The audiophile speaker market is a relatively staid business, especially when compared to its complementary electronics counterpart, think of the succession of AV receivers, turntables, cassette recorders, and DVD and Blu-ray players that have paraded by. This is a business that continues to be dominated by Klipsch Audio Technologies, from Hope, Ark., whose founder, Paul Klipsch, received a patent for its Klipschorn loudspeaker in 1946.
Devialet aims to shake up the status quo. What sets the ascent of Devialet apart is its modus operandi, which, we believe, merits an Ubercool Innovation award:
- Patents – Devialet has been awarded 77 patents and 37 sound and design awards since its first line of amplifiers launched in 2010. That expertise benefited the Phantom, a self-contained amplifier and speaker.
- Venture capital – To develop groundbreaking technology you need a Silicon Valley approach. Devialet landed a $106 million Series C round in December, from investors like Foxconn, Jay Z, Andy Rubin’s Playground and others. This after Devialet scored a $20 million Series B round in June 2015, from backers including LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, following a $19 million Series A round in 2012.
- Phantom – After 10 years of research, Devialet launched the Phantom, a 23-pound, 10x10x13-inch spherical, all-in-one amplifier and speaker that delivers what some believe may be the best sound in the world at $2,000 for the 750-watt, 99-dB Phantom or $2,400 for the 3,000-watt, 105-dB Silver Phantom.
The critics are raving and Apple is now selling the Phantom in 14 U.S. Apple Stores. But be prepared to spend big, because you need two Silver Phantoms (why bother with 750 watts when $400 buys you 3,000?!?), plus a Dialog box ($330) to tie it all together. For $5,110 you too can say “J’adore duv’-ē-a-lay.”