Although priced well out of our meager budgets, we can’t say we haven’t drooled over Devialet’s audio gear, including the company’s $2,200+ Wireless Phantom 1 speakers that manages to both look good and sound even better. They weren’t completely wireless, however: an issue that Devialet is addressing with its first truly portable, battery-powered speaker. It’s called the Mania, and it has more than just looks going for it.
While the Devialet Phantom 1 looked like a futuristic Star Trek prop, the new Mania looks more like a kettlebell, like you’d find at a gym. The bulging loop atop the speaker’s mostly spherical design (the bottom’s been flattened so it doesn’t roll around) makes it easy to grab and go, but it’s the Mania’s support for both Bluetooth and wifi, as well as a 3,200 mAh rechargeable battery good for about 10 hours of continuous playback, that makes it truly portable.
You can expect shortened battery life with the volume fully cranked, because inside the Mania are actually six separate drivers with four full-range speakers projecting outwards in every corner, plus two “high-excursion” woofers that all work together to create sounds as loud as 95-decibels emanating in all directions.
The ideal placement for the Mania is in the center of a room, but that’s not always an option. Sometimes, it will end up sitting next to a wall, which seems like it would hinder the performance of half of its speakers, but that’s where this smart speaker is especially smart. Every time the speaker is relocated and set down somewhere new, it uses four microphones hidden in the base to perform an “Active Stereo Calibration” that acoustically maps the room and spots large obstacles like walls so that it can “automatically adapt the audio rendering to suit its surroundings.”
According to Devialet, the data from the automatic room mapping is fed into an onboard machine learning model that determines how each of the four full-range speakers need to operate for optimal sound quality. Should the Mania be positioned right up against a wall, the front-facing speakers will function as normal, while the two rear-facing speakers will be limited to pumping out “rich sound enhancement,” so as not to create echos or other unwanted acoustical behaviors based on its location.
The Devialet Mania is compatible with Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, and even functions as a more traditional smart speaker, with Amazon’s Alexa assistant available to respond to voice commands. And for those who intend to use it outside as well, the Mania is rated IPX4 splash-resistant, which means a few drops from someone cannonballing into a pool is okay, but an accidental dunking of the speaker itself would not be.
Officially available starting today, the Devialet Mania comes in one of three finishes. Deep Black and Light Gray will retail for $790 each, while a swankier Opéra de Paris option, featuring certain accent components plated in 24-karat gold, is a bit pricier at $990. The latter option also includes a dock that makes it easier to charge the Mania by simply setting it down, which is an $80 accessory for the Deep Black and Light Gray versions.