French audio company, Devialet, has always attempted to create speakers that blend high style with high performance. Its latest creation, the $790 Devialet Mania, adds a new twist to that formula: portability. It comes in black, grey, and an available $990 Paris Opéra edition, which uses 24-carat “moongold” embellishments. All three are available to order from devialet.com.
Standing at under 6.7 inches tall, the spherical Mania is tiny — just a fraction of an inch larger than a Google Pixel 7 Pro — but inside, it packs four full-range drivers plus two subwoofers, which helps to explain why, despite being so small, it still weighs about five pounds. Also contributing to its weight is a built-in rechargeable battery that Devialet claims will power the Mania for up to 10 hours. It charges over USB-C, but you can also buy an optional $80 wireless charging base.
The company seems a little uncertain whether those subwoofers are actual subwoofers or just woofers — the literature provided to Digital Trend refers to the horizontally-opposed drivers using both terms.
A set of physical controls plus the USB-C power port are integrated into a band that wraps the midline of the speaker, which seamlessly forms a carry handle at the top. The fabric panels are water-repellent, and the speaker carries an IPX4 water resistance rating, which should keep it from harm should it be exposed to some gentle rain.
Beyond its high fashion looks, the Mania is also equipped with some decent smarts: It’s an Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, and it also supports Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth 5.0, and Spotify Connect. The company says the Mania will work with Alexa’s multiroom audio feature after it receives an update scheduled for 2023.
Its most intriguing feature is something that Devialet calls Active Stereo Calibration (ASC). It automatically reconfigures the built-in drivers to match the speaker’s location in a room. If you place it in an open-air spot, you get 360-degree stereo sound made possible by the Mania’s shape and driver placement. But if you stick it in a corner or on a bookshelf, the rear two full-range drivers are adjusted to reinforce the stereo operation of the front drivers. Devialet says the Mania is the only portable speaker to offer stereo sound with this automatic room tuning feature. That sound like a clear attempt to differentiate it from the $400 Sonos Move, which includes Auto Trueplay calibration but does not produce stereo sound.
Devialet hasn’t said much about the Mania’s amplification, saying only that the small speaker will produce 95 dB of sound pressure level (SPL) at a distance of one meter, with a frequency response of 30Hz to 20kHz. Using the Devialet app, you’ll be able to apply some EQ adjustments for treble and bass, and you can turn ASC on and off if it doesn’t perform the way you want.