Devialet Opens First Standalone US Store in SoHo, NYC

This past Friday, November 17, critically acclaimed French audio startup Devialet officially opened the doors to their first US standalone store right here in SoHo, NY (footnote 1). This store joins five other standalones globally (Paris, London, Berlin) and, as of yet, no future plans of additional US locations have been disclosed.

On Thursday, November 16, the eve of the official opening, I attended the shop's exclusive launch party to get a firsthand look inside. It was a very "New York" party. Waiters (who are probably models/actors) carrying truffle puffs and scallops, wine (none of that cheap prosecco or bad gin you find at many audiophile parties), fashionable socialite types taking selfies with the "Devialet" sign, and dapper Moscot-frame-wearing men—all mingling together in a sea of French and American accents. Debatably pretentious from afar, but after further inspection, incredibly genuine; a very, very New York party it was.

The interior is sleek; a 2200 square-foot, two-floor stretch of clean white space with minimal design elements and finely tuned lighting. Wireless Phantom active speakers (footnote 2) blasting music by the likes of Wiz Khalifa and the Alabama Shakes line the walls, intermingled with angular seating spaces. To the left, the Gold Phantom, Devialet's most recent release and most powerful iteration of the Phantom, glows as the star of the show, with shiny golden rays of sun streaming out from behind. The store carries the entire line of phantoms: Phantom (750 watts; $1990), Silver Phantom (3000W; $2390), the new Gold Phantom (4500W; $2990), their Expert Pro series of amplifiers ($7690+, footnote 3), and the full lineup of related accessories.

A little bit forward, looking to the left, one can see a wall full of Phantom related accessories, including the Tree, Remote, Dialog, Cocoon, and Gecko.

A bit deeper into the white hole, and one comes face-to-face with what Devialet calls their "Immersive Room", a private listening space sonically isolated from the rest of the shop, viewable through floor-to-ceiling glass walls on both sides. On one end of the room sits three equally spaced Phantoms and a glowing screen displaying configuration possibilities; on the other, a group of well dressed people sitting atop the very same angular seating spaces. This room can be booked for private listening sessions.


Behind the Immersive Room is a slim balcony that overlooks the lower level, which I am told will eventually represent a living room space—a much more realistic listening experience for the average potential customer. During the party, artist Oliver Jeffers was painting the entire back wall of the shop with this incredible work of art. (Like I said, it was a very New York party.)


While exploring the lower level, I was introduced to Adrien Da Maia, the GM of North America who played (and will continue to play) a major role in the store's opening.

* * *

Jana Dagdagan: Is your European customer base different from your US customer base?

Adrien Da Maia: Not really, Devialet product and technologies cater to all music lovers worldwide. Whether in the US or in Europe, we have seen the same enthusiasm and excitement for Phantom as well as a long-standing following for our Expert Pro range.

JD: Do you consider yourself an audiophile?

ADM: Everybody working at Devialet is truly passionate about music. We are proud to have some of the best audio engineers in the world, and it is our mission statement to convert everyone into audiophiles.

JD: Do you see the Phantom line as a potential gateway to the Expert Pro?

ADM: Definitely, for many, Phantom is the first experience of a true audiophile listening session: the beauty of analog amplification powered by digital.

* * *

A bit simplified for my taste, but the phrase "it is our mission statement to convert everyone into audiophiles" struck me. Deeply. Those words are constantly thrown around haphazardly in this industry, but are very rarely coupled with well-intended, result-seeking actions.

Many audiophiles, including existing Devialet fans, have qualms with the bassiness and powerful nature of the Phantom. (And I wouldn't necessarily disagree with them.) But in creating a product like the Phantom—an aesthetically pleasing unit with a purpose and a gateway to audiophile land (via the Expert Pro line), and building a modern, welcoming atmosphere with modern, welcoming music—Devialet is, indeed, well on their way to "converting everyone into audiophiles."

Footnote 1: The Devialet store is located at 92 Greene St. New York, NY 10012. For more info, click here.

Footnote 2: Tyll Hertsens reviewed the Phantom for our sister site

Footnote 3: John Atkinson reviewed the original Devialet D-Premier integrated amplifier in January 2012.

Kal Rubinson's picture

The three photographs and your descriptions suggest that it is the same installation that Devialet had at CEDIA. I'll have to stop in to visit the store to find out if the sound is different.

(I actually passed it by, only a half block away, this afternoon. Wish I had known because it looks more interesting than the nearby Sennheiser shop.)

tonykaz's picture

The Web site quotes the little one with a whoppppping 750 Watts of power, it can produce 99db of signal pressure

the 1,500 Watt unit can reach 105db

the Super powerful 4,500 Watt unit can achieve a staggering 108db level.

It reads like Krell power but performs kinda like Bose or JVC.

Whats up? , maybe they've got some new kind of Euro Power Rating.

Or maybe it's mega super Uber Sizzle, specially designed for all the "New" Audiophiles they're about to create.

Does it present a R2D2 Scientific "look" into the future?

Of course Stereophile should report on this, no question.

You might've gotten a taste of $1,000 bubbly.

Tony in Michigan

Allen Fant's picture

Nice article, as always, JD-
Keep writing and Happy Thanksgiving.

jimtavegia's picture

It looks like it more of a display than a store and I think that people will stop in just for a listen which is the beginning of getting hooked on better sound through beautiful equipment.

Many people feel that going to store is intimidating and resist due to a sales pitch is about to happen. This needs to change.

Kal Rubinson's picture

But is there any other place in NYC to hear the Phantoms?

Jana Dagdagan's picture

Yes - According to Devialet's website, you can also hear them at various Apple stores throughout the city and at Innovative Audio.

Osiris25's picture

Anyone know if they've managed to fix that streaming bug in the Devialet 200 that saw it dropping connections/signal? I love the sound of the 200 and am pretty close to buying one if they've fixed the streamer issues.... It will replace my Rega Osiris. The Osiris is lovely sound wise but I'm doing a home reno and the 200 fits the look and feel of my room where the Osiris would have to be relegated to a wiring closet to please my wife. I'm powering a pair of Tannoy Precision 6.2's.

stereoGoodness's picture

The bug is not fixed in the Devialet 200 or any of the other "Expert" units. I have contacted Devialet repeatedly about the problems with the "AIR" driver; they have not meaningfully responded to my, or other users', queries.

I have resorted to moving a spare laptop into the living room for use as a streamer--hardly the setup I imagined when I spent several thousand dollars on the Devialet.

mdconnelly's picture

I'm currently using AIR 3.0.1 beta on my Win 10 PC and it is working flawlessly for me. That's a huge improvement over AIR 2.1.3 which had all sorts of problems as you describe.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Thanks, Jana. I have been to Innovative recently and saw an Expert but not Phantom. I will check again.

As for any Apple store, I cannot conceive that they would offer a dedicated, isolated and suitably-treated listening room. Am I wrong?

michaelavorgna's picture

Did you say "Apple" and "suitably-treated listening room" in the same sentence? I know lots of unexpected things have happened recently, but that's surely going too far ;-)

John Atkinson's picture
Kal Rubinson wrote:
As for any Apple store, I cannot conceive that they would offer a dedicated, isolated and suitably-treated listening room. Am I wrong?

The Apple Store at New York's Grand Central Terminal has Phantoms but they are on passive display.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Kal Rubinson's picture

I did, Michael, but only to point out the improbability of the two coinciding in reality.

michaelavorgna's picture

...have recently happened.

Kal Rubinson's picture

"And when they do, we will report on them."

stereoGoodness's picture

do not offer serious listening rooms. I have been to both the London store and the flagship store in Paris. Both have rooms with nice speakers (KEF Blades in London and a variety of speakers, including Magico Q3s, in Paris), but the rooms are configured to look sleek and appealing, with lots of reflective surfaces and speakers pushed back against the wall.

Devialet needs to find a way to reconcile its mixture of audiophile and luxury brand pretensions--but only after it fixes the AIR driver (see post above on streaming bug).

Kal Rubinson's picture

That is what I feared (and expected).

sam1000's picture

Kal or JA, you should probably review the new Pro line. The existing user base seems to be thrilled with the upgrade, but we need a non-biased pro review for this line as well :-)

Kal Rubinson's picture

The Devialet speakers are a curiosity to me. I have heard them 4 or 5 times but always in positively awful acoustical setups, including Devialet's own at CEDIA.

I and two friends made an effort to hear them at the recent New York Audio Show but the host seemed not to understand our two requests. We left when he finally switched in the Devialet amps to drive the SF speakers.

I am still hoping to hear them in an accommodating environment.

The Devialet electronics intrigued me at their first appearance but that interest has waned as I have become more focused on multichannel.

QandA's picture

I think there is enough potential and curiosity from readers to warrant a full review of the Gold Phantoms with JA's detailed measurements. There is a lot of positive feedback online from owners who have sold their expensive audiophile systems and replaced them with the Phantoms. It would be great to really understand what they are capable of in the the right hands and setup. They could be a very interesting proposition for those who are into listening to music but not so much into tweaking and upgrades (which is also fun). Thanks.

stereoGoodness's picture

should also report on the so-called streaming bug.

I'm not sure how Devialet has managed to avoid serious reputational consequences for its failure to release a fully functional version of the AIR driver, which has extremely serious (potentially speaker-damaging) bugs with white noise in Mac OS and Windows.

Devialet contacts me almost weekly asking me to upgrade my Devialet to its new "Expert Pro" equivalent. They never contact me when I submit support requests about the streaming bug.

mdconnelly's picture

See my post above regarding AIR 3.0.1 beta for Windows. I've had it working perfectly for about a month. There is a discussion thread on the Devialet site called "Love is in the AIR" along with a link to the beta version of AIR. For Devialet, that's a huge step forward in communicating about the AIR problems.

Kal Rubinson's picture

"There is a lot of positive feedback online from owners who have sold their expensive audiophile systems and replaced them with the Phantoms."

Can you provide a link or two?

QandA's picture

Sure, most of the feedback is in the unofficial Devialet chat owners forum. Just go to the Phantom section and you will see the posts.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Thanks. It is hard to see the trees for the forest there as most of the posts are about operational matters and, on the one thread with some measurements, said measurements are not accessible (unless I register/).

I will continue to look for an appropriate opportunity to hear them but not very actively. After reading Tyll's review, it seems that the use constraints do not suit me.

Wireless is not of interest to me unless it can entirely supplant what I can do with wires. Direct streaming at hi-rez and/or multichannel is important but not if I have to go through Devialet's app in order to play from my NAS. TOSlink? Rather not.

QandA's picture

Yes, the reason why I haven't gone with the Phantoms is the lack of multichannel support without the need of a lot of additional costly equipment. I know it is hard to find a midst of all the posts about operational issues. I remember one poster whose primary systems consist of Devialet 800 playing through Tune Audio Anima speakers and Goldmund Epilogs who thinks the Phantom are very close in sound quality, although with a different type of sound of course. I remember other members with Focal Sopra 2s and B&W 803Ds. A couple other audio publications have reviewed the Phantoms, but they lack the in-depth review and measurements that Stereophile provides - which is why we all come to this website and subscribe to your magazine! In two instances online reviewers have chosen the phantoms over the Devialet 120 + Kef LS50s. I won't post the links as I am not sure it is allowed.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Thank your for your comments. I do understand the continuing interest in the Phantoms and, I too, would like to see a scrupulous review along with measurements. However, there are too many cautions for me to be the reviewer.

jim davis's picture

In the US, I should think that Devialet's next boutique will be in either the Miami Design District or Las Vegas. Outside of NYC, these appear to be the hopping boutique locals.