Philips designed the FWC577 with gamers and computer users in mind, equipping the mini stereo system with a game port (for direct connection to consoles) and a USB PC link (for streaming MP3 content). The result is a system that delivers thrilling, explosive sound whether you're using it to immerse yourself in the Halo
universe or listen to the latest White Stripes CD. The system even offers a game sound mode, so you can choose which sound setting best fits the title you're playing--i.e., Blast, for shooting games; Punch, for fighting games; and Speed, for driving and flying games. The game mix function adds the additional benefit of letting you design a soundtrack to your favorite game using CDs, the radio, or MP3s.
The 330-watt system isn't for gamers only, however. It also includes a five-disc CD changer compatible with CD, CD-R, and CD-RW formats, a digital AM/FM tuner with 40 presets and an auto-store facility, and a three-way bass reflex speaker system. The CD player is programmable with up to 40 tracks, and includes such features as repeat and shuffle. The audio is augmented by the system's Max technology, which boosts the bass, maximizes the volume performance, and enhances the overall listening experience with the touch of a single button. Other audio bonuses include Virtual Ambience Control, which mimics the acoustic effects of your favorite performance setting, such as a cinema, hall, or concert environment, and Digital Sound Control, which lets you choose among several optimized settings for specific musical styles, such as jazz, pop, and rock.
When linked to your PC, the FWC577 uses its bundled MusicMatch software to act as a jukebox, and lets you navigate (via your remote control) to play, pause, stop, and skip tracks without sitting down at your computer. The stereo even displays the song title and track time. To use the software, your PC must be running Windows 98, Me, 2000, or XP on an Intel MMX 200 MHz or faster processor, and you need 15 MB free hard disk space for the software installation. The stereo is bundled with a USB cable and PC link installer disc.
The amplifier delivers 165 watts to each of the two main speakers, which feature 6-1/2-inch woofers, 2-inch Ferro Fluid tweeters, and 1-inch Polydome piezos. The speakers also include six Max bass ports, along with detachable grilles.
Other features include a dim mode, a clock with separate alarm and sleep timers, a 32-key remote control, a demo mode, plug-and-play functionality, and an interactive dashboard display. The FWC577 can connect to a variety of other devices via its audio analog inputs (auxiliary and game port), video input and output (composite cinch), and 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, in addition to the digital audio input (USB link). The system carries a one-year warranty on parts and labor.