Samsung DA-E750 review:

Samsung DA-E750

In addition to AirPlay, Bluetooth is also supported, which means you should be able to wirelessly stream audio from most smartphones and tablets (although not the popular Kindle Fire.) There's also built-in Wi-Fi, plus an Ethernet port on the back. In addition to all its wireless capabilities, the DA-E750 has an old-fashioned physical dock on the back that supports iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Galaxy SII, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note devices. It's retractable, too, so if you're not using it, you can push it in so it's flush with the back.

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The back panel also sports an minijack input and a USB port, so you should be able to play pretty much anything on the DA-E750, including MP3s from a USB drive.

When I first went to set up the DA-E750, I hesitated after I plugged it in. How was I going to get this gadget on my Wi-Fi network, without a screen to input the password? Samsung has a pretty clever solution for iOS devices, which I haven't encountered on other devices yet. When you dock your iOS device a prompt comes up on the device asking to share your network settings, and the DA-E750 will receive the network name and password from your device. It's a little more complicated than that (I had to read the manual pretty carefully), but the move of copying the Wi-Fi password from my iPhone to the DA-E750 was slick and unexpected.

If you don't have an iOS device, but do have a router that supports WPS, it should be as simple as pressing the WPS button on both the DA-E750 and your router. If you don't have an iOS device or a router that supports WPS, it's a little more complicated. I didn't go through the setup process with an Android device, but it involves dialing in an IP address.

Sound quality

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Features and good looks are nice, but a speaker isn't worth much if it doesn't sound good. Samsung's somewhat gimmicky inclusion of vacuum tubes caused me trepidation, but the DA-E750's sound isn't overly colored. You can't really tell there's a tube involved at all.

I compared the DA-E750 directly with one of the only products that can be considered its competitors: the B&W Zeppelin Air. Right off the bat, it's obvious that they're two very different-sounding speakers. The Samsung DA-E750 gives a very bright sound, while the B&W has a more laid-back, neutral sound.

The DA-E750's bright sound made it stand out with harder rock from Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age, where the Zeppelin Air sounded a little drier. But that same bright sound could tend toward harshness, especially over a long listening session, where I started to feel some listening fatigue. And the Zeppelin Air's more neutral sound was a much better fit for classical music and jazz. Ultimately, or listening to on a regular basis I'd prefer the Zeppelin Air, although the DA-E750 is still a solid performer for an audio dock. And the DA-E750 can get plenty loud; it had no problem filling our medium-size room without a hint of distortion.

One of the strangest things about the DA-E750 is its lack of adjustability. There's just a single sound quality adjustment you can make, which is hitting a button that says "Bass." And even that isn't much of an option because turning that on makes the DA-E750 sound way too boomy, with tons of muddy bass. Tabletop systems are very sensitive to placement: the same system can sound too bassy in one location, then too thin in another. Adjustment options make it much easier to compensate for a location that fits your decor, but maybe doesn't sound great initially. In fact, one of the reasons the Zeppelin Air sounded so good was I was able to adjust the bass appropriately.

Overall, I wouldn't gush about the sound quality of either system. If I had this kind of budget and was buying a smaller system for a den, I'd skip both the Samsung DA-E750 and B&W Zeppelin Air, opting instead for a pair of Audioengine 5+ speakers with bamboo finish ($470). Pair them up with either an AirPort Express ($100) or Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter with Bluetooth ($40), and you'll have a much better-sounding system that's still stylish and at least $100 cheaper. It's a little more work to put together your own system, but it would be worth it in this case, as you'd have a lot more flexibility with the Audioengine 5+ speakers down the line.

Some products I can recommend unequivocally, like the Energy Take Classic 5.1, because they offer such a great blend of performance and value that nearly everyone will be satisfied with the purchase. The Samsung DA-E750 is not one of those products. If you're like most people, and have limited money to spend on home audio gadgets, you won't get a huge return on the DA-E750. But if your budget is vast, and perhaps your home decor won't tolerate the plasticky cabinets of the B&W Zeppelin Air or Logitech UE Air Speaker, the Samsung DA-E750 is the nicest wireless audio dock you can buy.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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