Philips Fidelio FB1 Assessment | PCMag | Job Alls


Soundbars have gotten an more and more possible approach so as to add spatial audio to your TV with out scattering satellites throughout your front room. The Philips Fidelio FB1 ($699.99), for instance, has Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and seven.1.2 channels constructed into an unobtrusive type. Its spatial imaging efficiency does not fairly match that of the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600 ($499.99), although it delivers higher bass. Nevertheless, the Sonos Arc stays our Editors’ Alternative winner for high-end all-in-one soundbars. Though it prices greater than $899, the Fidelio affords a extra balanced sound signature than the FB1 and the power to double as a sensible speaker by way of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.


Easy and Environment friendly

The FB1 is a big however modest soundbar. It is a easy black board measuring 2.9×47.2×4.9 inches (HWD). Behind the entrance grille sits an indicator LED and a white alphanumeric LED. The rubber rectangle in the course of the highest panel accommodates the enter, play/pause, energy, quantity up, and quantity down buttons. Beneath the highest grille, the 2 upward-moving drivers are surrounded by LED rings that may be turned on or off with a distant management.

On the again of the soundbar there’s a bass port, a small recess with a connector for the facility cable and a bigger house with the remaining wiring connections. There’s HDMI, an HDMI pass-through, optical audio, USB, a 2.5mm port (for the IR blaster), a 3.5mm port (for the microphone probe) and a Wi-Fi pairing button for connecting to a TV by way of eARC.

Philips Fidelio FB1

(Credit score: Will Greenwald)

The included distant is an oblong black plastic stick to a matte, brushed end and trapezoidal profile. A big, sq. pad sits close to the highest and controls quantity and controls the soundbar’s settings. The ability, enter, and mute buttons sit on the pad, whereas on the again, Dolby Atmos, EQ, settings, and quantity mode buttons will be discovered beneath it.

Connecting by way of the HDMI eARC port will present the perfect sound, together with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X spatial audio, however the FB1 additionally has a big selection of wi-fi choices. There’s Bluetooth, which helps SBC and AAC codecs, plus Apple AirPlay 2, however not Google Forged. The soundbar additionally options DTS Play-Fi, DTS’ personal wi-fi speaker ecosystem, which simply integrates with AirPlay on iOS units and has devoted Android, iOS and Home windows apps. iOS, iPadOS and Home windows customers can stream audio wirelessly to the FB1. Android customers will discover a extra restricted in-app expertise with help for Amazon Music, SiriusXM, Spotify, and Tidal, however not Apple Music or YouTube Music. Play-Fi additionally allows multi-room audio programs with different Play-Fi appropriate audio system.

The FB1 is a 7.1.2-channel, one-piece soundbar system. The left, proper and heart channels every have two full-range drivers and a tweeter, whereas the 2 sidefire and two top channels have single full-range drivers. A 3.5-inch subwoofer is built-in into the chassis; it is bigger than typical full-range soundbar drivers, however smaller than the eight- to 10-inch drivers usually present in standalone subwoofers.


Sculpted Sound with Massive Bass

Even with no subwoofer, the FB1 can produce spectacular sub-bass. The kick drum on Knife’s bass take a look at monitor “Silent Shout” will get some severe thunder and supplies a palpable punch that shakes my leisure heart at greater quantity ranges. It could not rattle the partitions like a full-sized subwoofer, however in the event you dwell in an condo constructing, it is going to actually annoy the neighbors. Surprisingly, the bass synth notes firstly of the monitor aren’t very highly effective and sound a bit distant in comparison with the drum hits. This means both a frequency crossover between the full-range drivers and the woofer, or probably an atypical low-end response curve.

Philips Fidelio FB1

(Credit score: Will Greenwald)

Sure ‘Roundabout’ sounds nice on FB1. The opening acoustic guitar strums obtain nice low-end resonance, and delicate string textures come via clearly at greater frequencies. When the monitor is fired up proper, the bassline sounds filled with highly effective assault that provides it a robust edge. The drums and guitars are additionally distinguished, though the vocals take a again seat as an alternative of sharing the highlight. It is a purposefully engineered sound that focuses on the extremes somewhat than balancing the low-mids and high-mids. It’s a nice, clear and highly effective sound.


Spatial sound however miscalibration

The FB1 ought to show you how to modify the encompass audio traits to fit your room by working a calibration take a look at that processes every channel to find out the perfect stage. I had no drawback working the calibration take a look at itself, however each time the take a look at ended, the FB1 stopped beeping fully and needed to be reset. Philips confirmed to PCMag that this can be a recognized problem and {that a} deliberate software program replace will repair the issue. Till Philips releases a patch, the FB1’s auto-calibration function will doubtless not work. This isn’t a very good begin.

With out calibration, the FB1 nonetheless supplies stable spatial imaging. Dolby Atmos audio enter Physician Unusual: Into the Multiverse of Insanity full and detailed, the opening chase and struggle scenes trigger plenty of low-frequency rumble that makes my flooring vibrate. Excessive frequencies are crisp as particles flies round, and dialogue is evident all through the motion. The sound profile nonetheless sounds just a little closed, but it surely creates a giant, beautiful soundstage.

The directional description is correct, if just a little modest. I can hear the final course of rocks and automobiles crashing round via the soundbar, and its stereo panning is great. The peak channels create a larger sense of dimension with the movie, though the particular objects flying above aren’t as distinct as with the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600.

Philips Fidelio FB1 top buttons

(Credit score: Will Greenwald)

5.1 channel audio Glass onions it additionally sounds full and clear, with voices pushing with presence and element. The sound of a knife hitting a whiskey glass resonates with a pointy, punchy ring, adopted by a spherical, lingering tone. The soundtrack simply fills the room, protecting every aspect current.


A One-Piece System That Many Will Like

The Philips Fidelio FB1 is a succesful one-piece soundbar loaded with options and able to producing severe bass with no separate subwoofer. Its spatial audio imaging is not as exact as some rivals just like the Bose Sensible Soundbar 600 or the dearer Samsung Q990B ($1,899.99) with its rear encompass, but it surely affords a very good mixture of efficiency for the worth. Sound high quality is akin to the Sonos Arc, albeit with extra aggressively processed audio. Finally, we just like the Arc higher for its total sound stability and talent to double as an Amazon or Google sensible speaker.

Professionals

  • Robust bass and loud voices

  • Spatial audio with devoted top channels

  • Assist for Apple AirPlay and DTS Play-Fi

Cons

  • Buggy calibration course of

  • The situation description doesn’t match the rivals

  • Heavy-duty sound profile

Backside line

The Philips Fidelio FB1 soundbar produces severe bass with no devoted subwoofer and emits respectable encompass sound within the room.

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