Disappointed with subpar soundbars, Devialet releases high-end soundbar

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 it costs $2,400 (€2,190).

“We are at the high 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 shouldn’t compare the Dione with an average soundbar.

For instance if you’re trying to find an equivalent device in Sonos’ lineup, Lebouchard says you should compare Devialet’s speaker with the Sonos Arc soundbar paired with two Sonos One speakers and a Sonos Sub. And that package currently costs more than $2,000 as well.

“The tech achievement is that we managed to put everything in a single device. It means that we had to make 17 speakers fit, which is unheard of,” Lebouchard added.

The company set up a testing room in its office in Paris and I could listen to the Devialet Dione with a large TV. We tried the speaker with the first few scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road. We also listened to some music.

And, sure enough, the speaker sounds great. It produces some immersive sound and it feels like you’re sitting in a movie theater rather than in front of a TV.

This isn’t a full review. I’m not an audio professional so I don’t know how the Devialet soundbar sounds like when you compare it with the current 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’ll find 12 speakers. We put 17 speakers. It’s not completely magical, but when you can fit five more speakers in it, you can hear it,” Lebouchard said.

Image Credits: Devialet

The device itself is a dense soundbar. It weighs 12kg and it is quite long — 1.2 meters. You should think about getting a speaker like that if you already have a very large 55-inch TV.

When it comes to design, it is a bit more discreet than previous Devialet speakers. The signature egg-shaped Devialet design has been replaced with a more traditional polygon with sharp edges and corners.

The only thing that stands out is a tiny sphere at the center of the device. There’s a speaker inside that sphere and it pivots. This way, if you want to fix the soundbar to the wall, you can rotate the sphere so that it’s always facing you.

Inside the device, there are 17 different speakers — nine full-range drivers and eight rectangle subwoofers. Those subwoofers have been designed to fit the specifications of a soundbar. Again, what makes the Devialet Dione stand 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 has multiple patents for this specific chip and promises a sound with zero background noise, zero saturation and zero distorsion.

And if you’re playing a movie that doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, the Devialet Dione can “upscale” the sound signal to 5.1.2 audio. There’s also a live balance feature that helps you hear dialogues.

When it comes to connectivity, you plug the Devialet Dione to your TV using an HDMI cable with support for eARC and CEC. You can also use the soundbar as a standalone speaker to listen to music.

The Devialet Dione connects to your local network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and uses the same Devialet app. You don’t necessarily have to use the app to play some music as you can use Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2.

Image Credits: Devialet

Not just for audiophiles

The company thinks there’s a market opportunity with the Devialet Dione as streaming services release blockbuster movies on their services from day one. “We realized that it’s a market that is taking off,” Lebouchard said.

“Our typical client is someone who has a beautiful 55-inch TV or bigger. And they want sound quality to be as good as image quality. It’s a bit different from the typical Devialet client, who is someone who listens to a lot of music,” he added.

In 12 months, if the company wants to reach its business goals, the Devialet Dione should represent 20% of the company’s revenue. And every time the startup launches a new product, it can lean on its dense network of points of sale. There are currently 1,900 Devialet points of sale around the world.

While the company has stopped talking about funding rounds since its Series A in 2015, Devialet has raised another €70 million across two rounds. The last funding round was a €50 million round with the company’s existing investors in January 2020.

Devialet is launching the Devialet Dione today in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Pre-orders also start today for other markets.