Devialet Dione: Specification
Ports: 1x HDMI in; 1x HDMI out (eARC/ARC); Digital optical; Ethernet
Speakers: 9x full-range aluminium drivers; 8x aluminium long-throw subwoofer drivers
Audio channels: 5.1.2
Audio formats: Dolby Atmos; Dolby Digital
Power output: 950W
Wireless: AirPlay 2; Bluetooth 5.0; Spotify Connect; UPnP
Smart assistant: No
Dimensions: 3.5 x 47.2 x 6.5 inches
Weight: 26.5 pounds
Wall mountable: Yes
Never knowingly understated, the Devialet Dione soundbar manages to bring a little of the high-end company’s customary design drama to the world of do-it-all, add-on TV speakers. In keeping with much of its luxury output, the Dione is properly expensive, strikingly stylish, and a full-on 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos affair, designed to deliver a surround-sound experience from a single unit (albeit a sizable one).
Specification is extensive, build quality is unarguable and the finish is flawless. Connectivity is adequate, control options are effective (even though it goes without a remote control) and performance… well, performance is authentically startling.
Devialet Dione review: Price and availability
- One of the most expensive soundbars we’ve seen
- Up against some serious competition
The Devialet Dione is priced at $2,399 / £1,990 / AU$3,999 and available from the Devialet website (opens in new tab) and online retailers including Best Buy (opens in new tab), World Wide Stereo (opens in new tab) and SSense (opens in new tab). This, it hardly needs observing, is serious money for a one-piece soundbar no matter how visually or technically impressive it might be.
Certainly Samsung isn’t asking as much for its 11.1.4-channel HW-Q990B soundbar that also includes dedicated rear speakers plus a separate subwoofer. In fact, even the all-conquering Sennheiser Ambeo that ranks as one of the 5 best TV sound upgrades we’ve tested 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.
Devialet Dione review: Design
- Eye-catching high-end design
- Wall mount with caution
If there’s one thing even a passing acquaintance with the Devialet brand teaches you, it’s that the company takes industrial design very seriously indeed. Devialet products always look like no other and is partly why its Dione soundbar looks like an over-engineered golf-ball crashed into the middle of it.
That ‘golf ball’ is, in fact, a spherical center channel speaker Devialet calls ‘ORB’, and is actually very nicely integrated into the otherwise-predictable sleek, low profile of the overall soundbar. The Dion can be positioned on a shelf or mounted on the wall — and the ‘ORB’ can be physically rotated to take account of the bar’s table-top or wall-mounted position.
It’s sleek shape actually translates to 3.5 x 47.2 x 6.5in (H x W x D) — so the Dione needs to accompany a biggish TV and, if it’s to sit on the same shelf, a TV with enough clearance between the shelf and the bottom of the screen. A weight of 26.5 pounds (around 6 pounds heavier than the Sony HT-A7000), means a structural wall is essential to carry the Devialet load securely.
Devialet Dione review: Configuration and features
- Full-range 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos sound
- Total output power rated at 950W RMS
Devialet intends the Dione to deliver full-on, full-range 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos sound, and to that end has fitted the soundbar with no fewer than 17 neodymium speaker drivers and 950 watts of power. 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. Shift the soundbar’s orientation to hang it on a wall and the drivers that previously faced forwards now fire upwards, the drivers that used to fire upwards now face outwards and the rear speakers continue in their role (though their left/right output is reversed) and, of course, the ORB is rotated to face the right way.
All clear? Even if it’s not, don’t worry — the Dione has gyroscopes, so it always knows which way is up. And at the very least, it should be obvious Devialet has gone to its usual exhaustive lengths.
As far as processing is concerned, Devialet has — as is its established practice — embedded digital-to-analogue conversion circuitry in its Devialet Intelligence processor. Here it’s working at a 24bit/96kHz resolution.
While the Dione is all about Dolby Atmos, it’s not able to deal with the DTS:X equivalent (which is a very minor loss, to be honest). It features a number of EQ settings and processing protocols designed to extract the biggest audio experience possible from lesser digital audio files, though, thanks to its ‘Space’ technology. ‘Movie Mode’ takes any mono or two-channel signal and upscales it to fill the soundbar’s 5.1.2 configuration, ‘Voice Mode’ is designed for use with podcasts, news channels and other dialogue-centric content, and ‘Music Mode’ restricts the speaker’s output to stereo.
No matter the mode in which you intend to use the Dione, though, it’s well worth running the (very brief) ‘Auto Calibration’ procedure that’s part of the control app. It’s very effective.
Devialet Dione review: Connectivity
- No HDMI pass-through
- UPnP-compatible to enable access to locally stored content
There are a few physical connections in a recess at the rear of the Dione. As well as a figure-eight mains socket, there’s an Ethernet input, a digital optical socket and a HDMI eARC. The lack of HDMI pass-through seems as penny-pinching, but unless your TV is particularly connection-heavy it is unlikely to be too problematic.
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 Dione review: Controls
- Devialet app control via devices
- Some touch controls on soundbar’s surface
When you spend this sort of money on, well, any item of home entertainment equipment, you expect a remote control. Right? Well, the Dione goes without. Instead, you can use the (admirably stable and useful) Devialet app, the smattering of capacitive touch controls on the soundbar’s surface or, of course, your TV’s remote control (provided you’ve made an HDMI eARC connection between the screen and the soundbar).
It’s easy to control the Dione, so quite why the omission of a dedicated remote handset feels a bit mean is unsure. It definitely does, though. Oh, and there’s no voice-assistant capability, either — and yet somehow that seems less of an omission.
Devialet Dione review: Sound quality
- Exceptional scale and and dynamics
- Big movie and music sound delivered with plenty of control and clarity
As long as you bear in mind that, price notwithstanding, the Devialet Dione is ‘just’ a soundbar, its sonic performance can’t fail to impress. As far as sheer scale and low-frequency presence are concerned, the Devialet has very few realistic competitors.
Given a full-on, action-packed Dolby Atmos soundtrack to deal with, the Dione is a dynamic, expansive and quite nuanced listen — but, first and foremost, it’s dynamic. For a soundbar that goes without the low-frequency reinforcement of a partnering subwoofer, the straightforward amount of bass it’s able to produce is remarkable. It delves deep into the frequency range (Devialet is claiming extension down to 24Hz, which seems all too credible), hitting hard but controlling the low-end stuff pretty well — it certainly doesn’t bloom or put any pressure on the midrange in any other way. ‘Punch’ and ‘rumble’ are both available, and both are of an order of magnitude that eludes all but the most accomplished of the Devialet’s rivals.
At the opposite end, there’s decent shine and bite to treble sounds, despite the lack of any dedicated tweeters. There’s a crisp level of attack to the highest frequencies, which complements the bass activity nicely.
It’s in the midrange, though, that the Dione is perhaps most impressive. The ORB center channel proves direct, detailed and endlessly informative — even without ‘Voice Mode’ engaged, the Dione projects voices ahead of the mayhem that might be occurring all around them, and it defines dialogue with assurance.
The entirety of the frequency range hangs together well, and though the Devialet is keen to demonstrate its low-end prowess, the overall presentation never sounds too lop-sided.
It also sounds enjoyably expansive. Genuine surround-sound is in predictably short supply, but the stage the Dione presents at front is far wider, deeper and taller than the soundbar from which it emanates. There’s real width to the Devialet sound and, while the upward-firing drivers will never fool you into thinking there are speakers above you, the height the Dione can generate from an appropriate soundtrack is considerable.
Even if you partner the Devialet with a properly big television (55-inches and above), the sound it produces will comfortably exceed the dimensions of the screen. And even in extremis, when the on-screen action is all kicking off and every part of the frequency range is trying to outdo the others, the control and clarity of the Dione is never in question.
For music (unless it’s been mixed for Dolby Atmos, of course), it’s best to use ‘Music Mode’ to listen in stereo — otherwise the spatial effect can sound quite forced and unnatural. But all of the positives of the Devialet’s movie performance are carried over — and, if anything, the midrange positivity is even more welcome and enjoyable. Big volumes can produce a hint of edginess at the top of the frequency range, it’s true — but then ‘big’ in the context of the Devialet Dione’s output is very big indeed.
Devialet Dione review: Verdict
So it turns out the Devialet Dione has only one meaningful rival — and in some ways, this is a preferable product to Sennheiser’s mighty (and mightily functional-looking) Ambeo soundbar. It’s certainly the better-looking of the two, and the Devialet has, if anything, even greater midrange fidelity, and its positional flexibility is superior.
If you’re after as much of the effect of a full-on, multi-part Dolby Atmos surround-sound speaker system from a single unit, the Dione is thrillingly fit for purpose. The ‘surround’ sensation doesn’t really exist, in all honesty — but as far as width and height are concerned, the Dione is deeply effective. And for a soundbar without a partnering subwoofer, its low-frequency presence, extension, control and straightforward wallop is remarkable.
If you’re luck enough to have the budget for a surround-sound system but would prefer a soundbar, you need to hear the Devialet Dione.