Review: Devialet Mania Portable Smart Speaker
Introducing Devialet's First Portable Speaker: Mania
When Devialet reached out asking me to look at their first truly portable Bluetooth speaker, I was immediately excited. Every speaker, sound bar, and amp they have put out since their inception in 2007 has been visually striking and acoustically dominating. I've personally reviewed the Dione, their first sound bar, and listen to the Phantom I and II speakers daily here in the Montgomeryville Showroom. They all sound fantastic. But there is one critical issue that a lot of people have with the Phantom speakers in particular - they are not true wireless speakers. That’s where the new Devialet Mania comes in. Following that same formula of visually striking and acoustically dominating, Devialet set out to make what I’m sure will be one of the best-sounding portable speakers to date. So stick around and let's dive into the core features of the new Mania, some differences that help it stand out, and of course how it sounds.
Opening the box, you are greeted with a pleasant “Hello” with the included documentation on the very top of the box. We get the standard documentation that you would expect; quick start guides, product safety information, etc. The Mania itself comes in a fabric cover nestled in a cardboard holder. Our review sample came with a charging dock and cables. The dock is available for purchase separately for most of the Mania speakers but does come included with the Opera de Paris Edition.
The Mania comes in 3 colors. We got the Light Gray version, but it also comes in Deep Black and a Gold Opera de Paris Edition. Devialet really knows how to make an opulent design, so just like their other Opera edition speakers in the Phantom line, they use real 24-karat gold for the metallic ring around the 2 bass drivers of the Mania. Each of the Manias has a built-in handle and 6 capacitive buttons. On one side, we have play/pause, volume up, and volume down. On the other, we have Power, Bluetooth pairing, and the Devialet button, which for now just indicates battery level and status by illuminating the set of LEDs under the volume controls. We also have a USB-C charging port towards the bottom of the speaker, along with a switch to enable or disable the built-in microphone used for the built-in voice control.
I do need to make a point here about how much I love the aesthetics of the Mania. It’s a small sphere with metallic trim sectioning off the drivers of the speaker itself. The fabric grilles cover 4 full-range drivers, but we will get more into that a little later. The handle itself is a little small, I can only slip up to two of my fingers into it. While carrying the Mania around, I ended up mostly holding it like a basketball more than a speaker with a handle.
Driver Orientation, SAM, & ASC
Knowing Devialet and their knack for fitting incredible amounts of technology into small packages, I was curious to see what they have done with their go at portable speaker. And, BOY is there a lot jammed into this thing! The engineers at Devialet must be part-time magicians. Nothing this small should sound as good as it does. So, how do they do it? Through a combination of clever driver orientation, speaker active matching, and active stereo calibration. Let's look at each of those down first.
First, the number and positioning of the drivers is pretty clever. On each side, we have a bass driver in a push-push configuration. This is the same design Devialet uses in their Phantom speakers and Dione sound bar. Essentially, as one driver pushes air out, so does the other. And when one resets back into position, so does the other. This cancels out most vibrations that the bass drivers would create inside the speaker itself. That in combination with SAM (Speaker Active Matching) allows them to push the bass drivers to their absolute limit without ever over-excreting them, allowing the bass drivers to hit all the way down to 30hz. Honestly unheard of in a speaker this small - well, this small and clear. A lot of other Bluetooth speakers will have absolutely horrid and muddy bass output that overpowers the mids and highs. Definitely not the case with Mania.
On top of the sphere, we have 4 full-range drivers in a sort of checkerboard pattern. Each side has a left and right channel. So no matter where you sit in relation to the Mania, you will always have a stereo image in an open space. This is actually the same concept we use when designing distributed audio systems in large open spaces. Alternating left and right channels in a checkered pattern means that more people are able to get a stereo image when listening. But here’s the trick to the Mania. If it’s placed near a wall or hard surface, it will automatically change the output of the two drivers closest to the wall. Located near the bottom of the speaker are 4 microphones, both used for Alexa voice control and ASC (Active Stereo Calibration). Mania will listen to its surroundings as it plays and will automatically switch the two drivers facing the wall to match the orientation of the drivers facing the open space. By doing this, the speakers facing the wall will reflect off of the wall and increase the width of the sound stage, effectively making the Mania sound like an even bigger speaker than before.
The Mania is chock-full of plenty of other technology, specs, and such so lets rapid fire some questions and answers.
"How do I play music to the Mania?"
You get your choice of Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth 5.0, and Spotify connect. Enough to cover almost any music source from a phone or tablet. No analogue inputs, so you only have wireless playback options.
"How long does the battery last?"
Devialet claims that the Mania can get up to a 10 hour battery life. With any battery powered speaker, this will depend on how loud you play music. The louder you play, the more energy it uses, and it will chew through battery life much faster. You can charge the Mania while listening though to get around this.
"How big is the Mania, actually?"
Weighing in at only 5 pounds, its pretty hefty for a speaker this size. Its dimensions are as follows:
W: 176mm (6.9 in)
D: 139mm (5.4 in)
H: 193mm (7.5in)
"Is it waterproof?"
The Mania has an IPx4 rating. This means that it was not officially tested against any type of solid debris like dust but was tested against water splashes. So theoretically, the Mania should be able to handle a splash of water poolside or from over enthusiastic dish washing. But don’t go submerging it in water.
"What's the frequency response range?"
Ok fellow nerds... 30hz-20khz. For context, 30hz is REALLY low. The lowest note on a standard grand piano is 27.5hz in frequency. And 20khz is the same as 20,000hz. Most people can’t hear above 16,000hz by the age of 30. You can rest assured that you will be getting a faithful recreation of your music with that range. The only people missing out would be people with a super deep sub bass hyper fixation.
"How much does this thing cost?"
Mania currently retails for $790 for the standard Gray or Black colors, and $900 for the Opera edition with gold ring and included charging dock.
Hopefully, that answers most of your questions. But if not, please leave a comment down below and I'll get back to you!
I had high expectations for Devialet and the Mania. And as always, it met and then exceeded them! The Mania is probably the best sounding portable Bluetooth speaker I have ever listened to. I have been listening to the Mania the entire time I’ve been writing this review. A mix of jazz, fusion, and pop mostly. First, I listened to the new original Jazz album “Insane In The Rain” by Carlos Eiene. An artist and album I am incredibly familiar with. Every detail, kick drum hit, and rift came through perfectly clear. My go-to deep bass track is "Summertime Magic" by Childish Gambino, and the Mania CRUSHED it. Devialet has a way to marry incredible engineering and high-fidelity sound with every speaker they produce, and the Mania is no exception. I’m going to be sad when I have to hand this guy back over to Devialet.
If you are like me and look for performance first in the products you buy, I would highly recommend the Mania. If you want the best sounding portable Wireless Bluetooth speaker, this is it. Tons of room filling sound without losing fidelity. Small enough to fit inside a backpack and interesting enough to have out as part of your décor at home. If this is your first Devialet speaker, prepare to be amazed. And if you are already familiar with the brand, then you know to expect incredible performance in a small package. The name Mania certainly fits.