Disappointed with inferior soundbars, Devialet releases a high-end soundbar – TechCrunch
Meet the Devialet Dione, an all-new loudspeaker from high-end loudspeaker manufacturer Devialet. With this new product, the company is entering a new market: home cinema audio systems. The Devialet Dione is an all-in-one Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 compatible soundbar and costs $2,400 (€2,190).
“We are at the high end of the market but we have a product that is an all-in-one audio system,” Franck Lebouchard, CEO of Devialet, told me. What he means by that is that you shouldn’t compare the Dione to an average soundbar.
For example, if you’re trying to find an equivalent device in the Sonos lineup, Lebouchard says you should compare Devialet’s speaker with the Sonos Arc soundbar paired with two Sonos One speakers and a Sonos Sub. And that package currently costs over $2,000 as well.
“The technical feat is that we managed to put everything in a single device. That means we had to fit 17 speakers, which is unheard of,” added Lebouchard.
The company installed a test room in its offices in Paris and I was able to listen to the Devialet Dione with a large television. We tried the speaker with early scenes from Mad Max: Fury Road. We also listened to music.
And, of course, the speaker sounds great. It produces immersive sound and feels like you’re sitting in a movie theater rather than in front of a TV.
This is not a full review. I’m not an audio professional, so I don’t know what the Devialet soundbar looks like when you compare it to current high-end soundbars. I would recommend listening to the Devialet Dione in a store before buying it anyway.
“In a Sennheiser soundbar, you will find 12 speakers. We put 17 speakers. It’s not completely magic, but when you can put five extra speakers in there, you can hear it,” Lebouchard said.
The device itself is a dense soundbar. It weighs 12 kg and it is quite long — 1.2 meters. You should think about getting such a speaker if you already have a very large 55-inch TV.
In terms of design, it is a little more discreet than the previous Devialet speakers. Devialet’s signature egg-shaped design has been replaced by a more traditional polygon with sharp edges and corners.
The only thing that stands out is a small sphere in the center of the device. There is a loudspeaker inside this sphere and it rotates. This way, if you want to wall-mount the soundbar, you can rotate the sphere so that it always faces you.
Inside the device there are 17 different speakers – nine full-range speakers and eight rectangular subwoofers. These subwoofers have been designed to meet the specifications of a soundbar. Again, what sets the Devialet Dione apart is that you don’t need a separate subwoofer (or satellite speakers).
The device also has its own digital-to-analog converter. In fact, the Devialet Dione uses the same system-on-chip that you can find in the company’s flagship products, the Phantom product line. Devialet has several patents for this specific chip and promises noise-free, saturation-free and distortion-free sound.
And if you’re playing a movie that doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, the Devialet Dione can “upscale” the sound signal to 5.1.2 audio. There is also a live balance feature that helps you hear dialogue.
As for connectivity, you plug the Devialet Dione into your TV using an HDMI cable that supports eARC and CEC. You can also use the soundbar as a standalone speaker for listening to music.
The Devialet Dione connects to your local network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and uses the same Devialet app. You don’t necessarily need to use the app to listen to music as you can use Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2.
Not just for audiophiles
The company believes there is a market opportunity with Devialet Dione as streaming services release blockbuster movies on their services from day one. “We realized that it’s a market that takes off, says Lebouchard.
“Our typical customer is someone with a beautiful 55” or larger TV. And they want the sound quality to be as good as the picture. It’s a bit different from the typical Devialet customer, who is someone who listens to a lot of music,” he added.
In 12 months, if the company wants to achieve its commercial objectives, the Devialet Dione should represent 20% of the turnover of the company. And each time the startup launches a new product, it can rely on its dense network of points of sale. There are currently 1,900 Devialet points of sale worldwide.
While the company has stopped talking about funding rounds since its Series A in 2015, Devialet raised an additional €70 million over two rounds. The latest funding round was a €50 million seed round with the company’s existing investors in January 2020.
Devialet is now launching Devialet Dione in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Pre-orders also start today for other markets.