Once the Fidelio SoundCurve DS8800W is on your network it can be found automatically by iTunes and your various iOS devices. Sending music to the speaker is very straight forward. In iTunes you'll see an extra icon appear on the bottom bar. Clicking on this lets you switch between outputting audio via your computer's speaker or sending the audio over your Wi-Fi network to the Soundcurve. Alternatively you can choose to have both output at the same time locked in sync.
Similarly, on your iOS device, you'll notice an additional icon on the bottom bar in the Now Playing screen of the iPod app. Tapping on this lets you switch the music between the device itself and the Soundcurve.
There is a pause of around five seconds between selecting the Soundcurve as your output device and music actually coming out of the speakers, but this is something that affects all Airplay devices, so we can’t moan too much about it.
There’s also a free Philips Fidelio app that you can download from the app store to use with the dock. As well as allowing you to stream your own tunes to the speaker it also supports the Tunein internet radio service that lets you choose from thousands of internet radio stations. The app is handy because it also has a built in graphic equaliser as well as an alarm clock feature.
Once you do start your music streaming through the dock, the Soundcurve turns out to be a bit of a revelation. Despite its relatively small size it really does kick out surprisingly deep and fulsome bass. Reggae tunes, such as Thin Man Skank by The Lions, show up its deep bass response nicely, as it does a wonderful job of reproducing the dubby bass lines. Higher frequency sounds also have a crispness and clarity that you don’t always get at this price point. For example, the Reconfigured remix of the Tron Legacy soundtrack had hi-hats and cymbals cutting through the mix so sharply that we feared they'd slice our ears off!
If we have a complaint it's that the mid-range doesn’t quite have the same weight of the higher and lower frequencies - something that you can notice on the Spanish guitar licks of Rodrigo y Gabriela's Tamacun. However, it's certainly not bad in this area, just not quite as forceful as some other, admittedly more expensive, docks we've used.
The Soundcurve DS8800W isn’t the cheapest Airplay compatible speaker around, but we think its accomplished performance with a range of different music styles, as well as its stylish design, means that it more than justifies its price. If you're thinking of going the Airplay route you could do a lot worse than opting for this model.