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The most beautiful amplifier in the world?

The Devialet D-Premier's attractions are more than skin deep, and the amp features a proprietary (Analog Digital Hybrid) technology.

The Devialet D-Premier amplifier

First, I have to admit that a lot of high-end amplifiers are so ugly you'd have to be an audiophile to buy them. But there are more than a few truly gorgeous examples, like the Devialet D-Premier. It's French, after all, and the French know a thing or two about style.

In 2007, Pierre-Emannuel Calmel and Matthias Moronvalle decided to launch a new high-end audio company, Devialet, in Paris. The two men had both worked for Nortel's R&D department, and they weren't the least bit interested in crafting just another high-end amplifier.

It looks like they're off to a grand start; the Devialet D-Premier is a unique Class A/Class D hybrid design. Bona fide Class A circuits are only used in very high-end audiophile amplifiers, but Class A designs are extremely inefficient and consume huge amounts of AC power to produce low power output. Class D amps are highly efficient designs, but their sound quality falls short of the highest audiophile standards.

The D-Premier was designed to have the sound quality of Class A and the efficiency of Class D designs.

The D-Premier is an integrated amplifier and has two analog phono inputs for turntables; two analog inputs for CD, DVD, or portable digital players; two optical digital inputs; four coaxial digital inputs; one XLR digital input; one HDMI 1.3 input; and a subwoofer output. The D-Premier stereo amp produces 240 watts per channel.

It's been getting rave reviews from the audiophile press, and I'm hoping to get my hands on the D-Premier sometime next year. Judging from the pictures, it's a stunning design. Low and sleek with a highly polished chassis, the D-Premier looks like nothing else. Even the remote control is special, with a careful attention to design details.

Devialet is imported by Audio Plus, which has a network of authorized specialty dealers in North America. The U.S. price has not yet been set.

The Devialet D-Premier, with the remote control in the foreground. Devialet