Philips DS3205 Docking Speakers - Return of the Dock?

Launch SRP: S$219

Performance and Scores

MP3 Performance

As evidenced in the picture below, we tested out the Philips DS3205 with our standard MP3 tracks loaded onto a 7th generation iPod Nano. Since the speaker dock possess a Lightning connector dock, we plugged our player directly. The choice of MP3 tracks also mirrors the intended, to address common everyday usage of the masses that the device was targeted at.

Starting off with Melt My Heart To Stone by Adele, first impressions of the DS3205 were not stellar. The audio from the speakers sounded middling and decidedly average. The warmth of the tone, especially when focusing on the reverb organ used in the track, was missing. Neither are the trebles especially bright or clear. In fact when Adele proceeded into her high vocal register, slight distortion from the speakers was audible even though we had the volume level set to 50 percent.

Moving on to Sail On Soothsayer, we found the distortion to be too loose and undefined. Proper control over the levels of guitar distortion is essential for the enjoyment of this instrumental piece from Buckethead and it was unfortunately missing in this play. On the bright side, the DS3205 was able to deliver the sharp attack of the chiming guitar notes which helped bring forth the aggressive nature of the composition. However, we were left wanting more clarity from the trebles which sounded slightly clipped in our opinion.

To check out the low frequency performance of the DS3205 we played Elements of Life by Tiesto. Philips has equipped their speakers with Dynamic Bass Boost software which is intended to help emphasize bass content of music across the entire volume range. In practice though, the little speakers try their best to deliver the deepest lows but fall short. The bass notes are buried in the mix and can only be heard when specific attention is paid to look out for them. The algorithm trickery of Philips’ Dynamic Bass Boost seems unable to overcome the inherent restrictions placed on sound output by the choice of the DS3205’s hardware and its small stature.

The last stop on our MP3 Test Suite was Hotel California by The Eagles. This song served as a good way to figure out the overall sound quality of the DS3205. Once again trebles sounded clipped and the mids lacked the vibrancy required. Transient response was also subpar as the bongos and alternate percussion instruments sounded far from life-like. While the speakers may promise stereo sound, this live rendition was delivered with strong central projection.

It is safe to say that the Philips DS3205 is not targeted at audiophiles. But our harsh critique is based on our exacting standards. From a regular user’s point of view there are quite a few things the speakers get right. Volume levels are quite good considering the 10W power output of the device. And as long as the track is not extremely taxing, a category within which most popular songs fall, the DS3205 does an acceptable job of reproducing the mix.

Philips DS3205  - MP3 Performance Report Card
MP3 Testing Score
Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele 6.5
Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead 7.0
Elements of Life - Tiesto 6.5
Hotel California - The Eagles  6.5
6.5
Design
7
Performance
6.5
Features
7
Value
6.5
The Good
Docking and charging for iPhone 5
Capable of running on four AA batteries
Good audio volume output
The Bad
Clipped highs and trebles
Sub-par transient response
Low portability
Devices with thicker covers may have docking connectivity problems