What Hi-Fi? Awards 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

2 min
vital home entertainment

What a year. I could never have guessed, when I wrote the introduction to 2019’s Awards issue, quite what was in store for us all in the following 12 months. And it’s not over yet, of course. This year, then, there can be no Park Lane black-tie get-together to celebrate the very best the wonderful home entertainment industry can produce. All the more important then, surely, to fly the flag for the superb products themselves: this year, more than any other, has highlighted the value of listening to music and watching movies and box-sets with your family at home. We’re proud, then, to be able to do just that here. Our Awards presentation starts on page 27, and includes, as ever, the very greatest products you can buy in every category at…

1 min
our products of the year

JOE COX Global editor-in-chief “The SL-1500C is a beautifully made, fuss-free record player – and highly recommended” TECHNICS SL-1500C PAGE 54 KETAN BHARADIA Technical editor “These new KEFs sound so much cleaner and more sophisticated than before” KEF LS50 META PAGE 64 ANDY MADDEN Deputy editor “We didn’t think Sony could improve on the XM3s, but the WH-1000XM4s have done it” SONY WH-1000XM4 PAGE 28 BECKY ROBERTS Hi-fi editor “The Vertere DG-1 is a terrific sounding deck, brimming with energy and drive” VERTERE DG-1 DYNAMIC GROOVE/MAGNETO PAGE 55 TOM PARSONS TV & AV editor “Sony has beaten LG at its own game – the A9 OLED is the best TV of 2020” SONY KD-48A9 PAGE 78 DAN SUNG Staff writer “Wonderful sounding and too good looking for any partner to reject” DALI OBERON 5 5.1 SPEAKER PACKAGE PAGE 83 BECKY SCARROTT Staff writer “We wonder how Chord is going…

8 min
sony kd-48a9

View offers 4K Television | £1799 | whf.cm/KD-48A9 Having a small or medium-sized living room shouldn’t prohibit you from owning a genuinely brilliant TV, which is why it’s a shame that, for the past few years, true flagship models have gone no smaller than 55in. For many, that’s simply too big. But this year, that has changed. Predictably, the first 48-inch OLED TV was launched by LG, the company behind all of the OLED TV panels currently used by every manufacturer; and excellent it is, too. Hot on its heels comes Sony’s KD-48A9, which is even better. In fact, it may well be the best sub-55in TV ever made. It’s certainly the best you can buy right now, although that sort of quality does come at a price. Minimalist appearance Clearly looking to capitalise on the…

5 min
audiolab 6000a play

View offers Streaming system | £799 | whf.cm/6000APlay We can just imagine the Audiolab team gathered together (back when gatherings were allowed), discussing the concept of the 6000A Play. After all, fusing together the company’s five-star midrange integrated amplifier and its What Hi-Fi? Award-winning budget streamer in one affordable, just-add-speakers streaming system seems to make perfect sense. The old adage teaches us that two wrongs don’t make a right, but surely two rights make a right? Streaming amplifiers are indeed hot stuff in the marketplace today, with the likes of Marantz, Arcam, Bluesound and Quad all represented at around this price point. The competition is heating up, and Audiolab is bringing some heat of its own with the 6000A Play. The 6000A Play combines the 6000A’s amplifier circuitry with the 6000N Play’s streaming smarts,…

4 min
pro-ject debut carbon evo

View offers Turntable | £449 | whf.cm/DebutCarbonEvo Now’s the time for Evolution, according to Pro-Ject. Taking its most popular turntable design and altering almost every aspect, while at the same time increasing the price, is a risky game; but the Debut Carbon Evo is a triumph of calculated risk-taking that takes all the jeopardy out of buying your first deck. Pro-Ject has worked hard at making its latest Debut a current class leader, but also one with the potential to morph into a steady mid-range competitor by offering a series of affordable add-ons. Evolutionary upgrades Among the Evo upgrades are improved motor mounting, new height-adjustable damped feet and a heavy steel platter that weighs 1.7kg and has a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) damping ring on the inside for reducing resonances. Perhaps most welcome, though, is the addition…

6 min
jvc dla-n5

View offers Projector | £6495 | whf.cm/DLA-N5 JVC’s D-ILA projectors have long been some of the best premium performers around. The current range-topper costs around £35,000, but you don’t need to be in financial super-yacht territory to get a taste of the company’s native 4K fun. Enter the JVC DLA-N5, the baby of the family. D-ILA is JVC’s own name for its liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) projector panel technology. It prioritises image smoothness and high native contrast with some of the best black depths in the business, at least in the case of the top of the range JVC D-ILA models. To expect the JVC DLA-N5 to match its pricier siblings is unfair, but with its claimed 40,000:1 contrast ratio, 4K resolution and fully motorised all-glass zoom lens, we’re still hoping for a…