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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 Or just holes, if your artistic licence has been revoked.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.