Devialet today unveils the Phantom Reactor, an elegant, ultra-compact Bluetooth speaker that packs in the same award-winning tech as used in the original Devialet Phantom despite being just one quarter the size.
The culmination of three years of R&D, the Phantom Reactor is the first ultra-personal speaker from the French audio specialist and the great news is that it's way more affordable than its previous Phantom speakers, being clearly positioned to compete with the Naim Mu-so.
It also looks like something out of a Luc Besson sci-fi film, so that's a plus.
Devialet Phantom Reactor release date and price
The Devialet Phantom Reactor is available for pre-order as of October 10, with prices starting from £990. The speaker will be available from Devialet's own network of shops, from Selfridges, Harrods, John Lewis online and Amazon, with in-store availability announced in the coming weeks.
This is not the French premium brand's first foray into (relatively) affordable territory – it was also behind Sky's excellent, own-branded Soundbox audio gizmo.
Devialet Phantom Reactor audio quality and features
Devialet’s new speaker comes in two identical-looking models: the Phantom Reactor 600 (600W, 95 dB SPL) and the Phantom Reactor 900 (900W, 98 dB SPL). The latter is the only ultra-compact loudspeaker with a max volume of 98 decibels, which, we are informed, is 'as loud as a symphony orchestra at full force,' yet is light enough at 10lbs to be carried easily from room to room in your home.
As with all Devialet speakers, it's designed to reproduce sound exactly 'as the artist intended', with no distortion, saturation or background noise. Not that other speaker brands exactly go out of their way to deliberately add lots of distortion, saturation and noise, so it sounds nothing like what the artist intended.
It's a multi-room-capable, portable (though mains rather than battery powered), and offers Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay at launch, with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and the ability to group two Reactors as a stereo pair to follow later via a free software update.
For even simpler connectivity there's also Bluetooth, with support for Apple's AAC codec for improved audio from iPhones. Interestingly the Android equivalent, the more commonly used apt-X is not supported. Scroll to the bottom for a fuller connectivity and compatibility list.
Despite being significantly smaller – the speaker is just 219mm long – Devialet’s full suite of award-winning tech is present in the three-litre Phantom Reactor: Speaker Active Matching, Cospherical Active Engine, Heart Bass Implosion, and Active Digital Hybrid, all working in tandem to deliver Devialet’s pure sound.
This was not easy to achieve, naturellement, and involved a huge collaboration between Devialet’s engineering and design teams. Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel, Devialet’s Co-founder and CTO explains: “One of the main challenges was squeezing all of that tech into the product without any compromise in sound quality and performance.
“We were not able to just reproduce the solution used in the original Phantom, so we had to design new transducers and a third generation chipset… With Reactor we are breaking many barriers: size, price, portability.”
Precision engineered down to the last millimetre, the Phantom Reactor sports a smooth, spherical design that houses two 'push-push' woofers and one full-range speaker. Playback happens via the companion app, or by an exciting new method called 'pressing the controls on top of the speaker' – the Reactor is actually the first Phantom with buttons.
Speaking to T3, Franck Lebouchard, Devialet’s CEO, said: “The Phantom Reactor is a key step towards our ultimate goal, which is for millions of people to have this pure Devialet sound. To reach that goal we need to get our sound into smaller and more affordable devices. The Reactor is the next step towards everyone having an affordable, incredible-sounding audio device at home.”
Emmanuel Nardin, Co-founder and Product and Design Director, adds: “The whole concept behind the Reactor’s size is that it belongs to you and your home—it can go anywhere and won’t be intrusive. It’s the most personal Devialet product so far.”
Devialet Phantom Reactor basic spec
Connectivity AC Wi-Fi dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, CPL Homeplug AV2, 3.5mm analogue audio in, mini optical digital input
Playback options AirPlay, UPnP Renderer, Bluetooth: A2DP and AVRCP profiles, AAC, SBC audio codecs, Spotify Connect
Audio formats supported HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 kbit/s), WMA (16 bit), MP3 (16 to 320 kbit/s), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, Vorbis and Opus
Check out T3’s on sale 26 October issue to read our exclusive Phantom Reactor feature, taking you behind the scenes of how Devialet designed its new ultra-compact speaker.