(Pocket-lint) – There’s never been a better time to enjoy a cinematic experience at home, particularly when it comes to audio equipment. Thanks to technologies like Dolby Atmos, you can get fantastic, deep sound that surrounds you and immerses you in your favourite movies and TV shows.
In the past, you needed multiple speakers dotted around the room to get decent surround sound. But now, you can do it with one extremely capable soundbar. One such product is the Philips Fidelio B97, and here’s why we love it.
Real surround sound
When it comes to surround sound, there aren’t many soundbars out there as capable as the 7.1.2 channel equipped Fidelio B97. It has a classic surround sound arrangement with dedicated centre, left and right speakers.
It features full Dolby Atmos support and is IMAX enhanced. That’s enabled by a set of two up-firing drivers which deliver audio up and around you in the room. In fact, the sound bar is packed full of speakers.
Along with those two up firing speakers, it has two dedicated centre drivers, six front firing speakers and two side-firing drivers.
To take the surround sound effect up another level however, it even has two detachable active speakers which you can place anywhere in the room to give a more immersive feel to your sound. What’s really nice though is that even when the speakers are detached two more side-angled tweeters are revealed in the main soundbar keeping that audio firing to the extreme left and right.
The combination of speakers and tweeters delivers room-filling sound that’s rich and full, with dialogue that’s crisp and clear while music and soundtracks sound good enough that you won’t need any other sound systems in your lounge or media room.
As for bass, the soundbar is capable of reaching all the way down to 150Hz, meaning the 240W wireless subwoofer only has to focus on the ultra low frequencies. That means you really feel the impact of it. Whether it be a rhythmic bass line in a song, or deep booming from explosions in your favourite action movie. It shakes the room (in a good way).
One of the big benefits of the Fidelio B97 is its compatibility with several wireless multi-room technologies. For instance, with DTS Play-Fi support you can add it to your Play-Fi home setup and have it sync with your other compatible speakers. What’s more, it has AirPlay 2 support, making it really easy for iPhone and iPad users to stream audio. Plus, Spotify Connect means you can play your Spotify playlists and control it from any device you have that’s logged into Spotify.
That’s not all either, because of its cross compatibility with several smart assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa and with its AirPlay 2 support you can ask your assistant to play music on the soundbar, whether you use Siri, Google or Alexa.
Plenty of ports
It’s not just in wireless connectivity the Fidelio soundbar shows its versatility. It’s got the physical ports to adapt to you as well. There are two HDMI inputs with 4K passthrough for your favourite sources – whether media players or consoles – and an HDMI eARC output.
All that means it can pass through 4K video with Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+ or HLG profiles, depending on what your TV and connected devices support.
There’s an optical input for those who prefer to use that, as well as the standard 3.5mm socket. Combined with Bluetooth, that means you can connect virtually any device to it.
Lastly, there’s the design. Yes, it’s quite a large product – and so you’ll need to measure up your space to make sure it’ll fit first – but it’s a very nicely designed piece of kit. Philips has worked with IMAX to ensure that the main bar with the rear speakers detached still qualifies for IMAX Enhanced certification. So really, it’s impressively compact for what it can offer.
What’s more, the fit and finish of the speaker makes it look and feel like a proper, premium soundbar. The subtlety of top the matte finished grille that covers the whole device contrasts nicely with the polished elements, while the low profile design means it will fit under your TV without interrupting the viewing. The smart wireless soundbar has an attractive minimal design that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself.
So there you have it, a handful of reasons why we love the Fidelio B97 and why you should consider it if you’re serious about sound.