Pick of the Month: LG G4 OLED, Audiolab 9000N and more earn top marks

What Hi-Fi? Pick of the Month lead image Aug. 2024
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

June’s in the rear-view mirror which means it’s time for yet another entry into our Pick of the Month column, where we celebrate the latest batch of products to earn perfect marks from our team of reviewers.

And what a month June was, with everything from luxurious hi-fi amps to affordable over-ear headphones passing through our dedicated listening and viewing rooms. In the sea of products we tested, only five impressed our reviewers enough to earn five star ratings, however.

Here’s what you need to know about them.

LG G4 


(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Tour De France Unchained)

The G4 is LG’s latest flagship OLED and it brings with it two key big upgrades on its predecessor, the LG G3.

For starters, it’s the first TV we’ve tested with a second generation Micro Lens Array (MLA) panel. This is a refined version of the tech that aims to let the G4 offer even higher peak brightness levels. Second, it's powered by a more advanced Alpha 11 processor that has more impressive AI smarts designed to improve everything from motion handling to colour accuracy and audio quality.

While our reviewers found audio is still a key let-down, the G4 otherwise proved to be an excellent upgrade and one of the best premium OLEDS on the market. Highlights include significantly improved motion handling, wonderfully immersive picture quality and excellent gaming features. Hence our reviewers’ conclusion: “The LG G4 is a fantastic OLED TV that easily competes with Samsung and Sony’s best.”

Read our LG G4 (OLED65G4) review

Audiolab 9000N 

Close up of Audiolab 9000N display screen on wooden rack

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The 9000N is a big product from Audiolab. This is because its the first premium option from a brand that’s usually associated with the more affordable end of the streaming market. Designed to take on big name competition from the likes of Naim, this gives it some big shoes to fill if it hopes to compete in an increasingly full segment of the hi-fi market.

Thankfully, having thoroughly put it through its paces in our listening rooms, we’re pleased to confirm it is an excellent option for serious music fans looking to add streaming smarts to their hi-fi set-up.

Built on the established Lumin streaming platform, the 9000N has all the functionality you’d expect from a modern streamer. At a basic level you can stream tracks from all the usual services including Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Qobuz and Tunein Radio. The platform is also Roon Ready and Plex compatible. 

But what earned it top marks was its performance. Paired with price-compatible products including the Naim Nait XS3 and Arcam A15 integrated amplifiers and PMC’s Prodigy 5 floorstanders, the unit delivered impressively even and insightful audio. This led our reviewers to conclude:

“The 9000N proves that Audiolab is capable of scaling its streaming expertise to more premium price points. This is a strong performer that ticks pretty much every box as far as sound quality is concerned.”

Read our Audiolab 9000N review

Fyne Vintage Five 

Fyne Vintage Five standmount speakers

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We’ve long championed the need for more small, good sounding hi-fi and in June Fyne delivered just that with its five-star Vintage Five speakers.

The smallest option in the firm’s Vintage range, the Five are dinky little units that feature Fyne’s unique, wonderfully retro wood design. Despite looking retro, they feature some impressive modern upgrades including a 12.5cm mid/bass driver with an Isoflare arrangement where the tweeter sits at the centre of the unit. The tweeter also features Fyne’s custom cone design. 

Paired with our reference Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer and Technics SL-1000R record player sources, results were excellent, especially considering their small dimensions.

Across a variety of genres the Vintage Five delivered impressive levels of clarity, wonderfully precise stereo imaging and foot tapping levels of dynamism. This led our reviewers to conclude:

“The Vintage Five are easy speakers to underestimate. The retro appearance suggests that they are for those who yearn for the past, and their dinky size makes them harder to take seriously, especially at what looks to be a high price. But consider the exceptional build, quality of engineering and, when used in an appropriate system, terrific sound, and it is hard not to be won over. We certainly are.”

Read our Fyne Vintage Five review

Samsung HW-Q990D 

Samsung HW-Q990D soundbar system

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The Samsung HW-Q990D is the latest Dolby Atmos system in a box we’ve reviewed. For your money you get a large soundbar, coupled with a wireless pair of satellite speakers and subwoofer.

Comparing it to stiff competition, including its predecessor the Q990C, in our listening and viewing rooms we found it is a very competent package and excellent option for any buyer that wants Dolby Atmos, without having to install speakers in their ceiling. 

During testing we found its impressive 11.1.4 channel count delivers significantly improved audio compared to the C. Whether it was the booming jet engines of Top Gun: Maverick, incredibly difficult bass-heavy second scene of Blade Runner 2049 or the whimsical melody of I'm Just Ken in Barbie, results were fantastic.

In each test we threw at it the Q990D delivered a large, immersive and three dimensional sound that truly elevated our home cinema experience. This led our reviewers to conclude:

“It’s a hugely compelling package overall, and while it’s certainly not cheap, it is good value compared with alternative systems that offer similar specs and features. If you want something approaching ‘proper’ Atmos sound without buying an AV amplifier and twelve individual speakers, it has to be on your shortlist.”

Read our Samsung HW-Q990D review

Chord Ultima Integrated 

Chord Ultima Integrated amplifier

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The Chord Ultima Integrated is a premium amplifier aimed squarely at hi-fi purists. The amp unashamedly does just one thing exceptionally well, having a no frills feature set that at first glance could make it look a little basic, especially compared to its main rival, the Luxman L-509Z.

If you want an amp with things like in-built streaming smarts, a phono stage or even a basic headphone output, then the Ultima Integrated won’t be for you. But, if all you care about is getting the best audio quality possible, then we’d thoroughly recommend checking it out. 

Featuring a unique, unashamedly 'Chord' design, the Ultimate Integrated delivered excellent audio when paired with suitably high-end sources and speakers. Whether it was Holst’s Planet Suite, xx’s Angels, or DJ Denz The Rooster’s Triumphant Winning! the Ultima Integrated delivered astonishing levels of agility, precision and clarity.

This makes it an easy recommendation for its target market and led our reviewers to conclude: 

“This integrated amplifier succeeds in delivering a large dose of the pricier Ultima pre/power’s performance in a more convenient and affordable package. It is a refreshingly straightforward product to use, and when partnered with a similarly talented system is capable of weaving a wonderfully spellbinding sound.”

Read our Chord Ultima Integrated review


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Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.