Best of the Week: high-res cassettes, Samsung Galaxy S9, affordable Sony 4K player and more

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This week it emerged that (in the US) CD and vinyl outperformed digital downloads in 2017, Bowers & Wilkins announced a collaboration with Abbey Road Studios and Toshiba revealed it has launched a new cassette player that can offer the same sound quality as high-resolution audio.

For reviews over this Easter weekend, we have Samsung's Galaxy S9 smartphone, Sony's UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player and Fyne Audio's FS01 floorstanding speaker.

MORE: Sonos deal – two Sonos One smart speakers for £350

News

CD and vinyl outselling digital music downloads

Digital downloads are continuing to fall (in the U.S. at least), with revenues bringing in just over $1.3bn according to RIAA 2017 revenue statistics.

That figure confirms revenues of physical products have surpassed downloads for the first time since 2011.

Both are still in the shadow of streaming revenues, which has hit $5.7 billion and thus makes up 65% of the total U.S music industry revenue.

MORE: CD and vinyl outselling digital music downloads

Bowers & Wilkins and Abbey Road Studios to collaborate on upcoming product

Bowers & Wilkins and Abbey Road Studios are collaborating on a new product.

It's not known what it is as yet, but we're expecting something in the vein of headphones or monitor speakers.

The partnership means B&W has become Abbey Road's official speaker and headphone partner, with the company's products to be installed throughout the iconic London studio.

MORE: Bowers & Wilkins and Abbey Road Studios to collaborate on upcoming product

Toshiba tape player promises high-res audio from cassettes

Toshiba has announced a new CD/radio/cassette player that promises to deliver high-res sound quality from magnetic tape.

The player contains a mechanism that supposedly improves the quality of the music data, ensuring it meets the performance of a high-resolution audio source.

You can thank What Hi-Fi?'s predictive powers - back in 2016 we ran an April Fools story on HD Cassette. Well done us.

MORE: Toshiba tape player promises high-res audio from cassettes

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Reviews

"Without flexing too many major muscles, Samsung has rustled up a pretty polished successor to the Galaxy S8"

"Without flexing too many major muscles, Samsung has rustled up a pretty polished successor to the Galaxy S8"

Samsung Galaxy S9

As per the recently reviewed S9+, Samsung has opted for evolution rather than revolution for its S9.

There's new camera technology, a faster processor, better speakers and an improved user experience - evolution doesn't mean there has been a lot of tweaking.

While the iPhone X still wins out overall, the S9 is King when it comes to video. It's another strong proposition from Samsung.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy S9 review

"The X700 is a fantastic player that makes watching 4K discs an affordable reality"

"The X700 is a fantastic player that makes watching 4K discs an affordable reality"

Sony UBP-X700

Sony's X700 player makes watching 4K discs an affordable reality.

Though it lacks the premium features of other, more expensive, efforts, you do get a crisp and natural-looking picture with excellent detail and colours.

The negatives? The sound could be punchier and Dolby Vision HDR is still 'pending'. Otherwise, there's no doubting the X700's qualities as a fantastic 4K Blu-ray player.

Read the full Sony UBP-X700 review

"The F501s are an extremely confident calling-card"

"The F501s are an extremely confident calling-card"

Fyne Audio F501

Fyne Audio is a new entrant into the stereo speaker market - and it's made quite the first impression.

The F501 floorstanders offer a detailed, revealing and engaging sound that, above all else, exudes confidence.

They require careful system-matching, but get it right and these are bold, accomplished performers.

Read the full Fyne Audio F501 review

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