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Stick with Devialet or switch?
#1
~3 years ago, I got the Silver Phantom and I'm quite happy with it. Went to a hifi store and benchmarked it against the Naim Muso and the B&W Zeppelin Wireless. Now I'm considering getter a Gold to create a stereo pair. Unfortunately, DOS2 won't allow me to pair a Silver and a Gold together. While this is not the end of the world as I could just keep DOS1, I am not thrilled that a software upgrade is taking away the cross-model pairing compatibility and is semi-forcing me to upgrade the speaker.

A Devialet rep offers silver-to-gold upgrade for $1890. Howeverm the upgraded Gold won't really have the warranty beyond 2 years (if I understand him correctly) and I won't be able to buy DevialetCare. This route would cost me ~$5k total. 

Alternatively, I could buy another silver for $2,390 which would qualify for DevialetCare. Though given that Devialet no longer makes Phantom Silver, I'm not sure if it's the smartest idea. 

I've been looking around online and found interesting systems from Sonos and Bowers Wilkins. I found the Sonos very impressive after giving it a try at an acquaintance's apartment (not sure which one it is but there are at least 2 speakers and probably cost ~$1k total).

With the B&W 'wedge' speakers, I haven't listened to them yet but they look impressive so far (with the ability to expand the system with additional speakers/woofers). I used own 2 Zeppelin Air speakers (now given to my dad) so I have a pretty good idea of what the baseline is.

Back in 2016, the Phantom was the best in its class but fast forward to today, has the competition caught up yet? The pricey accessories (remote, treepod) also further discourage me from sticking with the Devialet system.
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#2
There are few important factors that need to be included for more clarity on the way forward

- Listening Room Size
- Listening distance (near/mid/far)
- Treated Room / bad acoustic room / in between
- Listening volume 

I used to have Phantom Silver pair in a small room and I never needed to push them beyond half the point. I think that is the party trick of the Phantoms - ability to fill sound at louder volumes
If this is not the requirement and the distance to listening is not too much then there is wider choice. Kef LSX, which I have, works brilliantly and they might be cheaper than Sonos. But if your room is a problematic one then Sonos has some kind of Auto EQ which might give the added benefit. 

I do not listen at too loud volumes (and mostly at lower levels) and this is the achilles heel for active speakers (IMO and it is not applicable for all the active speakers out there). When I am  buying a powerful system and mostly plan to listen at lower volumes then I think I am making a wrong choice for the probable 1 in 100 time situation, when I might pump the volume up

Also the more expensive the system is, I would like the manufacturer to give longer warranty for that peace of mind. I love the fact that the Devialet offers 5 years transferable warranty on the Expert amps and that fits my thinking perfectly whereas just 2 years on an expensive Gold pair makes me a tad uncomfortable but at the same time the same 2 years on KEF LSX seems ok as the price point is much lower

Jus to answer you straight - Yes, I would look at other choices than a pair of Gold Phantom taking consideration into above points
Devialet Expert Pro CI 220 Kef Reference 201/2 |
Devialet Expert Pro CI 140 + Marantz SR7013 | Kef R500 R200c E305 E301 (5.1.4) |
Kef LSX | Marantz Consolette |
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#3
(09-Feb-2020, 07:02)WTree Wrote: There are few important factors that need to be included for more clarity on the way forward

- Listening Room Size
- Listening distance (near/mid/far)
- Treated Room / bad acoustic room / in between
- Listening volume 
I agree with you.

These listed are the main points before to consider if choosing a Phantom, above all Golds tha can sound pretty loud. I have a 38 squared meters room and 2 Golds but Classics would do be good for the  job anyway.
I will soon move Golds in a 70 squared meters open space listening room and listening from 8 meters distance. If you like some loud volume, probably Golds would make sense more into this respect because they can really fill up the room with music even at loud volumes with no distortion.
 
Room acoustic is a standard condition to be considered for every speaker anyway, but if you play loud with Phantom Premiers, that is to be considered even more carefully together with a good position and setting of a stereo couple. Being very close to room corners or too close to rear walls without proper stands is impacting the final good result in the sound image and bass control. This is true for the most of standard hifi speakers, but these toys can easily play so loud that is pretty engaging to increase the listening volume too.

I would consider to move to other brands if your goal si different and how much loud you like to play music.
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#4
For me, the may question would be: am I ready to move from truly full range speakers to speakers that will not be (because the phantoms truly are while the others you mentioned are not).
Depend on the kind of music you are listening and at which volume, that may matter or not.

In fact, there is only one real recommendation: use your ears, listen to the various options, and go for the one that puts the biggest smile on your lips.

Jean-Marie
MacBookPro -> Air -> WiFi -> PLC -> Ethernet -> Devialet 220pro with Core Infinity (upgraded from 120) -> AperturA Armonia
France
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#5
Thank you all. I have a pretty large living room + open kitchen combo that is about 120 sqm. Listening distance is from 5 - 10 meters and the max volume I would go for is 55-60% (from my experience, the Phantom starts to sound good at 40% volume or higher). No special acoustic setting / configuration here.

I do love the all-in-one design of the phantom but I would be fine with having a Sonos / BW style system of 2 speakers + a separate sub. I do not want to get an amp and messy wires.
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#6
Dear battlefork,

I was upgrading Silver to Gold. Gold sound is much, much better (different mid-range speaker), especially for classical music. I would not recommend to use Silver and Gold in the same setup.

B&W is a great deception: You may find my comment from 2019 if you wish. Price is comparable.

Best

Andrzej
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#7
(09-Feb-2020, 02:58)battlefork Wrote: ~3 years ago, I got the Silver Phantom and I'm quite happy with it. Went to a hifi store and benchmarked it against the Naim Muso and the B&W Zeppelin Wireless. Now I'm considering getter a Gold to create a stereo pair. Unfortunately, DOS2 won't allow me to pair a Silver and a Gold together. While this is not the end of the world as I could just keep DOS1, I am not thrilled that a software upgrade is taking away the cross-model pairing compatibility and is semi-forcing me to upgrade the speaker.

A Devialet rep offers silver-to-gold upgrade for $1890. Howeverm the upgraded Gold won't really have the warranty beyond 2 years (if I understand him correctly) and I won't be able to buy DevialetCare. This route would cost me ~$5k total. 

Alternatively, I could buy another silver for $2,390 which would qualify for DevialetCare. Though given that Devialet no longer makes Phantom Silver, I'm not sure if it's the smartest idea. 

I've been looking around online and found interesting systems from Sonos and Bowers Wilkins. I found the Sonos very impressive after giving it a try at an acquaintance's apartment (not sure which one it is but there are at least 2 speakers and probably cost ~$1k total).

With the B&W 'wedge' speakers, I haven't listened to them yet but they look impressive so far (with the ability to expand the system with additional speakers/woofers). I used own 2 Zeppelin Air speakers (now given to my dad) so I have a pretty good idea of what the baseline is.

Back in 2016, the Phantom was the best in its class but fast forward to today, has the competition caught up yet? The pricey accessories (remote, treepod) also further discourage me from sticking with the Devialet system.

silver and gold to create a stereo pair is not oke
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#8
@Andrzej - thanks for the comment re: B&W. I'm stopping by a dealer soon and will be able to compare across brands.

I'm sure the Gold sounds better than the silver. I just haven't been impressed with Devialet's handling of the latency issue from optical input. I waited years until I am able to get a low enough latency to watch live sports / movie using the Phantom.

@Johnnydev why is that not OK?
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#9
(10-Feb-2020, 06:17)battlefork Wrote: @Johnnydev why is that not OK?
I agree with Johnnydev. The Silver is very different to the Gold emphasising the bass and lacks the refinement at the top end. Using one of each will give a strange stereo reproduction.

I also have Sonos but they are not even close to my pair of Golds. I have not heard the Zeppelin's but i cannot imagine them to be on the same level. 

If a decision is based on listening comparison, then the Phantoms will win. Even the Reactors are very good and should be considered if there is a budget limit. However, you are not happy with Devialet and that seems to be driving the decision
A pair of Devialet Phantom Golds, system described here.
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#10
(10-Feb-2020, 07:44)Snoopy8 Wrote:
(10-Feb-2020, 06:17)battlefork Wrote: @Johnnydev why is that not OK?
I agree with Johnnydev. The Silver is very different to the Gold emphasising the bass and lacks the refinement at the top end. Using one of each will give a strange stereo reproduction.

I also have Sonos but they are not even close to my pair of Golds. I have not heard the Zeppelin's but i cannot imagine them to be on the same level.

When comparing the 1st Gen Zeppelin even with a single Reactor the Zeppelin sounds kind of ‚boxy‘. The Reactor is much more extended in the lows and more neutral in tonality except for the bit boosted lows. Overall the tiny Phantom has higher fidelity in my opinion. Just sitting in front of both. At a distance of 3m there‘s no difference in image (no vs. little stereo separation). I used to be a big fan of B&W, but the Phantoms blew away my 1st gen 802 and the Reactor my Zeppelin.
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