When I think of sound docks, two kinds come to mind. One, the cheap, plasticky docks that cost next to nothing but do a half-decent job of playing your music before they conk out in a year or two; the other, grand, imposing devices that deliver mind-blowing sound while blowing up a good part of your savings. Is there one that combines the better traits of both these types?
The Philips Fidelio DS9000 (also known as the Fidelio Primo) hit the stores a couple of weeks ago. Crafted partly with wood and partly aluminium, the dock not only manages to pacify one's green sensibilities but also looks elegant wherever you place it.
It was wonderful how across genres of music the Fidelio DS9000 managed to produce thumping bass, clear vocals and pleasantly sharp trebles. We listened to the peppy ‘Zephyr Song' by Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the beats sounded lively on the Fidelio DS9000. Ray Charles' vocals reigned supreme in ‘Hit The Road Jack' and The Beatles floored me all over again with ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand' and ‘I've Just Seen a Face' among a bunch of other tunes on my playlist. I never had to pump the volume beyond mid-levels, a standard that would be good enough for a hep house party without the neighbours having to call the cops. And with the volume levels boosted too, there wasn't any discernible distortion in the sound quality.
The DS9000 features two 1-inch tweeters and two 4-inch inverted dome woofers, delivering 2x50W RMS. The curved posterior of the dock not only adds character to the device but also manages to reduce “internal resonance” so that the sound produced is as natural as it can get.
The only buttons on the body of the Fidelio DS9000 are the Volume Up/Down which are integrated with a proximity sensor. If you are reaching out in the dark to turn it up, the buttons light up to make it easier for you. The connector is raised a little above the dock's surface which means you don't have to pull out your iPod's cover to be able to fix it in its place. To make things easier you even have a cute Philips remote control with the basic function to adjust volume, navigate through your device and the like.
Those of you with an iPod Touch, iPad or iPhone can download the Philips Fidelio App. The app that comes for free lets you easily browse and play your music, share what you're listening to with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and control your speaker's acoustic settings. It also lets you browse more than 7,000 radio stations from all over the world. The app allows two different modes: Clock mode to set multiple customised music alarms and get the latest weather and Activity Alert to tell you when weather conditions are suitable for your favourite outdoor activity.
The Philips Fidelio DS9000 did turn out to be a pleasant surprise. With its clean design and clear sound, it lives up to high expectations of both aesthetics and acoustics.
Love: Looks elegant, impressive sound quality
Hate: No equaliser settings without app