Devialet Dione: abyssal bass from an Atmos soundbar

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The first soundbar from French connected speaker specialist Devialet is the Devialet Dione, a 5.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos compatible model capable of creating a particularly immersive 3D sound. Like the brand’s speakers, the Devialet Dione combines a futuristic and innovative design with a colossal total amplification power of 950 watts RMS. One of the strengths of this Devialet soundbar is its eight built-in woofers, which promise very deep bass without any additional equipment. Lastly, the HDMI eARC and optical inputs are paired with the streaming features of Devialet’s speakers to enjoy music via AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, UPnP and many compatible music services. Available for €2,100, can the Devialet Dione soundbar compete with the market leaders and more specifically with its main competitor, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar?

Devialet’s first soundbar, the Devialet Dione, promises ultra powerful bass and immersive sound thanks to 17 drivers combined with a total amplification power of 950 watts RMS.

Devialet Dione: packaging & accessories

The Devialet Dione Atmos soundbar is delivered in a very long recycled cardboard box and comes with a quick start guide and three cables: an HDMI cable, an Audioquest Forest Toslink-jack optical cable and a power cable. However, there isn’t a remote control as the Devialet Dione soundbar is meant to be controlled using the associated TV’s remote control via the CEC protocol, the Devialet mobile app or the control interface on the top of the bar.

The Devialet Dione soundbar comes with a quick start guide and three cables, including an HDMI cable and an Audioquest Forest optical cable.

Devialet Dione: presentation

Design 

The Devialet Dione soundbar is rather imposing. At 1.2m long, it is best suited to large TVs measuring 55” (139cm) or more. With a thickness of up to 88mm at the central sphere (77mm for the rest of the bar), the Devialet Dione is relatively tall and risks blocking the bottom of the screen when placed in front of a new generation television with no borders and a low base. Its depth of 16.5cm is also more significant than that of many competing models, hence the need for a sufficiently deep TV stand or AV cabinet. It is easier to install the Devialet Dione soundbar on a dedicated piece of furniture, when the television is wall-mounted or placed on a base. Conveniently, this next-gen soundbar can also be wall-mounted thanks to two included brackets to be fitted on the back of the soundbar. The screws are not included and will depend on the support on which the soundbar is mounted: 50mm screws with 52mm plugs for breeze block and concrete, 50mm M5 screws and 50mm plugs for plasterboard, and 50mm screws without plugs for solid wood. The latter will be able to support the 12kg of this Devialet soundbar.

At 1.2m long, 16.5cm deep and 88mm high at the central sphere, the Devialet Dione has a large enclosure to optimize bass reproduction.

Devialet’s heritage is reflected in a bold, avant-garde design. The front, sides and back of the Devialet Dione are completely covered with a gray acoustic fabric. In the center of the soundbar, an elegant sphere with a honeycombed external structure is housed in a recess. The two long-throw drivers that adorn the sides of this sphere evoke the brand’s Devialet Phantom I and Devialet Phantom II speakers.

At its center, the Devialet Dione features a 7cm sphere that reproduces voices.

At both ends of the Devialet Dione soundbar’s top panel is a gray acoustic fabric, identical to that used on the other sides of the device. Hidden behind the fabric are drivers dedicated to reproducing Atmos effects. The ABS chassis is left visible in between these two grilles. The chassis is matte, thus limiting any light pollution. Finally, a touch-sensitive interface is located on the top panel, allowing you to start playback, adjust the volume, activate the calibration microphone and select the source.

The top panel of the Devialet Dione soundbar has a matte finish that is perfect for reducing light reflections.

Acoustic design

Inside its futuristic silhouette, the Devialet Dione soundbar incorporates 17 drivers to deliver Dolby Atmos spatial sound over 5.1.2 channels. The drivers are distributed throughout the bar, including on the top panel to reproduce vertical effects by reflection off the ceiling. 8 of the 17 drivers are exclusively dedicated to reproducing low frequencies. The Devialet Dione generates deep lows that can reach an announced 24Hz. This feat partly explains the imposing size of this Devialet soundbar, whose load volume maximizes the power of the bass. To optimize the experience, the different drivers are organized according to Devialet’s Advanced Dimensional Experience (ADE) principle. This approach combines innovative driver placement with digital signal processing (DSP) to improve spatialization.

The Devialet Dione soundbar features 17 drivers, some of which are installed on the top panel to reproduce Atmos effects.

The central sphere, named the Devialet ORB, is an achievement by the French manufacturer. Its placement in the center of a flared recess maximizes the dispersion of the center channel, for a perfect perception of voices. Even better, this small 7cm ball can rotate 360 degrees. This allows the center channel to adapt mechanically and acoustically to the position of the soundbar: vertically mounted on the wall, or placed horizontally on a piece of furniture. When the soundbar is wall-mounted, the drivers situated on the top panel provide part of the reproduction of the front channels. For this purpose, the Devialet Dione soundbar is able to automatically detect its position using a gyroscopic sensor. It can also activate a vertical mode when the central sphere is turned. It is also possible to manually select the horizontal or vertical mode in the mobile app.

The central sphere can be rotated to ensure an optimal reproduction of the center channel when the Devialet Dione soundbar is placed horizontally on a piece of furniture or vertically mounted on a wall.

To ensure the different drivers are optimally powered, the Dione combines Devialet’s amplification and DSP technologies. In particular, it benefits from the ADH amplification found on the brand’s hi-fi amplifiers: Devialet Expert 140 Pro, Devialet Expert 220 Pro, Devialet Expert 440 Pro Dual, Devialet 250 Pro and Devialet Expert 1000 Pro Dual. It combines the smoothness of class A amplification with the power and compactness of class D digital amplification. This amplification works in tandem with SAM technology, which establishes a profile for each driver according to its excursion, deformation, air displacement, speed and acceleration. The compiled data produces a full physical behavioral model that allows the drivers to be used at higher volumes while being protected from overloads. This profusion of technology allows the Devialet Dione soundbar to boast a colossal 950 watts RMS and a high sound pressure level of 101 dB, while maintaining perfect control of each driver to eliminate any distortion.

The Devialet Dione soundbar features ADH amplification capable of delivering up to 950 watts RMS to optimally power all the drivers.

As usual, Devialet optimizes the performances of the Devialet Dione soundbar with numerous DSP processors and proprietary technologies. It uses exclusive Space technology that upscales any audio signal to effectively distribute sound across 5.1.2 channels and ensure an enveloping listening experience with all audio content. The Devialet Dione also benefits from the AVL system, which performs dynamic equalization in real time to harmonize volume levels and therefore allow an optimal perception of each detail. As a result, dialogue and whispers are always clearly heard, even during action scenes at high volume.

Connectors

To enjoy Dolby Atmos streams, the Devialet Dione soundbar is equipped with an HDMI eARC/ARC port. The latter makes it easy to connect a compatible TV to retrieve the soundtrack of the program being watched from any source connected to the TV or VOD service. The Devialet Dione soundbar’s 24-bit/96kHz processor supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and PCM tracks. Like many competing models, the Devialet Dione unfortunately can’t play DTS streams. To enjoy these programs, you must convert them into Dolby Digital or PCM via the TV settings. Lastly, an optical digital input is also available to connect a TV that is not HDMI ARC compatible. This second connection mode does not, however, allow you to retrieve Atmos tracks. But Devialet Space technology guarantees an equally immersive listening experience by upscaling to 5.1.2 channels.

The Devialet Dione soundbar can be easily connected to a TV via an HDMI eARC/ARC or optical connection.

Controls

The Devialet Dione soundbar features a touch sensitive control interface that allows you to adjust the volume, select the source, begin playback and activate the calibration microphone. For more ease of use, the volume can also be controlled using the remote control of the TV connected via HDMI eARC/ARC. To do so, you simply have to go into the TV settings to activate the CEC protocol. However, depending on the connected TV, the Devialet Dione soundbar does not automatically switch on or off. It is sometimes necessary to force its activation from the control interface or mobile app. A pretty inconvenient issue. Fortunately, only one TV out of the four models used for this test encountered this problem. Moreover, a simple update from Devialet could solve this incompatibility.

The Devialet Dione soundbar incorporates a touch sensitive control interface to adjust the volume, select the source, start playback and activate the calibration mic.

For greater control, the Devialet Dione bar uses the Devialet mobile app for Android and iOS. From the latter, it is possible to perform an acoustic calibration to optimize the reproduction for the room. It is also possible to activate the three DSP modes: cinema, music and voice. The cinema mode provides an immersive sound over 5.1.2 channels from a stereo or 5.1 track. The music mode ensures stereo distribution, while the voice mode enhances dialogue for talk shows and news programs.

Streaming and multi-room

The Devialet Dione works using the DOS2 ecosystem common to all Devialet equipment. Thanks to this, the Devialet Dione benefits from the same network features as the brand’s connected speakers. It can receive music via AiPlay 2 and play tracks via UPnP from Audirvana, but it can also access the Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal and Spotify streaming services as well as countless web radios. The Devialet Dione can also receive music wirelessly via Bluetooth and can be added to a multi-room system featuring AirPlay 2 compatible devices.

Devialet Dione: key specifications

  • 5.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos
  • 17 drivers, including 8 for bass
  • Central sphere can be rotated according to the placement of the bar
  • Dynamic equalizer and 5.1.2 channel upscaling
  • Bluetooth, WiFi and Ethernet
  • AirPlay 2 and streaming 
  • Auto calibration with integrated microphone
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 1200 x 77 (88 with the sphere) x 165mm

Devialet Dione: configuration

Once connected to the television via HDMI eARC or optical, the Devialet Dione soundbar can be easily configured in the Devialet mobile app. The bar is immediately detected in the latter. Setup only takes a few seconds after indicating the room in which the soundbar is installed, connecting to the WiFi network and indicating the soundbar’s position: horizontal (on a piece of furniture) or vertical (wall mounted).

The configuration of the Devialet Dione soundbar is done in a few quick steps from the Devialet mobile application.

It is also possible to perform an acoustic calibration. To do so, the Devialet Diane soundbar emits a series of very loud sounds to measure the reverberation in the room using its integrated microphone. Using these measurements, it adapts the reproduction to always offer the best possible experience.

The Devialet Dione soundbar incorporates a microphone to perform an acoustic calibration to optimize the reproduction according to the listening room.

Devialet Dione: listening impressions

The Devialet Dione soundbar impressed us with its ability to produce powerful and energetic lows without help from another device. The bass hit hard, with real physical impact. It was very deep and brought credibility to the action scenes. In the battle scene of the movie Avatar, the explosions were reproduced with authority and could be felt in our chest. The roar of the machines resonated naturally in the room, while the footsteps of the bipedal robot piloted by Colonel Miles Quaritch hit the ground with amazing power. It really felt as if there was a subwoofer in the room. The strength of the Devialet Dione lies in its ability to provide true physical bass in an all-in-one device. It does a much better job than some competing bars that come with an external subwoofer. 

The Devialet Dione soundbar demonstrated great analytical abilities. It effectively managed to extract the slightest details from the soundtracks. The dynamic equalization provided by the AVL system effectively enhanced the smallest details so that they were not muffled when the soundtrack was at its peak. With the movie 6 Underground, the car chase through the streets of Florence was incredibly realistic. We felt the slightest roar of the engines, accompanied by the shrill screeching of the tires on the asphalt and cobblestones of the roads. The rattling of machine guns resonated. All the elements were unleashed, with several incredibly powerful explosions. Even in the midst of this commotion, the dialogues were still perceptible, clear and tangible. The same goes for every detail. We could hear everything during the surgery in the car, even the drops of blood. No element escaped the Devialet Dione.

The central sphere of the Devialet Dione soundbar ensured an optimal reproduction of dialogues, which were always clear.

Still with the movie Underground 6, the Devialet Dione soundbar impressed us with its ability to deliver a sound that spread out far beyond the limits of the TV screen. The various channels were distinct in the frontal soundstage. The sphere ensured that vocals were always perfectly centered, just like a center speaker in a conventional home theater system. The lateral effects were nicely reproduced, without really seeming as if they were coming from the edges of the room. They were located to the sides of the TV. The Atmos channels were a little more timid and required us to turn the volume up to enjoy a more vertical soundstage. However, the Devialet Dione managed a real feat by ensuring a credible surround sound simulation. Surround effects are the trickiest to reproduce with a single piece of equipment, but the Devialet Dione did it particularly well. Some effects were so well spatialized that it was as if there were speakers right behind our ears. 

With music, the Devialet Dione soundbar benefitted from its stereo mode to offer a more natural reproduction. As with the films, the bass was deep and robust. It brought substance and texture to the sound. Vocals were reproduced with clarity and a beautiful articulation. However, the Devialet Dione was somewhat timid in the midrange, with a V-shaped response curve. Despite this, the sound remained very pleasant, energetic and very well rythmed.

 

When listening to music, the Devialet Dione soundbar offered a lively sound, with deep and energetic bass.

Devialet Dione: compared to…

Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar: the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar is a high-end model with 5.1.4 channels. It has the advantage of supporting all audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, unlike the Devialet Dione which is limited to Dolby formats. Like the Devialet soundbar, the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar features an acoustic calibration system. However, it is even more advanced. The use of an external microphone in combination with equalization software ensures an even more precise adjustment. The Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar offers an even more enveloping sound, with a wider soundstage and more realistic Atmos effects. Both vertical and horizontal effects move very effectively. The bass is also very powerful and generous, but cannot compete with the prowess of the Devialet Dione, which offers better articulation at high volume. It also reproduces the infra-bass more effectively. In terms of design, although the Devialet Dione is quite imposing, it is almost half the height of the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar, making it easier to use in front of a TV. Finally, the Devialet bar is also more versatile thanks to the different streaming options offered by the French manufacturer. 

Because the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar is even taller, it must be used with a TV that is wall-mounted or placed on a stand so as not to cover the bottom of the screen.

Devialet Dione: who is it for?

Because of its size, the Devialet Dione soundbar is designed to be used with large televisions measuring 55” or more. Ideally, it should be placed on a relatively wide AV cabinet or on the wall using the included brackets. Thanks to its eight woofers, the Devialet Dione soundbar is perfect for enjoying powerful, deep and very realistic bass, without having to use a separate subwoofer. Its biggest advantage is its ability to produce immersive and powerful sound without any additional equipment. Lastly, by offering many of the same streaming options as the brand’s speakers, the Devialet Dione is also an excellent alternative for listening to music. It is effective as both a soundbar and a connected speaker.

The Devialet Dione soundbar is ideal for enjoying powerful, deep and very realistic lows without a separate subwoofer.

Devialet Dione: conclusion 

For its first soundbar, the French manufacturer has produced a very powerful model that rivals the market leaders. One can be critical of its rather imposing format, but it enables the soundbar to produce abyssal and powerful lows that are more realistic than those delivered by any other soundbar on the market. The real tour de force of the Devialet Dione lies in its ability to add a physical dimension to the sound, to surprise the viewer and to immerse them in the heart of the action. Atmos effects may seem timid at low volume, but the surround channels effectively fill in the soundstage so that the sound remains immersive. This French soundbar also impresses with its ability to capture every sound element so that no detail is missed by the viewer. Finally, the Devialet Dione excels with its streaming options, which are borrowed from the brand’s connected speakers.

We liked:

  • Not having to use a subwoofer
  • Its ability to reveal every detail
  • The effective surround sound effects
  • The rotating central sphere

We would have liked:

  • A more compact format (at the expense of the bass?)
  • More pronounced Atmos effects

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