Unless you're attending a virtual shindig on the Houseparty app, home is where it's at right now, so there's never been a better time to get your vinyl collection singing. That's where we come in – metaphorically, of course. The latest issue of What Hi-Fi? is out today, and with just a little help from us, you'll be beating the system in no time.
But first, some great news: you can have the latest issue delivered straight to your device, so you can read it from the comfort of your own home.
One of the benefits of being holed up indoors is that you can furnish yourself with the complete, monthly, digital edition of our magazine featuring in-depth reviews on all things hi-fi.
And we have an offer you can’t miss out on – for a limited time only, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling magazines from just £3 ($3/€3.25) per month (opens in new tab).
Building a hi-fi system is all about gathering together the right separates – kit that will get the sonic best out of its component parts. But although each product must be carefully considered, the star in any analogue set-up is undoubtedly the turntable; your system's centrepiece. So, which should you opt for? Allow us.
Want to have a gander at some in-depth, unbiased turntable reviews? Of course you do, so how does 15 sound? Here, you can mull over each deck in direct comparison with its competition. You may end up discovering a new upgrade for your system.
Why do we do this? Two reasons. Firstly, we want you to have the best possible hi-fi set-up for your budget and needs, and secondly (say it with us now) life is too short to listen to poor-quality music.
Our First Tests section this month features nine products that have recently claimed positions on the hallowed turf of hi-fi: Arcam's SA30 streaming amp, the Dali Rubicon 2 C active standmount speakers, Technics' EAH-TZ700 in-ears, the Bel Canto e.One Stream streamer, Wharfedale's Linton speakers, Astell & Kern's Kann Cube portable hi-res music player, the new QED XT40i speaker cables, Elac's Debut B6.2 standmounters and the Cyrus One Cast amp.
First Tests always give you the nitty-gritty because we're committed to letting you know what to expect with your purchase. Let us be clear: read a What Hi-Fi? review and you'll know whether the product is right for you.
Setting the stage
Your phono stage probably isn't the focal point of your system, but like every piece of equipment that's made to bring music to your ears, you need to give it some thought. The trio we've tested this month – kicking off with the Chord Huei (£990) – should give you something to think about when considering your next purchase.
It's not simply about chucking our most-recommended product for your budget into your online cart and hitting 'check out' – partnering is a delicate matter. These are four- and five-star products across the board, which is why we'll give you detailed information on what works best with what. All that's left for you to do is pick your favourite.
Associate to integrate
With vinyl's continued renaissance showing no signs of waning, manufacturers are including phono stages in their amplifiers with increasing regularity, too.
The five we've corralled together for this issue, including the glorious Onkyo A-9010 (£230), prove you don't need to spend an awful lot of money to get something that both performs well and sits within your budget.
We're sure there's a product here for you, should you need a new addition.
Roksan (you don't have to wear that dress tonight)
Our Insider section this month sees us drilling down into what your turntable could and should do for you, with Touraj Moghaddam, the founder of Roksan Audio.
Touraj gives his thoughts on whether it's the deck, arm, cartridge or phono stage that has the biggest impact on your vinyl-spinner's sound, offers his hi-fi design philosophy and explains exactly what he's been up to at Vertere for nigh-on a decade.
If you're ready for an epic working-from-home playlist, our 50 Great British albums feature does exactly what it says on the tin, too. (Remember, with almost all of us at home, respect for the neighbours is advisory.)
Our Temptations section is all about aspirational products, and this month we're featuring the stunning Vertere Acoustics MG-1 Mk II/Mystic. After all, if you're thinking of spending £9300 on a turntable package, you'll want to know you're getting your money's worth.
On top of all this, there's a phono stage round-up which requires a thorough read (of the seven featured, four models come in at under £200) plus a four-strong cartridge round-up that'll have you digging up extra detail from your system's sound in no time.
And, of course, we've also updated our definitive guide to the best home entertainment your money can buy, our unparalleled Buyer's Guide.
Happy socially-distanced reading and stay safe, everyone.
For a limited time only, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling magazines from just £3 ($3/€3.25) per month (opens in new tab).