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Devialet Phantom Reactor 900 Measurements (now with Spinorama)

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napilopez

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Why are you sending them back then?
They are review units. I write for a tech site, and have had the Reactor's in my backlog for some time now. I include measurements in my reviews, but I tend to post them here first because our site isn't audio-centric, and because it's nice to post them somewhere I know they'll be appreciated, (especially if there aren't other measurements for that particular pair yet). I do my best to interpret the measurements in my reviews, but it's also nice to chat about them with folks who know what they're talking about :).
 
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Soniclife

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Here are the in-room, stereo measurements from the listening position 9 feet away.

Keep in my I didn't take any care for the speaker's positioning when making these measurements, so you can effectively ignore the response above the bass; this is just to show you how the bass response changes as you push the speakers to their max.

The yellow line is the '50' volume level in Devialet's app. The purple line is 100.
View attachment 39269
That's impressive for such small units, loud enough for most people most of the time, without compressing the bottom end.
 
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napilopez

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That's impressive for such small units, loud enough for most people most of the time, without compressing the bottom end.

Yeah, the compression is mostly just under 60hz too. Which, especially considering equal loudness curves means you're still getting ample bass presence for something this size. And for an apartment-dweller like me, going over 80 dB continuous is not going to be fun for my neighbors.

Of course, your mileage will vary if you listen from 20 feet away in a 1000 sqft room and have no neighbors :) .

Outside of audio there are a few problems though. Early on I had a weird issue where one speaker is louder than the other a couple of times and can't seem to find any way to fix it outside of rebooting the speakers, which itself takes a long time. Sometimes music would only play out of one speaker, and I couldn't seem to fix it without a factory reset. Sometimes I'd connect the speaker via Bluetooth and no sound would emerge at all until I repaired the speakers. These issues were rare, but worth noting.

Also the Devialet app is much better than it used to be, but still pretty sparse. Some basic tilt/bass and treble controls might've been nice to adjust the sound for different rooms. But so far I like the Reactors a lot more than I did the original Phantom's, which I thought sounded great but were plagued by a bunch of connectivity issues, bugs, and an even higher price. I don't think there's any other two-speaker solution quite like the Reactors.
 

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Being sorta diy-guy, I must say that cloning Devialet Phantoms is too much asked! They have such enormous bunch of high-tech engineering and know-how packed in a beautiful shell! KiiAudio Three of D&D 8c are much more easily clonable. For diy you can easily put dsp and amps in separate cases and hide wiring in custom stands, which would make commercial products much more difficult to sell.

I used external dsp and amps with my Ainogradients, but in-box Hypex FA123 modules with 1.4 clones. Ease of use was important for me, because all my family uses them daily - so dsp and amps have power on (standby with Hypex) 24/7, just wake up the HT receiver and listen!
 

Frank Dernie

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I did the original Phantom's, which I thought sounded great but were plagued by a bunch of connectivity issues, bugs, and an even higher price.
I can relate to that, I bought a pair f silvers from the first production batch so "enjoyed" plenty of software and firmware shortcomings, though I must say now they are fine and so is the software.
Unfortunately the early ones like mine don't have blutooth built in so can't be updated to the new v2 operating system or app though, again, I use mine on Qobuz and CD with occasional tv too and spark/ OS1 works fine if idiosyncratically for that.
 

Juhazi

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Cabasse Pearl is a wireless active speaker, coaxial 3-way https://www.cabasse.com/en/cabasse_product/the-pearl/

The pole in this picture doesn't hide a subwoofer, actually there is no matching sub availabe despite the bass has quite small radiating surface in Pearls.

THE_PEARL_Cabasse.jpg
 
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napilopez

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I can relate to that, I bought a pair f silvers from the first production batch so "enjoyed" plenty of software and firmware shortcomings, though I must say now they are fine and so is the software.
Unfortunately the early ones like mine don't have blutooth built in so can't be updated to the new v2 operating system or app though, again, I use mine on Qobuz and CD with occasional tv too and spark/ OS1 works fine if idiosyncratically for that.

Yeah, I recall there was some confusion about which devialet's could get which features. I also didn't like that it didn't have an aux jack. The reactor feels a bit more future proof.
 

Soniclife

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Yeah, I recall there was some confusion about which devialet's could get which features. I also didn't like that it didn't have an aux jack. The reactor feels a bit more future proof.
Do they have digital in as well or just line in? The line in does suggest they will be useful if/when they get abandoned.
 
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napilopez

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Do they have digital in as well or just line in? The line in does suggest they will be useful if/when they get abandoned.

It's a combination 3.5mm and Optical jack. The only qualm for longevity is that you can't pair the speakers to one another without devialet's app.

In fact, I think the fact that Devialet didn't launch these as a stereo pair is where the company dropped the ball, considering some lukewarm early subjective reviews.

At launch, stereo wasn't available, and the majority of initial reviews were from people reviewing the speaker in mono. As far as I'm concerned, a mono speaker just cannot compete against a stereo system. Spatial cues add too much to the experience. And then, of course, a single speaker can't play bass as loud as two, so compression sets in earlier. Many reviewers had the weaker 600 Watt model, further limiting output.

Devialet seems to be targetting the 'luxury' mainstream, but I think the company should tweak its marketing approach. Its products lag behind some of the mainstream competition in ease of use and are too expensive to compete with the Sonos, Apple, and Google speaker crowd. On the other hand, its mainstream marketing seems to have led to skepticism from some of the audiophile crowd, and the fact the speakers didn't launch with stereo support made them DoA for the audiophile crowd.

As far as I can tell, the company has a lot to be proud of in the most important measurements, as well as design and apparent build quality. Now it just needs to bring it all together.
 

Soniclife

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It's a combination 3.5mm and Optical jack. The only qualm for longevity is that you can't pair the speakers to one another without devialet's app.
At least with those inputs you could put a preamp in front of them and forget all the rest of the stuff, maybe you wouldn't even need their volume control.
 

oivavoi

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I saw on the Devialet forum that there is a kind of hidden "optical direct" mode, where it's only fed an optical input, and the speaker then can be set to either l or r. One can activate this mode through some kind of process. With an optical splitter they can then be connected in stereo from a single optical output, or they can probably also be used with two chromecast audios as roon endpoints in stereo.

I wonder whether there is a newer version of the gold on the horizon as well? I too wonder about the NRC measurements - that dip around 2 khz does seem very big for a DSP based speaker. I would say that it aligns with my subjective listening impressions of the Golds though, where I've perceived them as somewhat "meaty" on the expense of "airy", if that makes sense. In the review of @mitchco though there is no such dip, in the in-room frequency response he measured: https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/devialet-phantom-gold-loudspeaker-review-r654/

The frequency response is only slightly tilting according to his measurements. What to think? Has Devialet ever commented on the NRC measurements?

EDIT: My main beef with Devialet though is that they refuse to repair the loudspeakers. You can only trade them in for new ones if they get damaged, or hope that your insurance company covers it. I've now seen three Phantoms for sale in Norway which became damaged because of typical home mishaps --- being pushed off the stand at a party, etc. It totally sucks ### that Devialet doesn't want to repair them, even for a fee.
 
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Soniclife

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It totally sucks ### that Devialet doesn't want to repair them, even for a fee.
I wonder if that will remain legal under the incoming right to repair law, feels like it should be illegal now somehow.
34lxkn.jpg
 
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napilopez

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I saw on the Devialet forum that there is a kind of hidden "optical direct" mode, where it's only fed an optical input, and the speaker then can be set to either l or r. One can activate this mode through some kind of process. With an optical splitter they can then be connected in stereo from a single optical output, or they can probably also be used with two chromecast audios as roon endpoints in stereo.

I wonder whether there is a newer version of the gold on the horizon as well? I too wonder about the NRC measurements - that dip around 2 khz does seem very big for a DSP based speaker. I would say that it aligns with my subjective listening impressions of the Golds though, where I've perceived them as somewhat "meaty" on the expense of "airy", if that makes sense. In the review of @mitchco though there is no such dip, in the in-room frequency response he measured: https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/devialet-phantom-gold-loudspeaker-review-r654/

The frequency response is only slightly tilting according to his measurements. What to think? Has Devialet ever commented on the NRC measurements?

Good catch! Had no idea about the optical direct mode.

And yeah, since I hadn't seen such a dip in the few in-room measurements I'd seen, I figured it could also be something that balanced itself out in the power response somehow. But without more data, who knows
 

oivavoi

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I wonder if that will remain legal under the incoming right to repair law, feels like it should be illegal now somehow.

Cool, I didn`t know that the EU had decided on something like that!
Good article here: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49884827

Given that this law will start working from April 2021, that would indicate that it might be worth it to hold off getting a Phantom speaker until then, or at least wait until they make a new model which will in fact be repairable. It seems absolutely clear to me that the current Phantoms would not be legal to sell in the EU under this new law. Which means that they will either have to change the product, if it's indeed unrepairable, or give service providers the tools to repair them, if it could in fact be possible with the current phantoms. Either way, doesn't seem smart longevity-wise to buy a Phantom right now, until we see how Devialet responds to the new law.

EDIT: Doing some more searching I can't see anywhere whether this law will apply to audio electronics or active speakers. So maybe it won't. Fingers crossed!
 
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mitchco

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I wonder whether there is a newer version of the gold on the horizon as well? I too wonder about the NRC measurements - that dip around 2 khz does seem very big for a DSP based speaker. I would say that it aligns with my subjective listening impressions of the Golds though, where I've perceived them as somewhat "meaty" on the expense of "airy", if that makes sense. In the review of @mitchco though there is no such dip, in the in-room frequency response he measured: https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/reviews/devialet-phantom-gold-loudspeaker-review-r654/

The frequency response is only slightly tilting according to his measurements. What to think? Has Devialet ever commented on the NRC measurements?

Here is an in-room measurement (500ms window) about 9ft away from the Phantom Golds in a 31ft x 16 x 8 room:

Devialet Phantom Gold inroom at 9ft.jpg


There is a dip between just over 2 kHz to just over 4 kHz. I have a pretty bright room and I know this area usually gets filled in with the power response as I had the same issue measuring the KEF LS50's in-room at the LP.

I don't know if there have been any updates, but I was a bit disappointed for an active speaker not to be time aligned like the Kii THREE's and D&D 8c's. But the big oversight is not having any PEQ's or even simple tone controls for an active speaker. To my ears, this speaker could have used a little less level on both ends of its frequency response. A little too much level below 60 Hz and a little too much beyond 4.5 kHz. Other than that, it was an enjoyable speaker with nice off-axis response.
 

oivavoi

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Here is an in-room measurement (500ms window) about 9ft away from the Phantom Golds in a 31ft x 16 x 8 room:

View attachment 39337

There is a dip between just over 2 kHz to just over 4 kHz. I have a pretty bright room and I know this area usually gets filled in with the power response as I had the same issue measuring the KEF LS50's in-room at the LP.

I don't know if there have been any updates, but I was a bit disappointed for an active speaker not to be time aligned like the Kii THREE's and D&D 8c's. But the big oversight is not having any PEQ's or even simple tone controls for an active speaker. To my ears, this speaker could have used a little less level on both ends of its frequency response. A little too much level below 60 Hz and a little too much beyond 4.5 kHz. Other than that, it was an enjoyable speaker with nice off-axis response.

Thanks! You're right, the dip is there, I just didn't notice it in your graph.
 

Frank Dernie

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Which means that they will either have to change the product, if it's indeed unrepairable
I believe one can open them but the accesss to the fastners is hidden so maybe repair is possible.
I suspect that the current policy is due to the cost of repair compared to trade in and maybe they will just hire the appropriate technicians once the law changes.
I don'y use mine often because I don't like anything that needs a computer or ipad to control but recently, after hearing the old Telarc "Fanfare for the Common Man" played impressively by the Goldmund DSP active speakers at Epsom I bought the CD and ended up listening to it on speakers and a few pairs of headphones.
The Phantoms had the most accurate sounding bass of them all though my old passive Goldmunds probably sounded best overall.
 
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napilopez

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Had the chance to finish the vertical measurements. Keep in mind that I had to measure this unusually with a lot of repositioning and 'eyeballing' angles with a measuring device; I couldn't just lay the phantom on its side and rotate the turnatable as I could with a box speaker. So it's a bit messy and likely somewhat innaccurate at some angles, but still shows the expected smooth radiation trend - very similar to the horizontal response.

The Reactor has one of the more ideal responses I've seen. Super flat on-axis, and super smooth off axis radiation - both horizontal and vertical. And unlike most coaxials the Reactor has relatively wide dispersion too due to the lack of a waveguide and small, spherical-ish baffle. Couple that with full range, deep bass, and I'm really curious to see how it'd perform in a blind test.

Reactor Vertical Response Full.png
 
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napilopez

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Alright guys, so I think I finally figured out how to get everything I need and manipulate the data presentation to make a quasi-anechoic almost-spinorama! Using the data I have for the Reactor 900, I present my first spin:

Reactor Spinorama.png


Some notes: This is based on 15 degree intervals, but I used vituixcad to simulate the response at 10-degree intervals (the data looks nearly identical either way I process it given the smooth off axis response). Going forward, I'll be using 10-degree measurements. I put the listening Window in white rather than the on-axis because I believe that's the most important individual curve for most standard speakers. I use dark mode because I'm edgy.

I truncated the data below 200Hz for most curves because the gated measurements get wonky, and as always with quasi-anechoic data, the lower you go, the lower the resolution. For the listening window, the nearfield bass response is spliced at 200 Hz and corrected for baffle step. The Reactor's odd shape made it hard to simulate, so there might be some error here, but I do believe that bass bump is genuine given my in-room measurements

I already said everything I think about this speaker's acoustic performance before, but I think the spins make it clearer just how impressive the Reactor's performance is, and its SPL limits should be enough for the majority of people as detailed earlier in the thread. Now if only they could fix the software and add some basic EQ in the app....

Edit: Fixed a small discrepancy in the DI curves.
 
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Krunok

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Alright guys, so I think I finally figured out how to get everything I need and manipulate the data presentation to make a quasi-anechoic almost-spinorama! Using the data I have for the Reactor 900, I present my first spin:

View attachment 45972Some notes: This is based on 15 degree intervals, but I used vituixcad to simulate the response at 10-degree intervals (the data looks nearly identical either way I process it given the smooth off axis response). Going forward, I'll be using 10-degree measurements. I put the listening Window in white rather than the on-axis because I believe that's the most important individual curve for most standard speakers. I use dark mode because I'm edgy.

I truncated the data below 200Hz for most curves because the gated measurements get wonky, and as always with quasi-anechoic data, the lower you go, the lower the resolution.

Nice work!

What gating do you use for 200Hz upwards and what is the distance from mic to the speaker? Do you put speaker in centre of the room on some stand or..?
 
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