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Philips Fidelio DS9000/10 review



  • Recommended by TR
Philips Fidelio  DS9000/10


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It's no secret what product the Philips Fidelio Docking Speaker DS9000/10 is going after. The DS9000 is an iPod speaker dock more than just a little influenced by the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin. And while Philips may not have quite the brand cachet of Bowers & Wilkins in the audio world, that doesn't necessarily preclude the DS9000 from proving itself worthy of your hard-earned monies.

In the DS9000's favour is its price. While its MSRP is the same as the B&W Zeppelin - £399 - it's actually available for £360 on Amazon. Assuming that price holds, it's a decent chunk of change saved. For £40 it's much easier to see past the different labels on each device and judge them purely on their objective merits - as we should be, really.

The aesthetics are most accurately described as divisive. The design isn't as universally appealing as the blimp-inspired Zeppelin, but it has a certain something about it nonetheless. There's a tasteful elegance to the carved wooden back, the polished metal crevasse in the centre and the predictably black cloth mesh covering the front surface.

The wooden rear is made using a process called 'veneer lamination' which to those unfamiliar with such techniques, composes multiple layers of lacquered plywood being formed together to create a naturally stiff structure, reducing internal vibration. The shape is not only visually appealing, but also designed to eliminate internal reflection and standing waves.

The central gap, too, isn't just an interesting, design feature; it also reduces interference between the left and right drivers. Oddly enough, the DS9000, like the Zeppelin, looks rather attractive from the rear. The two bass ports, incorporated into the metal centre piece, look rather like jet engine outlets. Or just holes, if your artistic licence has been revoked.

One feature of the Philips DS9000 almost inarguably inspired by the Zeppelin is its iPod dock. Like the Zeppelin, the DS9000's iPod connection point is spring-loaded, letting it accommodate any iPod or iPhone without the need for the god-forsaken adaptors speaker docks usually come with. Incidentally, this also lets you keep your iPhone or iPod is a case when docking it - our iPhone 4's bumper certainly proved no hindrance.

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July 19, 2010, 2:29 pm

Thanks for the review.

I would have to disagree with your point about the price difference - I think that anyone who is in the market for a £360 device would also be in the same market for the £400 Zepplin.


July 19, 2010, 3:05 pm

Looks like a nice package, but assuming the audio is on a par with the B&W, it still lacks the overall presence and WOW factor of the Zeppelin. The limited connectivity would be a deal breaker for me - I like my Zeppelin's optical input et al.

Given that I managed to get my Zep in Heathrow HMV at duty free prices minus 15% (last in stock was the demo model yet still pristine), I'll stick with what I've got!


July 19, 2010, 3:07 pm

Any word on the build quality? The Zeppelin could be used as a club to fight off a horde of zombies, whereas I've found Philips have tended towards the plasticky end of things at times. Looks are also a factor here: the Zeppelin is much more of a love/hate it device, but there is also the Mini Zeppelin too. Still, it's good to have a choice at this level of the market and I'll certainly give the Philips an audition.


July 19, 2010, 3:46 pm

The gap in the centre gives you a good hand hold for wielding it as a weapon, so it has the advantage over the Zeppelin there. I would feel perfectly confident fending of hordes of zombies.

Tim Sutton

July 19, 2010, 5:04 pm


Whats the verdict on sound quality from non-iZombie players? Does the DSP over-ride still apply?


July 19, 2010, 5:53 pm

You're relying on your player's DAC over the aux input. Sounded pretty good to me, still, though.


July 19, 2010, 5:55 pm

@Tim: Does the DSP over-ride still apply?

I wondered about that, one thing that I don't get about the IPhone/Zep is why things like Spotify/LastFm can't go via the DSP, and it has to resort to Analog mode anyway.


July 19, 2010, 7:45 pm

It's just a matter of Apple implementing a protocol for passing audio streams across the dock connector. But while it's not great, the DAC in an iPod/iPhone isn't so bad that Spotify/Last.fm streams will sound noticeably improved through a better one so it's not likely to happen any time soon.

Tony Walker

July 21, 2010, 9:29 pm


You're probably too young to remember a proper kettle lead but they have three holes in them, one being for earth. The one that this unit takes is just a "figure-of-eight" power lead.


July 26, 2010, 6:12 pm

It was just a typo, not an error (I'm not that ignorant!); but you're right, I've never actually used a kettle with a plug-in lead. Hurrah for Nespresso machines.

Tim Revis

December 30, 2010, 2:59 am

I have just purchased the Ds9000 and would like to add apart from its stunning sound it can also work with Ipad and charge it too.

And the best bit is I picked it up for £299 . A amazing product that oozes quality from its sleek design and solid construction to its classy metal remote.


June 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

Don't bother with this speaker. The connection for the ipod is awkward and its got no bluetooth connection or Airplay. The software that you can download causes conflict with the ipods own music player(s). Already its old fashioned. BOOOOOOOOOOO to this speaker

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