A round-up of the main highlights of the week, including Sony's first 4K Blu-ray player and a new (old) speaker from Acoustic Energy

This week, music company BrainMonk is looking at putting cassettes back into the public consciousness with its Elbow cassette player. Acoustic Energy resurrected its AE109 floorstander in time for its 30th anniversary and Sennheiser launched a new digital headphone amp, the HDV 800.

Elsewhere, we have a review of Sony's first 4K Blu-ray player in the UBP-X800, as well as looks at the Motorola's Moto G5 smartphone and Pure's Evoke H2 radio.

It's new What Hi-Fi? week, with the June issue now available digitally, online and in print. Inside this issue, you'll find features on managing your multi-room, everything you need to know about Dolby Vision and reviews of speakers and LG's latest OLED TV.

You can subscribe or request a single issue here, or buy the digital edition on iOS, Android and Kindle devices.


Elbow cassette player concept could spark tape revival

With vinyl enjoying a resurgence, could the cassette tape be next to enjoy an upturn in fortunes?  

Music company BrainMonk has come up with a design concept for a new type of cassette player, featuring an arm with a single pulley that drives the tape.

It's certainly an ingenious way of playing cassettes, but even better, Elbow, as it is called, comes with a standard 3.5mm jack and a mini-USB port.

READ MORE: Elbow cassette player concept could spark tape revival

Acoustic Energy resurrects AE109, launches new AE100 model

Acoustic Energy is 30 years old this year, and the company is marking that achievement by bringing back one of its most iconic speakers.

The original AE109 floorstander, launched in 1996, returns as part of the company's new 100 Series, which also includes a brand new speaker in the AE100.

Replete with the latest tech, the AE109 includes slot ports in the back that reduce mid-range colouration and improve bass response.

The AE109 is out this month, priced £550.

READ MORE: Acoustic Energy resurrects AE109, launches new AE100 model

Sennheiser launches HDV 820 headphone amp and DAC

Building on its HDVD 800, Sennheiser has introduced its HDV 820 digital headphone amp.

It features a new DAC (an ESS Sabre32) that performs at a PCM resolution of 32-bits and has a sampling rate of up to 384kHz or 12.3 MHz DSD.

Sennheiser also launched the CH 800 P headphone cable, which lets you connect high-end Sennheiser headphones to the HDV 820. Both the HDV 820 and CH 800 P will go on sale in July.

READ MORE: Sennheiser launches HDV 820 headphone amp and DAC

More after the break


"If you’re in the market for a quality 4K Blu-ray player, this is the one we’d recommend"

Sony UBP-X800

Sony has entered the 4K Blu-ray player market and produced a stunner first time out.

We've seen the bar set high with Panasonic's UB900, but Sony has raised it even higher. The UBP-X800 offers great detail, superb sound and vibrant colours that bring out the rich pictures in 4K Blu-rays.

One issue is a lack of support for Dolby Vision. Considering the lack of titles in this format, it's not a huge miss, but it is a surprise that this superb Sony doesn't cover all bases.

The UBP-X800 is Sony's first 4K player and it is a great one.

Read the full Sony UBP-X800 review

"The G5 adds another successful handset to Moto’s growing line of budget wins"

Motorola Moto G5

Motorola has had plenty of success in the budget smartphone market, but the Moto G5 is one of its strongest efforts yet.

Among its plus points are good build quality, good specs and a snappy performance. But if audio is a priority, then the Moto G5 fares less well, putting in a flat performance.

But overall, the G5 is another successful handset from Motorola, and one that should definitely be given consideration.

Read the full Motorola Moto G5 review

"Right now, it will take something really impressive to knock the Pure Evoke range off its current pedestal"

Pure Evoke H2

The Evoke D2 and H2 radios may look identical, but Pure has refined the D2 to produce a radio with a cleaner midrange and more textured bass.

The differences between the H2 and its predecessor are often subtle, but this is very much an upgrade.

Other than that, the H2 is everything we've come to expect from Pure's Evoke range; an easy-to-use radio with an attractive price and good a selection of features.

Read the full Pure Evoke H2 review

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