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Best of the Week: Ultra HD Blu-ray, Qobuz Sublime, Q Acoustics 3050 review

This week was filled with news about high-res and Ultra HD as details emerged of 4K Blu-ray players going on sale as early as September, Qobuz launched its streaming and download subscription tier Sublime and Astell & Kern announced a new portable high-res audio player.

On the reviews front we have Q Acoustics' 3050 floorstanders, ATC's premium SCM19 loudspeakers and the brilliant Burmester 032 stereo amplifier.

Speaking of Germany, we were at the Munich High End show this week and you can keep up with the latest news on our dedicated highlights page.

MORE: Munich High-End Show 2015 highlights

MORE: The tech behind the great vinyl revival

MORE: What Hi-Fi? Deals of the Week


Ultra HD Blu-ray set for September launch, prices revealed

4K content is set to receive a boost with Ultra HD players set to for an unveiling in early September.

We've known for some time about the specs of the new players, but in an interview with What Hi-Fi?, Ron Martin - VP of Panasonic Hollywood - has gone a step further by saying he hopes to see Ultra HD players ready by IFA in September.

Martin also suggested that prices for players will demand a slight premium, while prices of the discs themselves are expected to be around the cost of a standard Blu-ray.

READ MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray set for September launch, prices revealed

EXCLUSIVE: Ultra HD Blu-ray explained - and why it can succeed - by the man behind the format

Qobuz launches Sublime service, teases high-res streaming

Qobuz's new subscription tier, Sublime, was unveiled earlier this week to customers in several countries with the promise of offering high-res downloads.

The service costs £220 a year and for that you get access Qobuz's CD-quality library of tracks and access to discounted 24-bit high-res downloads.

The French company also teased the appearance of high-res streaming in its press release. Could they be one of the first to market with high-res audio streaming?

MORE: Qobuz launches Sublime service, teases high-res streaming

READ MORE: Streaming revenue higher than download revenue for first time

Astell & Kern launches flagship AK380 high-res audio player

Astell & Kern has launched a new flagship high-res audio player, the AK380.

This one takes over from the AK240 (which we saw at CES 2014) and offers a number of new features and improvements.

Dual 32-bit DACs, advanced jitter reduction and a larger battery are all present, along with 256GB of onboard storage (which can be expanded) and native DSD playback.

It'll go on sale in June for £3000, so start saving up.

MORE: Astell & Kern launches flagship AK380 high-res audio player

READ MORE: PonoRevealer lets you compare AAC, MP3 and high-res tracks

More news

VPI launches Prime turntable with 3D printed tonearm

Sonos boosts Play:1 sound quality; cinema systems go wireless

JBL's new in-car audio concept is a Smart idea

Gramofon wireless streamer gets Qualcomm AllPlay update

Moon launches new 780D DAC/network player

Naim revamps its range of power amplifiers

Onkyo announces new CS-N765 micro system

Ministry of Sound unveils all-new audio range

Focal launches high-end Sopra range of speakers

Acoustic Energy Reference Series gets three new finishes

Dali unveils updated Menuet compact speakers

Onkyo TX-NR646 and '747 amps feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

NAD announces VISO HP30 on-ear headphones

Chord Electronics launches a new DAC called DAVE


"Powerful and assertive, the 3050s deliver a huge sense of scale"

"Powerful and assertive, the 3050s deliver a huge sense of scale"

Q Acoustics 3050

We had lots of kind words for Q Acoustics' 3020 standmounters a few weeks ago, and after testing the 3050s we're not inclined to stop the love-in.

The 3000 range is set to replace the well-regarded 2000i family of speakers, and based on what we've heard they're as good as their brilliant predecessors, if not better.

The 3050s offer that hugely likeable Q Acoustics sound that's refined, subtle and they don't scrimp on authority or transparency.

They'd give speakers twice their price a run for their money. A stellar pair of floorstanders.

READ MORE: Q Acoustics 3050 review

"Buy with confidence"

"Buy with confidence"


We're big fans of ATC's loudspeakers and the SCM19s are another impressive offering.

Expanding on the SCM11s, they have a bigger cabinet and incorporate a new tweeter (25mm). Run them in for a day or so and you'll notice up the scale and clarity of recordings, along with the speaker's impressive control over tone and dynamics.

They're honest speakers, ones that render our music in a hugely pleasing way. There are few better at this price.

Read the full ATC SCM19 review

"Every panel is precisely lined-up and each control feels like it is built to work for decades"

"Every panel is precisely lined-up and each control feels like it is built to work for decades"

Burmester 032

Burmester's 032 stereo amplifier is big, powerful and sounds every penny of its £12,380 price tag.

You'd expect nothing less from this high-end German manufacturer, and the 032 exudes quality in both build or performance.

Throw a complex track at it and the Burmester will sift through it with clarity, warmth and detail. In fact, throw any kind of music at it and the Burmester excels, exerting a minimum amount of fuss.

A truly superb amp.

Read the full Burmester 032 review

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Kob began his career at What Hi-Fi?, starting in the dusty stockroom before rising up the ranks to join the editorial and production team as the Buyer’s Guide editor. Experienced in both magazine and online publishing, he now runs the TV & audio section at Trusted Reviews where he keeps a beady eye on all the latest comings and goings in the hi-fi and home cinema market.