Devialet D-Premier D/A integrated amplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12/Lingo turntable, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B phono cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini laptop running OS10.7, iTunes 10, Pure Music 1.86; Shuttle PC with Lynx AES16 soundcard & dual-core AMD Athlon processor running Windows 7, Foobar 2000, Adobe Audition 3.0; Halide, Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 4 USB-S/PDIF converters; dCS Debussy D/A converter; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Liberty B2B-1 phono preamplifier, Classé CP-800 D/A preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CT-M600, Lamm M1.2 Reference (both monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: BBC LS3/5a, DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96, KEF LS50, Sony SS-AR2, Vandersteen Treo.
Cables: Digital: DH Labs Silver Sonic. AES/EBU: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB. FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild. Speaker: Cardas Clear. AC: XLO Reference 3, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, APC S-15 AC line conditioners (computers, hard drive); ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

COMPANY INFO
Devialet SAS
US distributor: Audio Plus Services
156 Lawrence Paquette Industrial Drive
Champlain, NY 12919
(800) 663-9352
ARTICLE CONTENTS
Share | |
COMMENTS
mphatic1's picture

John,

 

In your opinion, how does the Devialet's pre-amp/DAC section stack up against the Classe CP-800?  I ask this because they both appear to be cut from the same cloth so to speak; beautifully styled, apparent 18 bit resolution, switching amp/power supply, highly configurable, and relatively future proof.  And, when you start to add power amps to the CP-800, you get up around Devialet money anyway.

 

Regards,

Brad

JadenKrosis's picture

"the most extraordinary product I have reviewed for Stereophile."

Considering the very long list of other very extraordinary products you`ve had your hands on, this says alot!

rumnyc's picture

but in the end went with a slightly more conventional setup.

for exactly the same price as a D-Premier, I went with a Linn Akurate DSM and Mcintosh MC452 amp. I couldn't compare them back to back but I like the below features from the Linn:

4 HDMI input instead of 1 (yes I could have used an outboard HDMI switcher).

Ethernet input and DLNA server compatible (AIR feature was not yet released)

And the Mcintosh had way more headroom than the D Premier's amp.

My speakers are B&W 802 Diamond.

stgomes's picture

 

After some very good 1st impressions on sound quality driving "conventional" speakers (impedance curve not bellow 2-3 Ohm) I was curious to audition the D-Premier with my Martin Logan Summit X speakers. Sound quality is very good, until I pumped up the volume. At about 85db, the protection LED on the front panel starts blinking and the amp starts to mute.

I have reported this problem to Devialet and they say it should not happen, but my dealer had the same experience with other D-Premier units driving other Martin Logan models (Montis, Spire, CLX).

My guess is that this amp technology is simply not designed to drive impedance loads like the ones present in Martin Logan speakers, which drop bellow 1 Ohm in the high frequencies.

Looking forward to your comments.

John Atkinson's picture

Quote:
My guess is that this amp technology is simply not designed to drive impedance loads like the ones present in Martin Logan speakers, which drop bellow 1 Ohm in the high frequencies.

That's what I expect, too.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

BradleyP's picture

Notice that with the new SAM technology, two Martin Logan speakers have been matched to the Devialet--the Theos and the Electromotion. Now, I am wondering about Maggies. If Devialet can both drive and tame those big bass panels, then that would be even more amazing.

jlesnick's picture

Hey John.

Thanks for this great review. How do you feel the Devialet (and its new iteration) would stack up to a Pass X250.5/Classe Cp-800 combo?

Cheers,

Jon

John Atkinson's picture
jlesnicj wrote:
Thanks for this great review.

You're welcome.

jlesnicj wrote:
How do you feel the Devialet (and its new iteration) would stack up to a Pass X250.5/Classe Cp-800 combo?

I haven't heard the XA20.5 but the Pass XA60.5s have been my go-to amplifiers for the past year. The beauty of the Devialet is that it is just one box, with a digital section up there with the Classe. A review of one of the less-expensive Devialets is in progress.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

bapcha's picture

JA/Other reviewers:

You guys are a prime example of promoters of peddlers of snake oil. If an Airport (Mac) or a Ayre CD player feeds data to a D/A you claim to hear a difference. How can you - when the data is exactly the same?

Let's take Boulder - I like the look of their products, but how would a volume knob - polished seven times and clear-coated - improve sound quality? It is a bloody waste of money.

Cheers,
Bapcha (yes, I am a marketer who can see through your ____)

John Atkinson's picture
bapcha wrote:
You guys are a prime example of promoters of peddlers of snake oil.

Good morning to you, too.

bapcha wrote:
If an Airport (Mac) or a Ayre CD player feeds data to a D/A you claim to hear a difference. How can you - when the data is exactly the same?

Yes, the data may be the same, but the timing of when those data are presented to the D/A chip is also important. Variations in that timing are called "jitter" and result in distortion in the reconstructed analog signal. The right data at the wrong time is equivalent to the wrong data. There are several articles on this subject reprinted in our free on-line archives.

bapcha wrote:
Let's take Boulder - I like the look of their products, but how would a volume knob - polished seven times and clear-coated - improve sound quality?

No-one has said that it does.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

bapcha's picture

I will keep the conversation very respectful. I am a chip designer with ten plus years designing analog and digital chips and, and ten more marketing them and SSDs. Four issued patents (primary author). Most chips now have PLLs. After it locks, it does not matter if the jitter is 5 pico seconds or 50 pico seconds, the data can be PERFECTLY reconstructed (or the designer will lose his job, and chip cannot be sold).

You claim to hear differences in jitter between 5ps and 50ps - when the data is PERFECTLY reconstructed post-jitter.

YES - you can hear a difference in ANALOG products. If a DAC has a DIFFERENT analog output, it will sound different from a cheaper one with a not so well designed output.

Also, FYI, it is easier to match currents on chips without trying too hard (it is called a common-centroid layout where transistors are laid our perfectly symmetrically (x and y axes). It is not too hard to make chip-based output stages that sound better than discrete (but it is cost-prohibitive). I own Bryston/Ayre stuff with properly designed circuits, and sincerely believe it is impossible to do better (note the word impossible).

I have collected serial data from a $10K Boulder DAC and a $1000 Bryston Dac. I gave up after 10 GigaBytes. The data was exactly the same. So, 24x oversampling = 4x oversampling = 2x oversampling (I know that you know the Nyquist-Shannon theorem). It is a fool's game after one gets past the Bryston/Ayre A* (not the K*) price point.

Word length matters. Sampling rate does not. If it does, then I have a TV that shows pictures in X-ray.

Even James Tanner of Bryston has admitted that the differences between their BP10/17/26/SP3/SP2 analog stages are identical or have minuscule (inaudible) differences.

Bottom-line: Looks like I am half way agreeing with you and half-way disagreeing with you.

Sincerely yours,
Bapcha

John Atkinson's picture
bapcha wrote:
I am a chip designer with ten plus years designing analog and digital chips and, and ten more marketing them and SSDs. Four issued patents (primary author). Most chips now have PLLs. After it locks, it does not matter if the jitter is 5 pico seconds or 50 pico seconds, the data can be PERFECTLY reconstructed (or the designer will lose his job, and chip cannot be sold).

An impressive resume. So with respect, I am puzzled that when you refer to phase-locked loops (PLLs), you don't seem aware that a PLL circuit has a corner frequency, below which it increasingly fails to eliminate jitter in the incoming datastream. You can see the effects of this problem in the various digital products that I test for for Stereophile. Some are very effective at eliminating the effects of datastream jitter; others are wide-open to timing variations in the data presented to the DAC.

bapcha wrote:
You claim to hear differences in jitter between 5ps and 50ps . . .

We have made no such claim, any more than we have claimed, as you accused us in your earlier comment, that the finish of the volume control on a Boulder preamplifier affects sound quality.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

bapcha's picture

Thanks for your kind and timely responses.

Bottom-line: JA - we all have our biases. Bottom-line is the you run the best publication for reviews of music reproduction electronics. Today, a Cisco router can transmit ALL of the data from the Library of Congress from point to point - in about four seconds. Yet - there is room for endless back and forth for a trivial range of frequencies. Let's call it 0 Hz to 100KHz. When we have mastered 10s of gigahertz, we should be able to do this trivial range in frequencies easily, cheaply, perfectly, every single time - and yet we don't. My take is that it is due to the EMOTIONAL component of this trivial data "band" if you may.

I wish you and your magazine the best. (I know Robert Greene rather well. He is a colleague of my uncle's at UCLA math)

John Atkinson's picture
bapcha wrote:
Bottom-line is the you run the best publication for reviews of music reproduction electronics.

Thank you.

bapcha wrote:
Today, a Cisco router can transmit ALL of the data from the Library of Congress from point to point - in about four seconds. Yet - there is room for endless back and forth for a trivial range of frequencies. Let's call it 0 Hz to 100KHz. When we have mastered 10s of gigahertz, we should be able to do this trivial range in frequencies easily, cheaply, perfectly, every single time - and yet we don't.

That the transmission of digital data without errors is a given. But it is when those data are used to reconstruct an analog signal that problems in implementation arise.

bapcha wrote:
I wish you and your magazine the best. (I know Robert Greene rather well. He is a colleague of my uncle's at UCLA math)

Thank you. But I am wondering if you are confusing Stereophile with The Absolute Sound. Robert Greene writes for TAS, and has never contributed to Stereophile.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

bapcha's picture

Nice guy anyway. Took him a long time to switch to digital, and solid state.....

Sincerely,
Bapcha

X
Enter your Stereophile.com username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading