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My Phantom voyage - Printable Version

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My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 28-Feb-2021

I've been a Phantom owner for a while now, it's Saturday and the town where I live is closed down due to an annoying and lethal virus, so it's time for a dedicated thread about my Phantom voyage. Here is goes:

The release of the Devialet Phantom speakers coincided with my plans to simplify my setup back in 2015. Cary, Krell, Tact and Sonus Faber was being sold and I was looking for a replacement. Out of the blue, some futuristic looking plastic spheres with unbelievable specifications emerged. Too good to be true? Maybe, but I ordered a pair of Phantom Silver before they were released here in Norway. After a long wait, and then some, the speakers finally arrived. 
Old vs new 


My wife was extremely pleased with the change from this 

to this in the living room 

A Cary preamplifier, Tact DAC, Theta transport and a Squeezebox Touch was obsolete too. Can't blame her for being happy. 

Soundwise the Phantom Silver blew the Extremas away in every aspect except for the treble. The DynAudio Esotar 330 is still one of my favorite tweeters. It was after all a small sacrifice compared the other advantages of the Phantoms, and the money saved. 

A year went by and out of the blue, again, the Gold Phantom was released accompanied by a moisturizer jar. More power, a refined tweeter, rose gold and an erratic and unresponsive volume control was more than enough to trigger the upgradius nevrosa. The combination was irresistible. 


RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 28-Feb-2021

Soundwise the upgrade to Gold was quite astonishing. The bass was deeper, tighter and more refined, the mids more defined and the treble a lot better in my opinion. The upgrade from ADH1 to ADH2 was also pleasing, with no more background hissing noise audible from my listening position.
Picture break!
Phantom in the dark.

For health and safety reasons I decided to elevate the Phantoms after a while. The children and the dog were very close to damaging the speakers several times, and when Devialet refuses to repair them, an accident could be very pricey. A pair of Gecko's arrived, and the speakers were out of reach of paws, teeth and poking fingers.

The sound degradation was noticeable, but it was worth it. A peace of mind and more floor space is nice. The living room isn't that large, so getting the speakers off the floor did a lot to the room. Soundwise the soundstage was too wide and a bit out of focus. The bass was too prominent and a bit muddy, but for casual listening it was more than good enough. Phantom's dispersion pattern is phenomenal. 

A couple of years went by and I was still a happy camper, but upgradius nevrosa hit me again when the new TV room needed a set of speakers. The comfort of active speakers had really grown on me, so a traditional setup was out of the question. While considering a second pair of Phantom Gold, something really exciting emerged on the local second hand market. 

It was the Kii Three. Sorry to say this in a Devialet forum, but the sound of the Kii Three is much better than the Gold Phantom, also when taking in account the suboptimal placement of the Phantoms. Kii Three is proper high end, the Gold Phantom still is exceptional value for money. 
One more picture of the Three's in an early sunset, I promise only Phantom pictures from now on. 
The Kii Three's were confined to the den, and the Phantoms were going on doing a great job in the living room. 

In the winter season it's quite cold and dark in the northern part of Norway, and more time is spent indoors. The Gold Phantom does a great job reproducing live concerts, and the 106" screen helps a bit dulling the craving for live music during lock down. Highly recommended! 


RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 28-Feb-2021

The Devialet Operation System has evolved and improved a lot over the years. In the beginning it was really buggy and almost unusable. Infrequent updates made it stable after a couple of years and the latest DOS1 version was actually quite good IMHO. I was really surprised when Devialet decided to ditch the old OS and develope a brand new one. With the history of DOS1 I was really reluctant to upgrade to DOS2. No more built in streaming services, web radio and local media playback was a no go for me. When I started using Roon the need for Spark diminished, but reading of all the instability issues people were having put me off upgrading. An Allo DigiOne with Ropieee and a toslink to optical converter worked as my endpoint for the Golds. Lossless, high res(maybe) streaming was easy and comfortable.
My sturdy, faithful Allo DigiOne in another early sunset. 

Enough sunsets for a while, back to topic. 
When the rumors of an imminent-ish RAAT certification were emerging, I couldn't resist upgrading to DOS2. Curiosity killed the cat, hopefully it wouldn't kill my speakers too. With anxiety I downloaded the Devialet app and started to update my speakers. Surprisingly enough the speakers and Dialog updated without any problems and 2.11.5 was as stable as the latest DOS1 version. A better GUI, the web interface and the feeling of not being a digital Devialet dinosaur was worth the sweat, toil and anxiety before upgrading. A couple of months went by and suddenly RAAT was a fact. I was delighted and thankfully didn't have any stability issues. So, what would be next? I mainly listen to music and I've been missing the Kii Three's in the living room. They were mostly used as TV speakers for children series and afternoon watching of Netflix series of questionable quality. Definitely not their intended use. A new project emerged. Stay tuned, more to come. 
I forgot, here's a picture of the moisturizer jar. My sister in law actually mistaked it for one. Quite hilarious. 

RE: My Phantom voyage - Snoopy8 - 02-Mar-2021

Thank you for a most interesting voyage. 

The cream/moisturizer jar has been mistaken by many visitors because we host them in the same room as the music system!  Big Grin   And agree the Kii Three's are better than the Golds but at 3 times the cost.

RE: My Phantom voyage - Jean-Marie - 02-Mar-2021

Listening to music must be a real treat with such a view as the cherry on top!

RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 02-Mar-2021

(02-Mar-2021, 06:05)Snoopy8 Wrote: Thank you for a most interesting voyage. 

The cream/moisturizer jar has been mistaken by many visitors because we host them in the same room as the music system!  Big Grin   And agree the Kii Three's are better than the Golds but at 3 times the cost.
Thanks for dropping by! 
I really can't believe the design decision by Devialet regarding the old remote. Fortunately v2 is a lot better. 
The Kii Three is definitely not three times better than the Phantom Gold, so the Gold's value for money is still amazing in my opinion. 

(02-Mar-2021, 09:48)Jean-Marie Wrote: Listening to music must be a real treat with such a view as the cherry on top!
I'm really fortunate to have the opportunityto sit down, relax and listen to music while looking at the mountains. Proper soul food! If you can cope with hailstorms in June and snow in October, the location is spot on!

RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 04-Mar-2021

The relocation of the Kii Three's to the living room made it possible to go through with a project I've been thinking of for some time. How would Phantom work in a 5.0 surround setup? I had most of the bits and pieces needed but some key parts were missing. The first thing I needed was a surround preamplifier. I couldn't afford an Anthem or Trinnov, but an old Onkyo pre with balanced outputs was in reach. The old Onkyo pre's are, in my opinion, good value for money. They were quite expensive when released but the resale price has plummeted, as with all surround equipment. I had the PR-SC886 a decade ago, and was happy with it. The sound quality is good and the Audyssey room correction is working as it should. It can't handle the latest surround formats, but I'm aiming for 5.0 not 11.9 Atmos or similar. After a while a PR-SC5507 was offered me at a good price, and a beast/dinosaur of a preamplifier was heading north. It's enormous, even bigger than most surround amplifiers. Onkyo must have missed the miniaturizion train when designing it.
Here's the behemoth

You know it's vintage when it has this sticker. 

Another gizmo missing was an ADC. I already had one RME ADI-2 AD/DA used for the RIAA. I think the ADI-2 transparent and doesn't add anything to the converted signal. It's not the latest fashion in AD/DA-conversion but it is versatile and more than good enough for my little experiment. Another one was acquired at a reasonable price. 
I believe they look, sorry, sound best stacked. 

A cheapo Cypress DCT-4 will serve as the ADC for the surround channels until I can get hold of another ADI-2 or similar.

RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 04-Mar-2021

So, next up; proof of concept. Would my plan work? When I bought the preamplifier I forgot to check if it was HDMI ARC compatible. Well, it's ancient, so it isn't. The solution would be the toslink output of the TV but then lipsync could be a problem. Thankfully there were no problems even with the processing of the sound, the AD-conversion and the Phantom inherent latency. With DOS1 the Phantom latency on the optical input fluctuated from approximately 100 ms to almost 500 ms, with DOS2 it's steady 60 ms. I do love progress.
A picture of the initial test. 

Testing in progress, the Gold's are mounted.

My wife is very understanding and patient with my numerous HiFi escapades, but there's one mutual understanding between us; we shall never make a hole in our lovely aspen wall. That makes mounting the surround speakers a challenge. There's no room for ordinary stands, the roof is also made of the untouchable aspen and the Phantoms are unfortunately not self levitating. What to do?
A visit to the local metal shop was the answer. A sketch on a post it turned out as this after a couple of days.

Do pay attention to the extra weights. With the Phantoms attached the stands would be quite top heavy and really wobbly. As I made no calculations of weight distribution etc. beforehand, it was more than exciting to try it out for the first time. Don't pay attention to the clutter in the background. The tidy pictures will come later. 

It worked! No nose dive from 2 meters height for the Silver Phantom. By the way, I'm using the mounting bracket from a Gecko to attach the Phantom.

RE: My Phantom voyage - ragwo - 04-Mar-2021

After not killing one of the Phantoms, I decided to take it a step further; paint. After some research I found that the local high school could do the job as a student exercise, I would only pay for the paint and power used by the furnace. A week went by and the Phantom killer goose necks came back powder coated white. The installation was straight forward and it looked just bad, not really bad as I feared.
The stands are hollow by the way, so all cables are hidden, eventually. 

With DOS2 installed, the optical direct mode is just a couple of touches away. Very convenient and a huge step forward from the awkward procedure in DOS1. I would like to keep the opportunity to use RAAT for music, so optical mode for the L/R speakers was out of the question. Unfortunately the preamplifier couldn't make up for the delay between the speakers when the rest was in optical mode. Echo is a nice effect, when used with care. No care in my den I'm afraid. The solution was not user friendly at all, but the goal justifies the means etc. The speakers are divided into three different zones; front, center and surround. The signal is passed from the ADCs to the speakers via toslink. A fixed volume is set in the Devialet app and the volume is adjusted in the preamplifier. The scariest thing; it actually works! With latency set to 60 ms in the Devialet app there are no drop outs, echoing or similar. All speakers are wired. In DOS1 this would be impossible even with wired speakers. Thank you Devialet for DOS2! 

So, it's time for the show off picture. Still the cabling needs tidying up and the preamplifier and ADCs tossed into the rosewoodorama, but the project 98% is done. The rest will hopefully be done in a few days/months/years, depending on the patience of my better half. 

Next, sound impressions!

RE: My Phantom voyage - WTree - 05-Mar-2021

(04-Mar-2021, 22:21)ragwo Wrote: Next, sound impressions!

Beautiful views and very entertaining writing.. I would have read the posts just with these two but, with Audio Gadgets theme, this is at a much higher level of funtainement! 

Keep writing and I am sure many more of us are silently acknowledging & appreciating this post !!