First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Samsung DA-E750 wireless audio dock
- — 08 October, 2012 13:30
Samsung’s DA-E750 is a wireless audio dock that has taken inspiration from the past — it’s got a glossy wooden finish, and two glowing valve amp tubes up top — but it’s definitely up to date when it comes to built-in features.
Samsung DA-E750: Design and features
The DA-E750 is an extremely attractive speaker dock, drawing inspiration from the past. It’s finished entirely in an extremely glossy red mahogany, with chrome and dark silver accents for the front-facing speakers. Apart from the Samsung logo and the speakers, the front of the dock is smooth and simple, as are the sides.
The top of the DA-E750 is equally clean. There’s a multi-function pad on the top right of the dock, with volume, play/pause and function toggle buttons, with a light-up panel in the centre of the pad that tells you what mode the dock is in.
What’s most eye-catching about the DA-E750, though, is the twin vacuum tubes that sit inside a see-through dome on the dock’s top left. When you turn the wireless dock on, the tubes glow with a warm orange light — they work with an internal digital amplifier to power the system’s 40W speakers and 60W downward-firing woofer driver.
Popping out from the back of the DA-E750 is the multi-purpose dock, which has a 30-pin connector for iPhones, iPads and iPods (not the newest iPhone 5, though, which uses a smaller Lightning connector) and a micro-USB connector. The micro-USB is used for plenty of Android smartphones and tablets, although it’s designed to work best with Samsung’s own Galaxy smartphones.
However you’ve got your music stored, and on whatever device, the DA-E750 should be able to play it. iOS users are well catered for with the direct 30-pin dock and built-in AirPlay over Wi-Fi, and Android users can use the dock or Allshare Plus DLNA streaming over Wi-Fi. Other portable devices are catered for with Bluetooth 3.0 (the high quality Apt-X codec is supported), and there’s a standard 3.5mm auxiliary audio connector as a catch-all backup.
If you’ve got a compatible Samsung flat-screen TV, you can also use the DA-E750 as a wireless speaker for whatever you’re watching through Samsung’s SoundShare audio-mirroring feature. We tried it out with a Series 7 LED TV and found that it worked perfectly well with no syncing problems, providing a huge quality and volume leap compared to the TV’s tiny integrated speakers.
If you’ve got compressed music tracks stored on a USB hard drive, flash drive, or on a compatible portable media player, you can use the DA-E750’s USB connector to play them — MP3 and WMA files are supported. If you don’t want to set up a Wi-Fi connection, a wired Ethernet connector will let you connect the DA-E750 to a wired home network.
Samsung DA-E750: Performance and sound quality
We initially had a slight problem getting the Samsung DA-E750 connected to our test wireless network, running on a Linksys router. Samsung gives two methods for connecting the wireless audio dock to a Wi-Fi network — it’s possible to connect the system via a docked iPhone or other iOS device, or you can use the DA-E750 directly with any WPS push-button setup router — but we weren’t able to get either setup to work.
After a few minutes of tearing our hair out we reset both the wireless dock and the router, and the WPS setup scheme finally worked. Thankfully Samsung’s online manual explains the setup procedures in clear detail and we were able to fix the problem quickly.
We tested the Samsung DA-E750 primarily using an iPhone 4, using both the dock and AirPlay to play music from a stored music library as well as from the Rdio streaming music service. After the initial setup woes we didn’t have any problems with the DA-E750 dropping our Wi-Fi network or with AirPlay malfunctioning.
When you’ve got it going, the Samsung DA-E750 sounds pretty darn good. At low volume, it’s not especially distinguishable from the fleet of other wired-or-wireless audio docks on the market, but turn it up to a volume that’s enough to fill a medium-sized room, and you’ll find that it’s got a surprising amount of warmth and richness.
We won’t go so far as to say that it’s Samsung’s use of vacuum tubes that’s responsible for this warmth — it’s far more likely to be the impressively large woofer built into the DA-E750’s base. Whatever the cause, whenever you’re listening to music at a reasonable volume, this wireless speaker system has power and depth of sound that belies its small stature.
We do wish the DA-E750 had an option for an equaliser, though. As it stands, you’re not able to tailor the treble or bass of the system like you can on competing mini hi-fi products of a similar price.
Bass is great at moderate volumes, although if you do turn the DA-E750 up to louder-than-normal listening volume you’ll find there’s a slight rattle from the back of the system, corresponding with bass kicks. It’s only audible when you’re close to the back of the player and if you’re listening for it, but it’s there nonetheless.
Treble and mid-range are both equally clear and detailed enough for everyday listening. The Samsung DA-E750 isn’t up to the exacting quality of a Sonos PLAY:5 or the B&W Zeppelin Air, but it’s definitely in the higher end of consumer mini hi-fi systems.
Samsung DA-E750: Conclusion
While the official Samsung asking price is a little high for our tastes, we’ve seen the DA-E750 on shelves for under $500. At this price, it’s a high-quality system that has plenty of features and an attractive design that’s well constructed and clearly thought out.