...Fidelio E6 succeeds in combining ease of use, on-demand surround and a powerful home cinema experience in a simple and satisfying package.
Versatility is one of the Fidelio E6's key strengths, but can it deliver the audio quality expected from an £800 solution? Well, almost, though there are some obvious weaknesses.
The first question you might be asking is how does a system with four speakers and a subwoofer achieve a 5.1 designation? The answer lies in the speaker configuration - the sub is armed with a 6.5in woofer, the rear units are equipped with full-range 2.5in speakers while the front satellites are each outfitted with a 19mm soft-dome tweeter and two 3in woofers. The latter are designed to simulate an extra channel and do an effective job of centring speech.
As a whole, the audio output is surprisingly satisfying. Belying its size, Fidelio E6 punches above its weight with the sub providing plenty of rumble while the satellites offer good detail and depth. Definition is kept intact at high volume, with clear voices maintaining a central effect, and movies are delivered with real verve and convincing clarity. The satellites create a wide soundstage, though we did feel the need to lower the bass as the sub can be a tad overpowering at default settings, but all things considered, the Fidelio E6 does a grand job of localising effects and creating a feeling of immersion.
What's the catch? Well, the detachable speakers do a job in creating a full surround experience, but they aren't particularly powerful and lack the strength of the main units - sound output is comparatively timid, so while you get the effect, you don't necessarily get every last drop of rear detail. The same acoustic limitations apply when listening to music through a single rear speaker, and though the system's impressive versatility goes some way toward justifying the £800 price tag, audio buffs will be well aware of the fact that true 5.1 systems are likely to offer superior sound quality for less.
Bottom line: Philips has set out to bring versatile surround sound to users unwilling or unable to contend with a traditional wired solution. The Fidelio E6 succeeds in combining ease of use, on-demand surround and a powerful home cinema experience in a simple and satisfying package.
Excellent upgrade for a flat-screen TV
Clutter-free surround sound
Automatic spatial calibration
Bluetooth/WiFi music streaming
Companion app is basic
HDMI 1.4 not future proof
Philips Fidelio E6
The Philips Fidelio E6 is available to purchase from Amazon and Richer Sounds.
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