Devialet is known for packing a high octane sound experience and razor-sharp auditory precision into its famous orb-like speakers, its signature ‘Phantom’ model. This month, it’s launched its most daring product yet, its first true wireless earbuds: the Gemini

We’ve seen Devialet’s products get smaller and smaller of late: The Phantom Reactor last year — the size of an evening clutch — and now, the Gemini earbuds, promising to provide the same revelatory sound experience Devialet is known for, but portable enough to keep in your pocket.

Since 2014 (though the company’s history stretches far back almost a decade, dealing in high-end amplifiers), Devialet nailed wireless audio in its speakers thanks to its patented Analog Digital Hybrid (ADH) technology, which allows for precise, analogue sound to be amplified digitally without loss of quality; and without adding any noise, distortion or saturation. To create a true wireless earbud, the French company sought to then create a product that could ostensibly personalise the sound experience for every kind of user, in every pair of ears.

The new Gemini boasts of a new active noise-cancelling tech that’s protected by no less than three patents. It also offers three distinct levels of ANC and two levels of transparency so you can experience your movies or music with or without ambient noise. A dedicated Devialet Gemini app also works to scan your ears to help you find the perfect fitting earbuds to prevent acoustic leakage.

Encased in a sleek and minimalist case in matte black, the design echoes the side panels of its Phantom speakers. They offer over 24 hours of playtime and over eight hours of battery life (six if you’re using ANC), plus a further three and a half full charges stored in the case. 

Priced at HK$2,490, the Gemini has been available for pre-order since 10 October, with estimated shipping dates starting from 25 November — you’ll want to order now if you want it before Christmas.

We spoke to CEO Franck Lebouchard to learn more about the new product.

What were the challenges involved in maintaining the sound quality that the company is known for, in a true wireless earbud?

At Devialet, we want to reshape how people experience sound in their lives. We do that by creating only extraordinary products that can provide superior sound experience. To get the best sound experience on a true wireless earbud, you need to have a superior sound quality. To achieve that goal, the challenge with Devialet Gemini was to get the ANC (active noise cancellation) to allow adaptability to each ear, as everyone is different.

Our engineering teams have been hard at work developing new technologies that make high-end audio more accessible and adaptable. We successfully achieved combining outstanding clarity of sound, cutting-edge adaptability and market-leading Devialet ANC technology thanks to three new patents: PBA® (Pressure Balance Architecture), IDC® (Internal Delay Compensation), and EAM®  (Ear Active Matching).

Can you tell us a little more about these technologies?

Ear Active Matching [is] a unique acoustic architecture [that automatically tunes the signal of the music to the shape of an individual’s inner ear to ensure an immersive listening experience].

Our superior ANC is powered by technologies conceived and developed specifically for Devialet Gemini by our award-winning team of audio engineers. One of the technologies, Internal Delay Compensation, compensates for the delay generated by noise cancellation loops, resulting in [better noise] cancellation particularly at higher frequencies.

What’s more, Devialet Gemini offers three levels of ANC, and two levels of transparency, powered by specific digital filters. We’ll have benchmarking information available in future, but we’ve seen that the quality of our ANC surpasses that of other products on the market in internal testing.

After delivering the Devialet Gemini in the living room with the Expert Pro and Phantoms, we are now able to deliver the Devialet sound experience on the go [as we set out to do].

The true wireless earbud market is competitive -- how did the brand develop the USP for the Gemini that would set it apart from other products available?

The true wireless market is growing rapidly — nearly 200 million units were bought in 2020 — and we think that with our 15 years’ experience in acoustic engineering, we can bring an enormous amount of value to the sector and answer our mission by reaching more people.

Technological innovation has been key to the success and critical reception of our products to-date, and this is no different with Devialet Gemini. It’s a fantastic product in terms of performance, user experience, and design — three of the most important features in buyers’ purchasing decisions around this segment — and we are pricing the product competitively and in line with where we see ourselves in the market.

How has the pandemic impacted sales in this sector?

We believe that due to being confined to their homes, more and more people have come to appreciate the power and impact of wellbeing at home for feeling good themselves. Everyday products, like earbuds, [can also] enhance everyday wellbeing.

What are trends in the audio space that Devialet or yourself would hope to explore in the near future?

As mentioned, Devialet wants to bring the best sound experience possible to people’s lives. We could go in each audio category in order to create amazing sound experiences with our own audio products, or even in other sectors where sound is experienced — [for instance], smart speakers, cars and many more — through our licensed activities.

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.