I’ve been scouring the Black Friday deals with one mission. To try and piece together a five-star hi-fi system using products that have seen a price drop during the sales. And, you know what? I think I’ve managed it!
Now I could have tried to go all out and build a system full of separates. After all we’ve seen a fair few tempting hi-fi deals, from £300 off the Award-winning KEF LS50 Meta (plus £190 worth of free accessories!) to £450 off the Marantz PM7000N streaming amp but I’ve tried to keep things simple and affordable, by putting together a set-up that doesn’t take up a lot of space and won’t break the bank. It will, however, sound sensational. “Tell us more” I hear you shout. Ok, if you insist...
With more of us working from home than ever before, I thought a desktop system might be the order of the day and my first component is a firm What Hi-Fi? favourite. The Grado SR80x headphones look a little retro, but these wired on-ears are sensational performers. They’re not designed to be portable - you’ll want a pair of wireless headphones for that job - but they are designed with top sound quality at their heart.
The Grados are an open-back design and do leak sound, but using them at home in a second room shouldn’t cause any ructions. Plugged in, they produce a wonderfully open and dynamic sound that really entertains and they also come with a 3.5mm headphone connector which makes them a great fit for my next recommendation and the other half of this hi-fi system...
was £129 now £99 at Amazon and Richer Sounds (save £30)
These dynamically fluid open-backed headphones are best suited for quiet environments. At this money, the SR80x remains the finest model in their class. A genuine Black Friday deal for the audio lover (read our review here). Five stars
AudioQuest DragonFly Black
was £99 now £79 at Sevenoaks (save £20)
Better sound doesn't come smaller or cheaper than this. We love the way the logo lights up with different colours to show sample rate - a trait found on all DragonFly DACs. Use it instead of the headphone output on your computer for an immediate musical boost. Now at lowest-ever price of £79 (read our review here). Five stars
Which is the Audioquest DragonFly Black USB DAC/headphone amplifier. That’s right, I’m killing two birds with one audio device. And what an audio device it is! Ever since arriving on the scene back in 2012(!) the original DragonFly has carved out a niche as being a great option for anyone wanting to create a computer- or laptop-based desktop system and who wants to improve the audio options at their disposal. Sure, you could plug the Grados straight into a headphone socket, but trust us, your music is going to sound better coming out via the DragonFly Black.
The USB stick design means it’s easy to store away when not in use and just plug into your computer when you want to embark on a listening session. It plays high-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz natively – anything higher is downsampled, but for the money, I really don't think this is the end of the world.
Now there are three variations of DragonFly available, (Black, Red and Cobalt) all of which are available with a Black Friday discount. The Grados are the perfect partners for the entry-level Black model – Red and Cobalt we’d reserve for more expensive pairs of headphones.
What we have here is a brilliantly minimalistic set-up, but one that also sounds stunning and at this sort of money is truly difficult to fault. A great excuse to invest in the Black Friday sales!
Best Black Friday Deals still live
- AirPods Pro was
£249now £184 at John Lewis
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: was
£29.99now £17.99 at Argos
- Audioquest DragonFly USB DAC was
£299now £219 at Sevenoaks
- Batteries: save £5 on Duracell Plus AA batteries
- B&W speakers: save up to £400 at Sevenoaks Sound and Vision
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds was
£250now £134 at Amazon
- Cambridge CXA81 amplifier was
£1099now £999 at Amazon
- ELAC speakers was
£250now £229 at Amazon
- Echo Dot (3rd Gen) was
£40now £17 at Amazon
- Fire TV Stick: was
£29.99now £17.99 at Argos
- Grado SR80x was
£129now £99 at Richer Sounds
- KEF LS50 Meta was
£1100£899 + free kit at Sevenoaks
- LG C2 OLED 42-inch: was
£1399now £749 at Sevenoaks
- Nintendo Switch: all games under £20
- PS5 deals: we round-up the best PS5 deals
- Samsung Dolby Atmos soundbar was
£529now £377 at Amazon
- Sony WF-1000XM4 was
£250now £159 at Amazon
- Sony WH-1000XM5 was
£380now £290 at Amazon
- Sony XR-55A80J 2021 OLED TV was
£1899now £998 at Amazon
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