Hi-Fi Choice April 2019

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

www.hifichoice.co.uk Issue No. 448 April 2019 For those of us with large music libraries stored in several locations, integrating everything into one controllable place can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. My music streaming setup currently pulls in music libraries stored on a laptop computer and a capacious Melco music server – both containing downloads and ripped CDs – as well as subscriptions to three streaming services, so integrating and accessing everything using just one inclusive piece of reliable software can often seem like the impossible dream. But wait, the six playback software options in this month's Group Test – starting on p24 – promise to do just that, and along with a laptop are a great way to get started and enter the world of networked music without the need…

1 min
focal unveils flagship cans

The Stellia sports beryllium drivers and a high sense of listening luxury for audiophiles PRICE: £2,799 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 0845 6602680 WEB: FOCAL.COM LESS THAN THREE years since the arrival of Focal's Utopia open-back flagship headphone, the £2,799 closed-back Stellia joins its exalted company, sporting beryllium drivers and the same high sense of listening luxury aimed at audiophiles. With memory foam used in the sumptuous-looking headband and the circumaural earcups, the Stellia is available in two finishes that Focal calls cognac and mocha. In common with other designs in Focal's range, its 40mm full-range drivers have an M-shaped diaphragm to deliver a fast, dynamic and neutral performance. It claims a frequency range from 5Hz to 40kHz with 35ohm impedance and sensitivity specified at 106dB/1mW. Supplied in a matching cognac or mocha faux-leather box, the…

1 min
vinyl continues to blossom in us

At the beginning of March, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) published its end of year report for 2018, highlighting a generally positive turn of events especially for vinyl, which reached its highest point for 30 years. In 2018, the report revealed, revenues from recorded music in the United States grew by 12 percent to $9.8 billion (approximately £7.5 billion) at estimated retail value. For the third year in a row, double digit growth was primarily driven by the increased popularity (and so revenue) from paid subscription streaming services including Spotify, Apple, Tidal and Amazon among others. For the first time ever, subs to the aforementioned services numbered more than 50 million as revenues increased by 30 percent year on year to reach $7.4 billion, meaning that streaming contributed 75…

1 min
spruce up your lps

PRICE: £435 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 05602 054669 WEB: DECENTAUDIO.CO.UK WE FIRST SAW Dutch brand Okki Nokki with its £399 Record Cleaning Machine when we reviewed it back in 2014 (HFC 383). Now distributed in the UK by Decent Audio, the compact yet powerful RCM vinyl cleaning system is priced at £435 – or £485 with a Perspex dust cover – and includes a raft of enhancements. Measuring 360 x 230 x 306mm (WxHxD) it offers a quiet-running vacuum motor with the ability to spin in both directions for improved cleaning performance, while a built-in float mechanism prevents the unit from operating when the fluid needs to be drained. Its simple operation uses two switches on the front of the machine: one forward/reverse and the other for the suction motor that promises to…

1 min
neat ekstra

PRICE: £2,999 AVAILABLE: MAY CONTACT: 01833 631021 WEB: NEATACOUSTICS.COM Showcasing its Ekstra floorstanding loudspeaker for the first time at last month’s Bristol Hi-Fi Show – see our show highlights starting on p10 – the latest design from Neat Acoustics is set to go into full production in mid-April with a suggested retail price of £2,999 per pair. Measuring 170 x 1,100 x 250mm (WxHxD), the Ekstra is a 2.5-way configuration that employs a 50mm ribbon-type tweeter partnered to a 134mm mid/bass driver in a sealed cabinet design mounted on a specially profiled sub-baffle that’s attached to the main cabinet via a de-coupling polyethylene membrane. The lower section houses two 134mm bass units in an isobaric arrangement. The mid/bass drive unit on the front of the cabinet is a treated paper cone with…

1 min
atlas adds eos dd range

• Kilmarnock-based specialist Atlas Cables introduces its EOS dd (dual drain) mains power leads with a high-performance screened design. Priced at £145 for a 1m cable fitted with an IEC/13A plug (other plug variants and lengths are available), the company says its new entry-level power cable utilises similar screening technology found in its upmarket EOS 4dd range to filter out harmful RF noise and remove it from the AC power feed. Using proprietary high-purity low-resistance oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductors covered in a PVC dielectric, both the dual drain and power conductors are wrapped in a hybrid carbon-loaded screen and the company’s anti-vibration filler. The entire construction is encased in a royal blue PVC outer sleeving. ATLASCABLES.COM…