What Hi-Fi? December 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
size is relative in today’s tv land

FREE! Eclipse 3-way USB charger worth £70 – when you subscribe! p30 It’s an amazing thought that, these days, a ‘normal-sized’ television comes in at 55 inches. In the days of the good old cathode-ray tube, a TV with a screen measuring 32 inches on the diagonal was an absolute beast that required two people to put it on its stand. Goodness only knows how many poor souls would be needed to pick up a 55in CRT, if such a thing had ever existed. With the advent of flat-panel sets, and resolutions getting ever higher, we are used to housing screens that would have seemed unfathomably large a quarter of a century ago. So our round-up of 49-50in TVs (p36) becomes a 21st century small(ish) screen collection. With prices starting at just…

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…

8 min
sonos move

Wireless speaker | £399 | whf.cm/Move View offers While Sonos has had the multi-room market sewn up for the best part of a decade, the company has looked on while portable Bluetooth speakers from manufacturers such as JBL, Ultimate Ears and Bose have taken the outdoor world by storm. Until now, Sonos owners have lacked a speaker that can be taken into the garden to soundtrack a party, or even just to the bathroom to keep them company. But Sonos has now made its move – literally. The Sonos Move is as much a Sonos wi-fi speaker as those before it – you get network music streaming, multi-room and voice assistant – but it also goes where no Sonos speaker has gone before by boasting a built-in battery and Bluetooth capability. A bigger brother However, if…

6 min
bose noise cancelling headphones 700

Few products come with a reputation quite like Bose’s new headphones. The Noise Cancelling 700s are the latest in a long line of Bose QuietComfort noisecancellers that for much of that time have set the benchmark in the category. The 700s break away from Bose’s QuietComfort range, inaugurating a new premium series that will expand in 2020 with the Bose Earbuds 500 true wireless buds and the true wireless Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds 700. Bose says its Noise Cancelling Headphones 700s are ‘the biggest leap forward in headphones since the iconic QuietComfort’ – a bold claim considering that range's success. But if anyone can further push the boundaries of wireless noise-cancelling standards, Bose can. The rather unwieldy name reflects the company’s focus on noise-cancelling technology. The 700s use a new noise-cancelling system with…

4 min
activo ct10

You probably won’t have heard of the Activo, nor the hi-res streaming service provider Groovers Japan that makes it, but the Activo CT10 has been developed in collaboration with Astell & Kern and its parent company iRiver. There are nods to Astell & Kern’s signature designs here, such as the mint green volume dial, as seen on the A&norma SR15, but it looks like a smaller, thicker iPhone 3S. Using Astell & Kern’s new Teraton module (proprietary hardware that incorporates a clock generator, power, amplification and DAC), the CT10 ticks all boxes in terms of hi-res digital audio playback, supporting all major lossy and hi-res file formats, including MP3, OGG, WMA, APE, ALAC, FLAC, AIFF, DSD and WAV up to 24-bit/192kHz. There’s even a 'Hi-Res' menu option, for browsing hi-res music…

5 min
naim nait xs3

Naim’s original Nait XS was introduced in 2008. It was designed as a step up from the basic Nait integrated amp and offered improved sound and greater grunt from a similarly slimline package. A decade on, it has been revised for a second time by Naim’s engineers, and the result is the XS3 we have on test here. Looks familiar doesn’t it? That revision turns out to be light, with the previously line-level amplifier gaining a moving-magnet phono stage and undergoing a tweak in the power-amp circuitry to improve its responsiveness. It’s somewhat of a surprise to find that digital inputs and Bluetooth aren’t on the menu. Naim would argue that an outboard DAC would be a better solution, and at least that way the analogue performance doesn’t suffer and the price…