Philips Fidelio SoundSphere AirPlay Speakers Review

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Airplay Speakers is simply a gorgeous looking speaker system that performs as good as it looks. Now more than ever with the iPhone 5 changing the size of its connector pin, consumers may be starting to steer clear of the traditional iPhone/iPod docks. This makes the prospect of Wi-Fi and Airplay streaming that more enticing. So not only do the Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Airplay Speakers allow more flexibility around your home for music streaming, but they also guarantee a future-proof technology that isn’t effected by the size of connector pins – no matter how big or small. The SoundSphere takes your music to new heights and frees you of those docks once and for all.

Besides the unique design, these 16.1″ high SoundSphere’s are shipped with the utmost care. Inside the box you will find each speaker in its own black carrying bag. Along with the speakers are cables to connect the speakers to each other, a iPhone/iPod cradle, remote, and assorted manuals. The high-end craftsmanship is easily noticeable to its high-gloss black finish and fine-tuned acoustics. There are no buttons that operate the device. Instead, only the remote and your iOS device will bring the SoundSphere to life.

Actual setup of the Philips SoundSphere took less than 10 minutes. Just find a place were you want these speakers to be seen is really the difficult part. So often we want to hide speakers away because of their foreboding wires and bulky shape. But that is not the case with the SoundSphere which begs to be seen and heard. Once you setup the speakers, the next important step is to get it going. The included dock doesn’t connect to the speakers (its simply a cradle to charge your iPhone or iPod) so the there are three ways to get music pumping out of the SoundSphere and that is: via AUX cable, AirPlay, and Wi-Fi. While two out of the three worked well, AirPlay – the most marketed feature of the SoundSphere is by far the most temperamental.

The included instructions are easy enough but when we needed a more in-depth way to setup Airplay and troubleshoot, Philips.com thankfully had videos and a Q&A section that helped us get back on the right track. We finally got AirPlay working but it wasn’t for long as connectivity between the device and the speakers seem to breakdown often. The music would drop off or we would be forced to reset the speakers again so that it would show up on our iOS devices as “Philips_Fidelio 0534ED.” While our frustration continued to grow with connecting it via AirPlay, connecting via Wi-Fi was certainly less painful and more stable. Once we got SoundSphere to recognize our router, all of our Apple devices from iPhones to Laptops could stream music to the SoundSphere. This is pretty awesome and is really the perfect way to have an amazing playlist coming from any random Apple device.

The SoundSphere might be beautiful yet temperamental when it comes to AirPlay, but it makes up for its shortcomings when it comes to sound. Lush, warm, deep, rich sound that oozes from the speakers. When we gave it a go right out of the box we were less than impressed but after a month with them, the speakers drivers have warmed and burned in only sounding better and better over time. Vocal artists like Alanis Morrisette, Josh Groban, and Sarah McLachlan almost brought me to tears at moments because of how ‘real’ they all sounded. Singing their best hits for me in my living room like haunting angels.

All top 100 artists sounded just as good but the speakers really shine when used to their full potential with strong acoustics and orchestrations. It also goes without saying that placement of the SoundSphere speakers is essential as well. First I placed them on a crendeza and then placed them on the floor. The sound beaming upwards from the floor along with its unique shape filled the room with sound. While the placement on the cresenzda was just as good, the sound felt better when the speakers were placed on the floor.

Verdict

The Philips Fidelio SoundSphere AirPlay Speakers is an exquisite piece of audio equipment. Its floating tweeter design may resemble a one-eyed cyclops, but the sound that flows out of this system is far from monstrous and instead, more angel-like. Warm and balanced music pours out of the 100 watt speakers (50 watts each) that fills the room. AirPlay is temperamental at best so connecting your system via Wi-Fi or AUX is your best bet for consistency.

The Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Airplay Speakers is certainly one of the more pricier audio systems from Philips. However, if you really want a new way to listen to music in your home, then I strongly suggest giving the SoundSphere a shot. The Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Airplay Speakers retail for $799 but is currently available  for just $599 on Amazon. 

The Good: Great design, balanced sound that fills the room, and easy to setup.

The Bad: AirPlay is temperamental, have to stand close to the speakers to adjust the volume with remote control, takes time to burn in, could be a bit pricey for some.

Buy it!

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  • o.luv

    the soundsphere might appear expensive, but if you compare them to the B&W zeppelin air, they even seem to be cheap because they blow the zeppelin out of the water regarding sound. i like them most with active “full-audio”. the only drawback is that the need a bit of volume to really sound good. at lowest listening levels the sound might be a bit lifeless. but nevertheless, the best airplay speaker system i have heard so far!

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