What Hi-Fi? October 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 remote working

The first television remote control we had when I was a child was physically wired to the TV itself. How we marvelled at the convenience–and how little we realised in the mid ’70s that this wasn’t the pinnacle of remote communication with our electronic equipment. Four decades later, we’ve arrived at a point when a wireless connection is the preferred option for many people. And the joy is that, at last, we can say that any compromises in quality shouldn’t prevent purchase. This issue, then, sees us look at all sorts of wireless kit–from twin box systems (p30) that look like a pair of speakers, through turntables (p38), DACs (p48) and amplifiers (p54), via the more familiar wireless headphones (p44) and speakers (p62). There’s almost nothing out there now that hasn’t…

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 any individual bias creeping in. OUR SCORES…

5 min
denon avr-x2600h

“Like its predecessors, the AVR-X2600H pulls you in with an exhaustive feature list, and keeps you there with an equally compelling performance” There are few annual events we look forward to as much as Christmas–birthdays and National Doughnut Day, perhaps–but the yearly launch of a new Denon midrange AV amplifier can be added to that list too. The Denon AVR-X2600H (£599) is the 2019 successor to last year’s AVRX2500H, which received a five-star review from What Hi-Fi?, as did the AVR-X2400H before it and the AVRX2300W before that. Like its predecessors, the AVR-X2600H pulls you in with an exhaustive feature list, and keeps you there with an equally compelling performance. The Sony STR-N1080 (£429) remains a rival to the AVR-X2600H, as it was to the AVR-X2500H. We play Elton John’s Rocket Man, performed…

4 min
pro-ject t1

There is one enduring story for which 2019 will be forever remembered. For many, it is an era-defining change that has been a long time coming; the severing of ties to one of the great menaces of our time. Others have protested, prophesising an apocalyptic vision of the world should the decision not be overturned post-haste. But McDonald’s is not the only company to have made a point of ditching plastic: you’ll find none in the plinth, platter or tonearm of Pro-Ject’s new T1 turntable, either. This is for differing reasons, of course, as you’ll understand if you give this deck an audition. Few will be compelled to throw it to the depths of the ocean, instead, this is part of Pro-Ject’s aim to construct a well built and sonically adept turntable…

3 min
ortofon quintet blue

Since designing its first moving coil cartridge in 1948, Ortofon has made more than 100 different models over the intervening years. This experience shines through in the Quintet Blue, one of five models in the new range. It’s the step-up option in a family that is topped off by the Black (£679), with its fancy Nude Shibata stylus tip and sapphire cantilever. At around half that money, the Quintet Blue makes do with an elliptical tip and aluminium cantilever, but beyond that it shares much with its pricier sibling. Both use a conveniently squared-off ABS/body with captive threads that makes mounting the cartridge on an arm and subsequent alignment a breeze. Weighing just 9g, the Blue isn’t particularly heavy and so shouldn’t present any difficulty for most arms to balance out. Looking through…

6 min
elac debut 2.0 5.1 home theatre system

Outstanding performers don’t always combine to best effect. Take the star-studded England midfield of the mid-2000s, for example; world-class individual footballers whose group achievements amounted to far less than the sum of their parts. In hi-fi terms, it’s especially true of home cinema packages, where the individual speaker elements can be impressive in their own right, but simply don't gel together. The Elac Debut 2.0 5.1 Home Theatre System has at least four such elements–the Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 floorstanding front stereo pair and the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 standmounter surrounds of this set are both five-star rated, but with a centre and a sub thrown in, does the whole package come together to produce a class-leading performance? The Elac Debut 2.0 speakers have been redesigned from the original Debut range of…