Philips is offsite at IFA 2022 in Berlin showing a range of AV gear – everything from OLED TVs to soundbars, headphones, and speakers. One highlight is its EISA award-winning Fidelio FB1 ($899 / €899 EUR / $1,316 AU), a powerful integrated soundbar capable of delivering 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos audio.
Up close, the FB1 has a stylish design (my picture doesn’t do it justice) with a metal mesh grill and Scottish Muirhead leather accents on both the cabinet 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.
Each of the soundbar’s front left, center, and right speakers use a traditional D’Appolito configuration 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 stream music wirelessly 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 was displaying it as part of an expanded 7.1.4 system with its W1 wireless subwoofer and S1 wireless speakers – all of it paired via DTS Play-Fi.
The compact W1 packs an 8-inch woofer and double suspended passive radiators. One cool feature noted in the presentation I caught was that, when paired with the FB1, the soundbar’s crossover automatically pushes up to 75 Hz, allowing for the sub to take most of the low bass chores off of the soundbar’s hands.
Aside from being capable of adding both surround and Atmos effects to a 7.1.4 system, the S1 wireless speaker is outfitted with LED lights to extend the Ambilight experience when paired with one of the company’s similarly featured TVs.
The effect of that in demos that included the S1 was to create a subtly psychedelic lightshow – one 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 heard (and saw), the FB1 could easily be a contender for our list of the best soundbars for 2022.
The Fidelio FB1, W1, and S1 should all be available in October.
IFA 2022 is Europe’s biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on show.