Hi-Fi Choice January 2021

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
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min

First up, hearty thanks to everyone who sent us info on their fave recent hi-fi purchases. The celebrations start on p15 where you’ll find your appreciations of a stunning variety of products, from a reconditioned Tascam MD-350, a Rega Planar 8, an SME Synergy and the discovery of a discontinued Brinkmann La Grange, to the vast improvements afforded by the use of a Gutwire Perfect Ground Cable, plus loads more. Elsewhere there’s a neat Xmas combo offer from Naim and Focal in our Audiophile news pages and a close-fought contest between five affordable smart wireless speakers in our Group Test. Special guest this month is The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon who elegantly talks us through the many joys and intricacies of remastering back catalogue recordings while under lockdown. Plus, there’s some encouraging…

2 min
bundle up

PRICE: £2,600-£10,000 AVAILABLE: NOW UNTIL 31 DECEMBER WEB: NAIMAUDIO.COM; FOCAL.COM JUST IN TIME for Christmas, Naim is offering a selection of specially matched systems that pair Focal loudspeakers with Naim Uniti digital music streamers. The offer stands until the end of December while stocks last and there are five systems to choose from. Each comes bundled with high-quality speaker cables, plus free trials of both Tidal and Qobuz (more on that later). The systems on offer are: the Chora 806 (HFC 465) paired with the Uniti Atom priced at £2,600; the Chora 826 (HFC 457) paired with the Uniti Atom priced at £3,000; the Aria 926 (HFC 383) paired with the Uniti Star (HFC 433) priced at £5,000, the Kanta No.1 (HFC 454) paired with the Uniti Star priced at £7,000; and…

1 min
radio gaga!

PRICE: £230 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: RUARKAUDIO.COM Hot on the heels of last month’s R3 all-in-one review, Essex company Ruark has unveiled the fourth generation of its DAB/Bluetooth radio, the R1 Mk4. Available in a light cream laquer finish with ash hand-crafted slatted wood grille and espresso lacquer with walnut grille, it measures 130 x 175 x 135mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 1.5kg. Features include a DAB, DAB+ and FM tuner, Bluetooth compatibility, RTC with battery backup, a Rotodial Control System, linear amplifier with Ruark NaturalSound+ driver, OLED display with auto dimming, USB-C charge and shuffle playback port, adjustable EQ settings and stereo headphone output. Ruark is also offering a partnering optional battery pack and optional remote control handset alongside four direct access pre-sets.…

1 min
good vibrations

PRICE: £174-£205 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: RUSSANDREWS.COM RUSS ANDREWS HAS added a new pair of audio equipment supports to its Torlyte Platform range, specifically designed to fit more compact equipment. Built using the same ultra-light, rigid materials as the full-size platforms, the design is claimed to provide both a stable and secure support that is more efficient at dumping unwanted energy to ground. The company describes the science thus: “Torlyte utilises very low-mass shelves and supports, which store little energy and delay it less. This raises the speed of reaction to the feedback energy and as a result reduces the time smear… by ensuring that all parts of the system vibrate together and very fast, the vibration ceases to matter. To do this, Torlyte couples all the parts of the system together in…

1 min
dac’s entertainment!

PRICE: £700 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: IFI-AUDIO.COM iFiAudio has launched a new mains-powered DAC, the NEO iDSD. Designed with aluminium casework that can be positioned horizontally or vertically – the latter option via a supplied stand – it also sports an OLED display which automatically flips to suit the preferred orientation. With three operational modes, the NEO iDSD can be used as a pure DAC with a fixed-level analogue output to connect to a separate integrated amplifier or preamp. It can also operate as a DAC/preamp with a variable output for connecting directly to a power amp or active loudspeakers. Alternatively, it can be used as a headphone amplifier stage, offering a claimed continuous power output of more than 1000mW into 32ohm loads. The NEO iDSD’s ‘digital engine’ is based around a Burr-Brown DAC…

1 min
dancing on the ceiling

PRICE: £330-£400 AVAILABLE: NOW WEB: PETERTYSON.CO.UK LITHE AUDIO HAS launched what it claims is a world first – wi-fi ceiling speakers with AirPlay 2 built-in – enabling users to group the speakers together with other AirPlay 2-enabled components to create: “a fully immersive multi-brand, multi-room audio solution.” Described as an “all-in-one solution”, the driver units come with both amplifier (claiming 60W RMS) and wi-fi built-in, removing the need for speaker cables or separate AV components, making them easy to install or retro-fit. Using AirPlay 2 alongside HomeKit and Siri, every compatible device in the house can become voice controlled, while Lithe Audio’s update adds Apple HomeKit compatibility to the Wi-Fi speaker, allowing users to create automations and link lighting, heating, security and audio through their iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. It also enables…