Philips DS9010 £349
7th Sep 2011 | 13:52
A beautiful, iPad-capable speaker dock that sounds great? Music to our ears
The second thing you notice is that it sounds glorious – there really isn't any other word for it.
The third thing you notice is that it costs around £350 online.
Ah. That is a lot of money to consider spending on a speaker dock. And yet, we're about to convince you that you really should.
We start with that sound. It's spectacular. It will make you sit down for hours, going through your music collection, relistening to old favourites and falling in love with them all over again.
Unlike many speakers, there are no obvious gaps in the Philips Fidelio dock's audio spectrum; everything from sharp treble to gutsy bass is very well reproduced. Also unlike most speakers, it's all kept wonderfully distinct; there's none of the mushiness and homogenisation that you hear with cheaper (and, reprehensibly, similarly-priced) speakers.
Vocals sit beautifully on top of the melody, and you can lose yourself for hours in complex music – everything from Beethoven to The Beach Boys – just focusing your attention on first-this-then-this-instrument or vocal.
The Philips DS9010's bass deserves special mention, though. Yes, it's big and chewy, with gorgeous depth and warmth, but it's not flabby. So often we hear speakers that try to compensate for insipid sound by cranking up the lower frequencies, but do it so inexpertly that the fat, wallowy bass overwhelms everything else.
With the DS9010, the bass is controlled, and it's more a case of "This is what all my music is supposed to sound like!" than "What the hell have these speakers done to my poor, poor music?"
It's not perfect – it loses its poise when you really crank the volume up – but it really does bites at the heels of speaker docks and hi-fis that cost nearly twice as much.
Then there's the design. It looks great – if a little imposing in a small space – and has a smart aluminium rear.
Devices are supported well, and the clever connector design means that you can leave the bulkiest case on when you dock.
There's a simple, elegant remote control too, although other extras are lacking; there's a 3.5mm input jack, but that's it – no AirPlay, no Bluetooth, no DAB, nothing.