FOX11 (Los Angeles) - Two years ago, at CES, I had the chance to look at what I’d call “aspirational” tech in the form of a very compelling wireless speaker. The form factor was unique and the sound it produced was pretty impressive. It looked like an escape pod from Prometheus or Star Trek and is about as high tech as one. Now Devialet has released the latest version of the Phantom, the Gold Phantom, and it promises to take what was already aspirational to a whole new level.
The specs are a beast, and they should be. At a retail price of $2,990, this isn’t for the casual listener. So, what does $2,990 get you? 4,500 watts of power that pushes 14Hz bass frequencies, a new titanium tweeter that pushes up to 27kHz, all delivered from the sound source wirelessly. Yes, this beauty is a wireless speaker which includes wired inputs, in case you need them. It works via dual band WiFi, or bluetooth, even via Homeplug or Toslink optical input. In something this pricey, they definitely took the time to equip it with the right standards because the Bluetooth protocols supported are A2D and AVRCP profiles, aptX, AAC, and SBC audio codecs so your hi-res digital audio files will stream efficiently to the Gold Phantom. And no worries about the encoding/decoding of the streams because the Phantom has an on-board 24bit/192kHz digital analog converter.
The current audio codecs the Gold Phantom supports are: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 kbit/s), WMA (16 bit), MP3 (16 to 320 kbit/s), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV, FLAC, OGG, VORBIS with a few streaming services supported as well, though you’ll have to pick up an extra accessory to take full advantage of HD streaming services like Tidal.
The Gold Phantom has a Ti tweeter, with aluminum mid and bass drivers, while the body is a composite with parts composed of glass fiber filled polycarbonate, ABS and an aluminum central core. And let's not forget those 22kt pink gold plated sides.
I was actually invited to have a couple Frenchmen visit me- Devialet is based out of France- and provide a listening demo, but was unable to fit it into my schedule at the time. I’m looking forward to giving this a listen sometime in the near future and will update you when I do! Though some of these things are products many of us may not be able to afford, it’s still a great time to get to check them out and see what immersive, ultra-high end hardware can produce. Funny thing is, sometimes the difference is immediately obvious, like when I spent time with the Sennheiser Orpheus, a product which is also aspirational in terms of cost but sounds every bit worth the cost if you have it. Then there are several thousand dollar headphones I’ve listened to at luxury tech shows which didn’t sound that much better than that same company’s several hundred dollar headphones. Like I said, I’ll update you once I’ve had the chance to listen and let you know if the Gold Phantom lives up to the hype beast. Having listened to the lower-end model (relatively speaking, it’s still $2,390) I can say that I probably won’t be disappointed.