If you want a portable speaker with a lot of bass, you can get the S$1,360 Devialet Mania from the French audio company. But at 2.3kg, it’s a little heavy to carry to the park. But carrying it from room to room so you can listen to it when you need a musical lift? I don’t see anything wrong with that. Even though it costs a lot, the Mania seems to be worth it. It looks and feels very high-end. This 360-degree stereo speaker is in the shape of a kettlebell, and it is wrapped in fabric.
Devialet Mania: Description
It has a small handle at the top, like a kettlebell, and the power, volume, play, and battery status buttons are on the sides. It makes me think of Wheatley from the Portal games in a strange way. The speaker also comes with microphones that only work with the Alexa voice assistant and let you calibrate the sound in your room in real time. You can connect to your phone through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, or you can use AirPlay to play music.
Cast doesn’t work, which is a shame. You can also connect apps like Spotify and Deezer to the speaker so they play directly from it. A room calibration lets the speaker change how it sounds to fit the space around it, and it seems to work pretty well. When the speaker was against a wall, it would lower the volume on one side to match the volume on the other side. It’s a pretty good idea. The sound would also change if you moved the speaker. Note that you have to leave the microphones on for this feature to work, even if you don’t use or have Alexa.
Pros and Cons
- Portable design with decent battery life
- Adaptive sound based on environment
- Devialet’s version of ‘affordable’
- Bassy, authoritative sound
- Pricey considering the competition
- Design may divide opinion
- App needs more EQ contro
- Lacks treble by default
Devialet Mania: Specification Table
|Power Output||176 W|
|Amplifiers||6 x Class-D|
|Frequency Response||30 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Maximum SPL||98 dB SPL|
|Battery Capacity||3200 mAh|
|Website||Visit Official Website|
Design and Setup
The purple splotches on the Mania’s box make it look a little, well, wild. They remind me of the Wild Fruit packaging for a certain cider brand. You don’t have to spend too much time looking at the box, though. When you take the Mania out of its box, the speaker itself is only available in shades of gray and black.
That “strap” of plastic that curves around the middle and acts as a carry handle just doesn’t look and feel as high-end as it should. I don’t think it looks like Devialet because it’s too ordinary. It’s also where the six buttons are. They work fine, but there are some strange things about them, like the battery level being on the opposite side of the actual battery display and the multicolored light indicator behind that plastic not shining through its surface very convincingly.
The Devialet app for iOS and Android makes it easy to set up the Mania as a Bluetooth speaker or a Wi-Fi-connected device. Connecting the speaker to your Wi-Fi network is all you need to do to use it. After that, you can choose from common sources like Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, TuneIn, and more.
Devialet Mania: Features
Four full-range speakers and two sub-bass drivers in the Devialet Mania work in a “push-push” configuration with real-time acoustic technology to give you a stereo sound listening experience no matter where you are in the room. The frequency range is said to be from 30Hz to 20kHz, and ASC uses four microphones and real-time adaptive technology to change the sound output to fit the environment.
Devialet told me that when Mania is put in the middle of a room, it automatically goes into 360° stereo mode. If the speakers are placed close to a wall, two full-range speakers in the back join the two speakers in the front to create a large, powerful soundstage.
Wireless connectivity goes up to Bluetooth 5.0, but at the time of writing, codec support, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect were not mentioned. Amazon Alexa is built in, and a Devialet app is used to set it up. It is said that the battery will last for 10 hours.
Devialet Mania: Sound Quality
This Active Stereo Calibration works really well, too. When you turn it on, the stereo sounds are much livelier than when you turn it off. You can do this with a simple on/off switch in the app, which makes a huge difference. I like that it’s automatic, doesn’t require any work, and is sure to work. It’s a lot easier to set up than, say, Sonos’s TruePlay feature, which only works on iPhones.
Even though Devialet is new to the portable speaker market, they have a good name in the Hi-Fi world. Franck Lebouchard, the CEO of Devialet, says, “No matter where you listen, Devialet is determined to give you an amazing sound experience.
The Devialet Mania is a big step toward that goal because it is the first time that our own technologies are used in a portable speaker. Great sound is now coming out.” And the soundstage is great, of course. It fills the room and makes you feel like you are there. One thing I will say is that if you listen to songs where the instruments go from left to right, you will notice that it’s not quite as precise. But really, that’s just how these 360-degree stereo speakers are made. Positioning and everything else are fine, for the most part.
Devialet Mania: Performance
How good does this sound, though? We use AirPlay 2 to connect to Tidal and look for some heavy bass to make this little speaker sound better. Church in the Wild by Jay-Z is a great choice, and the Mania has no trouble meeting the challenge. The punchy bassline is played with all the swagger and depth of a much bigger speaker, but also with all the subtlety. Bass notes aren’t made with broad strokes, but with texture and detail that go beyond just weight.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of it, though; there is, and this is not a neutral speaker. But the things that are there are good, which makes all the difference. But if you put the Mania close to a wall, it might have a little too much low-end power. Thanks to the easy-to-use EQ settings, you can fix this by turning the low end down a few times. This doesn’t change the rest of the frequency range.
This might not come as a surprise coming from a Devialet speaker, but there is power in spades. This will get loud enough to fill a room more than halfway before you even use three quarters of its power. Unlike cheaper speakers, though, you can play with the full volume scale here, and the Mania still sounds good even at full volume.
It never sounds stretched. There is no fragility in the treble, and the dynamics are never squashed. There may be a slight thickening of the midrange at the very, very top, but there is so much volume here that you don’t need it for most situations that it doesn’t feel like a problem.
Devialet Mania: Battery Life
Inside is a 3,200mAh battery that Devialet says can last up to 10 hours, but this depends on how loud you play the speaker and other things. There is, however, a USB-C charging port, which is nice, and you can also get a wireless charging pad, but you have to buy that separately.
This speaker has IPX4 water resistance, so it can handle splashes of water, but at this price, I’d still be very careful with it.
Price and availability
How much money are we talking about, then? The Mania costs £690 in the UK, $/€790 in the US and Europe, and is not for sale in Australia at the time of this writing. So, yes, Devialet’s idea of “affordable” is not cheap, but this is a luxurious brand, so who cares? Its special Opéra de Paris edition, which has gold trim and costs £890/$990, is even more expensive.
What’s interesting is how the competitors are the same. Even though Naim makes the Mu-so Qb (2nd Gen), Bowers & Wilkins makes the Zeppelin Wireless, and Bang & Olufsen makes the Beosound Emerge, none of these products are wireless. Most people are more likely to be interested in the bigger and cheaper Sonos Move as a good alternative.
From the short time I spent with the beautiful Devialet Mania portable speaker, I was blown away by how big the sound was for such a small speaker. Even though the company’s claims about the battery life aren’t the best and the price is high, it looks like the company is going to raise the bar when it comes to high-quality sound and how much bass energy you can expect from a portable speaker today.
Check back for my full review of the Devialet Mania, where I’ll talk more about how well it plays all kinds of music and tell you where it ranks on our list of the best smart speakers and best Bluetooth speakers.
How loud is Devialet Mania?
The Devialet Mania is the result of four years of hard work putting all of Devialet’s hi-fi knowledge, design skills, and 95dB of volume into a speaker that’s just a little bit bigger than an Amazon Echo and comes with Alexa. All of that isn’t cheap, though.
Is there a better speaker than Devialet?
Most people will find that the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a better deal than the Devialet Mania. Both speakers are small enough to carry around, and they both have built-in support for voice assistants. But the sound quality of the Bose is better right out of the box, especially in the high range.