Has anyone heard the Devialet D-Premier Integrated Amp/DAC

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#1
This amplifier been garnering excellent reviews and write-up. Very unusual design: A Class amp coupled in some innovative way with a Class D amplifier. Very small and incredibly good looking IMO. We hear quite a bit about innovation in High End Audio, yet most new components are re-hashing of classic or well-known circuitry .. This one is not and the results are apparently stunning. Alan Sircom who sometimes post in this very forum is extremely enthusiastic about it and I have heard only great things about it.. Anyone with any experience from this most unusual design ? I for one am very curious, the design is of such elegance and sophistication.. The engineer in me,is impressed ...The looks are to me fabulous .. Superb design in a superb and minimalist package...
 

Orb

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Sep 8, 2010
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#2
Heya Frantz,
I have been lucky to own one of the first production (since May) D-Premier integrateds and yeah IMO it is a bit special.
By default it is actually 190w into 8ohms for the production units, with the option to enable 240w with the software (it is meant to be available soon for us), enabling 240w switches on some dynamic thermal solution, but honestly I am happy to leave it at 190w (I do have experience with high powered amps and this is one of the few that comes close to matching them in terms of dynamics when sounds such as synth violins/strings).

What is very surprising is that it sounds far more powerful than 190w, probably due to its ability to really double watts into 4 and nearly into 2 and 1, and where a lot of amps need to be turned up to bring a difficult speaker to life these can do it with ease.
Its benefits is that unlike normal AB and especially digital is that it is not lean and cool, and also without the subtly overly lushness some Class A and tubes can present, while the digital aspect seems as good as the best.
So those who are fans of tubes I think could appreciate the Devialet but find it is not necessarily for them, for everyone else I am pretty confident they would not find anything to fault.

It may seem a huge statement but what Alan says is so true and I know that those auditioning do tend to purchase it, even to replace much more expensive equipment.
His last comment says it all;
There are many who have found their musical happy place within the digital domain and the better that domain sounds, the happier they get.
The D-Premier will leave them ecstactic.
In fact, for those people the search is now over. This is as good as it gets.
It really is the real deal
I do not currently use mine with hires music and Alan's review with standard CDs pretty much matches my own experience.
The downside, well those with a lot of vinyl I am really not sure if this product is the answer for them, and also it is a freaking nightmare to keep clean lol.

Will be interesting to see when it makes another appearance at a North American show, but for now they are selling fast from what my dealer says in Europe.

Cheers
Orb
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#3
Orb

Wow ! That is the kind of repsonse I get from Europeans friends who have heard this amp ... OK .. I am onthe Digital side, squarely and entirely so ... mhhh .... Stay tuned !!! :)

And Orb you are not in the US? Where in the USA can one audition this thing?
 

Orb

New Member
Sep 8, 2010
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#4
Yeah what is eventually going to be embarrassing will be admitting to owning one of these because I can appreciate there could be a growing group of cynics when there are so many good things said about this product.

Unfortunately there is no-one in the USA for this product and the only time it appeared was when the UK Distributor (Ricardo Franassovici) took one over to CES.
I get the feeling that this product has taken off way quicker than expected and they are expanding distribution in a structured way so that they do keep up without creating issues.
Possibly they could also be waiting for the client software to become available as well.

So until there is US distributor the only chance to see one over there is probably when Ricardo visits one of the major shows and takes one with him.
He really is a fan of theirs, and he does have a good mind and ability identifying exceptional products, was him that I feel raised the profile of the Devialet.

Cheers
Orb
 
May 30, 2010
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#5
I had one on loan from our distributor for one weekend some time ago - just to listen, I am tube man and he knew I would not part with my ARC system!

It is an wonderful device. For my taste I would match it with speakers having a tilted down balance - it sounded wonderful with the Krell LAT1000 speakers, but I heard of people using it with Stradivari Sonus Faber. It was not a good match with my Soundlab A1 px. A strange thing - it needs very good power cables and is very sensitive to digital source and the cable feeding it.

Unhappily when I was starting to enjoy, some serious customers asked for it, as it was the demo model. I still feel guilty of having not tried it with the Quad ESL63 ...:eek:
 

Orb

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Sep 8, 2010
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#6
Microstrip can you clarify the sensitive to digital source and cable feeding it, because from my experience the Devialet is just transparent and shows potential changes/benefits/flaws in the associated equipment; I have used sources diverse such as Denon to Metronome, and cables as diverse as from Chord cables to Nordost and Transparent.
So not sure if you meant the same, but I appreciate not everyone's experiences are the same.

Mentioning power cables also reminds me that some will be disappointed that the larger filter type Wattgate and Furutech plugs do not fit with the removable panel in place, this does not bother me though as I use cables without those filter plugs.
Oh do you also use the Arc DAC?
At one point I was very interested in Arc's Ref preamp and DAC myself to support my old power amp before going with the Devialet :)

Ah and importantly I found the digital XLR AES/EBU to be subtly preferred or subtly better quality, but I did not test this extensively and in the end just went with the XLR setup.
Did you use both and if so notice anything between the digital RCA and XLR?

Cheers
Orb
 
Last edited:
May 30, 2010
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#7
Microstrip can you clarify the sensitive to digital source and cable feeding it,
Orb
Orb,

When I first tried the Devialet I also used a Denon DVD as source with a cheap RCA coaxial cable that came with the DVD. Later on I used the ARC CD8 only as a digital transport using an old Madrigal MDC2 digital cable and the sound was really much better.

Also when I changed the power cable from the stock cable to Shunyata Python or even a the old Belden L1875 screened type I noticed a large improvement.

Sometime ago I decided I should sell all equipment I was not using - no second system! But the Devialet was really a terrible temptation. I doubt that for this price you can get a better quality system, and the looks are stunning! Happily when I unpacked it I did not notice that it could be positioned in the vertical position, against a wall - placed this way it is really irresistible.

Have you listened to the Reference Recordings high resolution digital recording using the Devialet? Or are you too busy listening to your favorite music?
 

Orb

New Member
Sep 8, 2010
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#8
Sadly only been using CD quality recordings, so have not had the chance to hear what if any the improvements are, interestingly Alan Sircom was a bit skeptical of high resolution in that for him previously any improvements were marginal/subtle but using the Devialet the difference was much more noticable, definitely meant to be one of the best for high resolution recordings.
I am hoping high res PCM recordings become more of an industry standard and the selection becomes greater before I take the plunge with something like Amarra with a Mac.

Cheers
Orb
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#9
So where's the audio porn?

Pics please! :)
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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#10

Orb

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Sep 8, 2010
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#11
Bah I do not have the video links stored but there is a set of technical presentations done by Devialet staff that explains their patents/technology in more detail and it is pretty interesting as it is a video of them instead of the usual whitepapers.

I think the price is now around 11,500 euros, but IMO it is more than a match for many of the really good high end products and systems that cost much more.
What may put some off is that you lose flexibility in seperate preamp/power amp/dac and this was one of my primary concerns, but it seems so right walking the fine balance between cool-lean to warm-lush that I am happy to say for me going with the one stop solution is not a concern anymore even after owning this now for over 6 months.
So I have not tuned into any niggles or aspects that can gives one the urge to look at other components, and in my experience this is the critical factor for long term satisfaction.
But it is not a replacement IMO as I said earlier for those who identify with the best that good tube systems can offer (although it does seem they can appreciate it such as microstrip says), but it has the potential for all those who do use solid state.

Cheers
Orb
 
May 30, 2010
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#12

bernardl

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2010
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#13
I have also found the D-Premier to be sensitive to cabling. I first connected the Esoteric X-03SE source to the devialet via a pretty decent coax digital cable and found the sound to be impressive, a significant step up compared to my previous Nuforce ref9 V3SE + Denon AVP-A1HD pre (the bottleneck probably), but the sound turned to plain great with a Chord Company Indigo Plus digital cable instead. A very obvious difference, much larger than I would have thought possible in the digital domain.

I have finally realized the potential of my pair of B&W 804s. I believe that even the nuforce were probably not totally up to the task of driving these speakers.

I am currently still using the D-Premier with the original power cord. Your post made me feel like I should perhaps try it with a different cord as well. Don't see how it could be much better than it currently is though.

As a side comment, I believe that B&W messed up a bit with the 804s design since very few customers will ever use these speakers with the amplification their truly need. They end up being a very very good deal if you have amps costing 2 to 4 times more than the speakers. This might explain the big price hike going from 804s to 804 Diamond.

Cheers,
Bernard
 

Orb

New Member
Sep 8, 2010
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#14
I think revealing is a better word than sensitive :)
Otherwise readers may take it there is an engineering issue with the Devialet, interestingly Alan Sircom who was meh with regards to high res recordings is now in favour of them after hearing them played on the Devialet, so again this shows the trend of being a revealing system.
Paul Miller also raved about high res, ironically I am only using it for standard recordings currently, anyone else listened to both standard and high res?

One area that interests me, it seems IMO the XLR is subtly better than the RCA from extended listening, you guys tried both as well?
I went with the Transparent digital cable in the end.

Cheers
Orb
 

bernardl

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2010
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#15
Sure, revealing is the correct wording indeed. :rolleyes:

I have only tried with RCA so far, but I have also heard others say that XLR was even better.

That will be the next step for me also, with probably a Weiss Int202 between a mac and the D-Premier.

Cheers,
Bernard
 

Orb

New Member
Sep 8, 2010
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#16
Thanks Bernard,
yeah the Weiss Int202 was on aspect I am considering in the future, I assume your also looking to use Amarra as well.
The alternative would be using the Linn solution (using the middle priced streamer and not the entry model), but this ends up with a lot of boxes and in my case complication that is not needed.

However one thing I did not consider doh and have not received a reply on.
I would like to use headphones for very late night listening but keep using the Devialet DAC, waiting to find out if its possible to output a pre signal for a headphone amp, if not then I will need to consider an extra DAC-pre (possibility includes the Weiss DAC202 as it has integral headphone amp) solution doh :)

Cheers
Orb
 

bernardl

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2010
57
2
81
#17
Thanks Bernard,
The alternative would be using the Linn solution (using the middle priced streamer and not the entry model), but this ends up with a lot of boxes and in my case complication that is not needed.
The Linn sure seem to be excellent, but even the middle model costs an arm doesn't it? There is one Klimax DS on Yahoo Auction Japan right now for the cheap price of 14.000 US$ in case you are interested. ;)

Sorry, not sure about your headphone question. Have you tried asking Devialet support?

Cheers,
Bernard
 

Orb

New Member
Sep 8, 2010
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#18
Sorry for the delay responding Bernard as I was waiting on Devialet - or I thought I was, turns out that they did send me a quick response but unfortunately it became blocked or spam processed so I missed it.
Following up again today I got a response straight away with a copy from their support team on their earlier email, good news is that the Devialet can be configured so that two of the RCAs can be configured as fixed signal stereo left and right outputs, so pefect for external headphone amps with their own volume control.
So their support is really great especially considering that they are still developing the product and logistical aspects relating to manufacturing-shipping-sales channels-etc.
I did not ask but I assume from the way they responded the RCAs can be configured as variable so volume is controlled by the Devialet.

Seems this is an impressive architecture because the RCAs sockets are pretty dynamic in what they can be configured as; digital inputs/analogue outputs both fixed or variable/subwoofer out/etc.

Cheers
Orb
 

iansr

Well-Known Member
Dec 27, 2010
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#19
Question for the owners of this amp: Have you used it with an analogue source? I ask because I understand that it will always convert analogue to digital and then subsequently convert it back. That can't be a good thing to do!
 

JBevier

New Member
Dec 23, 2010
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#20
Hello iansr,

That's an understandably intuitive question to ask. For years now most all modern recording studios have been recording their artist sessions directly to 24 bit (Sometimes much higher) resolution and storing and mastering in the digital domain. The quality and precision (Same thing) of these encoding A/D convertors is quite exceptional. So asking whether digitizing an analog signal is deleterious to the final sound of the reconverted analog signal is a little mute.

The real question involves a few more levels; A) Is the quality of that initial analog source of high quality or not (Garbage in, garbage out), and, B) If it's a phono signal, is the RIAA stage inside the D-Premier a good one, and, C) Is the A/D convertor inside the D-Premier of high enough precision to not add an imprinting distortion to the converted analog signal?

Here's what is found on the FAQ section on Devialet's website that addresses your question from their viewpoint - "Internally routing all the analog inputs as differential signals although received via a "single-ended" RCA connector, with an insulating washer (a very meaningful detail), which makes all the difference: doubles the needed devices of the analog chain hence its cost and removes all the ground noise and distorsion, making the phono ground connection virtually useless, providing a configurable resistive (9 to 460 Ohms) and a capacitive (100 to 700 pF) loading of phono MC cartridge for optimal operation, paying the same attention to noise and distorsions as on the DAC and the ADH amplifier, providing the same extremely wide and ultra flat (FIG.) frequency response</a> as the digital inputs, totally independant from the speaker impedance, except a security sub-bass cutoff at 0.1 Hz for speaker safety purpose (no cutoff in digital), using the most optimal and accurate RIAA corrector, volume control and gain stage architectures, clearly demonstrates the analog inputs have not been designed for legacy purpose or "connectivity", but with the Devialet quality and total lack of compromise. Should we disclose that it's the most expensive section of the whole product? Should we mention some customers are using their D-Premier as an ultimate "RIAA-ADC" to rip their vinyl LP collection and build a bridge between recording technologies? But of course when it comes to playing genuine digital music, however meticulously designed, the analog inputs cannot rival with our internal DAC for architecture reason (shortest path): because all the blocks are so transparent, what you will end up hearing is... the external DAC. "

I hope that helps - John
 

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