Hands on: Philips ambiSound

IFA 2008: Hands-on with Philips ambiSound
IFA 2008: Hands-on with Philips ambiSound

Philips today gave TechRadar a sneak peek at its new ambiSound home theatre audio system, designed to give 9.1 channel surround sound from just six speakers.

The system, which is coming very soon and will cost around £800 (the same as the previous 5.1 channel system without ambiSound), is designed to provide a 'cinematic experience' rather than just a standard surround sound.

While the immersive feel was easy to hear, thanks to the ambiSound drivers in each of the floor speakers bouncing sound off the walls and curving it into the centre of the room, it was only when the 'normal' 5.1 system was turned on was the difference noticeable.

Light and sound

The floor speakers also carried lights at the bottom to give a more cinematic feel, but the sensation was one of the company trying to shoehorn awareness of it's 'fully-submersive' amBX system, where light, sound, feel and other senses will come together to offer a new home cinema experience.

The bass was rich and deep, but there was a slight sense of getting 'lost' in the noise...you feel this needs a little tweaking to get the absolute maxiumum out of a near £1000 system.

But if you're after a high-end set up without the extra hardware, this is a good virtual answer; good for those who have rooms a bit too big for the tiny CinemaOne also released this week.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.