In the 15 years of existence, the Parisian audio technology company Devialet has established itself as a supplier of the “slightly unusual”. In fact, it’s not above veering into the realm of “very unusual indeed”.
Just consider its Phantom wireless speaker. It’s packed with innovative technology, that sounds great… but what’s most remarkable is how unique its industrial design is. If you ever find yourself in the market for a wireless speaker that seems to be trying to remember how to fly, Devialet has a product for you.
With the Dione, the company has brought some of its predictable, unpredictable design to one of the most stable and predictable product categories of the lot: the soundbar. With the Dione, Devialet intends to deliver the performance of a Dolby Atmos spatial surround sound system from a single box, albeit, naturally, a soundbar that has received the Devialet design treatment.
On the outside, then, the Dione is a pretty substantial unit (8.8cm high, 120cm wide, 16.5cm deep, so it should accompany an equal-sized TV if it’s not going to have looks a little overgrown. It can be mounted on a shelf or on the wall. If it’s the former, keep in mind that 3.5″ height can be problematic if your TV is low on its feet if it’s the latter, consider the soundbar’s weight of 12kg before deciding to attach it to a plasterboard partition.
Dione’s big visual design feature is the ORB (capitalized by Devialet). The ORB is a dedicated center speaker channel and can be rotated manually depending on the orientation of the soundbar. The Dione is equipped with gyroscopes, so its other speakers understand their responsibilities no matter which direction the soundbar is pointing.
Physically, this ORB appears to be made from a material so super dense that it sinks into the surface of the soundbar itself. In practice, this makes the Dione look both distinctive and unnecessarily larger than it would otherwise be.
As you’d expect with Devialet products, there are quite a few big numbers attached to the Dione. Some 950 watts of power, for example. A total of 17 speakers (nine full-range aluminum cones and eight aluminum low-frequency woofers), arranged to reproduce a Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 spatial surround sound layout. A digital-to-analog converter built into the “Devialet Intelligence” processor that operates at a chunky 24-bit/96kHz resolution. A claimed frequency response of (a super low) 24Hz to (a earwig) 21kHz. A maximum sound level of 101 db at 1 meter (which is, roughly, “motorcycle running” territory).
At the rear of the cabinet, the Dione houses a digital optical input, an Ethernet jack and an HDMI eARC input. The lack of HDMI pass-through is dismal, though to be expected. After all, who’s going to spend so much money on a soundbar without a state-of-the-art TV to go with it? Its wireless connectivity works with dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. And it’s also UPnP compatible if you have content stored on a common LAN.