If an audio device fails in faithful reproduction of MP3 tracks, it has little chance of success. The majority of today’s music collections are in the MP3 format and for a start we tested the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 with a few high bi rate encoded tracks from our library.
The system's 3.5-inch woofers are on the larger end of the spectrum when considering the speaker dock product category. For the tweeters, we noted that it used aluminum and it's a smart choice since the metal provides a bright tone, perfect for the higher frequencies of audio. Taking into account the last Fidelio’s excellent performance, we had high expectations from this mid-range model from Philips.
Fortunately, we were not disappointed and the Fidelio DS9/10 impressed us with its warm and natural tone. When listening to Adele’s Melt My Heart to Stone, the vocalist sounded very lifelike as the audio beautifully conveyed the emotion of the song.
Similarly, on Hotel California by The Eagles, the lyrics of the song come alive. What made the live track even more enjoyable was the spacious soundstage cast by the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10. The curved and concave design helps with the projection of sound and definitely makes the speakers sound impressive.
On Sail on Soothsayer by Buckethead, the Fidelio DS9/10 rendered the sharp attack of the guitar notes pleasantly while ensuring they still remain defined under the heavy background distortion. However, we would have liked it better if there was just a tad more bite to the audio.
Keeping in mind the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10’s own high standards, it performed the 'worst' when playing Elements of Life by Tiesto. Slightly loose bass and average transient response were observed. This is a pitfall of utilizing bass reflex ports which trades tightness of lower frequency reproduction for greater impact. Putting aside our nitpicking, the trance track sounded good because of the excellent soundstage of the docking station. Bass performance, despite the slight setback, can still be classified as close to top notch.
CD quality tracks by virtue of their higher bitrates offer a sterner challenge to speakers. If the device is below standard, the flaws during playback will be more evident.
Starting off with the Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace, the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 was off to a flying start. We have waxed lyrical about its spacious soundstage before and the same quality was well apparent to help it ace this section of our tests. The pods zoomed across left with the docking station providing great directionality for the sound.
The bass heavy sound tracks such as the T-Rex SFX and the Apollo 13 SFX were also handled with aplomb. The Fidelio DS9/10’s dual 3.5-inch woofers pump out the required volume to bring life to both tracks. Slightly loose bass was observed on the launch sequence from Apollo 13 which mirrored our judgment from the MP3 testing phase.
We left the “Theme from Jurassic Park”, “Theme from Cutthroat Island” and “Fanfare for Louis” for last. Orchestral tracks such as these are very hard to get right for mainstream speakers. Not only do these tracks require space to sound good, but they also need quality hardware to preserve the timbre and unique sound of the instruments involved. The dual 19mm tweeters earn their keep on these orchestral tracks, rendering the horns and strings beautifully. Once again utilizing its broad and spacious soundstage, the melodies for the orchestral tracks flowed well and sounded sweet.
|Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace||9.5|
|Theme from Jurassic Park||9.5|
|Apollo 13 SFX||9.0|
|Theme from Cutthroat Island||9.5|
|Fanfare for Louis||9.5|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||9.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||9.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||9.5|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||9.0|