What Hi-Fi? May 2020

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
a wonderful distraction

FREE! STM Drifter backpack worth £89.95–when you subscribe! p22 To say that these are troubling times is an understatement. As I write this, offices are shut and we are being told to stay at home. Never, then–surely–has music been more important as a way of unwinding and destressing from the worries of the world. And listening on a record player is, in our opinion, the best way to truly take yourself away from it all. Playing a vinyl disc requires a commitment that no other form of listening requires outside a live performance. There’s no skipping tracks here, after all… So our vinyl special issue comes at a sadly opportune time. Our pick of turntables at every price (p28) means there’s something for every reader here, whether starting out on their vinyl odyssey…

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…

7 min
arcam sa30

View offers Streaming system | £1999 | whf.cm/SA30 Not everything is desperate to be seen for what it really is. Some go to great lengths to conceal their true identity–speakeasy bars, masked singers, Bruce Wayne–while others, such as this Arcam SA30, simply don’t feel compelled to show it off. Based on its appearance, the SA30 could well slip into a line-up of Arcam amplifiers from the past few years. But, while there are few aesthetic clues, this Arcam is actually a fully fledged streaming system, a just-add-speakers product in the same vein as the Naim Uniti Atom. Complementing its widely heralded Class G stereo amplification (120W per channel) with streaming architecture as well as digital and analogue inputs, Arcam has further satisfied the ‘complete stereo system in a box’ concept it first offered in…

6 min
dali rubicon 2 c

View offers Stereo speakers | £3840 | whf.cm/Rubicon2C You may wonder why more hi-fi speaker brands don’t make active versions of their existing passive speakers. Stick an amplifier into the cabinet and you’re done, right? Not quite. As demonstrated by these Dali Rubicon 2 C active standmounts, a lot of work goes into such a transition. Complex digital processing is required for optimal sound–wireless connections between the speakers need to be dependable and there’s also the housing of streaming modules and connectivity to consider. Essentially, the Rubicon 2 Cs are an amalgamation of Dali’s five-star Rubicon 2 passive speakers (they borrow the drivers and cabinet construction) and the 2018-launched Callisto active speakers, from which they take the company’s capable Class D amplifier technology as well as the third and final box in the set-up,…

4 min
technics eah-tz700

View offers In-ear headphones | £1100 | whf.cm/EAH-TZ700 The Technics brand was relaunched by parent company Panasonic in 2014 and, after a shaky start, really hit its stride–picking up a string of great reviews for its new-generation turntables and CD/Streamer combo. That the company is capable of making fine hi-fi separates shouldn’t come as a surprise–but headphones? The brand has a history of making such things, but we can’t recall testing any that truly impressed. Will the EAHTZ700 in-ears buck that trend? Quality look and feel Priced at a rather hefty £1100, this is clearly a high-class offering. It’s hard for any in-ears to look truly premium, but these ones feel classy and well engineered. They’re available in a graphite black finish (more grey, really); the housing is made from die-cast magnesium, with some of…

4 min
bel canto e.one stream

View offers Streamer | £1700 | whf.cm/eOneStream It’s natural to strive towards getting the most for your money, but there is a difference between something being limited and being properly focused on a specific task. So if you’re put off by the Bel Canto e.One Stream due to its price tag not representing the expected array of features, bear in mind that any added extras would actually divert attention from its primary task, that of delivering the best sound possible for the price. Bel Canto describes its streamer as an interface between your network and audio system, which means it can bolt on to your amp and offer connection to a NAS device, as well as hi-res streaming services such as Qobuz and Tidal. A range of digital outputs means you can bypass…