Philips AES8000

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

At first glance, the Philips AE8000 looks like a sleek clock ra­dio. The £120 ra­dio’s black and white de­sign and blue dis­play con­trast nicely. But when you re­alise the black wood ef­fect is ac­tu­ally plas­tic, it’s quite dis­ap­point­ing. Es­pe­cially when the Pure Evoke D2 shows you can build good-qual­ity real-wood ra­dios for less than £100.

The LCD dis­play is easy to read, with enough space to see the name of the artist and track play­ing be­low the sta­tion name when you’re in DAB or in­ter­net ra­dio mode – the AE8000’S top fea­ture. You get two an­ten­nae at the back of the ra­dio: one for ra­dio, one for con­nect­ing to the in­ter­net. Net­work con­nec­tion is swift and strong, and the DAB/FM re­cep­tion is de­cent, but does de­pend on find­ing the best sig­nal strength in your home. There’s also an aux­il­iary in­put and a 3.5mm head­phones port. You can save 20 pre­sets (10 each for FM and DAB).

Punchy sense of rhythm

In terms of price, the AE8000 slots in be­tween two Award-win­ning ra­dios: the Pure Evoke D2 (DAB and FM only) and the Roberts Stream 93i – which of­fers ev­ery­thing the Philips does, but with added wire­less stream­ing to play songs from your NAS, lap­top, smart­phone – for just £20 more.

All the AE8000 has to do is equal or bet­ter the Pure to jus­tify be­ing rec­om­mend­able. And it does just that. The Pure D2 is un­doubt­edly sub­tler and more en­gag­ing, but that lovely rich low-end can sound too boomy at times. The Philips doesn’t have that prob­lem, al­though its main fo­cus is shifted to­wards the mid-to-top fre­quency range. It’s bass-light and tre­ble-heavy.

Green Day’s Mi­nor­ity is snappy and bit­ing over in­ter­net ra­dio. That lean edge means you get a clean sound and a punchy sense of rhythm, and there’s enough de­tail to keep you lis­ten­ing.

The sound is stronger and fuller as you turn the vol­ume up, but that can make the top end just a tad too in­sis­tent. We do want more de­tail and warmth from the Philips, es­pe­cially at this money. But de­spite the fin­ish, there’s plenty to like about its com­pact de­sign and fea­tures set.

Get past the plas­tic build, and the Philips AE8000 is a de­cent ra­dio that’s easy to use and sounds en­joy­able. It’s worth splash­ing out the ex­tra cash for the in­ter­net ra­dio fea­ture.

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