Devialet's $790 portable speaker will automatically optimize its sound based on where you're using it

Devialet’s $790 portable speaker will automatically optimize its sound based on where you’re using it

An illustration showing the Devialet Mania portable speaker broadcasting sound in all directions in a large living room.

Image: Devialet

While the price is well outside our meager budgets, we can’t say we haven’t drooled over Devialet’s audio gear, including the company’s $2,200+. Wireless Ghost 1 speakers that manage to both look good and sound even better. However, they weren’t completely wireless: a problem Devialet is tackling with its first truly portable, battery-powered speaker. This is called the Mania, and it has more than looks to match.

While the Devialet Phantom 1 looked like a futurist star trek prop, the new Mania looks more like a kettlebell, like you would find in a gymnasium. The domed loop at the top of the speaker’s mostly spherical design (the bottom has been flattened so it doesn’t roll away) makes it easy to grab and go, but it’s the Mania’s support for Bluetooth and the wifi, as well as a 3200mAh rechargeable battery good for around 10 hours of continuous playtime, making it truly portable.

The Deep Black and Light Gray versions of the Devialet Mania photographed against a white background.

Image: Devialet

You can expect shortened battery life with the volume turned all the way up, because inside the Mania are actually six separate speakers with four outward-projecting full-range speakers in each corner, plus two “high excursion” woofers that all work together to create sounds as loud as 95 decibels emanating in all directions.

The ideal placement for the Mania is in the center of a room, but that’s not always an option. Sometimes, it’ll eventually sit next to a wall, which seems to hamper the performance of half its speakers, but that’s where this smart speaker is particularly smart. Each time the speaker is moved and installed in a new location, it uses four microphones hidden in the base to perform an “active stereo calibration” which acoustic maps the room and the spotlights large obstacles like walls so that it can “automatically adapt the audio rendering to its surroundings”.

According to Devialet, data from the automatic room mapping is fed into an on-board machine learning model that determines how each of the four full-range speakers should perform for optimum sound quality. If the Mania is placed right against a wall, the front-facing speakers will perform normally, while the two rear-facing speakers will just pump out “rich,so as not to create echoes or other unwanted acoustic behavior depending on its location.

The Light Grey, Deep Black and Opéra de Paris versions of the Devialet Mania portable speaker photographed against a white background.

Image: Devialet

The Devialet Mania is compatible with Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, and even functions as a more traditional smart speaker, with Amazon’s Alexa assistant available to respond to voice commands. And for those who intend to use it outdoors as well, the Mania is rated IPX4 splash resistant, meaning that a few drops from someone cannonballing into a swimming pool are okay, but an accidental soaking of the speaker itself would not be.

Officially available from today, the Devialet Mania comes in three finishes. Deep Black and Light Gray will cost $790 each, while a fancier Paris Opera option, with some accent components plated in 24-karat gold, is a little more expensive at $990. This latter option also includes a docking station that makes it easy to charge the Mania by simply laying it down, which is a $80 accessory for Deep Black and Light Gray versions.

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