Devialet, the innovative French audio brand, is bringing its pure sound to the opera houses.
Under the ceiling carved with Gorgons stands a red velvet loveseat, on which proudly sits an ovoid object, like a jewel on a marble column. This is the Palais Garnier, with a loudspeaker by Devialet, the French acoustic engineering startup which, in the space of ten years, has become the most innovative high-end audio company in the world. Its name comes from a certain Vialet, an engineer and encyclopedist friend of Diderot. “We wanted to reference the France of the Enlightenment, a heritage of excellence based on innovation,” explains co-founder Quentin Sannié. But what’s so special about this Phantom, the loudspeaker introduced in 2015, whose top-of-the-range gold-leaf version bears the Opéra de Paris’s name? Without a doubt, its hybrid character, combining the precision of analogue with the powerful energy of digital—simple in theory, but complex to implement. When the Phantom starts to quake and quiver, every sound remains crystal clear: the harsh clang of a harpsichord, the vivacity of a voice, the very breath of silence. In the Palais Garnier boutique, 18 Phantoms can resonate together, like a futuristic orchestra. “We plan to create sound events. We’ve already equipped the dance rehearsal studios at the Opéra, and a new app will make it possible to listen to performances live.” In the near future, Devialet will be opening a “musical waiting room” at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where late arrivals can listen to the concert until the intermission. Same thing soon in Paris, together with a plethora of musical surprises. So keep your eyes open and your ears pricked.
© Devialet / DR