Philips is off-site at IFA 2022 in Berlin, showcasing a range of AV equipment – everything from OLED TVs to soundbars, headphones and speakers. A highlight is the award-winning Fidelio FB1 EISA ($899 / €899 EUR / $1,316 AU), a powerful integrated soundbar capable of delivering Dolby Atmos 7.1.2 audio.
Up close, the FB1 has a sleek design (my photo doesn’t do it justice) with a metal mesh grille and Muirhead Scottish leather accents on the case and top control panel. A front LED display provides visual feedback in response to remote control commands for input switching, volume adjustment and processing mode selection.
The soundbar’s front left, center, and right speakers each use a traditional D’Apolito setup to create a wider listening arc, and there are also two side-mounted speakers for enhanced surround, plus a pair of upfiring speakers for Atmos height effects. When used as a standalone unit, the FB1’s dual woofers deliver bass down to a specified 50Hz.
Along with Dolby Atmos, the FB1 supports DTS:X immersive sound and can wirelessly stream music via DTS Play-Fi, Chromecast and Spotify Connect. Siri, Google and Alexa voice assistants are also supported for hands-free voice control.
While the FB1 is already a complete package, Philips showed it off as part of an expanded 7.1.4 system with its W1 wireless subwoofer and S1 wireless speakers – all paired via DTS Play-Fi.
The compact W1 includes an 8-inch woofer and dual overhead passive radiators. One cool feature noted in the presentation I picked up was that when paired with the FB1, the soundbar’s crossover automatically ramps up to 75 Hz, allowing the sub to take most bass bass tasks out of the soundbar’s hands.
In addition to being able to add surround effects and Atmos to a 7.1.4 system, the S1 wireless speaker is equipped with LED lights to extend the Ambilight experience when paired with one of the company’s similarly-featured TVs.
The effect of this on the demos that included the S1 was to create a subtly psychedelic light show – accompanied by dynamic visuals from the company’s TVs and powerful cinematic sound from the FB1 bar and accompanying wireless sub. Judging from what I’ve heard (and seen), the FB1 could easily be a contender for our list of the best soundbars for 2022.
Fidelio FB1, W1 and S1 should be available in October.
IFA 2022 is Europe’s biggest tech trade show, and is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, as well as our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on display.