Future Publishing Ltd

Tech & Gaming
Best Buys – Audio & AV

Best Buys – Audio & AV

Issue 2 - 2019

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.

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2 Issues

In this issue

9 min.
bluesound 2i

Among the various streaming multiroom platforms available, Bluesound had a clear differentiator in place from the start. It was quick to establish its credentials as a higher-quality platform for enjoying music throughout your home, allowing high-res audio to be played, which some rivals added only later, or still haven’t. Also key to its success has been its ease of use, with one of the most attractive and effective apps for selecting what you want to play and where you want to play it, including the ability to play to multiple rooms at once. And of course you can use it to play from online streaming services, some free, some like Spotify and Tidal requiring subscription. And indeed if you pay for the Tidal HIFI-quality account, you can stream its ‘Masters’…

7 min.
cambridge audio axc35 + axa35

Cambridge Audio is celebrating 50 years since its original formation; it remains a UK-based company, unlike so many early hi-fi houses, and it marked the half-century by releasing its highest level products in decades, the Edge series of integrated, pre and power amps. But it clearly didn’t get its head stuck in such lofty clouds for too long, as it has just released a new AX range at almost the other end of its product lines — with two AX25 and AX35 pairings of CD player and amplifier, and two further AM/FM stereo receivers (which, for those born since such things were popular, are hi-fi amplifiers with radio tuners built-in). We have the AX35 CD player and amp pairing for review. EQUIPMENT The pitch for the AX range seems to us admirable. ‘Step…

8 min.

The HEOS streaming multiroom platform was the first of the new wave which arrived to rival Sonos, and has distinguished itself in three key ways. Firstly its close connections with Denon and Marantz has seen HEOS appearing not only in the usual ecosystem of wireless speakers, preamp, amps and soundbars, but also in lifestyle products and serious separates from those brands, allowing full multiroom operation between a main hi-fi system and a wider HEOS home. Secondly it has been the most consistent of the newer wireless multiroom platforms. It has evolved to include new models and new generations, with the latest ‘HS2’ versions including high-resolution audio support and integrated Bluetooth. But the physical designs have not been radically revamped, as some rivals have felt the need to do. Thirdly HEOS has had…

2 min.
heos 5 hs2 wireless speaker review: a sweetspot

This HEOS 5 (HS2 version) might be just the thing for a medium-sized room, a study or bedroom or attic. It is the second largest of the four HEOS wireless speakers (see main article), 29cm wide, delivering stereo sound through twin unspecified tweeters and mid-woofers that are powered by individual channels of Class-D power, and supported by a passive bass radiator to augment the bass response. Set-up done we were playing in moments, starting with the HEOS 5 HS2 on a stand in a room where it had quite a long throw to the listening position. It sounded powerful and solid, and even more so in relatively close-up listening where this balance delivered a real soundstage with depth as much as width to be enjoyed. From just a metre distance, in…

6 min.
klipsch the three with google assistant

We’re fans of the Heritage styling adopted by Klipsch for its range of wireless speakers and also headphones, emphasising as it does the history of this iconic US company which stretches back to 1946 when acoustics pioneer Paul W. Klipsch set up shop in Hope, Arkansas, from whence the company became known as the great American speaker company. Hope has other claims to greatness; Klipsch’s Michael Burrato once told us that the ‘welcome’ sign marking entry to the town celebrates not Klipsch but two other things — the birthplace of Bill Clinton, and Lloyd Bright’s world record watermelon in 2005 (it was 122kg; see www.giantwatermelons.com). While on this subject, we should apologise for a recent news piece in which we erroneously placed Klipsch’s founding in Hope, Arizona, where the welcome…

9 min.
naim audio mu-sogen 2

Many hi-fi moons ago, Naim Audio was a dyed-in-the-wool amplifier-centric UK hi-fi company regarded as something of an industry rogue in terms of ‘going its own way’. But it evolved, taking its core base of truly hi-fi amplification to new levels (witness the $200k+ Statement pre-power amplifier), while investing well ahead of the pack in streaming audio trends. Its 2011 merger with French speaker company Focal brought an injection of design flair and driver nous to Naim products, and a few years later came its first wireless standalone speaker, the Mu-so. Somehow this managed to retain Naim’s emphasis on audio excellence while shifting into this potentially populace-pleasing product area; reviewers loved it (it won a Sound+Image award), and it proved highly successful with consumers. A smaller, roughly cubic, Mu-so ‘Qb’…