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KEF vs Devialet – Detailed Comparison

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KEF and Devialet are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry that produces high-quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, and subwoofers

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at the sound quality, durability, price, and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points. However, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

KEF Quick History

KEF has a long and distinguished history. The company was founded in 1961 in Maidstone, Kent, by Raymond Cook OBE, a BBC engineer. The British company specializes in designing and producing high-end audio products, including speakers, subwoofers, and headphones.

KEF introduced Uni-Q, the world’s first coincident source speaker driver, in 1988, and it still remains a landmark feature in nearly all its speakers today.

kef speakers history

The first KEF speaker, the three-way K1, was built from synthetic materials. In 1973, the company became the first loudspeaker manufacturer to implement the use of computers in loudspeaker design and measurement in the whole world.

It continued to develop the use of acoustical, mechanical, and magnetic modeling techniques in speaker design, including the Finite Element Analysis in the 2000s, and revealed the Acoustic Compliance Enhancement (ACE) in 2005. In the 2010s, KEF launched the BLADE, EGG wireless speakers, and MUO portable speakers, among other brands.

Devialet Quick History

Devialet is a French acoustics engineering company that specializes in speakers and amplifiers. It was founded in 2007 by Quentin Sannié, Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel, and Emmanuel Nardin in Paris, France, where its headquarters is located.

But Devialet had earlier beginnings in 2004 when Pierre-Emmanuel Calmel developed his Analogue Digital Hybrid (ADH) technology which is now used in every Devialet device.

Sound Quality

KEF Sound Quality

KEF engineers classy, superb-sounding speakers and is one of the finest manufacturers of British hi-fi audio equipment. This is why audiophiles around the world revered KEF for its innovative, high-performance audio systems.

KEF’s company’s ethos is based on R&D, engineering, design, and development found in their trademark technology, including:

  • Their Uni-Q driver array and Metamaterial Absorption Technology ensure that KEF speakers produce high-quality natural surround sound.
  • The Metamaterial Absorption Technology is a complex maze-like structure that helps the speaker absorb up to 99% of unwanted sound resulting in less distortion and pure, natural sound.
  • The Single Apparent Source technology helps to eliminate interference and contributes to clear, accurate, authentic, and immersive sound.

Devialet Sound Quality

As expected from a high-end brand like Devialet, the audio quality is nothing short of superb. Their devices have been described as having dynamic midranges, crystal-clear treble, and powerful and deep bass with exceptional immersion and directivity.

Features

KEF Features

Here are the main features of KEF products:

  • Uni-Q drivers for the elimination of “sweet spots” and enhancement of surround sound
  • Tweeters mounted into the center of the mid
  • Metamaterial Absorption Technology for eliminating distortion and enhancing the production of pure, natural sound
  • Flexible Port Technology
  • Single Apparent Source Technology

Devialet Features

Devialet devices are equipped with all the basic features required of audio devices and more. Check out some of them from the list below:

  • Analog Digital Hybrid (ADH) technology combines elements of analog and digital amplifiers, allowing for higher wattage and decibel peaks
  • Heart Bass Implosion (HBI) technology that promotes wider low-frequency coverage and imitates a subwoofer
  • Speaker Active Matching (SAM) signal processing technology analyzes and adjusts sounds in real-time to “reproduce the exact acoustic pressure recorded by the microphone.”
  • Active Co-Spherical Engine (ACE) is an acoustic architecture designed to deliver sound in every direction
  • Dolby Atmos®, SPACE™ and EVL support for an immersive and enveloping sound experience
  • Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, or Apple TV+ streaming

Build Quality

KEF Build Quality

KEF speakers are designed to look acoustically exceptional and attractive. Besides, they are precisely built to the outstanding standards of KEF.

kef vs b&w

The Reference cabinets are built using finite element analysis to precisely determine bracing geometry and shape and reduce secondary radiation.

kef speaker build quality

The Constrained Layer Damping applied to the finish helps turn any little vibrations into heat that is quickly dissipated.

Devialet Build Quality

Devialet devices have sturdy and acoustically superior construction using materials such as titanium and aluminum, which are the most used. Other materials include copper and plastic.

Devialet Gold Phantom Speaker

Beyond that, their devices are modern and stunning with a signature clean and minimalistic finish.

Ease of Use

KEF Ease Of Use

The Reference speakers are clearly undemanding in terms of positioning and space as they are sleek and compact. The REF5 and REF107 are good examples.

They are easy to fine-tune to conform to your listening area using the Flexible Port Technology. Also, the speakers and subwoofers come with remote control systems that make them easier to navigate without changing your sitting position.

Devialet Ease Of Use

Setup and control is very easy with the Devialet App. The devices have easily located and intuitive controls with universal symbols.

Cost

KEF Cost

Speakers: $50 to $5,000

Subwoofers: $40 – $2000

Headphones: $50 – $500

Devialet Cost

The price of some ranges of Devialet devices are listed as follows:

  • Speakers (Phantom): $1200 – $3800
  • Earphone (Gemini): from $250
  • Soundbar (Dione): from $2400
  • Amplifiers (Expert): $6500 – $35,000

Space Requirements

KEF Space Requirements

Vintage KEF speakers do tend to be large and bulky, but this generally applies to all vintage speakers.

KEF considers placement while designing its speakers to make it easier to enjoy listening to surround, even in small spaces. They are therefore small and easy to install. The speakers are also designed with smooth edges to make it easier to place them anywhere in the room.

Devialet Space Requirements

Devialet devices are compact while performing much better than bigger ones. To illustrate, the Phantom l measures only 252x255x342mm (HWD) but has specs more suited to bigger devices. The Expert 1000 Pro measures 400x400x40mm (DWH) and weighs 9.7Kg.

Remote Controls

KEF Remote Controls

KEF speakers come with remote controls. However, KEF also sells replacement remote control systems separately to make life easier for their product users.

The replacement remote controls are classified into HiFi, standard V1, or Luxury V2. They sell at different prices and come with different features, with the Luxury V2 remote system having the most variety of features.

Devialet Remote Controls

The Devialet app can be used to set up and customize your devices from iOS and Android devices. They also support wireless remotes and are compatible with smart home systems.

Connectivity Options

KEF Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most KEF speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Devialet Connectivity Options

Devialet devices have Airplay 2, Bluetooth, Wifi, UPnP and Spotify Connect for high-resolution wireless streaming. They also offer Digital options like Optical Cable, HDMI and USB; as well as analog alternatives like RCA.

Power Range

KEF Power Range

KEF speakers can rock up to 1000 watts of power and work perfectly well with amplifiers of between 15W and 300W.

The headphones can deliver up to 5mW maximum power output. On the other hand, the subwoofers consume up to 1000W peak power with up to 300W RMS recommended amplifier power.

Devialet Power Range

The ADH technology used in Devialet’s amplifiers ensures that they can reach such high power levels as 4500W without affecting audio quality.

The lower power output is 350W. The Phantom l has 500W RMS rating while the Expert 1000 Pro has 1KW RMS and 4KW peak output.

Frequency Response

KEF Frequency Response

KEF specifies a frequency range of up to 47 kHz. The low end of this range depends on the bass extension setting used. However, a wide range of KEF speakers responds well between 64 Hz to 28 kHz.

Devialet Frequency Response

Devialet devices have an immense frequency bandwidth from 5Hz to 27KHz. For example, the petite Phantom II has a frequency response range from 18Hz-21KHz while the Phantom l ranges from 16Hz-25KHz.

Conclusion

For over 50 years, Kef remains a reputable hi-fi brand. The sound quality is superb and the speakers are easy to install. The vintage speakers are however bulky and will require large spaces for placement. 

The prices of Devialet devices might be on the high end of the price spectrum, but their performance ranks much higher on the performance spectrum. With Devialet devices there is no compromise, they perform well all-round.

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