If you can get it up and running, concerns over the tricky setup are washed away the moment music hits your eardrums. Its sound quality is a revelation, a level of performance we’ve only previously encountered from the Monitor Audio i-Deck and B&W Zeppelin Air.
Streaming Amy Winehouse’s Half Time (from her Lioness: Hidden Treasures album), the DS9800W floods the room with sweet, warming keyboards, impeccably crisp beats and astonishing vocal purity. Those SoundSphere speakers really do open up the music and allow you to hear details you might not have noticed before, like little string parts and background flute licks.
It’s a beautifully smooth and lucid sound, with refined high frequencies and deep, well-integrated bass. You might like something with a little more edge and aggression but even so you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by this gorgeous sounding system. And you get this same luxurious sound quality no matter the source, be it iPod, iPad or MP3 player connected to the aux input.
Philips DS9800W isn’t a cheap option, but it delivers fantastic sound quality to go with its premium price tag. Smooth and refined, it’s quite simply one of the best-sounding speaker docks around. What’s more it looks stunning, with unique rounded SoundSphere speakers that boast exceptional build quality. On those scores we can’t recommend the DS9800W highly enough – but the uncooperative network setup dented our admiration for this system. Hopefully it’s not a universal problem, as the lack of direct iPod dock connection is otherwise a little limiting.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 9