New issue of What Hi-Fi? out now: 10 stunning hi-fi and home cinema systems built by our experts

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now
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It makes sense, in the issues following our annual Awards, to put our collective What Hi-Fi? heads together and come up with some belting systems centred around some of our outstanding Award winners.

Long-time readers will be well aware by now that such systems aren’t as easy to come up with as simply sticking three or four Best Buys together and hoping for the best. Even the best five-star kit can suffer if it is forced together with something to which it is just not suited. 

In this month’s What Hi-Fi?, then, we take away from you the pain of the guesswork of system matching. We have suggestions for five hi-fi systems and five home cinema systems, that should tick many if not most, boxes.

Also in the February issue, don’t miss our feature on how to audition your system; and we have a round-up of our favourite premium wired headphones for when listening at home requires the best sound quality possible, but disturbing the household or neighbours is out of the question.

You can subscribe or buy the latest issue here, or buy the digital edition on iPhone, iPadAndroid devices or Kindle edition.

Heavenly hi-fi

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

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In a time before stereo sound was widely available, former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told the British public “You have never had it so good.” His words could equally well be directed to buyers of hi-fi equipment today; not only has our industry seen phenomenal technological advances since Harold delivered his famous verdict, but it has also achieved an unprecedented level of diversity.

Turntables, CD players, stereo amplifiers and streamers are all at our fingertips, as are speaker designs across a multitude of price points. But these choices also present the serious hi-fi buyer with a bit of a problem: how to put together a system from all the great stuff that is available – and that, as ever, is where we come in.

We have created 10 systems – five hi-fi-and five AV – in each case taking a 2023 What Hi-Fi? Award-winner as our starting point to help you do your choosing.

From affordable CD and streamer combos to a premium turntable-based set-up, we think we have covered all bases.

Screen stars

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

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Next, we turn our attention to all things audio-visual, with another five carefully curated systems.

Our goal here is to guide you towards the home cinema set-up that best suits your budget and circumstances, so you can enjoy movie nights in to the maximum. 

Our top gaming system, with a fully featured TV that will make your games look their Dolby Vision best, is followed by our pick of products that give you big-screen (and big sound) thrills for a surprisingly low price. Then we have a premium affair that presents the very latest TV tech, in the shape of a QD (Quantum Dot) OLED screen, with a top AV amp and a full surround-sound speaker package.

Our final two systems comprise firstly a top-level combination built around a premium 4K projector, then a set-up that caters for those with less space and a smaller budget, making the most of the latest advances in ultra-short-throw projection technology.

The best head-fi at a premium

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

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Welcome to the big leagues, where a pair of headphones will happily set you back anything in advance of £800/$800 or so.

Headphones at this premium end of the market are aimed at the listener who prizes sound quality above all, and manufacturers of products at this elevated level rightly tend to focus on sound rather than features. If you’re able to part with this kind of money for a pair of headphones, you can expect the engineering and cost to have been put into the delivery of the sound being fed to them.

This issue we present our pick of premium in-ear and both closed and open-back over-ear headphone designs, all wired, from some of the best manufacturers in the game. 

These really are stunning headphones, that you will definitely want to team up with a suitably talented source to really allow them to shine – especially if you’re forking out this kind of cash.

Grab a copy of What Hi-Fi?, settle down with your current favourite cans and allow us to help you plan your headphones upgrade...

First with reviews

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

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This month, as always, our First Tests section is packed with in-depth, impartial and expert verdicts on the very latest hi-fi and AV gear. We kick off our reviews with a stunning Panasonic TV, the MZ2000. For those who prize authenticity in their TV picture, this flagship set could be just the thing – with Panasonic's renown for 'as the director intended' images at the core of this latest offering. Find out what we thought of the MZ2000 in this month's What Hi-Fi?

Also on our test benches this month we have what could be the perfect partner to the aforementioned TV in the form of a superb home cinema package, Q Acoustics' 5040 HCP. Then we move onto hi-fi with the Cyrus Classic Amp and Audio Pro Link 2 streamer, and a trio of new headphones: the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 and Bose QuietComfort Ultra in-ears, and Sennheiser Accentum Wireless over-ears. We round things off with tests of the iPad Pro 12.9 6th Gen, ideal for movie watching on the go, and the Leica Cine 1 ultra short throw projector that could be just the thing for your home cinema.

Find out what our review team thought of all these products in February's What Hi-Fi?

Tempted? You will be...

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

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Our Temptations section of the magazine is where we feature the latest high-end products. This month we lead with the Rega Naia/Aphelion 2 turntable package. The Naia is based on the famed and limited production 2009 Naiad turntable. And while it's still pricey, the Naia is a superb turntable that we highly recommend.

Then we have a lovely looking pair of open-back headphones in the form of Grado's extremely woody GS3000x. Using exotic Cocobolo wood to great aesthetic and sonic effect, this is a fantastic top-of-the-range pair of headphones from Grado; with a price to match.

Find out more in this month's What Hi-Fi?

February 2024 What Hi-Fi? out now

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Finally, don't forget to check out our Buyer’s Guide, featuring a definitive list of all the best home entertainment kit you can buy – including winners of 2023's What Hi-Fi? Awards. If you’re looking to purchase anything from a pair of wireless headphones to a home cinema speaker system, this section will tell you where to spend your money wisely.

Whatever you do, don't miss the February 2024 issue of What Hi-Fi?. Grab a copy today, or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!

You can subscribe or buy the latest issue here, or buy the digital edition on iPhone, iPadAndroid devices or Kindle edition

Production Editor

Chris is What Hi-Fi?'s Production Editor. He has 25 years under his belt as an online and print magazine journalist, editing and writing about music, film, sport, video games and more. Having started his career at the NME, he spent 10 years on staff at legendary lad's mag Loaded, and has since been Editor of Rhythm and Official Xbox magazines.