Devialet Dione Soundbar Page 2

There's no DTS:X support on this 'bar, but that's no biggie. Most TVs can't pass it through anyway, and it's not used by streaming services.

Stern Test
Devialet's Dione makes everything sound great. Even the simplest mix – David Letterman interviewing Howard Stern (My Next Guest, Netflix) – is buttery smooth. The soundbar's central Orb unit comprises one active driver, plus two passive radiators, which goes some way to explaining its rich timbre.


Volume, source, power and Bluetooth controls are located on the top of the chassis

In particular, the Dione is superb when it comes to ambience and mood. In Moon Knight (Disney+, Dolby Atmos) when Mark Spector makes a break for it in the mental institution, unsteady on his feet and struggling to comprehend what's going on, his every stumble is distinguished by deep, bassy thumps. As the score swells around him, the presentation becomes symphonic. As I've come to expect from most single-piece soundbars, the sense of surround is left wanting. For all its reflective beam-forming and high-end processing, the Dione can't create the illusion of sounds to the rear. But it does at least deliver surround mixes with a pronounced width, plus smooth panning of effects across the front soundstage.

Meanwhile, back with Interceptor (Netflix, Dolby Atmos), the honking Michael Lira score, deep 'thwupping' chopper blades, and clanking bombastic action, are sounding joyfully dramatic and largescale. The movie's sound design is visceral, and that's largely what's delivered by the Dione. The 'SBX-1 Interceptor' base, centre of the action, reverberates to an ominous LFE rhythm, and when the shooting starts, the mix is immense. One proprietary Devialet technology in use here is Adaptive Volume Level (AVL), which adjusts sound levels in real-time to minimise the too quiet/too loud listening syndrome (we first saw this on the Sky Soundbox, HCC #280). I suspect this is slightly cramping dynamics – Interceptor tends to play at a constant volume. It does make dialogue easier to follow though, which could be seen by many users as a positive, and the influence of AVL isn't as obvious as it was on the Sky speaker.

That distinctive deep bass doesn't dissipate when listening in two-channel music mode. Car Crash, by Idles, is a thumping, bulldozer of a track, and the Dione doesn't flinch. Its performance is muscular without sounding over-bearing.

Similarly, Kagutsuchi, by Ibaraki, is wildly percussive, but the soundbar still manages to handle it with the discipline of two discrete stereo speakers. Channel separation is pronounced, in the best way.


Physical inputs are Ethernet, optical and HDMI eARC

Still, I often found myself hankering for the soundbar's upscaling talents. Belle & Sebastian's Talk to Me Talk to Me gains welcome spatial depth when upmixed to 5.1.2 by Devialet's Spatial mode. The vocals float, the band has more space. Inevitably, the best option of all is Dolby Atmos music, delivered in my case by the Tidal TV app. Foreigner's Feels Like the First Time enjoys stadium-style scale. Shut your eyes and you're there.

Blockbuster 'Bar
The Dione might be Devialet's first ever soundbar, but it performs as if the brand has been making movie machines for years. It's a thrilling all-in-one Dolby Atmos model, notable for its rich tonality and best-in-class bass. It sounds glorious with movies, is tailor-made for action blockbusters, but is no slouch with music either.

The price tag is obviously a bit rich, eclipsing the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 (HCC #332) and Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage (HCC #310) by quite a few quid, but style, bass profundity and musicality are jaw droppingly fine. At retail you'll find it squaring up alongside Sennheiser's venerable Ambeo (HCC #302), which in terms of immersive performance has the edge, but it can't match Devialet's Dione for elegance.

HCC Verdict

Devialet Dione

Price: £1,990

We say: Devialet brings home the box office with a blockbuster 'bar offering smooth and syrupy sound – it's a sumptuous listen, and stylish too. A remote control would be nice, though.

Overall: 4.5/5


DRIVE UNITS: 9 x 1.6in diameter full-range aluminium drivers; 8 x 5.25in-wide aluminium long-throw bass drivers in push-push pairs ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 950W, via analogue digital hybrid (ADH) technology CONNECTIONS: HDMI eARC connection; optical digital audio input; Ethernet Dolby Atmos/DTS:X: Yes/No Separate subwoofer: No REMOTE CONTROL: No. Devialet app instead, or optional Devialet Phantom controller DIMENSIONS: 1,200(w) x 88(h) x 165(d)mm WEIGHT: 12kg

Features: Dolby Atmos/Dolby Digital Plus decoding; wall-mounting; rotatable Orb centre driver; Apple AirPlay 2; Spotify Connect; UPnP; Bluetooth v5.0; Movie/Spatial, Music, Voice and Night listening modes; SPACE upmixing; Adaptive Volume Level (AVL); Speaker Active Matching (SAM); 'Advanced Dimensional Experience' beam-forming; 24Hz-21kHz claimed frequency response; 24-bit/96kHz DAC; app control; room calibration