Hi-Fi Choice June 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

With much of the music industry's attention being focused on streaming figures and vinyl's continuing rise in popularity, it’s perhaps understandable that it's been a while since we looked at a group of CD players. Now that I come to think about it, there was a period over the last few years where the manufacture of new decks seemed to dry up all together – probably due to the rallying cries in favour of the other disc-shaped physical format as well as emerging non-physical options – and it almost appeared as though compact disc had had its day. But new players have started to emerge once again, and in preparation for this month’s Group Test of silver disc spinners – starting on p24 – we generated a website poll to get…

1 min
sonic formation

PRICE: £600-£3,500 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 0800 2321513 WEB: BOWERSWILKINS.COM THE FORMATION SERIES announced last month by Worthing-based Bowers & Wilkins heralds the company’s new high-end multi-room music solution. Utilising new wireless tech, the four-strong suite of speakers plus hi-fi adapter is designed to suit different applications around the home. The £3,500 Duo (pictured) is the most traditional-looking speaker in the series, and adopts the same 25mm carbon dome tweeter-on-top technology and 165mm mid/bass Continuum cone drive unit found in the company’s passive speaker lineup. Matching support stands are available, costing £700. The £900 Wedge is the most distinctive speaker design in the range, with a 120° elliptical shape that offers full-range stereo from a single chassis unit. The £1,000 Bar sports nine drive units for a wide stereo soundstage and a dedicated centre channel…

2 min

CROSLEY'S TINY RSD TURNTABLE Aside from the usual selection of over priced reissues, picture discs and novelty releases, perhaps the most memorable thing to come out of this year's Record Store Day was the re-emergence of the novelty 3in vinyl record. First developed in Japan – where else? – back in 2004, the 8-Ban was a decidedly lo-fi portable turntable that played 3in discs. The format – which was invented by the Toyokasei record pressing plant – was rather unsurprisingly much maligned, in part due to the scratchy mono sound and the fact that the one-sided discs could only hold around three minutes of pretty terrible-sounding audio. Jump forward a few years and lover of all things kitsch and analogue, Jack White (ex of The White Stripes and owner of Detroit's excellent Third…

1 min
air supply

PRICE: £12,000 AVAILABLE: NOW CONTACT: 0207 2947332 WEB: ORBITSOUND.COM LOOKING TO ATTRACT new audiences with its innovative single-box speaker designs, Orbitsound has introduced its Air D1 luxury loudspeaker, costing £12,000. A completely active standalone single speaker, it claims to deliver a full and compelling stereo image and exactly the same tonal presentation wherever you are in the room without the need for a second speaker, thanks to its proprietary Airsound technology. The powered speaker design utilises three dedicated amplifiers to drive each speaker array and is rated at a total power output of 570W, while its Airamp tech claims to actively feed back in real-time for optimum performance and sound delivery. Wi-fi, Bluetooth, 2x RCAs, optical digital and Ethernet connections are all provided.…

1 min
astell&kern adds kann kube

PRICE: $1,499 AVAILABLE: JUNE CONTACT: 01279 822800 WEB: ASTELLNKERN.COM Astell&Kern has been offering a range of impressive music players for some time now, with models tailored for all kinds of budget. Planned to go on sale later this month, the Kann Kube is the second model in its Kann series that saw the original priced at £899. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed for the Kann Kube, but the company says it will offer a more powerful amplifier (12V RMS via balanced connection) with selectable low, mid and high gain modes to enable it to drive a wide selection of headphones. A new amplifier design sees the Kube employ two eight-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DACs in a dual-mono configuration, said to provide a wider soundstage and better stereo separation. It supports up…

2 min
in brief

CYRUS JOINS EARBUD MARKET Specialist audio company Cyrus is perhaps best known for its half-width traditional hi-fi components such as the CD i player reviewed on p27. Following a move into the music on-the-go sector with the launch of its £79 soundKey portable headphone amp/DAC in 2018, the electronic components manufacturer has recently introduced its first ever in-ear headphone. Priced at £79, the soundBuds use Bluetooth v4.2 and claim true wireless stereo to connect to each other and to a mobile source device. Fitted with an unspecified tiny driver, each earbud weighs 4.5g and claims to give up to 2.5 hours use, while the compact storage case acts as a charging station with enough capacity for three full re-charges. Visit the Cyrus website for more info. CYRUSAUDIO.COM KIMBER KABLE’S BIG FOUR-OH Distributed in…