So I had my Devilles for maybe two weeks…and so far they have been:
- Refreshing to unpack, standup and position to place due its lack of mega weight.
- Slowly but have organically blended into my homes decor
- Overall, a listening pleasure - they are a solid speaker with great SQ imo.
What sets these apart from the ‘others?’ Well…not a whole lot really! (Sorry to upset the passionates!!)
But they are great at what they do…but thats not a surprise…
‘Small horns’ are a tragedy right? Well not so fast…the Devilles exude better than your normal hifi speaker sound quality in the price range. What do I mean by saying this? Compression drivers rely heavily on the flange or horn section to project sound more directional than your typical non-loaded driver ala tweeter/midrange. To some capacity concentric drivers or waveguides can mimic a similar dispersion of what would be instrumental in a compression driver’s delivery, the flange/mouth. That said, The Devilles deliver a ‘pro’ sound. Imo, and depending on application, professional drivers/speakers serve better overall performance than Hifi speakers because they need to project sound across the listening space. This can be at a bar, hotel, small venue, hall, or out in an open field/stadium. These profession speakers need to project sound across the crowds, through heavy furniture items, like a sea of chairs and clothed tables (ever been to a wedding or small jazzy venue?) or even a big non-reflective room. This is what the Deville does, but does it in a more subtle way targeted for smaller rooms. However, you’ll get strong vocals, to the point of really envisioning the performers lips. Turn it up a little more, you’ll actually feel or sense the sound energy floating in space, but its not overbearing….its quite an experience to witness this in the comforts of your own home rather than a high SPL environment like a closed space or a pro SQ sound car, for example.
They are not shouty and are not fatiguing. You may have heard many reviewers and forum people refer to them as ‘musical’ — Oh no there’s that word again, “musical”. I sometimes laugh at hearing musical used to describe something cause my inner joke is ‘uh oh, there goes the roll off at 16k….!’ (Harbeth *cough*) And imo and experience with these Devilles, yes there is somewhat of a roll-off on the topend. But thats not a bad thing is it?—not so much. From what I can hear, have done in my past experience (tuning/measuring), and comparing them against really nice measuring speakers (TAD ME1) these are just as good, but also different. But they play louder and continue to play cleaner at much higher volumes. One should ask themselves…if a (or your) speaker can perform passed the sonic threshold scale in your listening space, do you need it (or the next speaker) to surpass it even more than that?? Be realistic here…!
There is nothing of magic or sorcery happening here (sorry passionates!), this is just the product of a well designed compression driver (everything from the phase plug, the incredibly dense wooden horn [conical]-had to say it!)) to the creative albeit simplistic design of the cabinet and port) with woofer to deliver what they were intended to do, and that is play sound waves (music reproduction in my case) from a source. This is a quality product at doing so.
Let me digress here a little. Companies in a position like OMA have this ability to put out a “specialty” product like the Deville not only because they’re passionate at what they do, but also because they posses (from their success of the parent company) the ability to pass on creativity in and on to a smaller scale or more price attractive segment. Can you imagine the other companies’ R&D trying to come up with a left field product for the ‘masses’ or even for limited run? It’s just food for thought…:)
Back to my experience….
But what about that roll-off you say? Yeah, well to be frank thats probably where the Deville may not excel or surpass other speakers for musical tastes that are centric around genres such as pop, electronica (EDM), or even some music like rap/R&B, punk, new wave, house, Euro, international, etc. But wait, those aren’t audiophile genres, you say? I know many folks (and probably a great population) whom are actually just as much a hifi nut or music lover of all sorts that would put up a nice finger gestures in the faces of those that are in that camp of audiophillia pompous-try.
For comparison to a past owned speaker, I do think my previous ME-1s delivered better those little subtle but necessary atmospherics that for example, spookily appeared behind the listening position. Were they natural or real sounds…I dont know? But the sound engineer wanted me to hear it that way…and I really appreciated that sense of being in that space, sort like being sucked into the performance, even for a very brief moment. Granted the sound they produced was a more modern HiFi sound, but it was equally quite like-able, imo and in some ways better. Those ME-1s are pretty special too.
As briefly mention, the Deville is a breath of fresh air to easily position and move around to your rooms sonic shortcomings. Though, one caveat here is that they kind of rock back and forth where the stand and speaker marry. I’m not losing sleep over it though.
I like this speaker more so , for its unorthodox design. It makes you want to look at it, but also invites you to touch it. Made out of real wood, yada yada…no high gloss protective paint… I think they will eventually fade and discolor over time if placed in a room where direct sunlight shines on them. If thats so, then the heirloom conversation does’t apply to me. ‘Here you go son, my speakers I leave to you…’. ‘But dad, why are they so…’ hush — just listen :P
So am I keeping these speakers…? yah, i think so, at least for now. They seem to be a solid speaker to build around (Well my window to return has sailed ha!). It reproduces musical instruments and sound performance with dense sonic presence yet can exhibit the subtleties that kinda make you smile. I think they deliver a pro sound. To that note - Thats probably my recommendation here and for those interested or curious, you’d have to demo it in person(oh really?)…over the course of my years, I think ‘regular’ hifi speaker are more than good enough and still perform and even excel in our sonic deficiently treated rooms. As many would argue, and chances are, and I would whole heartedly agree, your [insert best speakers you’ve heard or even yours] are probably better and you dont need these!
As I say this humorously, one can describe this speaker with all superlatives that our (jaded) egos need to fulfill and justify what a great experience these deliver.
Current gear (very attainable and someone Everyman gear):
Dual Rel carbon specials
Some fancy but not over the top cabling - not an anti-cabler.