Sound + Image December 2019 - January 2020

SOUND + IMAGE magazine offers a comprehensive package focused on lifestyle home electronic entertainment. It provides easy-to-read information about audio and video equipment and how ordinary consumers can assemble extraordinary systems that look and sound fantastic.

Future Publishing Ltd
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8 Issues

in this issue

5 min
finding the way

In my position, clearly you’d expect me to love technology. I spend my working life and much of my leisure time immersed in the latest and greatest audio and AV tech. I investigate the bits I don’t understand to see if it’s marketing rubbish or something genuinely new and exciting, and I love it when an innovation comes along which makes life easier, or more entertaining, or just plain fun. Mind you, sometimes I’m quite annoyed by technology, notably when it doesn’t work, or it’s Sunday and I’m on a deadline and Alexa won’t connect to this networked device (it’s usually Alexa), or something doesn’t appear on the network where it should. And it nearly always is networking which doesn’t work, or which is at least hardest to fix, because if…

1 min
celebrating 30 years of the

Welcome to our equivalent of a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation — the products that have most impressed us during a full year of reviewing, not only in Sound+Image magazine but in Australian Hi-Fi, Audio Esoterica and Best Buys & AV — plus on and a rush of late arrivals as we approach the Awards cut-off date for judging. And we are celebrating our 30th year of Sound+Image Awards. They have been held every year since 1989, delivering the winners in this, our Special Awards Issue, with healing crystal trophies presented to the winners at a Gala Dinner, a formal but informal evening held this year at the Novotel Sydney Central, also to be the venue for our awards sponsor this year, the HIFI2020 Show taking place in Sydney from 3-5 April…

2 min
tcl x7

In this category we’re looking for both quality and value in a television, and we certainly found it in this 4K Quantum Dot TV which has an Android TV smart interface and so Google Assistant too, plus a useful Onkyo-branded soundbar built-in — all at the perfect price. Should the name of TCL still be new to you, it’s most definitely time you became acquainted with the brand. It has ranked third or fourth in size for TV manufacturers worldwide for a number of years (above the likes of Panasonic and Sony), and recently beat out Samsung to become the biggest-selling brand in the US. Nor is it new, having been around nearly 40 years, with 20 manufacturing units and 35 R&D centres through which it is one of China’s biggest…

2 min
hisense laser tv

Perhaps controversially, this Premium TV Solution goes not to a TV but to a projector — however, it is one of the new breed of ultra-short-throw projectors which sit close to your wall and throw the picture up onto, in this case, a 100-inch screen, which comes supplied. While conventional projectors can struggle in conditions of ambient light, Hisense’s screen is designed to reject ambient light while making the most of the projector’s long-life laser light source. And it further delivers a ‘TV’-style solution in having built-in audio plus a wireless subwoofer, and you can easily connect a larger sound system if you desire. It also has a smart interface, just like a TV using Hisense’s own VIDAA U Smart TV platform, so that Netflix and FreeviewPlus are easily to hand,…

2 min
lg ubk90

There may be a strong emphasis on movie streaming these days, but a 4K Blu-ray will guarantee you the best image quality (compared with streams that compress according to bandwidth), plus you have the joys of permanent ownership, and all that bonus content that rarely makes it online. What’s more, when UHD (4K) Blu-ray arrived a few years back it was a delight to find that the entry-level players were priced far cheaper than expected — not the $1000 of early Blu-ray and DVD players but down in the low hundreds. The first to market in most countries was Samsung, but it surprised us by abandoning the genre last year; thankfully its Korean rival LG can still deliver this fine $399 player, the LG UBK90. Physically it’s plain-looking, but in just the…

2 min
pioneer udp-lx500

This $1999 disc player takes over where Oppo left off, delivering what is termed a ‘universal’ player which we might have said delivers the highest possible quality were it not for Pioneer itself having an even higher $3999 model! But for us, the UDP-LX500 is a delight. The ‘universal’ tag indicates its ability to spin pretty much every 12cm silver disc ever available — Ultra-HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD Audio/Video, Super Audio CD, audio CDs, writeable and re-writeable versions of CDs, DVDs and BDs (apart from DVD-RAM); it even played Video CDs, which aren’t listed in its manual as compatible. There’s also fairly universal digital media file support from disc, from USB plugged into one of the two USB sockets (one each on the front and back panels), or from the network.…