Sound Management

by Li Haohan
Photo and video by Chino Sardea
02 Feb 2018

In 2010, just three years after its foundation, Devialet launched its first product, D-premier, and immediately earned the admiration of audiophiles and industry pundits

Wielding the AHD® (Analog Digital Hybrid) technology, Devialet created a game-changing audio system that delivered both the refined linear analog amplication and the power and compactness of digital amplification.

With the success of D-premier, it quickly organized raising capital for the venture. Its first fund raising in 2010 obtained over 12 million euros from a group of entrepreneurs, reveals Mr. Quentin Sannié, Devialet co-founder and chief executive.

In 2012, they approached LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, owner of Internet mobile service provider Free Xavier Niel, and two of their friends, who pumped another 42 million euros into the company. The last round of capital infusion was in December 2016, which saw Foxconn founder Terry Gou, Jay-Z, and Android creator Andrew Rubin putting in money. “Over the past seven years, we have raised 155 million euros,” Mr. Sannié shares.

Devialet produces the transducers for its speakers in its manufacturing facility in the south of Paris. Meanwhile, its expert pro line amplifiers and Phantom range are made in Normandy. On top of these, the company engages several subconstrators to manufacture the body and parts of electronic components, and works with other companies in the licensing of its products.

Most of Devialet’s collaborators are based in Normandy, allowing a quick production turnaround and better quality control. The factories’ close proximity to the engineers who are developing the product ensures easy access in case problems arise, explains Mr. Sannié.

"We produce the transducers in-house because of proprietary technology. For other components, we design most of the initial processes together with third parties. For example, the body of the product is a very sophisticated design with two layers of different materials to cater to the internal pressure. We developed the process to be able to inject the material and produce the body."

The specific technology is not found in any other audio companym Mr. Sannié says. “We don’t produce the components ourselves, but we develop the processes to create them. So it’s a mix of about 22 factories providing the main parts of the Phantom, and each component is made through some of the most sophisticated processes in the market. It’s also the reason why we’re not able to produce our products in any existing factories in, say, China, because what we’re doing is different from any other audio company.”

“In the future,” Mr. Sannié hopes, “when the processes are fully optimized and well managed by our in house team in France, and when the demand rises even more quickly in Asia, we can consider having another production installation. Today, our priority is to focus on whatever we are doing in France.”

Devialet’s manufacturing capacity for the Phantom is about 200,000 units per year; about 50 per cent go to Europe, 25 per cent to the USA, and 25 per cent Asia, which is growing very fast. “Today our best performing markets are France, USA and Hong Kong. We have a highly automated process that alows us to cope with increasing demand and scale up production quickly.”