What Hi-Fi? May 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
the platters and the spinners

It’s become almost a cliché to marvel at the resilience of the good old vinyl disc. We’ve been saying for years that the record has never quite managed to disappear, despite the arrival of digital music in the form of CD and, latterly, streaming services. But now it’s become accepted that there is a place in our lives for both analogue and digital music, just as there is for fast food and slow food, Netflix and a trip to the cinema. This month’s magazine, then, is devoted to the best turntables you can buy (p30) where we give you our pick of the spinners from just over £100 all the way up to a rather scary £19,000. You may need help with getting your deck to work with your amp. A…

9 min
samsung qe65q90r

Being excellent simply isn’t good enough for Samsung. Only the very best will do. That’s why, despite its 2018 4K flagship being the best TV it had ever produced, with performance way beyond that of any other LCD set, Samsung fixated on the few flaws that prevented it from winning a What Hi-Fi? Award. But thankfully, Samsung hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater. The Q90R (here in 65in size), is every bit the belter that the Q9FN was, but with most of its relative weaknesses fixed. Not only is it the best backlit set we’ve tested, it also plays OLED rivals at their own game. Knowing the angles The main criticism of the Q9FN (and QLED as a whole) in comparison to OLED rivals, is viewing angles. It’s no surprise, then,…

3 min
revel concerta2 f35

Our previous dealings with Revel’s Concerta2 range saw a five-star, three-time What Hi-Fi? Award-winner emerge, in the shape of the M16 standmounters. While that doesn’t mean all the speakers in this range will blow us away in the same manner, we wonder whether lightning can strike twice with these F35 floorstanders. Highs and lows The Revel Concerta2 F35s are a two and a half way design. Highs are taken care of with a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter, which sits inside Revel’s Acoustic Lens Waveguide. The waveguide is designed to help with dispersion, off-axis listening and integration. Below the tweeter sits a 13cm mid/bass driver and two woofers of identical size. They use a special Micro-Ceramic Composite (MCC) material, created by Revel’s parent company, Harman. The cone itself is constructed using a process of…

4 min
pro-ject pre box s2 digital

When we think of Pro-Ject, the company’s excellent affordable turntables spring to mind. But alongside these, and a number of premium record players, there has long been a line-up of ultra-compact electronics. We've found these something of a mixed bag over the years, but that hasn’t stopped the range from growing to a point where it now includes CD players, streamers, phono stages and, of course, DACs. Take a look at the Pre Box S2 Digital’s feature list and it’s fair to say Pro-Ject has ticked every meaningful box. The Pre Box plays PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz and top out with DSD512, so file compatibility isn’t an issue. Even MQA decoding is included, which is still something of a rarity regardless of price. Inside the S2, you’ll find the highly regarded…

5 min
denon avr-x4500h

It is often said that those who crave power are the least deserving of it, but Denon doesn’t seem to adhere to that tenet. Having produced a long line of home cinema amplifiers with more kick than a donkey with a drum kit, the multi-Award-winning manufacturer sated its power-hungry customers yet further when it released this range of products last year. The AVR-X4500H is no exception to the rule. It echoes that jump up, not only in power but across the board, since its last iteration earned this particular Denon family two further What Hi-Fi? Awards at the end of 2018. Just like the AVR-X4400H before it, the AVR-X4500H boasts 125W of amplification (into 8ohms with two channels driven) across each of its nine channels, giving you native access to speaker configurations…

3 min
wharfedale d310

Even before hearing these Wharfedale D310 standmounters, we can tell they have a lot going for them. Their heritage lies with one of the most successful budget speaker ranges, the Wharfedale Diamonds. These aren’t new additions to the legendary series, but the smaller of two standmounters in a new entry-level D300 range that borrows engineering from the Diamond 11 series above it. The resemblances are present in everything from the drivers to the downward ported cabinet, and considering the Diamonds 11.1s had a favourable four-star review last year, that puts these D310s in good stead. Basket case The D310s’ 25mm tweeter has been lifted from the Diamond 11.1 standmount and retuned, while the 10cm mid/bass driver uses Wharfedale’s latest woven Kevlar cones. The driver is mounted in a ribbed rigid basket, which the…