File this under tech I want, but can't afford.
Walking along the show foor at SXSW, I happened across one of the prettiest and most expensive Bluetooth speakers I've ever seen -- the Devialet Phantom Gold.
Priced at $3,000, Devialet boasts that this is "best wireless speaker in the world." It's a lofty claim. But if what I heard during my demo is any indication, the company has reason to brag.
The Phantom Gold looks nothing like your average speaker. Clad in a glossy white plastic shell and accented by a 22-karat rose gold inset, the device has an undeniable futuristic chic vibe. I'm especially fond of the geometric floral grill located at the front of the speaker, which, by the way is made from pure titanium, because why not? And unlike most boxy Bluetooth speakers, the Phantom Gold is an exercise in curves, you won't find a sharp edge anywhere on the device.
Although the Phantom Gold is an undeniable looker, this thing has to be heard and seen to be believed. Once you start playing music on Devialet's beautiful monster, something strange happens. The two bulbous subwoofers on the sides of the speaker start heavily pulsating, depending on how deep the bassline of the song.
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When the intro for Beyonce's "Drunk In Love" started playing, the subwoofers looked like they were twerking, and the bass was so deep I could feel it in my internal organs. The lows never bottomed out or submerged the rest of track. That deep, yet clear bass is the result of Devialet's proprietary Heart Bass Implosion (HBI), which allows the speaker to reproduce frequencies as low as 14 Hz, which are infrasound levels -- meaning below human hearing level.
Free from overpowering bass that I'm used to hearing in other speakers, the mids and highs were full and present. All that power comes in part from the 4500-watt amplifier the Phantom Gold is hiding under its sleek frame.
One Phantom sounds great, but what about two or four? If you have the means, you can create a multi-room setup that syncs multiple devices over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Ethernet or Optical. I had the opportunity to listen to three synced Golds and it sounded like I was listening to speakers twice their size. It was almost overwhelming.
I'm looking forward to reviewing the Phantom Gold in the near future, and finding out how the 1 percent lives.