We’re all for a bit of a change around here. So, when better to take stock of your technological treasures than at the beginning of Spring? After all, if nature gets a refresh every 12 months, why shouldn’t your AV setup?
Home entertainment specialist Sevenoaks is the perfect place to start. Whether your TV’s beginning to look a little lacklustre in a world of 4K, or your dull speakers could do with an upgrade, the flurry of new arrivals in Sevenoaks’ warehouse of wonder has touched down just in time for the summer.
Highlights? You got it.
Q Acoustics 3000i Speakers
Redesigning your soundstage? The Q Acoustics 3000i range covers you in sound from every angle. Its bookshelf speakers – either the 3010i or the slightly larger 3020i – are an absolute bargain, with a pair starting at just £199. Meanwhile, the 3050i floorstanders have a pair of 16.5cm mid/bass drivers plus a 25mm tweeter that produce a refined sound with plenty of body. They’re nearly impossible to beat at just £649 a pair. You can complement your new stereo speakers with Q Acoustics’ 3060S subwoofer (£329) and its 3090Ci centre speaker (£169). Indeed, a complete 3000 series "cinema pack" won a coveted five star What Hi-Fi? review back in 2015.
Monitor Audio Studio Speakers
Give your amplifier the speakers it deserves with Monitor Audio’s high-end Studio speakers (£999). Sure, they look cool, with their open design drawing attention to the the four-inch drivers, but it's when you start listening to them that they become worth every penny. A micro-pleated diaphragm transducer helps produce lifelike, gorgeously defined sound with ultra-low distortion, making these an excellent set of speakers for those that value detail.
NAD C 538 CD Player
When was the last time you overhauled your hi-fi separates? Now is a great time to do it. The NAD C 538 CD player (£249) is money well-spent for any audiophile with a big CD collection. Smart engineering has been employed throughout, making the 538 one of the most well-built CD players around. A 24-bit Wolfson DAC means music is well-treated once it’s been read from the disc, while cleverly-arranged, multi-layer PCBs make for short signal paths for less distortion.
Pro-Ject Debut III S Audiophile Turntable
You’re allowed to be sceptical – any product with the word “Audiophile” in its name deserves the most furrowed of brows. But the Pro-Ject Debut III S (£325) is a turntable of rare quality. Its snaking, S-shaped arm gives it a vintage look deserving of any vinyl collection, while its included Ortofon Pick-IT 25 A cartridge makes for warm, harmonic sound.
LG OLED55C8PLA 55” OLED TV
Sevenoaks might be traditional audio specialists, but 2018 is all about 4K TV. Thankfully, it's got you covered there as well. The LG OLED55C8PLA (£2,999) is a 55-inch OLED TV featuring LG's new A9 processor, which is optimised for OLED and Cinema HDR. Elsewhere, support for Dolby Atmos means that even the most ambitious of home cinema sound setups is supported. There's plenty of wow factor even when the TV is off – look at it from the side and marvel at its barely-there profile.
Samsung QE65Q9FN 65” LED TV
When Samsung says “flagship TV” it’s worth paying attention. Capable of displaying over a billion colours, the Samsung QE65Q9FN is a HDR-capable 4K TV (£3,799) packed with features. Of particular note is the "Near-Invisible" cable, which is an ingenious solution to the rats' nest of cables that commonly cascade from the back of TV sets. Meanwhile the Premium One Remote control allows you to consign your collection of remotes to the deep. But it's the picture quality that counts. Q Contrast Elite tech makes for deep, dark blacks and rich, vibrant colour.
Sony KD-55AF8 55” OLED TV
If you’re not already invested in OLED, it's time to make the jump. For years the preserve of only the highest-of-end home cinemas, large-format OLED TVs are finally affordable. Case in point: Sony’s KD-55AF8 (£2,499). Limitlessly dark blacks are matched by the KD-55AF's incredible colour palette, which is powered by Sony’s X1 Extreme Processor, providing compatibility with HDR source material as well as market-leading upscaling for non 4K content.
Sony KD-65XF9005 65” LED TV
Powered by the same X1 Extreme Processor as its OLED model above, the KD-65XF9005 (£2,299) is a veritable cinema screen in a box – 65 glorious diagonal inches of 4K entertainment as only Sony can do it. There’s all kinds of ingenious technology behind the scenes. 4K X-Reality PRO allows for real-time 4K upscaling, with images refined and sharpened on the fly to provide a perfect picture whatever the source material.