If music be the food of love, play on. Okay, if the Bard had lived through 2020 and into 2021 he might well have tweaked the ending to "stay in and enjoy it", but the fact remains: music is the thing to turn to right now. As such, it's the ideal time to make a few upgrades to your musical apparatus and have it sounding its best, whatever your budget.
How does one become properly educated on all things hi-fi and AV? We humbly suggest a cup of something warm (or a flute of something bubbly, if you're in the mood) and a copy of the latest issue of What Hi-Fi? magazine.
Want the bite-sized skinny? The March issue of What Hi-Fi? – on sale on newsstands today – features a head-to-head between the two best turntables you can buy for £500, a three-strong flagship smartphone group test between Sony, Apple and Samsung, a trio of top home cinema set-ups including basic, mid-range and premium price-points, the best new hi-fi and AV kit we saw at CES 2021, the lowdown on a premium VPI deck and PMC floorstanding speakers in our regular Temptations section, plus reviews of seven huge hitters in our extensive First Tests slot.
Two turntables (and a microphone)
What if you have precisely £500 to splurge on a new vinyl-spinner? We'd nudge you towards one of these two splendid turntables: the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo and the Rega Planar 2. That's all well and good, but since there's only £50 in it, which model is best for you? That's why you need this in-depth feature.
We’ve gone the extra mile and done the tough comparisons so that when you select one of these top decks, you'll know it inside out long before you set it down on your chosen hi-fi rack.
There's nothing quite like cosy nights in front of the TV, eagerly gorging through the latest box-sets, dramas and movies, to have you thinking that perhaps your audio-visual kit could do with an overhaul.
That's why we've put together three big-screen AV systems at various price points. After all, home entertainment is pretty much the only kind of entertainment we can enjoy right now, so whether you have just over £2K all-in, or could stretch to somewhere nearer £10K, there's a complete home cinema set-up here for you. We didn't include the popcorn, so best budget for that too...
We aim to give you the bottom line on new hi-fi and audio-visual products as and when they hit the shelves. Our First Tests section is where you'll find them: detailed, independent reviews noteworthy kit entering the hi-fi or home cinema sector.
This month, you'll get no fewer than seven of these no holds barred, star-rated reports, including the follow-up to Cambridge Audio's Award-winning Melomania 1 headphones, Panasonic's high-end LCD TV, a bijou Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speaker, Moon's entry-level phono stage, Bowers & Wilkins' 607 S2 Anniversary Edition standmount speakers and of course, Apple's AirPods Max over-ears.
CES 2021: the highs
Our Insider feature this month is a deep dive into the nine most innovative products seen at CES 2021, the consumer electronics extravaganza regularly held in Las Vegas but which was, for obvious reasons, staged as an online-only marathon this year.
CES is traditionally a soapbox for futuristic and far-out concepts, such as Sony's Airpeak drone or Samsung's butler robot, but it's also a reliable launchpad for the next-generation technology coming to our homes. It's no surprise that TVs hogged the limelight, with LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and TCL all revealing brand new TV technologies and models – but that's far from the end of the story...
Time for temptation
This month, our Temptations section features PMC's Twenty5 23i: a pair of premium floorstanders. Yes, they're expensive, but that's the beauty of this section – you can learn about extravagant products safe in the knowledge that you're under no obligation to order.
Also in this section, we go 12 rounds with VPI's Prime 21+ – a £6500 turntable. Yes, it's quite a premium plate-spinner, but why not treat yourself to a read?
On top of all this, you'll also get our Insider Top Five (the definitive hi-fi or home cinema products that need to be on your radar this month), three flagship smartphones – Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Sony Xperia 1 II – in a head-to-head group test (and yes, we've picked a winner), our pick of the nine best hip-hop albums to test your system and don’t forget our extensive and regularly-updated guide to the best home entertainment your money can buy, our Buyer's Guide.
Remember: don't click 'check out now' – no matter how big the discount – unless you've consulted What Hi-Fi?'s extensive back catalogue of reviews, buying guides and deals pages. We're here for you!