What Hi-Fi? March 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
is 8k or 4k the really special k?

Not much stands still in the world of television. Even so, the past decade has been a particular whirlwind of ever-changing acronyms and ever-higher numbers when it comes to both screen sizes and resolutions. The latest huge number to attract our attention when it comes to TV is the 7680 x 4320 pixel count of 8K – a potentially stunning upgrade on the already impressive (and relatively new still, don’t forget) 4K broadcasts. A few 8K sets are already in the shops; the question is, of course, is it worth investing in one, with 4K still fairly new to the party itself? We try to answer that for you with our 8K vs 4K head to head (p50). We stick with the traditional as well, with a round-up of our favourite loudspeakers…

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 avoids…

4 min
“these b&ws may just be the new speakers to beat”

B&W 606 | Stereo speakers | £549 | whf.cm/606 FOR Smart, stylish design; dynamic and detailed sound AGAINST Nothing of note Finally, the new B&W 600 Series speaker range is in the building. We had to wait a while to get our hands on them, but if these B&W 606s are anything to go by, it has been well worth the wait. The 600 Series had some serious shoes to fill, and the 606 speakers face some tough competition at this price point, but – look away now if you don’t want to know the result – we think these might just be the new speakers to beat. The B&W 606s feature a typically smart design, come in the perfect medium-sized speaker form, and deliver an exciting, engaging and perfectly poised sound. Building on the…

6 min
it’s a sound idea to build on a great picture

Philips 55OLED903 | 4K Television | £1999 | whf.cm/55OLED903 FOR Fine blacks; punchy colours; upscaling; Ambilight; sound AGAINST Sony does motion better; some app gaps It’s fair to say we’ve been rather surprised by just how good Philips’ OLEDs have been this year. With many brands using the same LG-sourced panels, competition is fiercer than ever, but this year Philips stands out as the manufacturer that has come closest to beating LG’s own models. So, with the OLED803 already having one of the best pictures out there, the only obvious area to improve for a step-up model is the audio. And if you’re a TV manufacturer looking to add a serious sonic boost, it’s logical that you’d team up with a hi-fi brand such as Bowers & Wilkins. The OLED903 then, here in its 55in…

5 min
big on ambition but short on integration

Klipsch Reference Base 2018 Home Cinema Package | Speaker package | £1646 | whf.cm/ReferenceBass2018 FOR Big, bold presentation; stereo pairs knit well; detail AGAINST Bright, lacklustre centre; woolly sub; dynamics There are few trends we don’t see coming, but we didn’t quite comprehend 12 months ago just how strong a year this would be for home cinema packages. We also dished out two extra Awards in our speaker-packages category – one at either end of last year’s price points – and rarely have winners had to fight so tooth and nail to come away with those richly deserved trophies. In at the deep end The flip side of that, of course, is that these are decidedly perilous waters in which to release a new product. One wrong move could see you devoured by your competition –…

3 min
this cable is just what your system needs

Atlas Equator 2.0 | Speaker cable | £7.25/m | whf.cm/Equator2 FOR Detailed delivery; good weight and balance; flexible AGAINST Pricier rivals offer more drive and momentum Perfect for budget or midrange systems in need of an upgrade – or older systems that could do with a spot of freshening up – the latest version of the Atlas Equator 2.0 speaker cable is a simple, effective and affordable way to spruce up your hi-fi’s sound. Cutting corners For £7.25 per metre, you are getting a length of cable that’s nicely made and is sturdy and flexible enough to bend around tricky corners. Our review sample is terminated in Atlas’s proprietary Z banana plugs, but you can also choose to purchase the cable with spade connectors or keep them bare. The Equator 2.0 has a multi-core construction, consisting…