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Philips Streamium WACS7500 Music System - Philips Streamium WACS7500
The WACS7500 is also easy to set up - an essential feature for a system aimed at wireless music novices. All you do is simply sit the two boxes next to each other and turn them on in sequence. Once they know about each other you can then place the satellite in the kitchen, for example, while leaving the Centre in the living room. A wall mounting kit for each box adds flexibility, and a further four Stations can be added to the system at a cost of £200 so you can expand into the bedroom or study should you want to.
It's a pretty straightforward system to use too and, importantly, the remote control, which can be used with both boxes, has its own monochrome screen that replicates the small 2in screen on the Centre. This can be used to browse tracks without having to get up and go over to the Centre in order to see the tiny screen.
Apart from plain Centre to Station streaming, there are plenty of other funky features to take advantage of once you're all set up. Each of the boxes has an FM tuner, complete with flexible aerial and a USB socket for playing back from external storage and MP3 players that run in mass storage mode. There's an Ethernet socket on each for wired connections, plus a socket for connecting an iPod dock.
More exciting than this, however, is the fact that the WACS7500 (like the WACS7000) has the ability to stream from UPnP network servers, meaning you can play back tracks shared via Windows Media Player on a networked PC or laptop if you want. Each box will also allow you to receive Internet radio.
There's clearly an awful lot packed into this system, but the WACS7500 does have weaknesses. Sound quality should have improved over the previous system - there are now mid and 'tweeter' flat panel speakers adorning the front of the Centre instead of just one panel for each channel, plus a single downward-firing sub instead of stereo sideways firing ports. I can't confirm it's a significant improvement as I didn't have a WACS7000 to compare with, but there is plenty of clarity and balance on offer here. Its 20W per channel amp and 40W sub means it can go pretty loud, too, but I wasn't smitten by the bass: it still isn't that impressive, with a boomy quality and a lack of punch.