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Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W review

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Luxurious sound quality
  • Gorgeous design
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and AirPlay

Cons

  • Tricky network setup with PC
  • No direct iPod connection
  • Easy to knock over

Key Features

  • 2 x 50W digital amplifier
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • AirPlay
  • FullSound
  • SoundSphere speaker design
  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Review Price: £699.00

Philips DS9800W is an iPod dock with a difference. Whereas most of them are designed for casual background listening in the kitchen or bedroom, this is a centrepiece system aimed at more discerning listeners for whom sound quality is everything, using the company’s SoundSphere technology inside the speakers.

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W

The big news, however, is that the DS9800W is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and AirPlay, which is sure to attract the interest of Apple fans everywhere. It means you can stream music conveniently from iPods, iPhones and iPads without cables cluttering up your lounge. The system comes with pair of speakers with all the amplification and wireless technology built in, plus a separate iPod/Pad/Phone charging dock and all the cables you need to rig it up.

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W

Philips’ design wizards have excelled themselves yet again. The SoundSphere speakers feature stunning rounded cabinets that lean forward – kind of like two high-class biscuit barrels – and shoot sound from the speaker drivers at the top. The gleaming gloss-black finish and silver trim make us go weak at the knees, while the placement of the tweeter in a separate enclosure is an arresting visual feature. But the speakers do require a completely flat surface as the base’s surface area isn’t very big and a robust nudge makes them wobble around like Weebles.

Build quality is nothing short of incredible, brought about by bonding multiple pieces of hand-crafted wood together and slathering it in seven layers of lacquer. The use of advanced wood bending techniques gives the enclosure its distinctive curves, as well as providing the rigidity needed to keep distortion at bay. This design was seven years in the making, a product of Philips’ Innovation Lab in Leuven.

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W

One of the speakers features a Wi-Fi receiver and a 2 x 50W digital amplifier, and as a result sports a little panel of sockets and controls. These include a 3.5mm aux input for audio devices, standby and ‘Wi-Fi setup’ buttons, a port for the mains lead and a pair of sturdy binding posts. The other speaker simply sports binding posts on the back. Also in the box is a dock that lets you charge your Apple device while it streams via Airplay (there’s no direct connection to the speakers), itself a gorgeous-looking round device that matches the speakers perfectly in its gloss black and silver styling.

oluv

March 21, 2012, 12:12 pm

for me they would be perfect if both acted independently without any interconnection between them.

MrLee

June 29, 2012, 12:41 am

Just purchased these and I was sceptical on the network setup, but I was done in 2 minutes. Press button on router, press button on speaker, done. (Latest firmware was installed from the box)

CS

February 2, 2013, 6:53 pm

This product is a lemon. My first set failed in under 6 months - a blinking red light - common problem if you see Phillips website. They promptly replaced them for me, but the second speaker set now failed. Very frustrating, poor quality product.

Prakorn Pm

May 26, 2013, 3:26 pm

For me it works perfectly, I can set up in a few minutes and enjoy the fantastic quality of music.

AB

January 19, 2014, 6:27 am

I have had continuing connection problems with these speakers including the "red blinking light" problem referred to widely in forum discussions. And in this condition you cannot even connect directly to the speakers to use them. So at present they are very expensive paperweights

Eduardo Marquez

August 16, 2014, 1:39 pm

BEWARE with this product. I bought them based on Trusted Reviews stellar review, only to have them die on me with the dreaded red blinking light of death. There is no solution, except to send them back to philips. Not even the audio-in jack works. They are DEAD. Look online for the "red blinking light" regarding these speakers and inform yourself before you put 700 Euros down.

Steve

December 16, 2015, 7:34 pm

I think the Trustedreviews search engine may need some work
I managed to find this review via Google but no combination of the review title words would persuade the website to return it to me

btw I purchased these on the basis of this review and I also had the blinking light issue - speakers were returned and have been working ever since and sound amazing

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