“Magnificence in your eyes in addition to your ears, the Pantheone I is an distinctive speaker.”

  • Excellent audio high quality
  • Linked: Bluetooth, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm, and AirPlay
  • Distinctive design
  • Helps high-resolution audio
  • Straightforward to make use of and arrange
  • Costly
  • Imperfect app expertise

After I interviewed the founding father of Pantheone about his upcoming related residence speaker system, I noticed a ardour in him for creating one thing many have tried and few have achieved: A house audio system designed to look pretty much as good because it sounded. I’ve to facet with him — most speaker methods are inherently ugly as a result of they’re not designed to be something aside from utilitarian. More often than not, we simply need to conceal them (which is a significant component we take into account when reviewing soundbars, for instance).

The Pantheone I isn’t a speaker anybody will attempt to conceal. However does it sound like $2,200, and does it have the brains we count on in 2020? Let’s undergo it.

Unboxing the behemoth

I really feel unhealthy for the supply driver that hoisted the 60-pound Pantheone field up a flight of stairs to my entrance door.

It was simply as hulking as I anticipated. The speaker itself was safely cradled in foam inside a field, inside one other field, wrapped in plastic and held along with transport straps and thick cardboard bumpers. I used to be type of appalled at how a lot packaging was strewn throughout my front room. It’s quite a bit. Pantheone isn’t going to attain any factors right here on the subject of sustainability, however I’ll say the product made all of it the best way to me with out a blemish.

You possibly can see the size of the packaging carnage spreading from my eating room effectively into my front room. Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

The very first thing you see if you open the inside field is a small zip-top bag that comprises two white gloves for what I assume is “white glove service.” I discovered the inclusion of these gloves cute and on-brand, but in addition slightly foolish and hilarious as I’ve by no means skilled white glove service that I truly needed to partake in myself. Foolish as they’re, I appreciated them, because the Pantheone unit can appeal to fingerprints and the included gloves had been undoubtedly useful in mitigating that whereas I moved it to its ultimate location.

Apart from being ensconced in foam, the Pantheone ships in a silk-like bag that, whereas it seems to be good, feels a bit gratuitous. It’s not like I’m planning to bag this speaker up and take it with me wherever.

The Pantheone is powered by an ordinary energy cable, but it surely’s oddly brief for a house speaker. Until you have got shops in your ground, 4 ft of twine is not going to be sufficient for most individuals to get the unit right into a, central location in the lounge. Us plebeians with only some wall shops per room are almost certainly going to wish an extension twine. My black speaker additionally shipped with a white twine, which stands out a heck of much more than black would on my wood flooring. I want Pantheone included each colours within the field to provide me extra flexibility.

On the underside of the unit, you will see that the ability port in addition to the bodily on/off swap. Since there’s a touch-sensitive energy button on the highest of the unit as effectively, I’m not totally certain why it wants that bodily swap in any respect. It might need one thing to do with the ability converter I’m certain is packed in right here (for the reason that cable doesn’t have a transformer), however that’s simply me guessing.

Bodily controls

The Pantheone I is a great speaker like a Sonos or Amazon Echo, and thus wants you to take a couple of minutes of setup with a view to begin utilizing it. Additionally like Sonos, this course of is gratefully quick and painless. Whenever you flip the Pantheone on, it informs you in a nice voice that it’s awaiting pairing process and to obtain the app to get that going. After downloading, the Pantheone app instantly begins looking for the speaker and guides you thru a easy course of to get it related to your house’s Wi-Fi. Not more than 30 seconds later, it’s all arrange and able to use.

Setup is gratefully quick and painless.

You get fundamental music controls on the highest like quantity, play/pause, and skip, however since there is no such thing as a display screen, you have to depend on a second gadget to ship the speaker content material (the identical approach Sonos operates). I discover myself not often utilizing these top-mounted controls since you are able to do every part they will and extra out of your telephone or pc.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

Because the buttons don’t bodily click on, they play a chime each time you press one to acknowledge your command. This could get annoying for adjusting the amount because it interrupts the sound of your music. Nitpicky, I do know.

Straightforward on the eyes

A piece of a assessment devoted to how a product seems to be is fairly unusual for us however bear in mind: This isn’t only a speaker, it’s artwork.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

I’ve proven the Pantheone to quite a few mates and colleagues, and I’ve gotten a reasonably polarizing set of responses to its design. Considered one of my fellow editors known as it hideous and refused to spend greater than a pair seconds taking a look at it. My spouse likes it and thinks that if our home wasn’t designed in a French Nation model however as a substitute a contemporary or up to date one, it might look implausible.  Considered one of my workers writers stated it appeared just like the eggs from Alien. One other stated it appeared “majestic.”

The highest speaker array homes a tweeter and a midrange driver, whereas the underside holds a subwoofer. The identical association is repeated on the opposite facet. Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

I believe they’re all appropriate. Artwork is meant to be subjective, and what appeals to me received’t essentially enchantment to you. What I believe we are able to agree on is that the Pantheone seems to be extremely uncommon for a speaker, and when you just like the traces it attracts and may see it in your house, that’s all that issues.

App and integration

With Spotify labels plastered all around the Pantheone field and manuals, it’s clearly the streaming platform of selection for this speaker. Happily, the Spotify expertise is fabulous as effectively, matching the expertise you’ll count on with Sonos. It doesn’t matter what platform you have got Spotify open on, you may instantly see that music is being streamed to the Pantheone and also you get full management from the Spotify platform as effectively. In consequence, the Spotify expertise is one of the best with this speaker.

Although a number of different companies are supported, their integration isn’t essentially fairly pretty much as good. TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Tidal, and Napster are all supported instantly, however I discovered that the Tidal expertise was not as streamlined. Not like with Sonos, Tidal doesn’t appear to have full integration, and when you can stream Grasp Tracks (which Pantheone helps) by logging into Tidal from the Pantheone app, utilizing the Tidal app in your telephone or pc doesn’t present the Pantheone as a supported supply.

Granted, Sonos doesn’t look like as plugged into Tidal as it’s to Spotify both, at the least with regards to the desktop app. My Sonos Transfer doesn’t present as a supply within the desktop app, but it surely does within the cell app. Pantheone doesn’t present up in both.

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The house display screen clearly has room to develop, with as much as eight Pantheone items capable of join. Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

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Quick access to a number of music sources. Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

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The turntable turns whereas taking part in music, which is cute. Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

By means of the Pantheone app, you get entry to all a music streaming service’s choices, so when you don’t thoughts utilizing Pantheone’s interface, you received’t have an issue right here. I’ve seen, nevertheless, when you let your telephone fall asleep, the Pantheone app appears to overlook it’s related and has to spend just a few seconds reconnecting every time. Music continues to play with out interruption, but it surely’s not an ideal person expertise. Moreover, you may’t management the amount on the Pantheone I out of your telephone until the app is open (resembling from the lock display screen, as you may when utilizing the Spotify app).

The Pantheone I works with AirPlay, but it surely suffers from greater than a second of delay each time you choose a brand new tune, pause a monitor, and even regulate the amount out of your telephone. This looks like one thing that may be ironed out with a firmware replace, and I hope they do it as a result of it’s annoying sufficient that I finished utilizing AirPlay with the Pantheone altogether.

Software program tends to be the tallest hurdle for corporations who even make nice {hardware} to efficiently leap, so I’ll minimize Pantheone some slack right here, particularly since that is the corporate’s first product.

Alexa integration works flawlessly. Whenever you communicate to it, the illuminated high management buttons flip a darkish blue to point your voice has been heard, and flicker when initiating on a command. It’s sufficiently seen and higher built-in than I’ve seen in most different Alexa-enabled units.

There’s at present no strategy to regulate the Pantheone’s EQ values to your private choice (aside from with Spotify on cell when related instantly through 3.5mm jack), however this performance will probably be coming to the app at a later date.

Room-filling sound

Look, if a large $2,200 speaker didn’t sound nice, we might have an issue. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a downside right here — the Pantheone produces distinctive sound. It’s multi-level driver structure and two-sided design ends in some really great audio projection that carries throughout and thru rooms with unimaginable constancy. Whereas different audio system I’ve examined require a couple of unit to get a powerful sense of immersive sound, the Pantheone achieves it from a single monolithic egg.

For an organization’s first product, the Pantheone is shockingly, outrageously good.

I personally love the sound high quality {of professional} studio displays versus the processed sound which you can get out of extra consumer-focused headphones. It tends to be extra impartial in high quality and clear, with even emphasis throughout all the complete frequency spectrum. In that very same sense, the Pantheone is sort of a pair of fabulous over-ear studio displays in your complete room. Each element of each notice is clearly, fantastically rendered, and despatched dancing throughout your residing house.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

The highs are splendidly balanced with the mids, and the bass is robust however not overwhelming. Excessive-resolution audio streams from Tidal spotlight the impact. For instance, in some songs the place the bass is clearly extra necessary, you’ll hear it get a lift. In others, if it is going to fall again in order to not overwhelm the opposite channels. If you happen to ever questioned how a musician wished their music to be heard and also you belief Tidal is getting all that info in its Grasp tracks, then know the Pantheone is being true to that sound.

Look, if a large $2,200 speaker didn’t sound nice, we might have an issue. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a downside right here.

Most impressively, the Pantheone manages balanced EQ no matter its quantity degree. From quiet background music to window-shaking most energy, I by no means felt like what I used to be listening to was not precisely excellent to how the music was alleged to sound. This degree of management is uncommon and distinctive.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Tendencies

There are mainly no different audio system just like the Pantheone I, but when we needed to examine we might instantly have a look at Sonos, Bose, Amazon, and Bluesound since they’re the one different main manufacturers producing related residence music options. You may also need to take into account Phantom, although I personally haven’t had expertise with its product.

I took a Sonos Transfer and put it subsequent to the Pantheone simply to listen to the distinction in sound high quality. I did the identical with a Bluesound soundbar that I praised for its musical chops. Completely unfair, I do know, however I used to be curious for the reason that Transfer is seen as an awesome speaker and I appreciated the Bluesound bar.

Facet by facet, the Pantheone blows each out of the water — because it ought to. The place there’s a murkier, cloudier mix the place the treble, midrange, and bass intersect on the Sonos, every was rendered distinctly and fantastically on the Pantheone. The Bluesound soundbar additionally failed to realize the identical degree of glowing element and stability and was a lot weaker within the lows. It completely was not a good combat, however know that when you select to drop critical coin on the Pantheone, the value of the system isn’t only for the seems to be and the connectivity: This factor can actually sing.

Our take

The Pantheone is wildly costly, and that’s its biggest flaw. It pains me that the overwhelming majority of those that learn this assessment won’t ever personally expertise the audio high quality from this speaker as a result of they’ll by no means see or hear one in particular person. It’s not solely a fantastically designed speaker aesthetically, but in addition from each an built-in and auditory perspective. For an organization’s first product, the Pantheone is shockingly, outrageously good. Right here’s to hoping the corporate could make further merchandise which can be extra approachable to the typical particular person as a result of it clearly has the chops to compete with the goliath that’s Sonos.

Is there a greater various?

As I discussed, there actually isn’t some other product fairly just like the Pantheone I. Yow will discover costly, high-fidelity related audio system just like the Devialet Phantom that we’ve checked out prior to now, which could be the closest factor to a direct competitor (although I’ve not personally examined one). Or you may get a Sonos 5 or the Bose Residence Speaker 500, that are rather more inexpensive than both the Phantom or the Pantheone however pale compared with regards to audio high quality. However Pantheone markets its speaker as an artwork piece along with a house speaker answer, and in that realm, it stands alone.

How lengthy will it final?

The Pantheone I is constructed extremely effectively, and never out of conventional plastic, however resin. Bolstered by common firmware updates and an awesome 2-year guarantee, I count on the Pantheone I to work splendidly for years to come back.

Must you purchase it?

If you happen to can afford to drop $2,200 on a house speaker answer and your décor matches with the Pantheone’s distinctive styling, then I might strongly say sure. The Pantheone I is extraordinarily costly, however I’m assured you’ll have the ability to take pleasure in it each when it’s taking part in music and when it isn’t.

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