This is the Devialet Dione, an all-in-one Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 soundbar that costs a whopping S$3,790. That's a steep price that Devialet is asking for, but is it worth it? Well, we think maybe not.
If you are already familiar with the brand Devialet, then you know they make a variety of premium audio products, but even if you aren't you'll have most likely seen their Phantom speakers around.
With this new Dione soundbar, the company is aiming to replace your home theatre setup entirely, packing the soundbar with 17 custom-designed neodymium drivers consisting of nine speakers and eight subwoofers. That's a lot of drivers but how does it sound? Well, we’ll get into that later.
First, let's look at the design. As far as soundbars go, it’s sleek and minimalistic, but we did find that the design is a little too tall when it's upright. So, for those of you who own a TV with shorter feet, you'll probably want to lay it down. Depending on the size of your console table and what kind of feet your TV has, you might need to shift some things around. You can also opt for wall mounting, and Devialet includes a handy template for you to know where to drill.
Now, the eye-catching part of this design is this rotating ORB, which is also the central channel of the soundbar. You’ll have to adjust this depending on how you orient the Dione so that the sound drivers will fire towards the correct direction.
Also, you have to turn the ORB yourself. Yes, for a $3000 soundbar, there isn't a mechanism to turn the ORB for you. Furthermore, the tension of the ORB is extremely tight for some reason. We do think that all these orientation settings could actually be done through the app instead of manually rotating the ORB but hey, where's the fun in that?
With the design out of the way, we can move on to the setup process. The soundbar doesn't come with a physical remote, so the setup is actually all done through the Devialet app on your smartphone. You'll need to first pair the soundbar to the app using Bluetooth. It’s not the smoothest process as our Pixel 6 had trouble detecting the soundbar at first, although the iPhone we had on hand was able to run through the setup seamlessly.
Once paired, you'll be able to run the room calibration software which will allow the Dione to tune the sound depending on the room’s acoustics.
For physical inputs, you have HDMI and optical, with both cables included in the box. The HDMI input supports eARC and if your TV supports it as well, it's pretty much a plug and play solution, assuming your soundbar is already paired with your phone. There was once we tried using the soundbar without the app and it started having connection issues and won't work until we redid the pairing process.
For wireless inputs, the Dione supports AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, and Universal Plug and Play. When there was only one phone connected, the soundbar worked without any issues. However, it did start to get confused when more paired phones were in the vicinity as you will start to experience frequent disconnects and reconnects even if the other phones aren’t playing any form of media. We also observed that the interface plays nicer with iPhones rather than our Pixel 6 which will experience sudden disconnects as well. The overall experience wasn't the best, but it seems to be more of an issue with the software, which could potentially be fixed down the line with a patch.
Sound-wise, when it works, it does sound good. The drivers pack a punch with distinct highs, deep powerful bass and quite a large soundstage. The multi-channel audio upmixing is turned on by default for HDMI and optical so even for stereo content, virtual surround sound will be present and it’s almost indistinguishable from 5.1 content unless you are looking out for it specifically.
Consuming content in stereo is possible but not really recommended as it doesn't let the soundbar live up to its full potential. If you somehow manage to get Bluetooth working right, the same 'spatial mode' that up mixes stereo content is also available, but you'll have to navigate the app to turn it on yourself. It’s a little weird that it's not the default option, but at the very least it's there.
Lastly, for those concerned, there are no EQ settings here, unfortunately.
While we think that this soundbar isn't quite worth getting rid of all your speakers and subwoofers that you already have, in terms of sound quality it definitely delivers. That being said, you might want to wait for Devialet to fix some of their software pairing issues before you pull the trigger.
Otherwise, for those that don't already own a home theatre system and are looking for a no-fuss all-in-one soundbar and can afford that S$3,790 price tag, there you go.