Hi-Fi Choice January 2022

Hi-Fi Choice is the essential guide to audio excellence in the home. It is a no-nonsense guide to the finest products available, from vinyl and valves, to multi-channel digital audio and high-fidelity video. Hi-Fi Choice sorts the best from the rest with rigorous test processes and a highly experienced team of reviewers.

United Kingdom
AV Tech Media Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

There’s a battle raging in the pages of this issue. On the side of good there’s our regular pièce-de-résistance, the Group Test, a cluster of top-notch MC cartridges. Allied to this you’ll find our roundup of 22 of the most promising new albums coming your way in the first quarter of 2022 including Alicia Keys, The Cure and Guns N’ Roses. On the side of evil, and threatening to undo all this anticipated enjoyment, is a very real danger in the ominous guise of a breakdown in vinyl production. As detailed in Nigel Williamson’s Opinion (p89), a dastardly confederation of COVID, Brexit and climate change are conspiring to bring the manufacture, supply and distribution of our vinyl to its knees. It’s a drama that will keep you on the edge of your…

2 min
flying high

PRICE: £700 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: BOWERSWILKINS.COM BOWERS & WILKINS has updated and relaunched its classic 2007 iPod dock, the Zeppelin. “Better-sounding, better-looking and smarter than ever,” according to the blurb. The company says the new Zeppelin has been re-imagined for the streaming age: “now both smarter and more flexible, while its high-resolution sound is more detailed and dynamic than ever”. Available in two finishes – one dark (midnight grey) and one light (pearl grey) – the Zeppelin now includes switchable, dimmable ambient lighting to create a ‘halo’ lighting effect onto its metal pedestal stand. A complete stereo system in one component, featuring dedicated left and right speaker assemblies around a central, large subwoofer, all powered by 240W of amplification, the Zeppelin’s premium components are mounted in an ultra-rigid, FEA-optimised enclosure that is…

1 min
gold standard

PRICE: £1,500 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB:MOFI.COM KARMA-AV.CO.UK KARMA-AV IS INTRODUCING Mobile Fidelity’s UltraGold moving-coil phono cartridge to the UK. The cartridge unites the UltraGold MC’s nude shibata diamond profile stylus and boron cantilever with a neodymium magnet and permendur yoke, housed within an ultra-low resonance aluminium/brass extrusion with the intention of delivering: “palpable low-end energy, high transient responsiveness and compelling openness and transparency from vinyl”. In essence, the UltraGold MC exists to liberate the astonishing musical glory of Mobile Fidelity Original Master Recordings and other reference pressings. It’s precision crafted in Japan and the company explains that the UltraGold MC offers an: “exceptionally wide frequency response, tonal richness, lifelike separation and true-to-the-source faithfulness of a class-leading audiophile moving-coil design”. Claiming ease of installation in virtually any setup, the threaded cartridge body permits mounting to…

2 min
more than zero

PRICE: £60-£700 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: ASTELLKERN.CO.UK BUSY TIMES AT Astell&Kern with two new products just released to tempt your wallet. First up is the second-generation version of its entry-level digital audio player, the A&norma SR25 MKII, which the company says improves on the audio performance, adds new features, such as a balanced 4.4mm headphone jack, tweaks to its ultra-compact design, a replay gain function to uniformly adjust volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz, an AK File Drop for easier wireless file transfers, a BT Sink function for simpler connection to an external Bluetooth device, extra internal silver-plated shielding to protect from electromagnetic interference, a more defined volume wheel design and a new Mercury Dark Silver finish. As with the first-generation A&norma SR25 (HFC 465), the MKII handles an array…

1 min
go with the glow

PRICE: £190 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: AUDIO-TECHNICA.COM AUDIO-TECHNICA IS ADDING to its wireless headphone range with the new, limited-edition ATH-M50xBT2MO, which comes in what the company describes as a: “vibrant Lantern Glow finish”. It follows last year’s purple-and-black ATH-M50xBTPB, and an exclusive series of limited-edition colourways for the M50 range stretching back to the 50th Anniversary ATH-M50s/LE model in 2012. A Lantern Glow version of the ATH-M50x wired professional studio headphones, the ATHM50xMO, is also available. Descending from the ATH-M50 and ATH-M50x studio models, the ATH-M50xBT2MO features a number of enhancements designed to improve performance and usability including proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers, a low-latency mode – which the company claims improves synchronicity between audio and video for streaming and gaming – an AK4331 advanced audio DAC and dedicated internal headphone amp, dual mics…

1 min
pearly king

PRICE: £2,300 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: CABASSE.COM HENLEYAUDIO.CO.UK FRENCH COMPANY CABASSE has launched its new Pearl Keshi audio system, an ultra-compact 2.1 setup featuring a connected, powered subwoofer and pair of satellite speakers. The company says the Keshi’s subwoofer measures 22cm in diameter, houses a quoted 1,050W (RMS) of digital amplification and comes equipped with Bluetooth, Ethernet, optical and wi-fi connectivity options for wirelessly streaming music from Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. The system also works with the Cabasse StreamCONTROL multi-room system, while Bluetooth and 3.5mm inputs offer linking solutions for additional components like compact disc players and turntables. The satellite speakers measure 8cm in diameter and Cabase says they appear to “float” on chrome-plated steel stands like the subwoofer designed to limit the transmission of unwanted vibrations to the floor or surface.…