Devialet's Gold Phantom packs 4,500W of French ear-melting power

If you thought Devialet's oddball Phantom speaker was extreme, get ready to slap on some ear protection for the new Gold Phantom. Squeezing more power into the same curvaceous body, Gold Phantom is the French company's most potent standalone speaker to-date, but it promises more than just potential hearing damage.

At first glance, you might not realize the Gold Phantom is much different from its predecessors. The majority of the rounded casing is white, but the side panels are shiny gold – 24 carat rose gold plated, no less. It's priced at $2,990, a $500 premium over Silver Phantom.

The difference is inside. Devialet has packed the Gold Phantom with even more of its hybrid amplifiers, cranking the overall power up to a heady 4,500 Watts. That's eight times the power of the regular, $1,990 Phantom, and a full 1,500 W more than the already fairly excessive Silver Phantom.

All that extra amplification is paired with a new titanium tweeter design, while the sealed drivers on either side have a greater range of movement when in action: at higher volumes, they throb and vibrate like an over-excited puffer fish.

Maximum power is now 108 db SPL, with a Total Harmonic Distortion level of 0.0005-percent. Bass gets down to 14 Hz, while the new tweeter goes up to 287 kHz.

It's not just hardware. Devialet has changed the software, too, delivering what the company says is greater precision and accuracy, as well as a more transparent sound. The good news is that, courtesy of a firmware update, existing Phantom and Silver Phantom owners will get the new DSP too.

I only had a brief chance to preview Gold Phantom, but it's definitely loud and certainly clear. In fact, the sample Phantom product manager Romain Salzman showed me has its amp uncapped – it could potentially damage your hearing if pushed anywhere close to its maximum – but what's notable is the clarity even at higher volumes.

Even if the thought of a 4,500 W speaker is overkill to you, there's another potential benefit. In pushing the envelope of power in a fixed footprint, Salzman explained to me, Devialet has also learned plenty about how it could make smaller speakers too.

There's nothing to announce on that front today, though it's not hard to believe that Devialet is eying the multi-room music market and weighing up how popular mini versions of the Phantom might be. More interesting, though, is the possibility of in-car audio.

In fact, Salzman tells me, Devialet is already in talks with a number of automakers. Phantom's analog-digital amps make a lot of sense when you're trying to fit a lot of amplification into a relatively small space like a car's cabin, while the ability to more precisely model the interior space each driver will be dealing with opens the door to far more precision.

Another area the company is looking at is TV audio. Devialet inked its first deal with a TV manufacturer in Europe earlier this month, Salzman says – though declined to name the company – and has another deal in the pipeline.

Devialet's rational is simple: there's a lot more money to be made in focusing on amplification in general rather than personal audio devices specifically. That means evolving from being a Sonos-like company today, to being a Dolby-like company tomorrow.

NOW READ: Devialet Phantom Review

Gold Phantom may not do that on its own – Salzman estimates the new flagship will be around 20-percent of sales, or approximately 6-7k units in 2016 – but as a showcase of the company's technology it's both excessive and impressive in equal measure. Preorders kick off today, with the first speakers expected to ship on July 14.

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