What Hi-Fi? November 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
now’s the time for home cinema

It pains me to say it rather, but there goes summer. As I write this, the schools have gone back, the commute to work is suddenly crowded again, and those evenings are getting longer by the day. That doesn’t mean all should be doom and gloom, though. Far from it; for, with the extra time we will be spending at home comes the chance to settle down in front of a really good box set or movie. There’s never been a better time to have a great home cinema, with 4K and streaming options aplenty. We devote this issue to home cinema systems (p34) with seven remarkable set-ups that should suit all tastes and budgets, from a simple TV and soundbar up to a full-blown multi-channel extravaganza. With the systems, we…

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…

5 min
b&w formation wedge

FIRST TESTS EXCLUSIVE, IN-DEPTH VERDICTS ON THE LATEST KIT To say that B&W’s Formation Wedge is simply a much-needed update of the company’s highly successful Zeppelin is to do it a disservice. It is, however, a roughly elliptical, multi-driver wireless speaker featuring reworked versions of the amplifiers used in the Zeppelin. With that pedigree, it has the potential to be as popular as its older sibling, but wireless audio has come a long way since the Zeppelin made its debut in 2011 – a time when the premium wire-free speaker market was in its infancy. The Formation series is a collection of complementary wireless speakers within B&W’s range, each able to work in a multi-room context with one or more others, such as the excellent B&W Formation Duo active stereo speakers. Home wi-fi compatibility Formation…

4 min
fyne audio f500

It has been more than a year since we were first introduced to Fyne Audio, but we remain impressed by this British speaker manufacturer’s output. Few have scored fours and fives this consistently since Ann Widdecombe was on Strictly Come Dancing, and the latest pair of Fyne Audio speakers to pass through our test rooms, the F500 standmounters, do not let the family down. In many ways, the F500s look familiar. In effect, they are truncated versions of the first Fyne Audio speakers we tested, the F501 towers, which were named our favourite floorstanders below £1500 at the 2018 What Hi-Fi? Awards. Scaled down Fyne Audio has deleted the second woofer from those F501 towers to fit these bookshelf dimensions, but it retains the driver technology it integrated so well for the other. That…

3 min
jbl charge 4

JBL has had a spring clean of its audio range – and that’s good news for those who value sound quality. It cleaned up the sound of its big Bluetooth speaker with the excellent JBL Xtreme 2, and has now done the same for the Charge range. Looking at the JBL Charge 4, you might not guess it, but this is now one of the sweetest-sounding sub-£200 Bluetooth speakers around. It looks similar to the Charge 3 – a mid-size portable speaker with styling similar to Ultimate Ears’ Boom range. But unlike the Boom 3, this speaker sits on its side. Whereas Ultimate Ears has simplified its designs, JBL has kept the Charge 4’s chunky passive radiator at each end. The good news is that it doesn’t matter. These aren’t fragile speaker…

5 min
denon avr-x3600h

In recent years, Denon has followed a pattern of minor tweaks to its line-up of AV receivers every year or two, adding relevant technologies and conducting a little sonic fine-tuning. ometimes the differences between generations can appear minor. But that’s not the case with the AVR-X3600H. The changes to this unit amount to more than a new model number on the same chassis: there are now four extra channels at your disposal, up from seven to 11. Those are driven by nine power amplifiers, giving the AVR-X3600H a claimed 180W of power per channel. In practice, that means you can set this new Denon up in a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 Dolby Atmos configuration, or add an extra twochannel amp to make use of the processing power with a 7.2.4 set-up. So, this receiver…