There are certain products I think you can never have enough of. I would put spectacles and cameras among these. My other particular weakness, though, as regular readers will know, is for sound systems. At one point this year, I had seven in my loft apartment – four of my own, three loan samples. Five of these were co-existing in one largish open-plan living room/kitchen. The remaining two populated the other rooms. I was using them all. But give me one more big room to fill with sound and I know exactly what I’d buy: ever since 2015, when Devialet’s extraordinary bass-punching wireless Phantom system was launched, I have hankered after a stereo pair; in fact, I’d settle for a single speaker, so brilliant is the sound from just one mono unit. For heavy rock music there is nothing else on earth like the multi-patented Phantoms. They owe their unique sound to extravagantly powerful amplifiers – the top-of-the-range Phantom Premier offers up to 4,500 watts per speaker – and eye‑popping twin giant aluminium side-mounted bass drivers hermetically sealed under 200kg of pressure and arranged to pump in and out with the bass line, like veritable kinetic sculptures.
In the absence of that extra room, I’d be happy to settle for Devialet’s new mini-Phantom, the Reactor 900 which, at just 16cm x 22cm x 17cm, is smaller than a Tyrannosaurus Rex egg, but as loud (I’m guessing) as a baby T-Rex. You can buy a neat white tripod stand with it or put it on a flat surface and get the Phantom sound when and where you fancy. In comparison to its larger siblings, it produces just 900 watts but can still blast your head off. I had a happy couple of months with a single Phantom in my bedroom and will seriously consider it as a birthday present to self.