This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

With high-resolution files we can now download, wouldn't it be great to feed our digital data straight into the preamp? No problem. As well as analogue inputs, the French integrated amplifier has coaxial, optical and AES/EBU digital inputs. It even has an HDMI i/o loop so you can enjoy high-quality two-channel stereo from ordinary DVDs and Blu-Ray players. All this from a box that measures a mere 32mm high.

In the UK the Devialet costs approximately $18,000. What did it sound like in direct comparison to my $100K+ Soulution equipment? Surely that was no fair comparison. Well, I took the AES/EBU digital output of the Soulution CD player and connected it straight to the digital input of the Devialet, using the Soulution player only as transport.

I was also able to plug the output of my Nagra LB directly into the Devialet and play back my own Venice recordings at their native 24-bit/192kHz resolution. The sound? I could leave the room, return and at first listen not really distinguish what was playing, the Soulution or Devialet.

The latter has an incredibly low output impedance and its output power keeps doubling as the load impedance drops to 2 ohms. This surely helped control the eight woofers of my Mårten Design Momentos. I only had a weekend to compare the two as the importer needed his unit back on Monday morning. After careful listening, I did discover that there was slightly more bass control from the Soulution amp and slightly more lower midrange warmth which is present in my original Venice recordings. I also noticed just a little better ambience retrieval when notes died away. But, these differences were relatively small.

Initially some CDs actually sounded better through the Devialet. It appeared to have slightly more attack and jump factor. Amazing really when you consider the huge price difference between the two products. Devialet has been in research and development mode for many years. The time chief engineer Pierre Calmel and his team bequeathed upon this novel hybrid amplification circuit seems to have been well spent indeed.

Anything negative to say about their creation after such a quickie encounter? Two little things. It would be great if the top of the remote displayed the volume setting. This integrated amplifier is so quiet, you could easily sit at max while hitting play to possibly not only require a new pair of speakers but new trousers as well.

Secondly, the WBT speaker terminals are very close together. Because the unit is such a low rider, heavy-duty speaker cables with spades could be a bit of a headache to fit.

The well-known Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That also is the best word I can use to sum up this amazing product. A more detailed proper report I must leave to those who can procure a review loaner for a more extended period…

hakancez @
Devialet website