing down if you didn't mount the soundbar correctly.
Then there are eight long-throw woofers and these are arranged on both sides of the soundbar and give it substantial bass power - that's why there's no subwoofer for the Dione - it's been built to work without one.
The arrangement of the speakers means that all the channels are covered, with the ability to fire up and to the sides to create that immersive surround sound. (The Orb isn't detachable, it just rotates in place, but Devialet showed us what it looked like out of the soundbar.)
The centre channel we mentioned previously is within the Orb, meaning it can fire that directly at you, so the speech in a movie, for example, comes from where you expect it to.
We've sampled a range of different content on the Dione, but haven't fully tested it. First impressions are really solid. This is a great sounding soundbar, with plenty of power and distortion-free volume.
The bass also delivers and we think that most users will be perfectly happy that there's no need for a separate subwoofer, meaning you can have a cleaner installation.
Stereo performance for music listing is also great, with plenty if separation from a wide soundstage.
Working through a number of Dolby Atmos demos, the performance from a single unit is good - there's no provision of satellite speakers here, but we found the left and right distinction to be really wide. The height isn't as obvious as you'd get from a larger Atmos installation and the same applies to anything that's supposed to happen in the sound field to your rear.
That's often the situation with soundbars where all the audio is coming from the front, but for the majority of TV watching, you'll experience great fidelity at high volumes and enough immersion to really pull you along.
The Devialet Dione marks a new chapter for the French company, moving into home theatre with an eye-catching premium soundbar that presents a high-end choice who want something that stands-out from a design point of view, as well as from a performance point of view.