Review: Phantom speaker is worth every penny

Amazing $2,000 speaker is worth every penny


Looks, power, and ease of use - what more do you need?
Looks, power, and ease of use - what more do you need?
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Best List: Phantom speaker by Devialet

A whispered conversation in a library is about 30 decibels. A normally loud chat comes in at around 65 decibels. A jackhammer at 50 feet is 95 decibels, and also the loudness at which our ears can get damaged with prolonged exposure.

The Phantom speaker I’ve been using as my main television and Bluetooth speaker for the last couple of weeks tops out at 99 decibels. This sucker gets loud, without any distortion, real quick. It’s easy to use, looks amazing in any room, and will change your experience of music and movies from the moment you turn it on.

While it looks like something out of the future depicted in a Kubrick film, has an ungainly outdoor-style power cable, and is heavier than you’d think, the Phantom is simply the best home speaker I’ve ever encountered.

For two grand, it had better be.

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Packing those 100 decibels into such a small container took all the latest tech possible, including an enormous amount of pressure hermetically sealed inside to make the two unique lateral domes (or woofers) on either side of the speaker move as much air as possible without actually having to move too far.

Connected to my HDTV via an optical cable, the 750-watt Phantom reproduced explosions and booming sound effects with a lush, physical presence. Movies and television shows are suddenly much more immersive than ever before. Hooking up to the Phantom with Bluetooth from my iPhone, Apple Music is tangibly improved over even the best headphones I have around the house.

The Phantom speaker, even in the singular configuration, blows away any home theater setup I’ve seen. You can connect up to 24 Phantoms with a Devialet hub to play music all over your house, but when two will run you $4,309, I can’t imagine anyone owning 24 of them.

That’s the thing, though: These Phantoms are the future. Once the unit I reviewed turned on, I wanted no other speakers in the house. It’s very hard to contemplate returning this one, let alone never hearing the audio clarity, bass response and almost-touchable sound of any sound source again.

There’s also a 3,000-watt version, called Phantom Silver, that will get as loud as 105 decibels. One of those costs $2,390. If it sounds even a fraction better than the Phantom I played with, I bet it’s utterly worth it.

Whether you’re looking to outfit your TV with a conversation-piece speaker that will blast you out of your chair without any sound degradation or you need to slam some tunes through the air wherever you work, the Phantom by Devialet is the best choice you can make for the money.

I’m spoiled by my time with the Phantom; be sure to check this one out when it comes to an Apple Store near you.

Buy from: Amazon, Devialet

Cult of Mac’s Best List is a roundup of products that make us want to kick out the jams. Read more Best List mini reviews.


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