What Hi-Fi? December 2021

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
gloom and doom? make a cosy room

There’s no getting away from it: it’s Autumn. (Mind you, I’m not sure that most of the past four months or so could rightly have claimed to be ‘summer’, but we shall let that pass.) With the ever shortening days comes a temptation to hunker down at home, cosy and warm with the family. Which is why, no doubt, the television programme makers and streamers introduce their new season lineups at this time of year. No better time then, if your TV is on its last legs, or simply too behind the times, to think about a new set to see you and your loved ones through the winter and then the next few years of home entertainment excitement. We have a Group Test of three top 65in TVs (p32) should…

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 extensive, 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
panasonic tx-55jz1500b

View offers 4K television | £2199 | whf.cm/TX-55JZ1500B Panasonic has embraced the OLED era in a wholehearted, star-crossed lovers-style, producing some of the best TVs of the past few years. But, for the last couple of those, the company’s flagship picture has been tethered to its flagship sound. Whether you rate that flagship sound or not (we did in 2019 but didn’t in 2020), the fact remains that, in buying Panasonic’s best picture, you’re also forced into paying for something that you might not use because you’ve already got (or are getting) a dedicated sound system. For 2021, though, Panasonic has changed tack so its best picture is no longer exclusive to this year’s 2000-series models but is also a feature of the 1500-series, seen here in 55-inch, TX-55JZ1500B guise. It’s by no means…

6 min
tivoli model one digital

View offers Radio | £299 | whf.cm/ModelOneDigiGen2 What if you want hassle-free music and wireless streaming but you don’t want a fabric-jacketed orb, cylinder or pebble with its own voice and pulsating ring of light on your kitchen worktop? What if you want something that just looks like a (whisper it) normal radio but with AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in? Meet the Tivoli Model One Digital Generation 2. It’s been over four years since Tivoli’s inaugural Bluetooth- and wi-fi-connected DAB/FM radio proposition, the original Model One Digital, first stole the hearts of avid wireless devotees (and by wireless here, we do mean radio). Its successor, the new Generation 2 update, adds Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 streaming to the diminutive package. AirPlay 2 and Chromecast – both reliable wireless technologies that easily let…

4 min
ifi zen dac v2

View offers DAC | £159 | whf.cm/iFiZenV2 In a competitive industry such as hi-fi, making the best even better isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It’s what iFi has done with its budget home DAC and headphone amp offering, with the Zen DAC now making way for a ‘V2’ model. The sequel uses the new-generation processing chip found in the higher-ranging Neo iDSD and iDSD Diablo DAC/headphone amps, delivering double the clock speed and four times the memory of the chip inside the original. As well as supporting PCM (up to 384kHz) and DSD (up to DSD256) files, the Zen DAC V2 is also an MQA (Master Quality Association) decoder, as opposed to simply a renderer, as the original Zen DAC is. That means it brings full MQA decoding onboard, taking over the entire…

8 min
reavon ubr-x100

View offers Blu-ray player | £699 | whf.cm/UBR-X100 It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new 4K Blu-ray player. So, to have the Reavon UBR-X100 in for review, which is not only new but from an entirely new home cinema brand, is something of a double win. ‘Excited’ is putting it mildly. The Reavon UBR-X100 is one of two launch products from the French home cinema company. Designed as a versatile disc player for DVDs, Blu-rays, 4K Blu-rays, 3D Blu-rays and CDs too, it also comes with the mod-cons of USB and network playback for any photos, videos or music files you might have on your NAS or thumb drive. Perhaps what’s most exciting is that the UBR-X100 sits at a price point that’s all too underpopulated. More serious than a budget…