What Hi-Fi? April 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

2 min
every room is a music room in today’s home

I still marvel at the wonder of modern multi-room music systems. A friend of mine, 25 years or so ago, went to a great deal of time and trouble to get his house wired up for music in many rooms, with speakers plumbed in to the ceiling and a central control system driving it all – from a CD player. It was incredibly impressive – and phenomenally expensive. Today, of course, you can spend just a fraction of that money on getting precisely the same result – but without any of the headache and hassle of getting the builders in. Our multiroom special (starting on p34) takes you through the most desirable systems out there. If you were thinking of dipping your toe in the multi-room water (and the joy is…

5 min
sonos stays smart but goes back to its roots

View offers Sonos Amp | Streaming amplifier | £599 | whf.cm/Amp FOR Punchy, engaging sound; broad soundstage; great for TV AGAINST No hi-res; slight lack of subtlety to the sound Having focused on wireless speakers for the past few years, Sonos has returned to its roots with its latest product: the Amp. Like the ZonePlayer 100 and Connect: Amp before it, the Amp is designed to offer all Sonos’s streaming smarts in a unit to which you can add any hi-fi speakers. In fact, the Sonos Amp goes further, offering a number of features from the Sonos Beam, making it surprisingly well suited to movie as well as music use. Compact powerhouse Although it offers more muscle (125W in place of 55W), the Amp is slightly smaller than the Connect:Amp. It’s a shorter, deeper, wider device, making…

5 min
“should be considered one of elac’s finest efforts”

View offers Elac Debut B5.2 | Stereo speakers | £250 | whf.cm/DebutB52 FOR Detailed, organised sound; solid build; unfussy nature AGAINST Tough competition Elac’s original Debut speaker range was launched around three years ago to a fair amount of acclaim. We tested the entry level Debut B5s (£250) and liked their combination of fluid midrange and timing, though found that their dynamics and drive fell short of that delivered by the class leaders. Established budget superpowers, such as Q Acoustics and Dali, could rest easy knowing their respective products still held the upper hand. This time around we’re not so sure – for the new Elac Debut B5.2s are brilliant performers for the money. In short, Elac has changed almost everything about the new Debuts. The cabinet is a similar volume to before, but its proportions are…

6 min
“an impressive truly wireless debut”

View offers Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless | In-ear headphones | £280 | whf.cm/TrueWireless FOR Impressive features; good battery life; balanced sound AGAINST Controls are hit and miss; not as musical as rivals Since the Apple AirPods were launched back in December 2016, there has been a steady stream of truly wireless in-ear headphones from manufacturers such as B&O, Bose, Motorola, Onkyo and Sony. All have had a slightly different twist on the design, different feature sets, and varying degrees of success. But what about Sennheiser? The headphone giant has spent the past year and a bit observing quietly from the sidelines, scouting out rival models and fervently making notes as it plans how to approach this particular headphone category. Now the time has come for the Sennheiser Momentum True Wirelesses to make their debut. But…

4 min
it’s just not the same on the ‘small’ screen

View offers Philips 43PUS6703 | 4K Television | £379 | whf.cm/43PUS6703 FOR Natural pictures; good detail; Ambilight; app selection AGAINST HDR performance; not-so-slick operation; motion It’s strange how a 43in-screen TV is now considered on the small side. These days, as TV manufacturers are more concerned with pushing next-gen flagship tellies, we rarely receive anything smaller than 49in for review. The few models we have seen were rather disappointing affairs too – so much so that we couldn’t find one worthy of a 2018 Award. While the Philips 43PUS6703 is unlikely to be an Award-winner either, it is one of the better TVs at this size we’ve seen in recent years. Standards and expectations The 43PUS6703 is clearly a TV made to a price. It looks perfectly fine at first acquaintance, but on closer inspection turns out…

3 min
this revival continues full stream ahead

View offers Roberts Revival iStream 3 | Radio | £200 | whf.cm/RevivaliStream3 FOR Full, musical sound; great connectivity; streaming services AGAINST Nothing at this price It’s been more than 60 years now since Harry Roberts took a look at his wife’s handbag and decided to design a radio in its image. That the Roberts Revival has not only stayed in vogue and lived up to its name over the past couple of decades, but has also retained its position sonically as a class leader, is little short of remarkable. And that the Revival iStream 3’s continuation of so heady a tradition came to us as no surprise is even greater testament to this company leading the way in household radio production. Best of both worlds Despite its undoubted knack of thinking innovatively over the years, Roberts’ continued…