Pleasing modern aesthetics isn’t always associated with audiophile gear. In fact, finding Hi-Fi equipment that blends sonic delight with great design is something to be applauded. French audio firms Focal and Devialet are no slouches in this department. Devialet, in particular, produces an integrated amplifier that incorporates unique and compact audio circuits with a clean industrial design to match.
The D-Premier ($15,995USD) is an integrated amplifier with onboard digital-to-analog conversion for various digital music sources (digital coax, optical, & AES/it also has analog inputs) as well as a hybrid power amplifier section capable of driving a variety of speakers. Devialet seems to favor short signal paths while harnessing the strengths of class A and class D amplifier topologies. It is my understanding that the D-Premier incorporates a class A input section with a digital switching amp for power output. I am certainly oversimplifying this design, but proof is in the listening. Technically speaking, the D-Premier achieves very low distortion (THD+N (harmonic distortion) at full power: 0.001%) while providing 240 watts of power into 8 ohms. This power can be increased (2×400 watts and THD+N lowered to 0.00025%!) by using two separate D-Premier’s in a mono block configuration. That’s lots of power in a relatively small/thin footprint! – eloquent dual mono setup.
I heard this amplifier powering Focal Stella Utopia speakers while playing source material from a Sooloos digital music server. Music was reproduced with precision, clarity and control. When over limited recordings were played (Adele’s 21), all the vocal distortions came through with obvious detail. This amplifier is very accurate, and provides the listener with all the sonic layers while providing precision and control to speaker drivers.
The Stella Utopia incorporate an active Electro-magnetic speaker technology which of course requires power and some serious floor space! I would have really liked to see how the Devialet-D and the Focal speakers sounded with vinyl playback, but with the demo provided I could be easily persuaded to do further listening.
For blending with room decor, the Devialet -D integrated amplifier may be hung on the wall. This allows all wiring to be done through the wall, thus eliminating unsightly audiophile cables. A video demonstrating the chrome finish, and how it reflects the rooms colors can be seen at the Devialet website homepage. Ergonomically, the D-Premier’s wireless remote provides a luxurious dial for adjusting volume level,audio inputs, and even a phase invert button. Right now, it is only available in chrome, black, and white finishes. I am told (by the US distributor) that other colors will eventually become available.
This integrated amplification system combines powerful fidelity, flexibility, ease of control and graceful design. Getting to the heart of music seems to be a priority with the D-Premier, and I for one welcome this approach.