Best of the Week: What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, Sky Soundbox, Xbox One X and more

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This week McIntosh took the covers off the MA252 hybrid integrated amplifier, Denon revealed a new line of Envaya wireless speakers and Pro-Ject updated its VC-S record cleaning machine with the Mk II revision.

For reviews, we have Microsoft's 4K console, the Xbox One X, Sony's 'neckbud' in-ears, the WI-1000X, and Sky's home cinema sound offering, the Soundbox. There are also reviews of Toshiba's 4K-on-a-budget 49U7763DB TV and Amazon's Fire TV 4K streamer. Yes, it was another busy week...

News

McIntosh launches MA252, its first hybrid integrated amplifier

McIntosh's MA252 is a preamplifier that combines both valve and circuit technologies in one unit.

Housing two 12AX7a and two 12AT7 valves inside protective cages, its solid-state output stage delivers 100 or 160 watts-per-channel into 8 ohms or 4ohms respectively.

It costs £4,500 and goes on sale in December. And it looks stunning.

MORE: McIntosh launches MA252, its first hybrid integrated amplifier

Denon announces new Envaya wireless speaker range

Denon's new range of Envaya wireless speakers comprises the Envaya, Envaya Mini and Envaya Pocket.

The Envaya is the largest unit, the Mini smaller and less powerful, while the Pocket is portable. All three have aptX Bluetooth and can be paired to play in stereo.

Each has a carry strap and comes in grey or black finishes. The Envaya sells for £170, the Mini £130 and the Pocket £90.

MORE: Denon announces new Envaya wireless speaker range

New Pro-Ject record cleaner keeps your vinyl healthy for longer

The second generation of Pro-Ject's VC-S record cleaning machine comes with a number of upgraded features.

The motor has been replaced by a lower-noise variant, there's a redesigned steel clamp to hold the record in place, and the plastic flange has been improved for a smoother adjustment of the vacuum arm. What's more, Pro-Ject says the fluid used to clean the record now evaporates without leaving any residue on the record.

All told, it should be better at cleaning your vinyl. The VC-S Mk II is available now for £350.

MORE: New Pro-Ject record cleaner keeps your vinyl healthy for longer

More news

iFi Audio has Mojo in its sights with new £200 DAC

Cello resurrects Ferguson TV brand

New Samsung Galaxy Tab A is for 'everyday' use

Bowers & Wilkins brings opera to life at the V&A

HTC announces two new U11 smartphones: Life and Plus

Apple updates tvOS, gives control options and fixes wi-fi bugs

Sainsbury’s launches own record label

Freeview TV signal down across the UK

Optoma announces new flagship 4K Ultra HD projector

Alexa voice control for Spotify coming to Sonos before Christmas

Features

How to set up your TV and get the best picture

Which Sonos speaker is best for you?

How to choose and set up a stereo amplifier

How to watch 4K video online and on TV

8 of the best horror films for sound

The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame

Best buys and deals

Best Apple deals: iPhone 8, iPad, Apple TV

Best headphone deals - in-ear, over-ear, wireless and more

Best Sonos deals: Play:1, Play:3, Play:5, Playbar and more

The best PS4 and Xbox One deals

Best turntable deals 2017

Best soundbar and soundbase deals

Best 4K OLED TV deals

The best What Hi-Fi? deals of the month

Reviews

"If you’re all geared up for 4K and want the most capable, all-in-one console currently available, this is it"

"If you’re all geared up for 4K and want the most capable, all-in-one console currently available, this is it"

Microsoft Xbox One X

Microsoft's Xbox One X produces a detailed and immersive 4K image that's complemented by a bright and punchy HDR performance.

The streamlined interface is a big improvement over the old one and there's support for Bitsream audio. However, there are better and cheaper dedicated 4K Blu-ray players and the huge 4K game sizes mean you could really do with an external HDD.

It's not flawless by any means, but so long as you have a 4K TV, it's the most capable console out there and a compelling 4K all-in-one machine.

Read the full Microsoft Xbox One X review

"Though similar to the WF-1000Xs, they have just a bit more juice and musicality"

"Though similar to the WF-1000Xs, they have just a bit more juice and musicality"

Sony WI-1000X

Sony's truly wireless WF-1000X earphones offered great sound, but the WI-1000X might be even better - albeit, there's a cable.

It has a similar sonic character to the WF-1000X, with punchy bass, insightful midrange and a well-balanced sound. We also like the range of noise-cancellation modes on offer.

Bearing in mind that the neckband can be inflexible and the WI-1000X costs more than the WF-1000X, it's a case of different strokes for different folks.

Read the full Sony WI-1000X review

"For existing and potential Sky customers, the Soundbox is a positive success"

"For existing and potential Sky customers, the Soundbox is a positive success"

Sky Soundbox

Somewhere between a soundbar and a wireless speaker, Sky's Soundbox is a good attempt at improving your TV sound. It's a well-built unit with a clear, expressive and wide soundstage. There's a bevy of connections and the deep integration with Sky Q is a plus for Sky customers.

It's not all great news, though. It is somewhat awkwardly-shaped, Dolby Atmos isn't supported and non-Sky customers will need to pay a premium for it. If you're a Sky customer it's a great fit. For others there are cheaper and better alternatives.

Read the full Sky Soundbox review

More reviews

Toshiba 49U7763DB

Amazon Fire TV 4K (2017)