What Hi-Fi? February 2019

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home cinema products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the best equipment for your cash, with the magazine's advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
cutting the music loose

We’ve untethered ourselves a bit in this month’s magazine. To kick things off we have some truly impressive equipment in our round-up of premium wireless speakers (p41) which includes a couple of curveball suggestions as options to the perhaps more conventional norms. And, to continue the wireless theme, we present a Group Test of wireless noise-cancelling headphones (p56) at around £300, which sees our Award-winning Sony cans take on impressive rivals from AKG, Bose and B&W. It’s not all wireless, though. We’ve also got a couple of stonking head to head tests – with a £1000 floorstanders (p54) battle that pits Fyne Audio against Monitor Audio, and a £600 amplifier (p50) showdown where Rega and Audiolab duke it out in a two-channel tussle that goes down to the wire. All that and…

1 min
how we test

EXPERIENCE. HERITAGE. We’ve been helping the world discover the best in hi-fi and home entertainment for more than 40 years, and have more than 100 years of reviewing experience under our collective belts – so you can count on our expert opinion. DEDICATED TEST FACILITIES We test every product against its peers in our brand new, bespoke reviewing facilities in London and Bath. We conduct all our tests as a team – our opinions and conclusions are always the result of collaboration. HOW WE SCORE All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole – not an individual reviewer. Each product will be listened to and/or viewed by several members of the test team, who will then discuss the final verdict before it appears in the magazine or on the website. This…

7 min
“pushes the boundaries of performance at this level”

Rega Planar 8/Apheta 2 | Turntable | £2439 | whf.cm/Planar8Apheta2 FOR Stunning sound; fine MC cartridge; expressive dynamics AGAINST Appearance may not appeal to everyone Rega tends to believe in evolution rather than revolution. Anyone who has followed the company’s history will recognise the pattern of a product being launched and then carefully honed over the following years. It’s a path that’s been followed successfully by the likes of the Planar 1, 2, 3 and 6, as well as the industry standard RB300 tonearm and its derivatives. Many of these products have been around for decades and yet still remain on top of their respective classes. This suggests that the company's typically measured approach works. Inspired choice The Planar 8 takes a different route. Rather than being a gentle evolution of the previous RP8, this new…

4 min
how to go round with style and play like an old pro

Audio Pro A10 | Wireless speakers | £180 | whf.cm/A10 FOR Wide dispersion of sound; detail; timing and dynamics AGAINST Lacks the midrange body of pricier relatives It’s the first day of the new term. You’ve changed so much over the holidays; you’re a completely different person and you now wear a beret. But your geography teacher slaps the hat from your head and calls you Frank Spencer. Now everyone’s shouting ‘Ooh Betty’ at you in the corridors and the ‘new you’ has been an absolute disaster. Thankfully, some are cool enough to make the change and still garner respect, as Audio Pro has done with its A10 wireless speaker. The Swedish manufacturer now has a cabinet full of What Hi-Fi? Awards for its T and C ranges of wireless speakers – its boombox-style…

4 min
“stunning with vocal material”

Dali Oberon 1 | Stereo speakers | £349 | whf.cm/Oberon1 FOR Bold presentation; fine build; unfussy nature AGAINST Size limits on bass depth and sonic authority With hindsight, we shouldn’t have been surprised by the quality of Dali’s Oberon 1s. Dali has a generally brilliant track record with affordable standmounters and the 1’s floorstanding sibling, the Oberon 5 (£699) has just waltzed off with one of our Awards. Yet, we still weren’t quite prepared for the sound we heard out of these little boxes. About the size of a shoebox, the 1s keep strictly to convention as far as design is concerned. They are a two-way, rear-ported design, just like the majority of the established competition. But take a closer look and you’ll find some areas where Dali’s engineers have tried to eke out…

3 min
support that adds sonic weight to your system

Hi-Fi Racks Omnium8 | Accessories | £478 | whf.cm/Omnium8 FOR Adds weight and natural warmth; flexible configuration AGAINST Nothing at this price The Hi-Fi Racks Omnium8 is about as configurable an equipment rack as we have come across. Our review sample is pretty much the vanilla option, apart from the black uprights; but if that isn’t quite to your tastes don’t worry, there’s plenty of scope for adjustment. This support is available in two standard widths, one just short of 57cm and the other a metre wide. Both options have a depth of 46cm. That should be enough for most requirements, but Hi-Fi Racks is nothing if not flexible, and bespoke sizes can be made to order should you need them. There’s a choice of eight standard finish options and no fewer than four different…