To Doug Schneider,
I read your review of the Devialet D-Premier and was intrigued. I went to listen to it on a pair of Magico Q3s and found the concept quite interesting. It sounded good, but unfortunately the room was less than ideal, so it was difficult to know really how good it was. I like the simplicity of a system around the Devialet and the fact that it doesn't heat up (I live in a hot country).
I am building a new system around a pair of Magico Q7s. I am currently considering three options to drive the Q7:
- Q7 biamped by two Devialet D-Premiers, one for the bass and one for the midrange and tweeter. Direct streaming from Wi-Fi (I tested their Wi-Fi and it works very well).
- Q7 driven by a Soulution 710 stereo amp, a Berkeley Alpha DAC, and an Aurender music server.
- Same as above but the Soulution amp replaced by a pair of Vitus SM-101 monoblocks (or the model that will replace it, even if they will get very hot like the old Gryphon Antileon that I still have in storage).
My dedicated room will be fully custom designed with extensive treatment with diffusion modules from SMT, so the room shouldn’t be a limiting factor.
It will be difficult for me to hear these three solutions in the same room. Do you have any thoughts on how good the Devialet solution is? Can it compete against the best amps on the market as above?
I don’t think there’s any question that the Devialet D-Premier can compete against any amplifier on the market. I think the relevant question would revolve around whether or not the D-Premier is the best amplifier on the market. In my opinion, the D-Premier cleans house on just about anything out there in terms of clarity, resolution, and loudspeaker control (it has virtually no output impedance, so it has a sky-high damping factor). Then there’s also the benefit of having preamplification and digital-to-analog conversion built in, not to mention the Wi-Fi streaming. Two D-Premiers working together are also supposed to be even better than a single one, which is what I used. The D-Premier truly represents the state of the art, so don’t let its reasonable price fool you. Of course, Soulution and Vitus are known for their outstanding power amplifiers, so if you wish to go in that direction and tack on a DAC and preamplifier, that’s not such a bad idea either.
In regard to Q7 compatibility, I listened to it in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show and thought that the pair there sounded great (and so they should at $165,000 per pair), but Magico was using some non-disclosed amps to drive them. How any of these combinations you suggest will work with the Q7 is a big unknown, because there’s more to whether an amp will partner well with a speaker than brand name, reputation, or how it might have worked with something else. What’s also an unknown is the load the Q7 presents to the amplifier, mainly because the speaker is so new and there haven’t been any third-party measurements done on it yet. Magico is also making some pretty bold claims about the Q7, including a sensitivity of 94dB. For a direct-radiating, sealed-box design, that’s extremely high. Frankly, until I see credible measurements of the Q7 done independently, it will remain just that -- a claim. Of course, I’d also like to see an impedance plot to determine if the speaker is a rather easy load or a punishing one.
It’s these factors that preclude me from saying which amp would work the best with the Q7 because I just don’t know -- I doubt anyone else really does either. So if I were in your shoes, I’d keep all options open but definitely give dual Devialet D-Premiers serious consideration. The D-Premier is shockingly good, and I’ve even seriously considered buying one because of the level to which it performs. . . . Doug Schneider