When is a five-star product not a five-star product? When it’s married to other kit that doesn’t allow it to shine.
But falling into this classic hi-fi trap is no joke. We’ve seen it all before… read through the pages of What Hi-Fi?, pick the five-star products that meet your budget – only to be disappointed when you get your kit home.
Thankfully, the December issue of What Hi-Fi?, out on the newsstands today, will point you in the right direction. In our special systems issue, we’ve put together seven systems that will truly sing, from turntables and streaming, to home cinema and even a mobile system for when you’re out and about. Follow our advice and you won’t go far wrong.
Also in this issue, we round up our favourite standmount speakers for under £500. There are some absolute belters in this line-up you won’t want to miss.
It might work for the top TV chefs, but in hi-fi you can’t just throw any ingredients together and expect them to work. That is especially true when looking to create your own system.
Even class-leading products can be delicate characters, with boundless potential to shine, but also a tendency to have their talents overshadowed by an ill-suited partner.
The seven systems we’ve put together are soul mates, producing something better than the sum of their parts. Starting with portable audio, we explore budget and premium options for systems including streamers, turntables and TVs. If you’re in the market for a new set-up, we have you covered.
Also in our December issue, we round up six of our favourite pairs of budget standmount speakers. There are some absolute belters in the line-up – from the Award-winning Dali Spektor 2, Monitor Audio Bronze 2 and 2017 Product of the Year KEF Q350 to pairs from Q Acoustics, Dynaudio and Mission. They’re all available for under £500 – so get auditioning.
Don’t miss our 8K TV hands-on with Samsung’s Q900R QLED television, as we grab some time with the first commercially available 8K TV at IFA 2018.
If you’re still unconvinced by the merits of 8K (or simply don’t know what it is) then read our handy 8K TV: everything you need to know feature – you’ll soon be up to speed with the latest development in TV technology.
There are plenty more products on review in the December issue’s First Tests section, including the Bluesound Generation 2i multi-room system. Our verdict? We won’t reveal all here, but we did say there are “class leaders within this family”.
We also test the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone, and two pairs of headphones, the Klipsch R6i IIs and the Fender Puresonic Wirelesses.
There’s also a Sony KD-65AF9 television, the Panasonic DP-UB9000 4K Blu-ray player and a pair of amps – the Audiolab 6000A stereo amp and Denon AVC-X3500H home cinema amp.
And finally, there’s the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 wireless speaker, plus the Astell & Kern A&norma SR15, an affordable portable music player we called an “appealing all-rounder”. Read the December issue to find out more.
In Temptations this month, we review the Devialet Expert Pro 140 (“there really is nothing else like it on the market”) and the Dynaudio Contour 20 speakers. That’s nearly £9k worth of kit, so you’d best add them to your Christmas list.
There’s also a feature on top turntable brands and their debut decks, and for anyone into jazz, we list the best jazz tracks to test your system.
Plus: our handy Buyer's Guide featuring a run-down of all the latest kit. And don’t miss our special offer – a pair of SoundMagic E10 headphones, worth £36 – when you subscribe to What Hi-Fi?
The December issue is not to be missed. So grab a copy of What Hi-Fi? from your local newsagents today. Or simply download it onto your tablet or smartphone. Enjoy!