Experiencing 4,500W of power: Auditioning Devialet's Gold Phantom speaker
Phantom revisited – Auditioning Devialet’s Gold Phantom
Note: This article was first published on 13th April 2017.
You may recall we posted news of CK Tang’s exclusive listening cabin for Devialet Phantom speakers. At the time, the Experience room was meant to be there just till the end of the year, and was set-up with two Silver Phantoms and one Phantom in the center.
Well, the Experience room is still there, and those Silver Phantoms have now given way to Gold Phantoms, making it one of the few places in Singapore (and indeed, South East Asia) where you can audition Gold Phantoms in both a stereo and a single unit configuration.
As a quick recap, the Gold Phantoms have 4,500W of power, allowing it to create 108 dB of sound. That’s almost as loud as a rock concert (about 120dB), and louder than the sound of a jet plane take-off (about 100 dB at 305 meters)! That’s eight times more powerful than the already-impressive Phantom, and certainly more than any of us will need to fill our homes with sound.
The ADH processors in the Gold Phantoms have also been shrunk down to no larger than your fingernail, and have been improved to provide better rendering of audio than ever before throughout the range of 14Hz to 27kHz. If you recall, these are like the brains of the system, and allow the Phantom to combine the qualities of Analog amplification (Class A) with the power and compactness of Digital amplification (Class D).
Despite the immense amount of power generated though, the Phantoms are so well engineered that only the woofers of the speaker vibrate when it’s being played. It's so visible, you can check it out in this video below. Note how the water in the bottle placed on the speaker doesn’t vibrate despite the fact that the woofers are obviously going crazy. That's testament to how well insulated the various components are. Apparently, there are zero exposed wires in the Phantom speakers, so there literally is nothing that can move around and cause distortion inside.
We managed to get some time with the Gold Phantoms in the listening cabin, and both single and stereo setups were demonstrated. Designed to be as spherical as possible, the Gold Phantom does a pretty good job of imaging with a single speaker, but we’d certainly recommend getting at least two units (the system can support up to 24 units together) for a true stereo setup.
On to the audio testing! We started with a classic test track – the unplugged version of Hotel California by The Eagles. This was played through two Gold Phantoms and was rendered with good clarity and a nice warm tone. We thought the bass was just a little overwhelming, but the speakers did a great job of rendering all the instruments so you could almost pick them out individually. Cheers from the crowd filled the air instead of being lost amongst the music, and you could certainly close your eyes and imagine yourself being right at the concert.
Moving on to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, we were again wowed by how the guitar work seemed to just cut through the air. The mid-low bass notes resonated in the air well, and the drum portions full and heavy.
Finishing off with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, we were again impressed by the way the speakers presented the vocals. This complicated piece has a choir, Freddy Mercury, and an entire band going off at the same time at different portions of the song, and you could easily pick them out when the track is rendered by the Gold Phantoms. The piano is a large part of the piece, and of course this comes out crisp and clear. The speakers also do a great job of imaging the vocals so you really get to experience the stereo effect on this piece.
We were blown away by the Silver Phantoms when we auditioned them two years ago, but the Gold Phantoms simply take it up another level. Of course, the S$4,490 sticker price may seem rather high for a single speaker to some, given how most five-piece home theater systems (like the Bose Lifestyle Soundtouch 535 system for example) only come in at around $4,000 - $5,000. But then again, the quality and sheer power of the Gold Phantom is really something you'll have to hear for yourself, so we'd recommend at least taking a listen before passing judgment. Just don't blame us if you're tempted to pick one up after!