We’re willing to forgive the all but useless iPhone app available for the Philips Fidelio DS9000 for one simple reason. Where it matters most, its audio quality, Philips’ DS9000 focus is firmly set on raw performance, not gimmicks or flashy effects.
For a start, the DS9000 is smart enough to know that in a high-end audio product, your iPod is best used as little more than a portable hard drive with a snazzy UI. As such the digital files are pulled off any docked device, bypassing its digital-to-analogue conversion, which is instead handled by the DS9000.
Further, Philips claims that the DS9000 uses audiophile-grade passive crossovers between its dual 25mm tweeters and 100mm mid/bass-drivers and we’re not inclined to disagree. There’s no discernable gap in the frequency response nor is there any distortion, even at volumes loud enough to have the very foundations of your abode shaking.
The DS9000 produces a very balanced, nicely detailed, enveloping sound. Tracks are reproduced faithfully, without the distortion effects or colouration less confident speaker docks so often feel the need to employ to stand out from the crowd. The driver placement is well-thought out, giving a surprisingly wide soundstage and, as previously mentioned, the DS9000 has no problem with filling a room.
In terms of the DS9000’s direct competition, we’re inclined to give the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin the edge on outright fidelity; without wanting to sound too wishy washy, the Zeppelin just sounds ‘right’ to our ears. But in all honestly, you’d have to be the surliest of curmudgeons to be disappointed with your purchase, should you decide on a Fidelio DS9000, rather than the Zeppelin. Both sound exceptionally good and both make music from an iPod sound far better than you’d believe possible.
‘Peerless sound quality’ says the Philips DS9000 product page. Not quite; there is no hiding that this is a device with a price and audio quality aimed squarely at the same audience as the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin. Is the DS9000 a better speaker dock? No, but it’s a capable alternative. Pick whichever suits your budget and your aesthetic taste best.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 10