What Hi-Fi? Awards 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
everyone’s a winner, baby

Another year zips by. And one of the few positives to come from that often-depressing inevitability is that it allows us the chance, once again, to celebrate the most amazing equipment that the home-entertainment industry has to offer. The annual What Hi-Fi? Awards are met with huge anticipation by our industry colleagues – and we take our responsibility to those manufacturers and to you, our reader, extremely seriously. Which is why, for the past few months, everyone at What Hi-Fi? has been focused on selecting the right products for every one of our 111 Best Buys, and, from those, our 26 Products of the Year in all the different categores – plus our five special Awards. It ought to go without saying that each of our Best Buys is a superb piece…

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…

1 min
our products of the year

JOE COX Global editor-in-chief “They’re upbeat and energetic, and they could just be the new mid-priced speakers to beat” B&W 606 PAGE 66 KETAN BHARADIA Technical editor “The SME Synergy is a terrific proposition – a fuss-free, high-end turntable package that promises to reward for years to come” SME SYNERGY PAGE 104 ANDY MADDEN Content editor “These are as close to the perfect pair of noise-cancelling headphones as it's currently possible to find” SONY WH-1000XM3 PAGE 30 BECKY SCARROTT Staff writer “The clearest, tidiest and most dynamic presentation we’ve heard from a DAC this small” AUDIOQUEST DRAGONFLY COBALT PAGE 60 BECKY ROBERTS News editor “This integrated amp offers eternal quality through its expressive performance and exhaustive connectivity” CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXA81 PAGE 62 DAN SUNG Staff writer “It's astonishing how much brightness this projector can produce – it is streets ahead of the competition” EPSON EH-TW9400 PAGE 99…

5 min
naim mu-so qb 2nd generation

Wireless speaker | £899 | View offers whf.cm/Mu-soQb2 Though the first draft of this review was excellent, like every article we publish, it still had to go to the sub-editors: their job being to tinker and tidy up, retaining the character of the writing, while making it clearer and more exciting to read. And if these words still appear in this review, then we can be sure they’re confident that this is precisely what they’ve done. So, we know full well the value of revisions. Yet still it was quite the surprise when first we heard those made by Naim with its second generation of the Mu-so Qb wireless speaker. The previous iteration was great, earning five stars when it was first reviewed – but this version is truly phenomenal. Retentions and revisions Outwardly…

6 min
dali katch one

Soundbar | £649 | View offers whf.cm/KatchOne Dali is not one to rest on its laurels, it seems. Despite Award-winning success with the Kubik One in the TV sound category at last year’s What Hi-Fi? Awards, it has served up a second soundbar just in time for our 2019 talent show. The Dali Katch One is a little less expensive than the Kubik One. It’s equally stylish, in a rather different way, and is intended to be a hub for all your living room audio needs. With five different possible audio inputs, three ways to mount it and 10 drivers all pulling together to fill your space with sound, we’re rather dying to see what Dali has learned from its first home cinema adventure. Standing tall But the first thing we notice is that there’s…

3 min
revel performa m126be

Speakers | £3999 | View offers whf.cm/PerformaM126Be The sub-£5000 standmounter market is a competitive one. Not only are you battling the likes of KEF’s Reference R1s, Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3s and Dynaudio’s Contour 20s, but there are truly excellent options at half the money, such as ATC’s SCM 19s, that also have to be bettered. On paper, Revel’s Performa 126Bes look like they might struggle. The design template is based on the company’s Performa3 m106 (£1999), with uprated drivers, a revised crossover and a classier finish – but is that enough? The ‘Be’ in the name stands for Beryllium, the material used for the M126’s 25mm-dome tweeter. Thanks to its balance of rigidity, low weight and self-damping, it is great for use in tweeters, but usually appears on far pricier speakers…