Hi-Fi Choice February 2020

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 an embarrassment of riches when it comes to next-level integrated amplifiers, as this month’s collection of mid-priced models in our Group Test clearly demonstrates. Once regarded as the poor relation by serious audio fans who proclaimed that pre-power amplification was the only way to go if ultimate sonics are the goal, today’s integrated amplifiers have become smart, high-functioning and flexible solutions catering for modern hi-fi sensibilities. Our six contenders offer everything from purist minimalism to feature-rich connectivity and future-proofing, but the core appeal remains: a powerhouse system hub that doesn’t take up too much space on the equipment rack. It’s a talented bunch. Some offer analogue inputs only, while others boast digital and numerous extra facilities. Each has enough power and hi-fi cred to make it a worthwhile upgrade over…

3 min
music master

The eye-catching 7in colour display is a full touchscreen control interface FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of its acclaimed ‘just add speakers’ M10 network music system (HFC 451), NAD unveiled the latest addition to its Masters series range of high-end components at January’s CES Las Vegas. The £4,000 M33 flagship is a full-width component and claims power output at 2x 200W into 8ohm. The rigid aluminium chassis supported by magnetic iso-point feet has two MDC expansion slots for future upgrades, while the front panel sports a physical rotary volume control along with an eye-catching 7in colour display that’s a full touchscreen control interface. Employing its parent company’s BluOS streaming platform means the M33 is compatible with other NAD BluOS components – as well as fellow brand Bluesound’s range of compact amplifier, server and speaker…

1 min
svs 2000 pro series

THERE’S NOTHING THAT quite compares to adding a subwoofer to your setup for some extra bass, and SVS has unveiled three new models in the shape of its SVS 2000 Pro Series to help get the party started. All three incorporate a Sledge STA-550D Class D amplifier capable of pumping out a claimed 550W RMS and 1,500W+ peak power to the all new 305mm aluminium cone driver complete with composite fibre dust cap. A 50MHz Analog Devices Audio DSP with 56-bit processing is employed for advanced room tuning and to optimise frequency response curves, and is claimed to be the most sophisticated DSP engine ever used in a sub. The newly reinforced cabinets deploy an extra-thick MDF front panel and rigid internal bracing. From left to right, the SB-2000 Pro sealed…

1 min
degritter vinyl cleaner

● Developed thanks to online crowdfunding, Estonian company Degritter has been fine tuning its record cleaning machine since 2017 and is now finally ready for a March launch. Offering fully automatic operation, its Ultrasonic Record Cleaner adopts techniques utilised in the semi-conductor industry where surfaces need to be clean on a molecular level. Using high-frequency pressure to create tiny bubbles that release energy as heat and minuscule strong water jets, it’s claimed to clean vinyl down to a microscopic level. Compatible with both 12in and 7in records, it has a removable 1.4-litre water reservoir and boasts 20 different fan power settings to dry the clean vinyl. Specialist cleaning fluid is also included. It costs £2,300. DEGRITTER.COM…

1 min
mission zx series

Building on the success of its QX Series (the QX-2 standmount was reviewed in HFC 436 and the QX-3 floorstander in HFC 447), Mission has introduced a new flagship range. The ZX Series carries forward elements from QX adding new drive units, motor systems and crossover networks, in a new curved cabinet. The £600 two-way ZX-1 standmount features the new 38mm Ring Dome tweeter paired with a 130mm DiaDrive mid/bass unit. The £750 ZX-2 is also a two-way standmount and features the same tweeter but positioned between two 130mm DiaDrives. The £1,100 two-way ZX-3 floorstander (below) shares the same drivers as the ZX-2, but increases sensitivity from 89dB to 90dB. The £1,300 ZX-4 is a three-way floorstander with 38mm Ring Dome tweeter, two 130mm DiaDrive drivers for bass and one for…

1 min
budget vinyl spinner

AS VINYL SALES reach their highest level since 2006, the number of brands looking to attract new or returning fans to the format appears to be on the rise with seemingly more turntable models available today than in the LP’s original seventies heyday. Unveiled at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, the AT-LPW50PB joins Audio-Technica’s expanding line of DJ and hi-fi decks, and at £380 is among its most costly models. Belt-driven with manual 33 and 45rpm speed change, the plinth is made from 30mm-thick anti-resonant MDF and the platter is cast from high-grade aluminium. The matte-finished carbon fibre tonearm is fitted with an AT-HS4 universal headshell and AT-VM95E dual moving-magnet cartridge, and there’s a built-in selectable phono preamp and detachable dual RCA output cable for direct connection to the…