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Does Devialet produce "alive" music?
#1
LDear devialet owners, I have a D220 PRO CI paired with Vandersteen 5a, and overall, the sound is great, excellent soundstage, good instrument separation, lots of 3d, good transients, good bass, vocals are located nicely in the middle and so on, sound is smooth and pretty. However, I do not get a feeling that  the music is live or real, no presence of the artist. The voice of vocals is just not live. I have listened to a non devilalet system of my friend and got almost scared how real and live vocals presented through his system as if we were three in the room (together with the artist). 
Now i have tuned vandersteens, moved them around, played with power cords and supply and I just cannot get to the level, where I say, there is a singer in my room.
I have asked one of my friends who builds expensive speakers (exhibits them in Munchen) how can I make the music live... and his answer was, never as long as there is a devialet or any other amp that has digital processing. There was a long explanation, how digital processing is very good for bass, but really not great for middle and high frequencies. He used to build fully active speakers using digital processing in the speakers and said that was exactly the problem that the music was not live. So he moved away from digital processing and active speakers to making passive with active bass, like my Vandersteens.

So my question to you, owners of devialets and good speakers, do you wholeheartedly can say, that when you listen to your system you get the feeling of the artist's presence in the room, that the music feels "alive" like real. Hope you understand what I mean.


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Vandersteen 5A, d220 pro CI , Dyrholm Audio x series cables all the way, qnap 451+,Mac mini Audirvana, dedicated circuits. Moscow Russia
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#2
I do hope your friend never listen to music that has been produced in the last 20+ years, because otherwise it is close to impossible that his music has not gone through digital processing and according to him irremediably damaging his mediums and highs.

Whether or not you have the impression to have the artist in my room varies greatly with how the disc has been recorded and mastered, but yes it happens more often than not.

The most striking have been when an pipe organ player came home to listen to the mix of the record he was currently editing and supervising the mastering. So that was before master equalization and compression to make it sound acceptable on lower quality systems like it is the case of every released record. His reaction was: WOW, I’m feel like I’m back at the organ!

Jean-Marie
MacBookPro -> Air -> WiFi -> PLC -> Ethernet -> Devialet 220pro with Core Infinity (upgraded from 120) -> AperturA Armonia
France
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#3
IME the Devialet is the least coloured amp I know of.
A lack of "live" sound is more likely to be a shortcoming of the recording than the hifi.
It is certainly possible to make speakers with a forward mid range which accentuates vocals but that is a sound effect not high fidelity IMO.
As an amateur recordist for over 50 years I can assure you that digital is more transparent than analogue. I never had an analogue recorder where the output of the recorder was indistinguishable from the microphone feed (though tape overload sounds quite nice if not overdone) whereas digital recorders have had an output indistinguishable from the microphone feed from the earliest days as long as the levels were correctly set. Overload is euphonic on tape recorders but shockingly horrible in digital, so must be avoided - though that is quite easy since you have over 20dB more dynamic range in a 16 bit system, more with 24-bit so don't have to push it like you do with tape.
I know lots of people go on about analogue being superior to digital but this is absolutely not the case in my experience either by comparing microphone feed to recorder output or by measurement.
I am quite sure if somebody prefers analogue it is either a pleasant artefact they like or simply the placebo effect/expectation.
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Oxfordshire

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#4
Devialet's can do what you want but getting what you want depends on a lot of things. As Jean-Marie and f1eng have said, the recording can play a big part and so can things like speaker placement which you've experimented with, but other things play a part as well.

Looking at the photo of your room I wonder how much it is contributing to your problem. I hate making judgements of room acoustics based on photos—I've seen rooms with features I thought would be sure to cause issues and they haven't caused the problems I expected and the sound has been really good—but looking at your room in your photo there are things I'd try playing with.

There are also things I can't see in the photo, room height, the listening position, the length of the room, what the back of the room and the side behind the camera are like, but based on what I can see my reactions are as follows:

- there's a lot of hard surfaces starting with the floor, the TV screen between the speakers, the walls I can see are bare. All of those things can contribute to a bright sound and even if the sound isn't obviously bright those things can contribute to a lack of a sense of warmth, especially in the mid-range which is where voices are located and if you're concerned about how vocals and instruments which use the mid-range sound, that could be a contributing factor. A floor covering such as a reasonable sized area rug between the listening position and the speakers may well help.

- there's that wall area between the speakers. Floyd Toole suggests absorption on the centre of the wall between the speakers. I accept that you'll want to keep the TV there but those grooves in the panelling of the wall surface are going to break the sound up in ways I can't predict and that surface looks hard. There's also the glass door behind the right speaker which isn't matched on the left side so there's likely to be a tonal imbalance from left to right. I think that covering the wall area above and below the screen (apart from the speaker there) and also over that panelling to the sides, with acoustic panels of some kind may well help.

- I don't like the presence of that table in the corner on the right side because it sets up separate reverberation spaces above and below it, especially below it because I suspect the floor is going to be more reflective than the ceiling. Can you move that table elsewhere? I can't see what the corner on the left side is like.

In my experience the area in front of the listening position is usually more critical than the area behind it which doesn't show in the photo, and the area from a bit forward from the speakers back to the wall behind them is the most critical part of the area in front of the listening position. Symmetry helps but isn't essential but the area in the centre behind the speakers seems to play a big role in getting great results. Toole suggests absorption there and I've found that advice helps a lot in my room.

I don't recommend you go out and start spending money on a rug and acoustic treatment without experimenting first. Try placing a woollen blanket or a quilt, folded once or twice if possible, on the floor between your listening position and the speakers, and try draping something soft on the wall either side of the TV screen and below it, plus removing that table and chair from the corner and see if that improves things for you. If it does then you can start thinking about what kind of long term changes you'd like to make in those areas that will fit in with the way you want to use the room and have it look. If those things don't help then they've cost you nothing but a bit more time trying things that haven't worked. If you get an improvement then you can start thinking about physical room treatments of various kinds and there are alternatives to acoustic panels if you don't like the look of them.
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#5
This question cannot really be answered in my opinion.

In a sense all has been said above: the sound depends not only on the amp but also on the speakers, cables, room, recording, your hearing and preferences.

Please also be careful with advice from other HiFi enthousiast. Many have an opinion but only a few really know how instruments should sound like since they have a descent musical background (being a good musician, or working in a studio, and so on...).

You own a very neutral amp, believe me. It does not add any coloration so with all other things in order you should hear the sound how it was recorded.
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#6
To answer the question with a 1 word answer, YES.
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#7
(null)

what speaker you used? My 1000Pro + GT1, SAM at 100%, when I closed my eyes I feel like the person in front of me and singing! Feels scary true.
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#8
I thank all of you for the time and answers to my post. It was not my intention to diminish devialet in any way. I do love it and I want to continue loving it. 

As many of us I do have lots of audiophile test recordings and I did not get realistic live present vocals/voices on any of them. Somehow, the instruments sound more real and present, like drums, guitars, but not vocals. 
My friend’s comments were about amps with digital processing, he said he jumped on this technology as soon as it got available and experimented in his active speakers using different modules that were coming to the market. He said the technology made the speakers much cheaper and way less labor intensive, but he just could not make the sound live or realistic to his standard. He builds the speakers to sound on very high standard and a price accordingly. So he said he had to go back to manually make coils, buy expensive caps for crossovers and so on.

Anyway, my intention here was to ask you, and maybe confirm or discard his thesis. If you guys say to me that you can get a sense of live and realistic vocals from your devialet systems, then I need to experiment more.

@"David 
Thank you a lot for trying to help. I’m aware of the room effect on the sound and tried to play with some treatment. My room is 6,5* 3,5 meters, the ceiling is 3 meters, the speakers are next to the long wall. On the ceiling I have 3 sq m absorbing panels. Behind my head 1sq meter absorption panel. I sit about 2meters away from the speakers. I have 2 loose absorption panels 180*90 that I can place anywhere and I did try placing them behind the speakers, first reflections, floor and so on. Yes I do get more clear sound, better image, but still the vocals do not sound live or present to me. 

Now, I’m thinking borrowing the whole set of electronics to test just in caseSmile, If I will get the realistic present vocals in my room. I still love my devialet
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Vandersteen 5A, d220 pro CI , Dyrholm Audio x series cables all the way, qnap 451+,Mac mini Audirvana, dedicated circuits. Moscow Russia
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#9
The much liked Expert firmware 7.3 had a bit more of "in the room" presentation of some recordings. I ended up liking the 10.1.0 better as it was less coloured, but it was not quite as holographic as 7.3. That aligns with f1eng's view that colouration is part of the puzzle here.
None of these old versions can be used with the CI however so this is a moot point really. I find current CI firmware to sound more like 10.1.0 than 7.3. The CI clearly sounds better to me than the old, but I wish for a firmware that has better imaging ("in the room" and holographic is part of the imaging thing). So the Expert amps does sound "live" in my system, but there is some room for improvement.
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#10
(05-Apr-2019, 10:00)ogs Wrote: The much liked Expert firmware 7.3 had a bit more of "in the room" presentation of some recordings.  I ended up liking the 10.1.0 better as it was less coloured, but it was not quite as holographic as 7.3. That aligns with f1eng's view that colouration is part of the puzzle here.
None of these old versions can be used with the CI however so this is a moot point really. I find current CI firmware to sound more like 10.1.0 than 7.3. The CI clearly sounds better to me than the old, but I wish for a firmware that has better imaging ("in the room" and holographic is part of the imaging thing). So the Expert amps does sound "live" in my system, but there is some room for improvement.

Thanks a lot for sharing, I’m not saying dev does not sound good, it does. Just that when you can clearly hear a voice “in the room” that makes my hair riseWink and now this feeling is not as I would like it to have.
Vandersteen 5A, d220 pro CI , Dyrholm Audio x series cables all the way, qnap 451+,Mac mini Audirvana, dedicated circuits. Moscow Russia
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