Our favourite hi-fi and home cinema kit 2008
Hundreds of new products have passed through our doors during 2008, some brilliant, some bad and some just plain indifferent.
So we thought it would be fun to ask each member of the editorial team here at What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision to pick their standout favourites for the year. Here we go:
Clare Newsome, Editor-in-Chief
Yamaha DSP-Z7: You'll be able to read our review of this AV powerhouse in the February issue, on sale January 8th, but for now, take it from me – it's a stormer!
Sooloos: We met the makers of this music server in January and I was hooked by first demo. It took a while for a review sample to arrive, but it was worth the wait for a longer play. Now I just need that lottery win...
Clearaudio Performance: It may have lost its Award-winning status (and a star rating) thanks to the arrival of its new, Thorens rival, but I still prefer the sound – and looks! – of this glorious turntable, which provides much weekend music joy.
Tioti TV+: This neat £1.79 iTunes Store application turns your Apple iPhone or iPod Touch into a portable, bespoke TV guide – and it'll even let you remote record to your Sky+ box. Really handy when you're out and realise you've forgotten to record something important...
Cyrus CDxtSE/DAC X: The best CD transport around combined with a cracking DAC. I've never heard a better source solution in my system (just don't tell the Clearaudio I said that).
Andy Clough, Editor whathifi.com
Yamaha DSP-863SE: HD audio for silly money, a true AV bargain that delivers exceptional sound. By far the biggest improvement to my home entertainment system this year.
Sony KDL-40Z4500: Sensational with Blu-ray, proof that LCD can produce pictures as good as plasma, and no I don't care about clouding if I'm looking at a blank screen.
iPod Touch: Everything you need in a portable media player bar a phone, and I've already got one of those. Plus the new iTunes Apps store makes it even smarter.
Pure Evoke Flow: Great design, great sound, easy to use. Makes internet radio mainstream.
Logitech Harmony One remote: No need to keep buying more batteries thanks to its recharging dock. It's a doddle to program your own macros via a PC or Mac, and easy to update when you get new kit.
Jonathan Evans, Managing Editor
Cyrus CD6SE: Not very original, I realise, but this player brings high-end sound to a midrange budget.
Chord QBD76 DAC: Yes, I know it's three grand, but the difference this piece of kit made to an already great stereo system's sound is simply astounding
Panasonic PT-AX200E: This is the projector that finally persuaded me that I might be able to afford a truly big-screen setup at home. For £800 it really is a movie/sport/Xbox 360 gaming joy. The kids are sold on it – now I've just got to persuade my wife...
Panasonic TH-42PX80: I'm a bit obsessed with value for money at the moment, strangely; I also still prefer plasma over LCD. Put those two things together and this is certainly the answer you come up with if you want a top-value 42in flatscreen TV.
The West Wing: the complete Series: Seven series of some of the best drama ever to grace our screens. For £50? That's a no-brainer – especially as I've got quite a bit of catching up to do.
Or, since it's still the festive season:
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Mince pies £1.50
The classic two four-star parts making a five-star whole. The synergy of mincemeat and pastry is a true joy.
Simon Lucas, First Tests Editor
Cyrus CD6se: It's genius and I don't care that it's sniffy about the occasional disc.
Yamaha DSP-AX863SE: I thought it was great at £800, never mind £600 or less.
Denon DVD-2500BT: Best pictures, easily the best sound on Blu-ray.
Sooloos Music Server: Not cheap. Don't care. Brilliant.
Panasonic TX-32LZD85: Better than the Sony, I tells you, better.
Joe Cox, News Editor
Apple iPhone 3G: It's a phone with an iPod, AND you can get on the interweb.
Sony BDP-S350: Iimpressive Blu-ray performance dips under £200.
Audioengine A2s: Well worth a shout – I've got them at home for one. They sound rather spiffing for just £100, and what with everyone using their PCs for music now...
Cyrus CD players: Say no more.
Tom Parsons, Staff Writer
Pure Evoke Flow: Internet radio that actually works and is user-friendly. And it'll stream music from your PC. Nice.
New Sonos BU130: Only really an update, but still awesome if you want wireless multiroom music.
Sonos app for iPhone: Better than the company's own controller, and free.
New Pioneer Kuro 50in plasmas: I don't care which one, I want one!
B&W Zeppelin: A seriously sexy iPod dock that sounds good too.
Andy Madden, Staff Writer
Pioneer SC-LX81: Multichannel amplifier with awesome performance and excellent features.
iPod Touch (32GB): The most desirable MP3 player on the planet.
Van den Hul HDMI Flat: Refreshing alternative to the Chord and QED Award-winners of years gone by – a no-brainer upgrade.
Denon DVD-2500BT: The first Blu-ray player that truly blew my socks off.
So there you have it. Now you know which kit set our hearts racing, let us know which hi-fi and home cinema kit has really impressed you this year.