Devialet Dione Soundbar Review: Premium Sound, Few Controls

In the 15 years of its existence, Parisian audio technology company Devialet has established itself as a purveyor of the “slightly unusual.” In fact, it’s not above veering into the realm of the “very unusual indeed.”

Just consider its Phantom wireless loudspeaker. It’s packed with innovative technologies, it sounds great… but what’s most notable is just how singular its industrial design is. If you ever find yourself in the market for a wireless speaker that looks as if it’s trying to remember how to fly, Devialet has a product for you.

With the Dione, the company has brought some of its predictably unpredictable design to bear on one of the most staid 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 audio system from a single enclosure — although, naturally, a soundbar that’s had the Devialet design treatment.

On the outside, then, the Dione is a fairly substantial unit (8.8 cm high, 120 cm wide, 16.5 cm deep, so it needs to accompany an equally sizable television if it’s not going to look a bit overgrown. It can be mounted on a shelf or on the wall. If it’s the former, bear in mind that height of 8.8 cm may be problematic if your TV sits low on its feet; if it’s the latter, consider the soundbar’s 12-kg weight before you decide to attach it to a plasterboard partition wall.

The Dione’s big visual design feature is the ORB (the capitalization of which is all Devialet’s idea). The ORB is a dedicated center speaker channel, and can be manually rotated in accordance with the soundbar’s orientation — the Dione is fitted with gyroscopes, so its other speaker drivers understand their responsibilities no matter which way the soundbar is facing.

Physically, this ORB looks as if it’s made from such a superdense material that it’s sinking into the surface of the soundbar itself. In practice, it makes the Dione look both distinctive and unhelpfully taller than it otherwise would be.

Prodigious Power

Photograph: Devialet

As is predictable 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 speaker drivers (nine full-range aluminum cones and eight aluminum low-frequency woofers), arranged to replicate a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos spatial surround-sound layout. A digital-to-analog converter embedded in the “Devialet Intelligence” processor that operates at a chunky 24-bit / 96-kHz resolution. A claimed frequency response of (a super-low) 24 Hz to (an ear-piercing) 21 kHz. A maximum sound level of 101 db at 1 meter (which is, roughly, ‘revving motorcycle’ territory).

At the back of the cabinet, the Dione houses a digital optical input, Ethernet socket, and eARC HDMI input. The lack of HDMI pass-through is lamentable, although predictable — after all, who’s about to spend this sort of money on a soundbar without an up-to-the-minute TV to go with it? Its wireless connectivity runs to 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 local network.

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