Philips Fidelio SoundSphere docking speakers DS9800W with AirPlay
Great sound, Airplay works well.
A periodic problem not playing on first play from the iPad prevents me from giving this a 5 star performance (iPad tries to connect and fails sometimes the first time I play). But this is a minor issue. Once I try again it works.
Since it's so easy to disconnect a single speaker and bring it somewhere else, I WISH the single speaker would play mono once disconnected from the other speaker.
But, these are the best airplay speakers I've used, and they look and sound great. Highly recommended.
3 October 2012
Difficult to set up. Great stero separation nice sound sometimes the airplay drops out.
24 August 2012
Very Good sound quality
Very good build and sound quality, needs light in front and auto bypass mode when not in use.
17 June 2012
I won't give them all possible stars, because they are not perfect, but they are pretty good and better than most others.
What holds me off rating them even higher are some small quirks that i want to describe later.
Soundwise there are hardly any complaints, they sound very balanced and clear with plenty of detail in the treble and mids. They are no bass-monsters, they have strong powerful bass, especially if you tweak the EQ a little bit or turn on "Full audio" which really improves the fullness, but they drop off below 60hz quite strongly. My Audyssey South of Market Dock has a deeper reaching bass, while at the same time being smaller overall. They sound better the louder you turn them, they lose a little bit of dynamics at low listening levels. In this case DBB setting doesn't seem to do anything. There are 2 settings selectable from the Fidelio-App, but I cannot hear any difference with both. Also when putting the speakers rather free the bass isn't that strong as if you put them against a wall. A Harman Kardon go+play has a much more powerful bass even when standing completely free.
The best thing is you can seperate both speakers to your liking, this way you will get a pretty huge stereo-field unlike with most other docking-speakers that only consist of one single box and sound rather mono.
The maximum volume is impressive and they won't distort even at the maximum point. Great to have only one master volume-level, so no hassle with 2 different volume-sliders, just one slider, regardless if you change it through the remote or directly through the i-device.
But here comes the first negative point: Why do both speakers need a wire in between? It would be perfect if both were completely independent similar to the Zikmu from Parrot. You'd just need 2 power-sockets and could set them up compeltely free without additional wires. I once set up the Zikmu in my garden for testing and was able to separate them 20m apart, this was quite an impressive sound-experience.
The other negative point is the pretty useless docking-station. It is only meant for charging an i-device, but doesn't have any other function as it is not connected to the main-speakers. You cannot use an Ipod nano or an Ipod classic to hear music with the docking-station, you could of course use a wire, but due to additional A/D conversion there will always be a quality loss.
It is a pity the docking station doesn't act as an Airplay transmitter on its own, so that any device docked could automatically be transmitted to the speakers through airplay. This would be a unique solution and would increase the value of the dock as well!
Other quirks are, that you never know if they are on or off as the status-light is at the back. The remote transmits infrared and has to be aimed at the left speaker. It would have been better if the remote was radio or bluetooth, so that you wouldn't need to aim it anywhere.
Apart from the quirks i really think that the Soundsphere is a pretty nice speaker set. I would have preferred some additional colors, but it is available in black only. The finishing and material-quality is top-notch, but you wouldn't notice they are made of wood because of the glossy finish.
I doubt any other present Airplay speaker will sound better than the Soundsphere. If you like the looks you will definitely love the sound as well.
30 March 2012
Best on the market
Great sound! Ample bass with real sterio speakers that can be placed at separate corners of the room. The look is simply beautiful and will be the subject of conversations.
Until another vender makes a comparable dual speaker unit this is the one to beat. I wish setting up the network were easier.
26 March 2012
Can't believe the quality
Say what you will about Philips Consumer Products over the years, if Philips goes "up market" and at the same time aligns themselves with mainstream technology like Airplay, they can significantly improve their brand cache and command better prices. This product is a real winner. Wow!!
24 March 2012