December 01 2010
I must confess that the Low Countries’ penchant for what I’d call weird design has always amused me, coming as I do from a not-quite-so-low country. This component wireless-based (OK, I’ll say it: Wi-Fi hi-fi) system by Philips looks quite mad. But it sounds really, really good.
The thing about sound is that, even though we can now compress the source of it down to electrons on a chip or hard drive, when air needs to be stirred so our ears can be stimulated, there’s no alternative to a mechanical air-stirring contraption.
The standout bit of the MCi900 is, of course, those tweeters suspended above the main speaker box as if they’ve somehow gone to seed. The theory is that this way, the tweeter can emit sound more clearly, in all directions.
There are those who would say it’s gimmicky, but the evidence of my ears, for what it’s worth, is that it works. The MCi900 is also extremely versatile, streaming music from all the usual sources and packing a 160Gb hard drive to store 2,000 or so albums – and it has a 50-watts-per-channel amplifier. As good a hi-fi system as you’re going to get.