We love putting together the best hi-fi separates to create superb music systems at the best of times.
But with some fantastic turntables, speakers, headphones and amplifiers on sale thanks to Cyber Monday and the Black Friday weekend, we turn our hand to finding the best deals, and suggest the best systems you can create out of these great offers.
Whether your source is vinyl, CDs, music from your laptop, or a mix of all three, we've partnered up the kit that will work best together – both in operation and in sound performance.
And best of all, you'll be able to make some great savings along the way.
Looking to get into vinyl? Ignore the trendy 'suitcase-style' decks and opt for this excellent Sony PS-HX500 instead. This Sony turntable has the party trick of converting your vinyl into hi-res files, but it’s also a lively, spacious and entertaining performer. It has a phono stage built-in, so you can plug it straight into the Marantz PM6006 UK Edition stereo amplifier's line level inputs. And finally, add the Monitor Audio Bronze 2s - their pleasing dynamics, even tonal balance and generous bass weight and scale will match the focused and full-bodied Marantz amp nicely.
Bonus: all three products here are current What Hi-Fi? 2018 Award-winners, so your system will be be entirely up to date and class-leading for this price.
Total price: £847 (save £400)
CD player system
Now, these two Marantz units - the CD player and the stereo amplifier - are designed to worth together harmoniously. They're both the UK Edition (so are more detailed, focused and dynamically engaging than the standard versions) and are sonically tuned to match.
For the speakers: the KEF Q350s (
£530 £400) demand more refined source components and the big and punchy B&W 682 S2s ( £499 £299) might overpower the Marantz pair's even balance, so we're going to opt for the Q Acoustics 3020i for their rich, warm sound, insightful and dynamic presentation, and bigger-than-it-looks sound. A great way to bring back life to your dusty CD collection.
Total price: £852 (save £315)
We have to admit: we love the Denon D-M41DAB micro system with its own SC-M41 speakers. But the central unit - which features Bluetooth, radio and CD player - is on a great sale, and gives you the chance to add your own or another pair of speaker that's also on a great discount.
Q Acoustics 3010i (
£199 £179) standmounters would work, but we'd opt for the hugely enjoyable Mission LX-2s. They are fun, time well and have bags of insight. Put together, the Denon and Missions make for a great little system on a budget.
Total price: £328 (save £130)
Do you do all of your listening through your laptop – either as hi-res (or not) music files or by using music streaming services? There are two ways to enhance your laptop listening sessions.
First, you need a good DAC to take over timing duties from the clock inside your laptop. The Audiolab M-DAC is a staple of the desktop DAC genre, has a USB port to connect to your laptop and you can plug in some great headphones. We'd opt for these excellent over-ear home headphones from AKG - they're comfortable and musical, and will sound even better thanks to the superb Audiolab.
Total price: £623.95 (save £175)
The second option? If you're using your laptop as your music hub, plug it into this excellent Arcam irDAC's USB input. You won't want too many big boxes clogging up your space, so feed the signal into this compact NAD stereo amplifier, and to round off the system make space for these Wharfedale Diamond 220s. They're expressive and handle deep bass while keeping a fine balance, and are unfussy about partnering equipment.
If you want to save even more money, ditch the Arcam and spend the money instead on getting the right cables to feed a signal from your laptop into the NAD's line level or optical inputs.
Total price: £767 (save £280)