Best Buys – Audio & AV

Issue 1 - 2022

Best Buys Audio & AV is loaded to the gills with authoritative reviews on all types of hi-fi and home theatre products, from wireless speakers to valve amplifiers, AV projectors and streaming computer audio – it’s a must-read for those looking to assemble or upgrade their home entertainment systems. By publishing easy-to-read, well researched reviews, Best Buys Audio & AV provides at-a-glance summaries together with detailed reviews by Australia’s most experienced hi-fi and AV teams from Sound+Image and Australian Hi-Fi magazines.

Country:
Australia
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
Biannually
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2 Issues

in this issue

11 min
mark levinson no. 5105

TURNTABLE Despite having been in business since 1972, Mark Levinson did not release its first turntable, the No. 515, until 2017. This new No. 5105 does not replace the No. 515, nor is it a ‘stripped down’ version of it. In fact, despite the similarity in the model numbers, the No. 5105 is a completely new design, specifically intended to be the analogue front-end for Mark Levinson’s 5000 Series components. Equipment One reason it is a completely new design is that whereas the No. 515 turntable was made in the United States in partnership with turntable specialist VPI (based in Cliffwood, New Jersey), the No. 5105 turntable is made somewhere in Germany, in partnership with a German turntable specialist whose name Mark Levinson is not prepared to divulge. This makes the No. 5105 something…

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9 min
music hall classic

TURNTABLE It takes a bit of chutzpah to name a brand-new turntable a ‘Classic’ but anyone who’s met Music Hall’s founder, owner and highly outspoken spokesperson, Roy Hall, will already know that he was not only at the very front of the line when chutzpah was being handed out, but that he circled back for a second helping. Mind you, he’s pretty much on the money when it comes to his latest creation’s name, because it has all the features that were most prized on the ‘classic’ turntables of yesteryear, built by the likes of Garrard, Acoustic Research, BSR and others. Features such as automatic stop and tonearm lift at the end of an LP (known then as ‘semi-automatic’ because the tonearm was simply lifted, and not moved back to its rest…

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3 min
how to choose a streamer

All the world’s music from a single box Streamers are the newest breed of hi-fi component — a separate source like a CD player or a turntable, but instead of playing a physical disc they specialise in going online and playing music from free and subscription streaming music services like Spotify and Tidal, from internet radio and podcast providers. As such, a standalone streamer is most often used as an additional source for an existing system, adding the modern wonders of these streaming sources to a ‘dumb’ amplifier or all-in-one system. If you’re building a system from scratch, you may instead opt for a ‘smart amplifier’, which has a streamer built in, rather than having a separate unit — as you’ll see in thee pages, there are also units which stream as…

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3 min
what to look for when choosing a streamer

Streaming services If you’re already using a particular service, such as Spotify or Tidal, you should clearly pick a streamer which offers that service. Note that many streamers will only work with paid Spotify subscriptions, though some do work with free Spotify. The higher-quality plans and services cost significantly more, often double the price of the lower-quality subscription. The joys of streaming in high-res can be worth the money on a good hi-fi, but remember to include this in your budget. The app All streamers use apps for control, given the need to browse through enormous lists of available music. Some apps are better than others, as you’ll read in our reviews, and there’s good sense in selecting an established platform with a track record. We often note that you should remember that…

10 min
naim uniti atom he

STREAMING PRE-AMP / HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER UK-based Naim Audio became first renowned for its amplification, proving the importance of power quality from the early 1970s. Three decades later Naim was also quick to recognise the future of file-based and streaming music, and today enjoys great success with its Mu-so wireless speakers, as well as the Uniti range of all-in-one streaming systems, which deliver simple but definitely hi-fi ‘just-add-speakers’ solutions. In a way the three levels of Naim’s Uniti players brought together everything Naim has learned — the wirelessness, multiroom and control elements of the Mu-sos, along with the solid hi-fi amplification developed over decades, including more recent trickle-down tech from the developmental fillip of investment made in the company’s no-holds-barred Statement amplifier project. Now here comes the Uniti Atom HE, which takes the smallest…

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6 min
questyle m12

MOBILE HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER/DAC We wonder if Apple ever imagined that by removing the standard analogue headphone jack from its mobile phones it was essentially handing its competitors a massive business opportunity, and consumers the incentive to massively improve the sound quality of their phones. The reason, of course is that in order to use ordinary analogue earpieces (or headphones) with any new Apple mobile phone, you now need to use an external ‘dongle’ called an ‘Apple Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adaptor’. This has the two necessary connectors as well as a digital-to-analogue converter to convert the Apple’s digital output into an analogue voltage sufficient to power your earphones or headphones. Apple generously includes this adaptor with every phone, but if you lose it and need to buy one, you can…

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