As we look forward to a long, hot summer, we can finally start planning days out with friends and family again (fingers crossed!). Whether it’s a barbecue in the garden, a picnic in the park or a day out at the beach, there aren’t many occasions that can’t be improved by the accompaniment of music.
The August issue of What Hi-Fi?, available on the newsstands today, features our suggestions for the best ways to enjoy your music outside; whether that’s with a Bluetooth speaker or a portable MP3 player.
Those who are slightly more ambitious, or planning a larger gathering, might even have considered an outdoor cinema. We’ll show you how to set one up in your backyard, and suggest the best portable projectors to get you started.
Plus, there's also a round-up of portable DACs to help you get the best possible sound when you’re out and about, our usual selection of reviews of the latest kit in our First Tests section, and two pricey, but highly tempting, products in our regular Temptations slot – the Technics SU-R1000 integrated amplifier and the ProAc K1 stereo speakers, plus so much more...
Sounds of summer
Summer’s here and with Covid restrictions gradually lifting, you’ll want to make the most of the opportunity to get out and about. If you’re enjoying the good weather, why not take your tunes with you?
That’s where the August issue of What Hi-Fi? comes in. This special issue features our pick of the best portable hi-fi kit around, to help you get the best sound on the go.
First, we round up the best portable Bluetooth speakers, ready to take out on a picnic, garden party or any other outdoor gathering. If you like dining alfresco, then let one of these clever devices from JBL, Sonos, Ultimate Ears and Tribit be the soundtrack to your summer snacks.
We also round up the best portable DACs. These underrated little gadgets act as a go-between for your smartphone or tablet and, with five DACs included here, you’ll soon be able to listen to your favourite tracks in all their glory when you’re out and about.
And that’s not all, we also review four of the best portable music players around. Yes, most smartphones now play music, but if it’s top-quality, hi-res sound you’re after, a dedicated PMP does the job so much better. And the bonus is no more call interruptions, of course.
Hi-fi, lifestyle or both?
In our Insider section, we speak to the key people behind Cambridge Audio’s latest range of streaming products, the Evo, and listen to their opinions on the lifestyle vs proper hi-fi product debate.
For those who just want great sound without the hassle of lots of different components, just-add-speakers streaming systems like the ones available in the Evo range make the prospect of ‘hi-fi sound’ far less daunting.
In our First Tests section, you’ll find reviews of all the latest hi-fi kit, and the August issue of What Hi-Fi? features Cambridge Audio's Evo 75 streaming system, a mix of lifestyle product and serious hi-fi kit (see our Insider feature for more on this).
We also review the Sony XR-55A90J, a pricey television that's a clear cut above the competition. “If movies and TV shows are your priority and you have the budget, we haven’t tested a better television than the Sony A90J,” we say in our review.
This month’s First Test section features no less than three pairs of headphones, including Bowers & Wilkins PI7. This is B&W’s first attempt at true wireless headphones, but is their impressive sound quality enough to justify a hefty price tag? We also review the Meze Audio 99 Classics wired over-ears and the Lindy BNX-80, a pair of noise-cancelling wireless on-ears.
There is also a choice of two soundbars, as two top TV manufacturers go head to head with the Sony HT-SF150 and the Samsung HW-Q800A. And finally, we review Klipsch’s The Fives – they may look like standmount speakers, but they have us scratching our heads and asking "what are they actually for?"
So, how do these mighty studio monitors measure up when compared with the best stereo speakers around? Find out in the August issue of What Hi-Fi?.
It's great outdoors
Setting up an outdoor cinema in your own backyard is a lot easier than you think, or at least it will be with our handy guide.
We start you off on your search with a round-up of the best four portable projectors on the market at a range of prices – even the most affordable models here offer huge picture potential.
Picking a garden cinema set-up is about identifying the features you need and then choosing the right equipment. But once you’ve done that, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to set up an outdoor cinema in your back garden, from the screen to the sound system and even the snacks. Movie nights will never be the same again.
And finally, our regular back page feature highlights the technique of sampling – the art of stitching hooks, riffs, or other scraps of music into tracks. Without it, most hip-hop tracks (and many other genres) wouldn’t exist.
Some tracks have become more famous as samples than in their original form, so we decided to trace some of them back and give them their dues.
Also, check out our Buyer’s Guide, featuring a definitive list of all the best home entertainment kit you can buy. If you’re looking to purchase anything from a pair of wireless headphones to a speaker package, this section will tell you where to spend your money wisely.
The August issue is not to be missed. So grab a copy of What Hi-Fi? on sale today. Or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone instead. Enjoy!