I first listened to the minuscule Devialet Phantom Reactors in the company’s New York showroom in late 2018. Back then, I wrote that they were one of the few speakers that have made me think ‘wow’ in a long time. After all, review enough speakers costing thousands of dollars, and you become at least a little jaded about what sounds good and what surprises you.
After spending a few months with the Reactor – starting at $2,180 a pair for 600W, or $2,700 for the 900W model I tested – my enthusiasm only increased. These are speakers meant to wow you, to make you rethink the amount of volume and bass a speaker smaller than an American football can put out. The software is their only real blemish.
If you follow high-end audio, you’ve probably heard of Devialet before. The company first made waves with its original Phantom (now called the ‘Phantom Premier,’) a speaker that also looked like an alien sculpture and pumped out more bass than a speaker its size had any right to. The Reactor takes everything that was good about the original and shrinks it down, while providing a few changes to make it more user-friendly for the average listener.
Did I mention it’s small? The Reactor 900 measures approximately 17x22x16cm (6.6×8.5×61 inches). That’s just a bit bigger than the Sonos Move, and smaller than the vast majority of bookshelf speakers. It’s small enough to fit on a desk inconspicuously, and even a bit too small for my speaker stands.
Despite this, Devialet claims essentially linear bass extension down to 25Hz, and full extension (-6dB) down to 18Hz. That’s better than most subwoofers, let alone bookshelf speakers, which tend to dip down in the 40s and 50s. As we’ll see in the measurement section, Devialet more than delivers.
Aesthetically, the Phantom’s spherical shape won’t be for everyone, but it should be easy to accommodate with most decor (especially now that it comes in a black colorway too). It strikes a nice balance; it looks different than almost anything on the market, but it’s small enough to not be too conspicuous.