Philips Fidelio Primo DS9000 review: Philips Fidelio Primo DS9000

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Typical Price: $699.00
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Beautiful build. Powerful sound. Capable of finesse as well. One of the loudest docks available. Deep bass. On-board Fidelio app.

The Bad Eraser sold separately. Bass can be lumpy. Distorts at high volume.

The Bottom Line The Philips Fidelio Primo iPod dock is a classy looking and sounding unit which, with a little home ingenuity, can rival docks worth twice as much.

8.1 Overall

Once upon a time, the iPod was seen as the Antichrist: it featured lossy music through tinny headphones and encouraged the "death" of the album because it enabled users to shuffle their music collections. But today, attitudes have changed — high storage capacities and lossless codecs have meant that listeners can have an experience that truly is "CD quality".

As a result, hi-fi docks have started to appear, among them is Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin and now there is Philips' Fidelio Primo.

Design and features

The Primo is a 2x 50W speaker that, unlike omnidirectional systems such as the Zeppelin and the Pure Sensia , is designed to be listened to in stereo. To this end it features two forward-firing woofers partnered with ring radiator tweeters.

The back of the unit is wooden, which we find very classy, and the ports at the back form part of a subtle silver ring that travels from front to back. The black cloth grille is fairly ho-hum by comparison, and we would have liked to see the wood extend to the front of the unit.

The bottom of the Primo is rubberised and enables the dock to sit a slight angle reminiscent of this year's Bravia's . While attractive, this also creates its own problems...

The unit lacks a power button and instead uses the power function of your phone or player, and it has a volume up and down button that has a proximity sensor which lights up when you put your hand nearby.

In an attempt to maximise sound quality, using a digital stream from your device Philips adds an on-board Digital-to-Analog Converter of a higher quality than the one inside the iPod.

The player is compatible with most devices with a 30-pin port except for the iPad. While the tablet fits on the dock the device is not supported. Philips makes another dock called the Fidelio Docking speaker that works with an iPad.

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