Meet the Devialet Dione, a brand new speaker from high-end speaker manufacturer Devialet. With this new product, the company is entering a new market: home cinema sound systems. The Devialet Dione is an all-in-one soundbar compatible with Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 and costs $2,400 (€2,190).
“We are at the top end of the market, but we have a product that is an all-in-one audio system,” Devialet CEO Franck Lebouchard told me. What he means by that is that you should not compare the Dione with an average soundbar.
For example, if you’re trying to find an equivalent device in the Sonos range, Lebouchard says you should compare Devialet’s speaker to 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 achievement is that we have managed to pack everything into one device. It means we had to fit 17 speakers, which is unheard of,” added Lebouchard.
The company set up a test room in its Paris office and I was able to listen to the Devialet Dione through a large TV. We tried the speaker with the first few scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road. We also listened to some music.
And yes, the speaker sounds great. It produces an immersive sound and it feels like you are in a cinema rather than in front of a TV.
This is not a complete review. I’m not an audio professional so I don’t know how the Devialet soundbar sounds compared to today’s top-of-the-line 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 have installed 17 speakers. It’s not quite magical, but if you can put five more speakers in there, you can hear it,” Lebouchard said.
The device itself is a dense soundbar. It weighs 12 kg and is quite tall – 1.2 meters. You should think of such a speaker if you already have a very large 55-inch TV.
In terms of design, it is a bit more discreet than previous Devialet speakers. The signature egg-shaped Devialet design has been replaced by a more traditional polygon with sharp edges and corners.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’s a speaker in that sphere and it spins. For example, if you want to mount the soundbar on the wall, you can turn the sphere so that it is always facing you.
Inside the unit are 17 different speakers: nine full-range drivers and eight rectangular subwoofers. Those subwoofers are 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 a chip that you can find in the company’s flagship products, the Phantom product line. Devialet holds several patents for this particular chip and promises a sound without background noise, without saturation and without distortion.
And if you’re playing a movie that doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, the Devialet Dione can “upscale” the audio signal to 5.1.2 audio. There’s also a live balance feature that lets you hear dialogue.
When it comes to connectivity, connect the Devialet Dione to your TV with an HDMI cable with eARC and CEC support. You can also use the soundbar as a standalone speaker to listen 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 play some music, as you can use Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2.
Not just for audiophiles
The company believes there is a market opportunity with the Devialet Dione as streaming services release blockbuster movies on their services from day one. “We realized it’s a market taking off,” Lebouchard said.
“Our typical customer is someone with a nice 55-inch TV or larger. And they want the sound quality to be just as good as the picture quality. It’s a bit different from the typical Devialet customer, who is someone who listens to music a lot,” he added.
If the company is to achieve its business goals in 12 months, the Devialet Dione must represent 20% of the company’s sales. And every time the startup launches a new product, it can lean on its dense network of retail outlets. There are currently 1,900 Devialet outlets around the world.
While the company has not talked about funding rounds since the Series A in 2015, Devialet has raised a further €70 million in two rounds. The latest financing round was a €50 million round with the company’s existing investors in January 2020.
Devialet today launches the Devialet Dione in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Pre-orders start today for other markets as well.