Devialet 120

Everything we loved about the Devialet 110 is here in spades with the new 120, but the addition of a crucial feature makes the 120 more than a simple upgrade.  Devialet’s new SAM (Speaker Active Matching) technology, in a nutshell, provides a more synergistic coupling between amplifier and loudspeaker, thanks to their engineers harnessing more power of the on board DSPs.  Visually, the 120 looks identical to the 110, with the same compliment of inputs and outputs.

SAM is an optimized program for your individual speaker (Devialet is constantly adding new SAM profiles to their website) that claims full phase alignment over the entire frequency spectrum and extended low frequency response down to 25Hz.  While we have no way of measuring this, the results with the Penaudio Cenya speakers, the KEF LS-50s and the KEF Blades was nothing short of stunning.  We are currently working on a full review of the Devialet Ensemble system, utilizing a pair of Devialet designed Ahtom GT1 speakers.

This is not a subtle upgrade.  While the KEF Blades are no slouch in the bass department, it was easy to hear more extreme bass extension on bass heavy tracks from Pink Floyd and Daft Punk.  Not only was there more detail in the low bass as you would get with a top notch subwoofer, there was more punch, more weight.  The heartbeat in the classic Floyd track “Speak to Me: Breathe” now feels heavier, more ominous than without SAM.  For the Thomas’s doubting SAM, the Devialet remote allows you to dial up how much SAM processing you’d like in the system, making it easier to see the results first hand.

In my smaller listening room, this proved very useful with the LS-50 and the Cenyas, as there was just a bit too much bass with SAM set at 100.  Both work best with SAM set in the 60-70 range.  With SAM engaged I was able to shut the subwoofer off with both of these speakers, it was no longer needed.

The new functionality that SAM brings to the picture, along with the additional 10 watts per channel that the 120 offers is only a firmware upgrade away for existing Devialet 110 owners. Fantastic sound and drop dead gorgeous casework aside, this is the best thing about owning a Devialet product is that they are future proof.  It was awesome to view the 120 at the Munich hifi show and be told, “You only need to download the new firmware and you have a 120.”  That’s music to my ears.

Devialet 120