“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, three.5mm, and AirPlay
Helps high-resolution audio
Straightforward to make use of and arrange
Imperfect app expertise
After I interviewed the founding father of Pantheone about his upcoming related dwelling 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 nearly as good because it sounded. I’ve to facet with him — most speaker programs are inherently ugly as a result of they’re not designed to be something apart from utilitarian. More often than not, we simply wish to conceal them (which is a significant factor we take into account when reviewing soundbars, for instance).
The Pantheone I will not be a speaker anybody will attempt to conceal. However does it sound like $2,200, and does it have the brains we anticipate in 2020? Let’s undergo it.
Unboxing the behemoth
I really feel dangerous 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 form 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 close to sustainability, however I’ll say the product made all of it the way in which to me with out a blemish.
You may see the dimensions of the packaging carnage spreading from my eating room effectively into my front room. Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
The very first thing you see while you open the inside field is a small zip-top bag that incorporates two white gloves for what I assume is “white glove service.” I discovered the inclusion of these gloves cute and on-brand, but additionally relatively 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 entice fingerprints and the included gloves have been undoubtedly useful in mitigating that whereas I moved it to its remaining location.
Except for 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 a typical energy cable, however it’s oddly brief for a house speaker. Except you’ve retailers in your ground, 4 toes of twine won’t be sufficient for most individuals to get the unit right into a, central location in the lounge. Us plebeians with only some wall retailers per room are almost definitely going to want 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 offer me extra flexibility.
On the underside of the unit, you will discover 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 solely positive why it wants that bodily swap in any respect. It may need one thing to do with the ability converter I’m positive is packed in right here (because the cable doesn’t have a transformer), however that’s simply me guessing.
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 as a way 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 trying to find the speaker and guides you thru a easy course of to get it related to your private home’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 primary music controls on the highest like quantity, play/pause, and skip, however since there isn’t a display, you will need to depend on a second system to ship the speaker content material (the identical means Sonos operates). I discover myself hardly ever utilizing these top-mounted controls since you are able to do all the pieces they’ll and extra out of your cellphone or laptop.
Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
Because the buttons don’t bodily click on, they play a chime each time you press one to acknowledge your command. This will get annoying for adjusting the quantity because it interrupts the sound of your music. Nitpicky, I do know.
Straightforward on the eyes
A bit 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 Traits
I’ve proven the Pantheone to numerous associates and colleagues, and I’ve gotten a fairly polarizing set of responses to its design. One in all 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 an alternative a contemporary or up to date one, it might look unbelievable. One in all my workers writers mentioned it regarded just like the eggs from Alien. One other mentioned it regarded “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 Traits
I feel they’re all appropriate. Artwork is meant to be subjective, and what appeals to me gained’t essentially attraction to you. What I feel we will agree on is that the Pantheone seems to be extremely uncommon for a speaker, and should you just like the strains it attracts and might see it in your house, that’s all that issues.
App and integration
With Spotify labels plastered everywhere in the Pantheone field and manuals, it’s clearly the streaming platform of alternative for this speaker. Fortuitously, the Spotify expertise is fabulous as effectively, matching the expertise you’ll anticipate with Sonos. It doesn’t matter what platform you’ve 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. Consequently, the Spotify expertise is the perfect with this speaker.
Although a number of different providers are supported, their integration isn’t essentially fairly nearly as good. TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Tidal, and Napster are all supported immediately, however I discovered that the Tidal expertise was not as streamlined. Not like with Sonos, Tidal doesn’t appear to have full integration, and whilst you can stream Grasp Tracks (which Pantheone helps) by logging into Tidal from the Pantheone app, utilizing the Tidal app in your cellphone or laptop 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, no less than in relation to the desktop app. My Sonos Transfer doesn’t present as a supply within the desktop app, however it does within the cell app. Pantheone doesn’t present up in both.
The house display clearly has room to develop, with as much as eight Pantheone models capable of join. Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
Quick access to a number of music sources. Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
The turntable turns whereas taking part in music, which is cute. Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
By means of the Pantheone app, you get entry to all a music streaming service’s choices, so should you don’t thoughts utilizing Pantheone’s interface, you gained’t have an issue right here. I’ve observed, nonetheless, should you let your cellphone fall asleep, the Pantheone app appears to neglect it’s related and has to spend just a few seconds reconnecting every time. Music continues to play with out interruption, however it’s not an ideal consumer expertise. Moreover, you may’t management the quantity on the Pantheone I out of your cellphone until the app is open (comparable to from the lock display, as you may when utilizing the Spotify app).
The Pantheone I works with AirPlay, however it suffers from greater than a second of delay every time you choose a brand new music, pause a monitor, and even alter the quantity out of your cellphone. This seems 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 ended utilizing AirPlay with the Pantheone altogether.
Software program tends to be the tallest hurdle for firms who even make nice hardware to efficiently soar, so I’ll reduce 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 prime 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 alter the Pantheone’s EQ values to your private desire (apart from with Spotify on cell when related immediately through three.5mm jack), however this performance shall be coming to the app at a later date.
Look, if an enormous $2,200 speaker didn’t sound nice, we’d have an issue. Fortunately, there isn’t a drawback right here — the Pantheone produces distinctive sound. It’s multi-level driver structure and two-sided design leads to 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 robust 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 studio screens versus the processed sound that you could get out of extra consumer-focused headphones. It tends to be extra impartial in high quality and clear, with even emphasis throughout all all the frequency spectrum. In that very same sense, the Pantheone is sort of a pair of fabulous over-ear studio screens in your complete room. Each element of each observe is clearly, superbly rendered, and despatched dancing throughout your dwelling area.
Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
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 vital, you’ll hear it get a lift. In others, if it should fall again in order to not overwhelm the opposite channels. For those who ever puzzled how a musician wished their music to be heard and also you belief Tidal is getting all that data in its Grasp tracks, then know the Pantheone is being true to that sound.
Look, if an enormous $2,200 speaker didn’t sound nice, we’d have an issue. Fortunately, there isn’t a drawback 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 imagined to sound. This degree of management is uncommon and distinctive.
Jaron Schneider / Digital Traits
There are principally no different audio system just like the Pantheone I, but when we needed to examine we’d instantly take a look at Sonos, Bose, Amazon, and Bluesound since they’re the one different main manufacturers producing related dwelling music options. You may also wish 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 because the Transfer is seen as a fantastic speaker and I favored 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 superbly on the Pantheone. The Bluesound soundbar additionally failed to realize the identical degree of glowing element and steadiness and was a lot weaker within the lows. It completely was not a good struggle, however know that should you select to drop critical coin on the Pantheone, the worth of the system isn’t only for the seems to be and the connectivity: This factor can actually sing.
The Pantheone is wildly costly, and that’s its best 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 superbly designed speaker aesthetically, but additionally 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 different?
As I discussed, there actually isn’t every other product fairly just like the Pantheone I. You’ll find costly, high-fidelity related audio system just like the Devialet Phantom that we’ve checked out up to now, which is perhaps the closest factor to a direct competitor (although I’ve not personally examined one). Or you will get a Sonos 5 or the Bose Dwelling Speaker 500, that are way more reasonably priced than both the Phantom or the Pantheone however pale compared in relation 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 a fantastic 2-year guarantee, I anticipate the Pantheone I to work splendidly for years to come back.
Do you have to purchase it?
For those who can afford to drop $2,200 on a house speaker answer and your décor suits with the Pantheone’s distinctive styling, then I’d strongly say sure. The Pantheone I is extraordinarily costly, however I’m assured you’ll be capable of take pleasure in it each when it’s taking part in music and when it isn’t.