The Devialet Dione soundbar, which is never purposefully subdued, succeeds in bringing a bit of the high-end company’s typical aesthetic drama to the realm of all-purpose, add-on TV speakers.
The Dione is appropriately pricey, incredibly fashionable, and fully 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos capable, meant to provide a surround-sound experience from a single unit, in keeping with much of its luxury output (albeit a sizable one).
The finish is perfect, there are many specifications, and the construction quality is unquestionable. Although there is no remote control, connectivity is good, control options are useful, and performance is, well, genuinely astounding.
Price & Availability
One of the priciest soundbars we've ever seen, facing stiff competition
A Devialet Dione costs R45,990.00. No need to point out that this is a significant amount of money for a single soundbar, regardless of how great it may be in terms of design or engineering.
The all-conquering Sennheiser Ambeo that ranks as one of the best TV sound upgrades we've come across, is the only self-contained soundbar we can think of with a similar price tag, which means the Devialet has set itself up against some prodigious opposition.
Attractive, high-end design
Devialet is a company that takes industrial design very seriously, if there is one thing even a cursory knowledge of the Devialet brand teaches you. Devialet products are always distinctively designed, which contributes to the fact that the Dione soundbar appears like an overly complex golf ball has collided with it in the centre.
In reality, the 'golf ball' Devialet refers to as the 'ORB' is a spherical centre channel speaker that is extremely well incorporated into the normally expected sleek, low profile of the whole soundbar. The Dion may be set up on a shelf or placed on the wall, and the 'ORB' can physically be turned to adjust for the bar's position on a tabletop or mounted on the wall.
Its streamlined design actually translates to 77mm x 1200mm x 165mm (H x W x D), thus the Dione requires a large TV and, if it is to reside on the same shelf, a TV with enough space between the shelf and the bottom of the screen. The Devialet must be firmly attached to a structural wall due to its 12 kg weight.
Devialet designed the Dione with the intention of delivering full-on, full-range 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos sound, and to that end, the soundbar is equipped with a whopping 17 neodymium speaker drivers, each of which is 950 watts of power.
Configuration & Features
950W RMS total output power with full-range 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos audio
When the soundbar is sitting on a shelf, four aluminum long-throw subwoofers and two aluminum full-range drivers — plus the center channel — face forwards, four aluminum full-range drivers (two at each end of the bar) face upwards to provide audio elevation, another full-range aluminum driver fires from each end for some sonic width, and four more aluminum long-throw subwoofers fire from the rear of the cabinet. The drivers that previously faced forward now shoot upwards, the drivers that previously fired upwards now face outwards, the rear speakers continue in their function (though their left/right output is reversed), and of course, the ORB is rotated to face the correct direction.
All clear? Even if it’s not, don’t worry — the Dione has gyroscopes, so it always knows which way is up Additionally, it should be clear that Devialet has taken all necessary precautions, at the very least.
In terms of processing, Devialet's Devialet Intelligence processor includes hardware for digital-to-analog conversion, as is standard practise for the company. It is now operating at a resolution of 24bit/96kHz.
The Dione is all about Dolby Atmos, yet it cannot handle DTS:equivalent. X's (which is a very minor loss, to be honest). However, thanks to its "Space" technology, it has a number of EQ settings and processing protocols that are intended to get the most acoustic experience out of smaller digital audio files. In "Movie Mode," any mono or two-channel signal is upscaled to fill the soundbar's 5.1.2 configuration. In "Voice Mode," the speaker's output is limited to stereo and is intended for usage with podcasts, news channels, and other dialogue-centric content.
The (very quick) "Auto Calibration" operation, which is a component of the control app, is very beneficial to run regardless of the mode in which you want to use the Dione. It works wonders.
HDMI doesn't pass through / Support for UPnP, allowing access to locally stored material
There are a few physical connections in a recess at the rear of the Dione, there is also an Ethernet input, a digital optical connection, and an HDMI eARC in addition to the figure-eight mains plug. Although the lack of HDMI pass-through appears to be a frugal decision, it is unlikely to cause too much trouble unless your TV has a lot of connections. Wireless connectivity extends to dual-band wi-fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay 2. And it’s UPnP-compatible if you’ve content stored on a local network.
Devialet App & Touch Controls
You expect a remote control when you spend this much money on, well, any piece of home entertainment equipment. Right?
The Dione, however, is without. Instead, you may use your TV's remote control (if you've connected your screen and the soundbar using HDMI eARC), the Devialet app (which is amazingly reliable and useful), the dispersion of capacitive touch controls across the surface of the soundbar, or, of course, the Devialet itself.
It's not hard to operate the Dione, so it's unclear why the lack of a specialised remote handset feels a little cruel. Additionally, there is no voice-assistant functionality, though somehow it seems like less of an oversight.
Exceptional dynamics and scale / Powerful music and movie audio that is presented with great control and clarity
The Devialet Dione's auditory performance can't help but wow, as long as you remember that, price apart, it is "only" a soundbar. The Devialet has relatively few realistic competitors in terms of sheer size and low-frequency presence.
The Dione is a dynamic, spacious, and rather subtle listen, but it's first and foremost dynamic given the intense, action-packed Dolby Atmos soundtrack it must contend with. The amount of bass that a soundbar can produce on its own is impressive for one that does not have a partnered subwoofer to provide low-frequency reinforcement. Devialet claims that it extends down to 24Hz, which sounds all too plausible. It hits hard but controls the low-end material reasonably well; it doesn't bloom or otherwise put pressure on the midrange.
Both "punch" and "rumble" are accessible, and both are of a magnitude that defies all except the competitor's with the greatest skill.
In contrast, treble sounds have some sheen and bite despite the absence of any specialist tweeters. The highest frequencies are crisply attacked, which goes well with the bass action.
The Dione is likely most stunning in the midrange, though. Even without "Voice Mode" activated, the Dione projects voices in advance of any potential mayhem taking place all around them and defines dialogue with assurance. The ORB centre channel proves to be direct, detailed, and endlessly enlightening.
Though the Devialet is keen to demonstrate its low-end capabilities, the entire frequency range hangs together nicely, and the overall presentation never sounds unduly unbalanced. The availability of true surround-sound is inevitably limited, but the Dione's stage at the front is far larger than the soundbar from which it comes. Although the upward-firing drivers won't ever make you believe there are speakers above you, the Devialet sound has a noticeable width, and a decent soundtrack can give the Dione a sizable amount of height.
Even when used with a large television (55 inches or more), the Devialet will still provide sound that comfortably exceeds the size of the screen. And even in the most extreme situations, when the on-screen action is picking up steam and every frequency range is competing with one another, the Dione's control and clarity are unquestionable.
It's recommended to listen to music in stereo using "Music Mode" (unless it has been specially mixed for Dolby Atmos, of course), as the spatial impact might otherwise seem extremely forced and artificial. All of the Devialet's film performance's positive aspects, however, are still present, and if anything, the midrange optimism is even more welcome and enjoyable. It's true that high frequency ranges with enormous volumes might have a bit of edge, but "big" in the context of the Devialet Dione's output is extremely big indeed.
The Devialet Dione appears to have just one significant rival, and in some ways, this product is preferable to Sennheiser's powerful (and powerfully functional-looking) Ambeo soundbar. The Devialet offers higher positional flexibility and, if anything, even greater midrange fidelity than the Devialet, making it the more attractive of the two.
The Dione is exhilaratingly appropriate if you're looking for as much of the impact of a full-on, multi-part Dolby Atmos surround-sound speaker system from a single device. In all honesty, the "surround" experience doesn't really exist, although the Dione is really successful in terms of breadth and height. Its low-frequency presence, extension, control, and plain punch are exceptional for a soundbar lacking a paired subwoofer.
You must hear the Devialet Dione if you're fortunate enough to have the money for a surround-sound system but would rather have a soundbar.