Review Price £599.99
Samsung DA-E750 - Features and Operation
The DA-E750 sets itself apart from the competition with an amazing range of features, several of which you won’t find anywhere else. The obvious highlight is the dual purpose dock that supports both Galaxy and Apple devices (Galaxy-S3, Note and Player; iPod, iPhone and iPad). That’s great if you have a combination of these devices in your household, as it means anyone can easily share their music out loud.
But this is primarily a wireless audio system, and as such you can stream music from Apple devices using AirPlay, or from Galaxy devices using AllShare Play. It even boasts the latest version of Bluetooth (3.0) with apt-X CSR to prevent the reduction in quality that normally occurs with A2DP-transmitted music.
The inclusion of AirPlay, AllShare and Bluetooth support means the user has a great deal of choice as to how they enjoy their music, and stands it in good stead against competition like the Bose SoundDock 10 and B&W Zeppelin Air, which can’t touch the DA-E750 on features.
The Bluetooth-enabled SoundShare mode is another useful feature, as it allows users to beam sound wirelessly from a Samsung TV to the dock. That’s a great way of boosting sound from a compatible flatpanel TV without having lots of cables trailing everywhere, or having to invest in a space-hogging home cinema system. Again, this isn’t something that many docking systems support and Samsung deserves credit for including it.
Another headline grabber is Samsung’s unique combination of digital and vacuum tube amp technology, designed to add warmth to the sound by building up even harmonics. On the HT-E6750W home cinema system this worked well, so we’re hoping for more of the same here.
The inclusion of a USB port is a key feature but the limited file support from USB devices is a disappointment. As expected the system plays MP3 and WMA, but the lack of FLAC, WAV and AAC compatibility isn’t likely to please audiophiles looking for the ultimate sound quality. It’s also a shame that the unit doesn’t support external hard-disk drives, as the ability to keep a large-capacity drive connected to the dock would have been a real bonus.
It’s also a shame that a premium system like this doesn’t offer radio functionality. The inclusion of a DAB tuner, for example, would have made the DA-E750 more of a complete audio solution. And it’s similarly disappointing to find no internet radio support given that there’s built-in Wi-Fi, which really would have been the icing on the cake. These would have driven up the cost, yet ‘high-end’ buyers might have been willing to pay a little more for features like these.
The DA-E750 boasts 2 x 20W of amplification, with a subwoofer built into the bottom of the unit providing 60W of bass oomph. The speaker cones are crafted from glass fibre with a phase plug in the middle. There’s a Bass mode that boosts low frequencies.
Basic operation of the DA-E750 is easy once you have familiarised yourself with the various icons on the top-mounted panel of controls. Toggling through the sources using the F. button, adjusting the volume or controlling playback is straightforward, although as mentioned it could have been easier with a display panel showing what you’ve selected – it’s impossible to tell from afar because the controls are placed on top.
The small, ergonomic remote sports a sparse array of small buttons that give a satisfying click when pressed, all placed within easy reach of the thumb. What’s more, the aluminium finish and glossy back panel also give it real coffee table appeal.
Setting up the DA-E750 to work with an iPad or iPhone is simple, although without a front-panel display it’s not obvious – read the manual first. Connect the device to the dock, hold down the WPS/Reset button on the back and choose the ‘Allow’ option when it pops up on your device’s screen. Then switch to AirPlay mode and away you go.
Setting the dock up with a Windows laptop is more long-winded, but to be fair it’s a similar story with other wireless audio systems that don’t have a display panel, like the Monitor Audio i-deck and B&W Zeppelin Air.
To get the DA-E750 talking to your laptop, you have to hold down the WPS/Reset button and the dock’s name eventually appears in the list of access points on your laptop. Then you have to enter the DA-E750’s IP address and enter the relevant information on the setup screen that appears. Two things hindered this process – the Samsung’s name took an age to appear in the list of Wi-Fi APs, and our router took a similarly long time to pop up in the setup screen’s drop-down menu.
But it got there in the end and once completed we were able to link up our laptop with the DA-E750 and use AirPlay smoothly, taking advantage of the robust and reliable connection.
We also hooked up an iPod to the built-in dock and it reacted quickly to commands from the remote, although we’re surprised to find there’s no way of jumping back to the previous menu and browsing the library using the remote. The only commands available are skip forward/back and play/pause. So to find the music you want you have to use the iPod up close, which defeats the object of having a remote.
USB playback is similarly hit and miss. With no display, you can’t find particular tracks – the unit starts playing at whatever tune is first on the list, and only lets you skip through them. It’s fine if you just want to stick a bunch of tunes on at a party, but doesn’t feel as sophisticated as it should for such a cutting edge product.