What Hi-Fi? October 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
new-season tvs are right on time

It always takes quite some time each year for the new season’s televisions – always so heavily promoted at CES, the massive annual industry exhibition/shindig right at the beginning of January – actually to arrive in our testing rooms. Of course, this year, the manufacturers have had far greater issues to worry about than simply the usual production gremlins. It is to all their credit, then, that the major brands have barely missed the normal dates for their sets to come on the market. We are now well underway in our testing for our annual Awards (Best Buys announced online at the beginning of October), so now is a good time to start whittling down some contenders. To that end, we’ve got a test of 55in TVs (p26) from all the…

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…

11 min
lg oled48cx

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. The first OLED TV arrived on the scene in 2007 and was tiny, at only 11 inches, not to mention ludicrously expensive. In 2012, the first full-size OLED TV arrived in shops, and that had a 55in screen. It has taken until now for a model between the two sizes to appear. That model is the OLED48CX, a 48in OLED from LG. The Korean company was an early investor in OLED tech and is now reaping the rewards: to the best of our knowledge, every OLED TV you can currently buy – whether it’s branded Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Hisense or anything else – features an LG panel. Predictably, more 48in OLEDs are now on the way, but the 48CX is blazing…

7 min
jbl bar 9.1

Imagine a sliding bar between quality and convenience, with a soundbar at one end and a full home cinema speaker package and amplifier at the other. Somewhere in the middle is a space that the JBL Bar 9.1 is aiming to occupy. It looks like a single soundbar and sub, but this is more akin to a Transformer toy. Remove the two ends of the bar and place them behind and to the side of your seating position and they become the dedicated, true wireless, battery-powered rear speakers in a surround-sound set-up. It’s the sort of thing Optimus Prime might have at home. Complete with upward-firing speakers on both the main bar and the satellites, it represents a real effort to fill your room with AV audio. So are we looking at…

6 min
dynaudio contour 20i

We’ve long been fans of Dynaudio’s Contour 20 standmounters. Their combination of a muscular and expressive sound coupled with fine build made them a firm recommendation at the price. This latest Contour 20i version aims to build on those solid foundations without altering the fundamentals of a great product. On the surface, little seems to have changed between the two generations of Contour 20s. Indeed, compare the headline specifications and they’re pretty much identical. Start to look closer, though, and the differences between the two emerge. One of the highlights is the revised Esotar tweeter. This new 20i version still uses the company’s usual 28mm fabric dome, but much has changed behind it. Now there’s a larger chamber for the dome’s rear-firing sound to get absorbed in, and at its entrance is…

3 min
audeze lcd-1

There are certain things we expect to hear when using a pair of open-backed headphones. And if an open, well-balanced and supremely detailed presentation is what you covet from a pair of home audio over-ears, then the Audeze LCD-1s could be the ones for you. We don’t often see open-back headphones that are designed to be so easily portable, but that’s a nod to Audeze’s intention for the LCD-1s to be used in the studio as well as at home. The company’s decades of experience making products for professional musicians and audio engineers are clearly evident in terms of build as much as sound quality. So their foldable earcups and lightweight design – they weigh only 250g – come with plenty of padding for extra comfort during long listening or producing sessions. There’s…