Devialet Expert Pro 220 amplifier listened, reviewed and rated; we check out the cutting edge Expert Pro range from French mavericks Devialet.
Devialet: One of the most maverick and design-obsessed Hi-Fi companies in the industry, Devialet pull no punches when it comes to shaking up the accepted status quo. At Audio Affair, we’ve recently been granted the rare opportunity to become dealers for Devialets premium, audiophile-oriented, Expert range of Hi-Fi.
We couldn’t resist the opportunity to give their remarkable Expert Pro integrated amplifier DAC a test-drive…
Devialet Expert Pro 220
Like every Devialet product, the Expert Pro 220 possesses an utterly stunning aesthetic with “WOW factor” in abundance. Looking very much like a set piece from a stylish sci-fi film, this is an amplifier you’ll want to show off, rather than hide away in a rack.
Highly polished, chromed metal surfaces glint and sparkle, whilst a beautifully engineered clip on rear panel hides the physical connections. A discrete and tasteful OLED display on the top of the amplifier displays the current volume level amongst other information.
One simply has to mention the remote control, which is surely one of the most beautiful remote controllers this reviewer has ever seen. Taking the form of an elegant, weighty, chromed square, a tactile knob on the surface controls the volume, with recessed buttons selecting the source, tone, mute and power functions.
As is typical of Devialet, the initial experience is tactile and involving; one immediately gets the impression that a huge amount of love and care has gone into every aspect of the design of the Expert 220.
For this listening test, we’re using a pair of KEF’s equally dramatic KEF Blade 2 loudspeakers; this gives us an opportunity to exploit Devialet’s SAM Speaker Active Matching technology.
Devialet has created a database of the characteristics of over 800 loudspeaker models, from which SAM is able to tailor the sound signal to fit the loudspeaker’s precise requirements, in real time. Devialet claims that SAM lets your system achieve “perfect temporal alignment between the recorded signal and the acoustic pressure generated by your loudspeakers”.
There really was only one way to find out…
Expert Pro – Precision and Accuracy
Music was streamed from an iPad running the truly excellent ROON streaming software, which connected to the Expert Pro 220 with ease. Cueing up Leonard Cohen’s “You Want it Darker”, there’s’ an immediate impression of clean, unflappable power and astonishing linearity.
As a Hi-Fi reviewer, one is often expected to discuss the character of a piece of Hi-Fi equipment, in this regard, the Expert Pro 220 gave this reviewer a difficult job. Why? Because in the most respectful way possible, there really isn’t a character to the presentation. There are no artefacts, no obvious deviations from the source material, just clean, pristine power.
That impression of astonishing competence doesn’t falter for a moment; from the rock bombast of Muse, through to Hans Zimmer’s score for Interstellar, the presentation is faithful, realistic and very, very difficult to fault in any truly objective way.
Expert Pro 440
Thanks to Devialet’s clever configurations software and engineering, it’s possible to configure a second Devialet Expert Pro 220. This results in what Devialet refer to as the Expert Pro 440 setup. The Expert Pro 440 configures each amplifier as a bridged, mono amplifier, creating a true, dual-mono setup.
With an astonishing 880 watts now at your reviewer’s disposal, the impossible became possible; there was now an even greater level of grip and control! Previously, Cohen’s vocal exhibited a prominent low-mid resonance in our demo room, which had now been reigned into check.
The Pro 440 setup exhibited enhanced levels of precision and control than before; enough to make this reviewer confidently proclaim it to be the best digital amplifier setup his ears had ever heard.
The Devialet Expert Pro 220 and Pro 440 won’t be for everyone; if you’re the kind of audiophile that craves a characterful, colourful presentation, you may be left wanting with this setup. Be under no illusion, however, that it’s no poor reflection upon the performance of the Devialet Expert Pro.
If you’re an audiophile who prefers to listen to your music rather than your equipment, then you may just fall in love with the Devialet Expert Pro 220 and Expert Pro 440. Highly recommended!