There's nothing quite like the thrill of hearing extended bass when playing your favorite songs on a music system. It's a shame then that so many of the best Bluetooth speakers are compromised when it comes to producing captivating low-end frequencies by being too small to generate the big bass notes on many of today's recordings.
As I mentioned in my 5 best bass tracks to demo your music system, I confess that I have something of a bass obsession. But who doesn't? Bass is a key element to my music enjoyment. Although I love the flexibility many of today's best portable speakers bring to the way I listen, many small designs lack the kind of gravitas when it comes to creating party vibes. That is until I heard the Devialet Mania portable speaker.
At $900 / £690 / AU$1,400 for the black or light gray options without the docking station for wireless charging, the Devialet Mania is a high-end option. Its luxury design is one of the reasons why it appeared in my 5 best music systems for style, and because it sounds awesome too.
The French high-end audio specialist knows a thing or two about connecting listeners to their favorite music through its series of eye-catching speaker systems called Phantom. Of course, this being Devialet, they're not cheap.
As a luxury audio specialist, all of Devialet's speaker designs demand to be seen as well as heard. There's no chance of its speaker systems fading into the background, and its designs are known for producing extended low frequencies you can feel thanks to the use of innovative acoustic tech that really does bring bass to life through a physical movement that thrusts energy into the listening space.
Although a little more compact and affordable than its flagship Phantom speaker design, the Devialet Mania really does pack a punch. It uses some of the same acoustic principles and technology found in the company's top-line speaker series, but in a battery-powered compact form.
Speaking of which, battery life is the only area where I feel the Mania falls short, and runs to around 10 hours at best. Apart from that (and the exceedingly high price) it gives one of the best audio experiences I've heard from a portable music system.
Despite living with the speaker system at home for a few weeks, I still feel my listening sessions with it were all-too-brief. I really did enjoy it that much. As with my initial hands-on experience at the launch event, I've been impressed by how the small speaker manages to achieve such a rich and spacious stereo sound from all directions via a ball-shaped cabinet.
It's not the kind of stereo soundstage I'd expect to get from a pair of the company's Phantom speakers, but placed on a coffee table in front of me, a subtle stereo effect from the hidden tweeters in the top part of the speaker is there all the same. I wouldn't describe it as a room-filling sound, but moving the speaker around the house and with it placed on a shelf behind my home office desk, the sonic aura it achieved always sounded larger in scale than the compact dimensions of the speaker itself.
The impressive output works with lots of different kinds of music, but perhaps best of all with bass-centric beats like EDM (electronic dance music) and hip-hop, which have oodles of energy to get any space jumping. Personally, I preferred the bass energy with the speaker in free space. The energy and bass clarity sounded most natural that way, and the disco funk from "Shake it On" by Jamiroquai had a highly infectious groove that had me marveling at the Mania's rhythmic capabilities.
One of my go-to tracks for showing off extended bass is "Human" by Rag'n'Bone Man. The Mania really didn't disappoint, with loads more detail to those deep bass notes than I'd expect to hear from any similarly sized speaker system.
But it's not just dynamic pop beats or pulsating rhythms that show off the Devialet's extended bass flare. Rich movie soundtracks like the Hans Zimmer's "Like a Dog Chasing Cars" from the movie The Dark Night have a tremendous amount of bass energy, making the main driver on the eye-ball speaker pulsate as it pushes out the big soundwaves to make those powerful bass notes commanded by the bass drum.
Epic bass for those with deep pockets
If a speaker system isn't able to recreate and produce the low frequencies that give music the energy and richness we all love to hear, it's unlikely to be making any kind of music connection with our favorite songs. This isn't something the Devialet Mania needs to worry about, though, with epic bass levels that belie the speaker's compact and entirely portable dimensions.
I'm not saying all areas of the speaker's frequency range are as expertly conveyed as they are at the low end, and the sound can harden up at higher volume levels. But if you like your beats big and you're in the market for a high-end wireless speaker system with versatile connectivity smarts, then the Devialet Mania is a lot of fun and the best portable speaker I've heard.