When the portable media player merged with the mobile phone, every user found an easy and convenient way to take their music with them wherever they go. However the portable music players, primarily due to their compact form factor, do not have the hardware on board to project audio for group listening or in large spaces. Unless users are willing to duplicate their music collection, which is somewhat redundant and consumes space, an audio dock is the best way to rectify this problem and allows multiple people to enjoy audio with quality and sufficient volume.
Docking stations leverage the popularity of portable music devices such as smartphones by expanding their audio capabilities. The simple act of plugging in your iPhone or iPod gives you access to your music collection which then amplifies them through proper speakers. The Philips Fidelio line-up of audio products comprises of a variety of docking stations and has impressed us before with their offering, such as the high-end DS9000.
This time, we have with us the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 Docking Station in our labs. Its S$459 price tag puts it in the range of mid-level audio docks currently on the market. It may not be the best offering from the new updated Fidelio line-up but it is definitely one to consider if you can't splurge over S$700 for the DS9000 equivalent.
Other docking stations may make pretensions to portability, but one look at the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 shows that this product is meant to occupy a prominent location in your room and left there to do its job. The unit measures in 51.1 x 17.8 x 20.5cm and weighs 5.5kg. Seeing that the speaker dock is about half a meter wide and weighs more than bulky laptops, this is definitely not one made for portability. There are other models from Philips if you need one to carry about, but the DS9/10 is clearly a desktop speaker dock to produce more full bodied audio with strong volume.
A wood grain finish gives the speaker a regal look and it is balanced by the black grill. Rounded corners and a curved exterior give the Fidelio DS9/10 a harmonious appeal. The simple overall aesthetics of the speakers will not clash with whatever décor you have making them a seamless addition.
With regards to hardware, the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 Docking Station is equipped very well. Two 19mm tweeters and two 3.5-inch woofers are present to handle audio duties. The most interesting feature is the recess in the center of the speakers and the bass ports located behind. Their contribution to low frequency performance will be covered in greater detail in the analysis of following pages.
Compatible with a wide range of Apple products, you can dock your iPod and iPhone with the cradle provided. As an added bonus, you can even plug in your iPad if you so desire, which is a design that most audio docks aren't capable of boasting. Besides the dock, it offers standard connectivity via a 3.5mm auxiliary audio port at the rear. On the whole though, the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9/10 is low on features when you compare it to competitors such as the Yamaha TSX-140.