This week we learned that Tidal plans to introduce high-resolution audio streaming in 2016, Pioneer launched the world’s first portable MQA player and Dolby will be bringing its Atmos surround sound technology to the Ministry of Sound club in London.
Reviews-wise there was some seriously impressive kit. Burmester’s 089 CD player may be an expensive option, but with terrific sound quality and a list of inputs that make it more of a digital hub, we think it’s worth every penny. The Philips Fidelio B5 soundbar/surround sound system/multi-room system delivers scintillating sound for £550 while Onkyo’s X6 wireless speaker is a wonderful all-round performer.
Tidal has confirmed it plans to use MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology to introduce hi-res audio streaming next year for £20 per month.
Tidal has already carried out a successful demo using the technology, which packages studio quality master files so they take up less space. The desktop player will be the first Tidal product to support the service, with smartphone apps being updated soon after.
We expect more details about the MQA/Tidal partnership at CES 2016, so watch this space.
Pioneer timed the release of its XDP-100R portable music player to perfection. The Android-powered device is MQA-ready, meaning it will support the file format after a software update in the new year.
For now though, it will handle regular high-resolution files (up to DSD and 24-bit/384kHz FLAC/WAV files) and comes pre-installed with Tidal, Spotify, Deezer and Onkyo Music. It’s available now for £500.
Dolby and Ministry of Sound have confirmed plans for a series of Atmos-fuelled shows in 2016. Dolby will be installing additional speakers in the club to create an Atmos system with more than 60 speakers and 22 audio channels. Hospital Records will start off the first series of shows on 23rd January.
The event promises "music in unprecedented quality" and an immersive soundscape built by sounds that are "strategically placed and moved through the room".
We often get wide-eyed when we receive products for our Temptations section, and the Burmester 089 was no exception. It's Burmester’s take on a high-end CD player with digital inputs. The company will also sell you an optional MMI module which adds USB and aptX Bluetooth inputs, should you want wireless streaming.
As with all Burmester products, it’s solidly built and will last for years but what we’re most impressed with is the sound quality, even from Bluetooth streaming. Our only niggle is the price, otherwise this is another fantastic product from Burmester.
Read the full Burmester 089 review
The B5 is the natural successor to the 2013 Award-winning HTL9100. What you get is a soundbar with detachable speakers at either end and a wireless subwoofer. The speakers can be placed behind you to create an effective surround sound solution.
These modules can also double up as multi-room speakers thanks to being battery powered and supporting Bluetooth. But let’s not forget, this is first and foremost a soundbar, which thoroughly improves on the sound of your TV. Overall, it’s a tremendous package.
Read the full Philips Fidelio B5 review
This wireless speaker from Onkyo is entering what is already a flooded market, but it does enough to impress us. For example, its intuitive MULTIPAIR button allows you to instantly switch between yours and your friends’ mobile devices.
It sounds good too, producing a large soundstage that has just the right amount of bass weight. It’s a true all-rounder, being able to handle a wide variety of genres and it deserves a pat on the back.
Read the full Onkyo X6 review