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Article: Devialet Phantom Gold Loudspeaker Review

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has anyone compared these active speakers to the majic 140 made by linn driven by the exakt amp? or let me rephrase, has anyone recently heard both the linn dsp and the devialet?


Win10 PRO->PPANG USB->Gustard X20->Jotunheim->Sanders magtech monoblocks->3.7i

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On 6/22/2017 at 9:36 PM, input username here said:

mitchco, I have a pair of Kii THREEs and a Kii CONTROL.  I don't think I'd be willing to go to all of the trouble and expense of packing and shipping them but, if you live within reasonable driving distance of Washington, DC, I'd be happy to let you borrow them for a month or two for a review.  

 

PM me if interested.  

  

I'm glad that you and Chris are working to get a pair of Kii's.  Let me just warn you about one thing: While the THREEs are actually pretty forgiving about lateral head-movement (the "sweet spot's pretty wide), if you (or any prospective reviewer) want to get their best, you will find that they are incredibly unforgiving in the vertical plane.  I listened to them for maybe 6 months with what I considered a pretty "typical" setup (tweeters at year/eye-level) and thought they sounded good enough that it didn't occur to me to mess with them much.

 

But I always felt that their image was just a little too buried on the top/rear edge of my desk (I listen to them in the near-field, mounted on Arden stands on my desk).  So, just for the hell of it, I adjusted their rake... and oh-my-God, what a difference.  The sound stage opened up, went way deeper, palpability went way, way up, and the tonal balance (already good) just pulled into shape.  This shouldn't have been a surprise, since Kii is very clear that their DSP is tuned so that the sound sounds like it's coming from a point just in front of the mid-driver (not the tweeter), but I was still shocked at how little I was actually getting of their possible performance by not setting the rake properly--just a few degrees made a world of difference.  

 

Anyway, I don't want to hijack your (excellent) Devialet thread, but since a few people already mentioned the Kiis here and we've had a brief exchange thereupon, it seemed like as good a place as any to mention this.  I'll stop talking about my speakers now.

 


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (various cables from Kubala Sosna and Audioquest)

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1 hour ago, input username here said:

  I'm glad that you and Chris are working to get a pair of Kii's.  

FWIW, we have a review forthcoming in September Stereophile.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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@input username here Vertical directivity is hard to get right, which results in vertical lobing issues like in Figure 1a in this Linkwitz-Riley article from Rane. My understanding is that the Kii THREES use 4th order Linkwitz-Riley (LR4) filter slopes on all drivers and therefore should have the vertical directivity pattern as depicted in Figure 2 in the Rane article.

 

This Audioexpress article has a directivity measurement of the Kii THREES in Figure 3. But it is horizontal only I believe. That measurement display of directivity is based on Dr. Earl Geddes excellent paper on Directivity in Loudspeaker Systems.

 

Thanks for the tip. I hope to listen and measure a pair soon.

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@Kal Rubinson Kal looking forward to Stereophile's September issue. It will be interesting to see if Stereophile's measured frequency response of the Kii THREES is the same as the Audioexpress measurement I linked above i.e. flat to 20 kHz anechoic response. My JBL constant directivity cinema loudspeakers also measure flat to 20 kHz in half space. I find them too bright out of the box, as I have of any loudspeaker that is calibrated flat in an anechoic or half space. In-room measurements of these type of calibrated loudspeakers do not match the preferred listeners curve (I.e. downward tilt) as graphed on page 17 of Toole's paper that I referenced in my article. They all measure flat to 20 kHz, even at 9ft listening distance...

 

Note the JBL's also spec both vertical and horizontal directivity, plus directivity index supplied in the link. Would be nice to see similar measurements for the Kii THREE's. I don't have the facility, and I am too lazy to take advantage of Earl's Polar Map service. DSP design can now shape the ideal polar response to the listener. Good times ahead.

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Of course, I cannot comment about this prior to publication but JA's measurements do include FR, vertical and horizontal directivity as well as impulse response. 


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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Hi, a very interesting review! Thank you. I like those new loudspeaker concepts, since they define the future [see "Paradigm Persona 9H", for a different concept]. Nevertheless, my reference still is the JBL M2 and there are not many loudspeakers available with similar overall performance. :)

 

Can anybody explain, how the "Devialet Gold Phantom" or "Kii THREE [PRO]" are able to emit such a high SPL at down to 20 Hz? Certainly, no laws of physics are being defied; so I would like to comprehend.

 

I saw an anechoic measurement of the Kii's once; which showed ~25 Hz output at 80 dB; an around +3 dB boost at 40 Hz and basically flat frequency response up to 20 kHz - with excellent directional control, horizontally and vertically. On the other hand, distortion up to ~300 Hz was only acceptable way below 90dB SPL. Above 90 dB, low-frequency response is being limited.

 

How about the Devialet's, in these regards? [free field]

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On 18/06/2017 at 7:17 AM, firedog said:

 

 

I think these two comments hit the nail on the head. Devialet made this advanced tech marvel, which they talk about as being the best in the world, but basically voiced it for non-discriminating users. I guess they think that if you want to sell a $4-6K pair of speakers to the general public, you have to make it sound like "ear candy", which impresses at first.

Strictly in marketing terms, if you want to sell expensive equipment to people that think good sound comes from mp3's on Beats headphones, then maybe you need to make it with that same type of pumped up sound that many people associate with "good sound". I know that sounds snobby, but I"m merely pointing out that "untrained listeners" will often prefer mp3 and boosted frequency response, because that's what they're used to and think that's how things are "supposed" to sound.

 

In terms of showroom/quick sales, they are probably right. That's also why it is being marketed through Apple Stores and some department stores. Walk in, get impressed by the looks and form factor, hear the "impressive" demonstration. Buy on the spot. Less emphasis apparently given to audiophile dealers for this item.

 

It's a pretty interesting approach,as their power DACs are totally marketed to audiophiles (and well heeled ones, at that) and by all accounts sound great. And they include DSP. I've heard them, and concur with the positive opinion.

 

"Invented in Paris" + "Made in France" => no Woman Acceptance Factor in Paris, only Man Acceptance Factor of what a woman can buy on the Champs Elysées. 

I have offered one to my wife, to show her that I love her, for the beautiful packaging and the gold that I usually hide on my cables.

I have bought another one to my child so that he can blow the mind of his girlfriend with her mp3.

They don't know I have bought the "dialog" box...

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Hi @mitchco

 

Great review here. I know this is a 2 year article and you don't have these speakers anymore, so I promise this will be a simple query that won't stress your memory at all.

 

Regarding your comment:

 

"It would be great if there were a few frequency response “profiles” built into the Phantom and that allowed one to select to better match to ones preference. Or the ability to shelf eq the low end to bring the overall level down just a bit. And the ability to “tilt” down the high frequency response (not a shelving eq) so when listening to overly compressed rock and pop music, the high frequency energy coming at ones ears is reduced. That would be my preference."

 

Are these comments about tilted boosted bass and treble more applicable to people that don't have or use digital room EQ?

 

I would have thought this is something simple enough for you (or anyone using digital room EQ) to correct with digital room EQ? i.e. just lower the bass and the treble down?

 

Or am I overestimating how easy/difficult it is to 'correct' this bass and treble boost with digital room EQ?

 

Or have I misunderstood your comment here completely? Apologies if I have.

 

Many thanks

 

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Hi @Em2016 yes it would be very easy to use digital room eq to tone down the bass and treble. But I was hoping the speaker would have some onboard capability like the D&D 8c or the Kii Three to contour the tone. Given that this is a DSP  type speaker already, it seems like (and still is) an oversight not to have simple tone contouring available to the user, who may not have digital eq or a measurement system...

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7 hours ago, mitchco said:

it seems like (and still is) an oversight not to have simple tone contouring available to the user, who may not have digital eq or a measurement system...

 

Got ya, thanks for clarifying. Agreed. 

 

I saw these measurements of the Phantom Golds and people commenting on various forums about the increase in distortion above 10 kHz (linearity measurements), by only 90dB.

 

I know you didn't notice any treble distortion in listening (me too when I heard these) but I wonder if the treble peak is tamed by digital room EQ, if that would help the measurements, to improve the linearity at 90dB, especially above 10 kHz.

 

I guess there's no way to know for sure without actually testing that in the anechoic chamber again like they did there, but just wondering out loud.

 

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1769:nrc-measurements-devialet-gold-phantom-loudspeakers&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153

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Hi @Em2016 yah, I don't remember any high frequency distortion when listening or measured. I am away from my main computer until Sunday, but will see if I have some measurements comparing the Kii Three and D&D 8c with the Phantom Golds and post up some distortion charts.

Cheers,

Mitch

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18 minutes ago, mitchco said:

Hi @Em2016 yah, I don't remember any high frequency distortion when listening or measured. I am away from my main computer until Sunday, but will see if I have some measurements comparing the Kii Three and D&D 8c with the Phantom Golds and post up some distortion charts.

Cheers,

Mitch

 

Cheers Mitch.

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Thanks @mitchco! The Soundstage linearity 'issues' that others have discussed are above 10kHz but I do understand why your chart is limited to 10kHz.

 

I've seen others also speculate about the amp limiter maybe being a factor but others have said this is a bit of a concern at only 90dB, when the Gold's are rated to 108 dB with "no distortion" according to Devialet (marketing).

 

But like you,  nothing really troubled me in the treble region when I heard them - smooth as you say, nothing bright.


Appreciate you taking the time. Looking forward to your next DSP speaker reviews! What's next on the review list?

 

Are the active KEF LS50W's on the list? I enjoyed your review of the passives.

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Hi @Em2016 I do feel the Golds are bright sounding,  at least to my ears, from a neutral frequency balance preference. But still sound smooth as I don't hear any high frequency distortion.

 

Nothing new on the list other than I upgraded my dual Rythmik L12 subs to F18's and very happy with the result:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-subwoofers-bass-transducers/1214550-official-rythmik-audio-subwoofer-thread-1223.html#post57390652

 

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