What Hi-Fi? September 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
it’s all about teamwork

We’ve got some really remarkable equipment to share with you in this month’s magazine – some old favourites, and some brand-new kit that we’re really excited about. Old or new, though, it’s all gear that will help you make the very best of your home-entertainment system, whether that’s the most up to date streaming hi-fi or a more old-school set-up. The eight systems (p32) we have to share range from a simple portable player with some in-ear headphones to a fairly complex full home-cinema set-up – and there are CD players and turntables in between. So, whatever your preferred choice of sonic poison, we should have you covered in these pages. Don’t miss also, our two round-ups; one on our favourite stereo amps (p58), and one on personal music players (p50) –…

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…

7 min
naim mu-so 2nd generation

“Hi-res up to PCM 32-bit/384kHz, direct streaming from Spotify Connect and Tidal, Apple AirPlay 2, internet radio and Google Chromecast, which brings Deezer, Qobuz and Google Play Music” View offers Wireless speaker | £1299 | whf.cm/Mu-so2 Die Hard 2, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are all examples of how a sequel can work by simply repackaging a successful recipe. The all-new Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation (or Mu-so 2) is a similar case of a tale twice-told. Put the Mu-so 2 side-by-side with the original and the two near-identical aluminium boxes may lead you initially to dismiss this as a soft update. But to judge the Mu-so 2 by its cover would be to undermine the progression it brings to the Mu-so line. According to Naim, 95 per…

6 min
technics sl-1500c

“We switch to Nitin Sawhney’s Prophesy set and the Technics revels in the album’s complex rhythms and thickly layered production” View offers Turntable | £899 | whf.cm/SL-1500C The rebirth of the Technics brand has been fascinating. Since 2014, the brand has released a steady stream of products with varying degrees of success, but there are now signs that it is truly hitting its stride. The high-end SL-1000R turntable, introduced in early 2018, was the first product to confirm that the brand really could deliver. We were so impressed that it has now become our reference record player. That good work has continued with the SL-1500C, the company’s brand-new entry-level deck. This is a less elaborate mini-me of the high-end model, still using a core-less direct-drive motor with sophisticated speed management circuitry, a hefty, well-damped chassis…

4 min
beats powerbeats pro

View offers Wireless headphones | £220 | whf.cm/PowerbeatsPro The three things any music-listening athlete looks for in a pair of headphones are comfort, a secure fit and a long-lasting battery. With the boom in wireless technology, you can add securely fitting ear hooks and not so much as a tendril of cable to that list. The Beats Powerbeats Pros have all the ingredients, Beats having redesigned the Powerbeats into a set of truly wireless headphones for runners and gym-goers. The previous model’s cable, which dropped down from the earbuds and wrapped around the back of the neck, has completely disappeared. In terms of their presentation, the Powerbeats Pros are on-message with parent company Apple. They come in a solid black charge case that, thanks to a magnetic catch, won’t accidentally open up and let…

7 min
sennheiser ambeo soundbar

“There are plenty of Dolby Atmos soundbars out there, but the Ambeo Soundbar is different: it’s the best soundbar we’ve tested” View offers Soundbar | £2199 | whf.cm/AmbeoSoundbar It’s amazing that Sennheiser has waited until now to launch its first consumer speaker. Apparently unmoved by the Bluetooth speaker craze, and so far resisting releasing a range of multi-room or smart speakers, the company has seemingly been tempted to venture outside its headphones comfort zone by the advent of Dolby Atmos, which it has built into a soundbar. There are already plenty of Dolby Atmos soundbars out there, but the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is different: it’s much more expensive, much bigger and a fair bit fussier. But it’s also much better. In fact, it’s the best sounding soundbar we’ve tested. The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is much…