Two things of massive significance have happened in the United Kingdom this month.
First, we crowned a new monarch, King Charles III. And now, What Hi-Fi?'s Best of British issue is out, celebrating hi-fi new and old that has been designed and/or manufactured in the UK. We joke of course, though we bet Charlie's got an awesome hi-fi set-up in the Palace.
It's fair to say though that for a relatively small island, Britain has offered more than its fair share of musical artists to the world. And, to go hand in hand with them, it has also produced an astonishing number of world-beating pieces of hi-fi equipment.
We have four hi-fi systems of various hues (but all British products), our favourite stereo speakers and turntables of UK heritage, and features on what is to come from British companies in 2023, as well as great British rock tracks to give it all a thorough testing.
And, as usual, we also have reviews of the very latest hi-fi and AV products in our First Tests section.
Of course, in today’s global economy every manufacturer draws on components and designs from all over the world, but there are still a great many hi-fi brands that are distinctly British, either because of where they originated or where their equipment is made.
So, with a Union Flag in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, we proudly present our quartet of home-grown hi-fi systems. It ranges from an affordable turntable-plus-streamer combination through a streamer/amp/speakers trio and an all-digital collection to a high-end turntable-plus-CD-player selection.
With its variety of sources and price points, we believe this patriotic parade offers something for everyone. And remember – British hi-fi products are very often the leaders in their field, so much of the equipment here is not only the best of British but also the best in the world.
Best of British speakers
Here we’re focussing on a dozen specific models of loudspeaker that we absolutely love – all from British manufacturers.
You’ll find a broad range of prices and speaker types represented here, from lauded British hi-fi heroes such as Wharfedale, Mission, Spendor, Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Fyne, ATC and more. These stereo speakers also range from small desktop models such as the dinky Ruark MR1 Mk2 to the mighty (and mightily priced) PMC Fact Fenestria floorstanders.
What all these models have in common, apart from scoring five stars out of five for sound quality from What Hi-Fi?’s expert reviewers, is in each manufacturer’s loving attention to detail and the fine build quality on offer, not to mention some often innovative approaches to getting the best sound at the end of your music chain.
Classic kit, British tech and exciting new products
We continue our celebration of British hi-fi with a focus on British hi-fi brands' key innovations and the great hi-fi kit they've produced over the years. But as well as looking back fondly, we look forward to the most exciting British hi-fi products launching this year.
The best British rock songs to test your kit
The UK is not just renowned for its hi-fi genius – let's not forget the reason those hi-fi companies got up and running: the music. Britain has produced its fair share of enduring music, in particular at the rockier end of the musical spectrum. Here we pick out some great British rock tracks that are perfect for testing your system.
First with reviews
Our First Tests section is where you'll find our famously in-depth, impartial and expert reviews of the very latest AV and hi-fi kit.
This month we kick things off with the TA-AN1000, a home cinema amplifier from Sony that we had no hesitation in awarding five stars. Find out why in July's mag! We also had plenty of other products on our test benches this month. Audio-Technica's latest, and affordable, turntable the AT-LPW50BTRW impressed us with its rhythmic talents and likeable presentation. Apple's latest Apple TV 4K streamer, was also a five-star winner, while Grado's GW100x open-back wireless headphones were also a treat. Sony's XR-55A80L is a cracker of an OLED TV, and our team of expert reviewers also had their hands full with the FiiO M11S music player, and Sennheiser's IE200 in-ear wired headphones.
Find out what we thought of all these products in the July 2023 issue of What Hi-Fi?
If you've got deep pockets...
The Temptations section of What Hi-Fi? is where you'll find the very best high-end hi-fi and AV products.
This month we had the pleasure of some personal music listening in the company of some of the best over-ear headphones we've ever heard. The Yamaha YH-5000SE are mightily priced, but in our view "justify their high price with a depth of ability we haven't come across at this level before".
We also spent time in the company of Wilson Benesch's A.C.T. 3Zero floorstanders. For tonal balance, stereo imaging and detail resolution, we found them to be unbeatable – even at their lofty price point. Read more in July's 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 2022'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 July 2023 issue of What Hi-Fi?. Grab a copy today, or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!