If there’s one point where the Mania stands out from its direct competitors, it’s its sound design. Devialet’s portable loudspeaker is certainly one of the first to adopt such a “complex” architecture in such a quantity: 4 loudspeakers arranged in the upper part, supported by two large excursion bass loudspeakers positioned in push -push, in an unprecedented “cross-stereo” ” configuration. Is this the secret recipe to beat the competition and redefine the sound experience that can be expected from a speaker of this size?
In general, we can answer this question in the negative, because not everything is as impressive as one might think or lead us to believe. The Mania scores big points in several aspects, first of all through its ability to transcribe bass. The SAM technology and the two “push-push” woofers still work wonders, especially for a speaker of this size. The kicks of the bass drum, more often the big percussions, the bass lines, the drops and the most serious effects made by the synthesizers are transcribed with the strength and the depth that characterizes them. We really feel the weight and the impact of all these elements, and this with a relatively clean approach to the view of the extension proposed here, although some pieces sometimes provoke some reactions hollow, unattractive resonances (a synthesizer or a bass playing a do2 so to speak. a specific example, or in pieces like let me through by Anderson .Bite o Death is not Defeat of Architects).
The search is the same at low or high sound levels. In addition, the Mania offers as promised an impressive volume / power ratio, and this while maintaining a good level of overall accuracy and above all a more dynamic iteration. Thus it can provide a level of sound that is sufficient for a large room, a living room or a dining room, and also outside the garden, for example.
If we salute these qualities, the experience is easily compared to some disappointments, first of all in the overall sound balance. Although the integrated calibration function does its job to optimize the reproduction in different scenarios of use, the Mania always leaves the high-mids / treble too much. The result is a warm, round, soft sound signature… and yet very little in fact, so much so that one can almost describe it as frank in some situations.
The lack of definition at this level, the lack of sharpness, presence, enthusiasm, “air”, is immediately felt in instruments rich in harmonics, such as the electric guitar or cymbals, but also in many others (saxophone, trumpet , violin. , snare drum, etc.). Rarely, but it must be said, even the sound can be affected: it has a little difficulty in embodying itself, as if it is partially trapped inside the enclosure, slightly turned back or behind a light curtain. The two-band EQ included in the app simply brings back more dynamism without creating another imbalance or excessive muzzling of the bass.
We will conclude with the last key argument of the Mania, its “cross-stereo” design which, as original as it is interesting, unfortunately does not hit the mark. We can see that the result has the merit of offering a homogeneous and “spreading” sound reproduction around the enclosure. But the biggest difference in the tonal balance, and it is very small, is only visible when you get well on the axis of dispersion of the smallest loudspeaker and close to the enclosure.
Despite this, to really talk about spatialization, we still clearly feel that the sound stage is not really “open”, and that the idea of stereo width is vague, if not there. You have to be directly near the Mania and in the middle of the two loudspeakers to carefully notice some very marked stereo effects (two instruments positioned on the extreme left / right responding to each other, like the intro of discarded of Fleetwood Mac, for example). Placing the speaker close to a wall, which on paper has the effect of triggering the “oriented stereo” mode, does not provide more satisfaction.