Picture this: the Devialet Phantom, reviewed by Jim Austin here, is suddenly sphere-shaped rather than pill-shaped. Now imagine shrinking it down to the girth of a fat grapefruit (or the size of a Cabasse iO3 speaker)so, a little under 7″ in diameter. The Phantom’s push-push configuration remains the same, so you’ll see the opposing drivers subjected to violent-looking excursions, tortured by brutal bass notes.
That’s the gist of the Mania, a pocket-sized, battery-operated Devialet speaker (well, pocket-sized if you don’t mind wearing cargo pants). Yes, it’s a Bluetooth device, though it also supports Wi-Fi. No, you can’t run two as a stereo pair (although just one creates a stereo soundfield). Yes, the Mania slams. No, it doesn’t quite sound like it reaches the rated 30Hz bass spec, at least to my ears.
Swathed in a woven gray or black skin, weighing in at 5lb, and sporting a built-in small handle so you can nonchalantly dangle it from two fingers, the Mania is a lifestyle speaker intended for travel and (no pun intended) excursions. The battery life is “up to 10 hours,” says Devialetless if you like your music loud. It’s splash-resistant. It’s smart enough to sense its surroundings and adapt the stereo image according to the quality and distance of the surfaces it encounters (Devialet calls this “cross-stereo architecture”). In theory, it sounds the same whether it’s placed against a pane of glass or in the middle of a room. In practice, there is a difference for sure, but only a fussy audiophile would notice . . . or care.
The Mania isn’t for silver-haired audio aesthetes; it’s for (I think) young millennials and older Gen Z’ers who’d love to hear their tunes in style wherever they go, and with better fidelity than the average small, cheapo Bluetooth speaker is capable of delivering. Nothing wrong with that if you don’t mind ponying up $790 for the speaker itself and another $80 for a dedicated charging dock.
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