Don't fancy an outdoor gig in this weather? Too much on to catch a flick at the cinema? So busy recovering from half-term that you've not listened to your music system in days? Well, maybe it's time to invest a little time into self-care, which, if you're a music lover, will invariably mean a bit of hi-fi and home cinema therapy.
The latest issue of What Hi-Fi? is your ticket to a few minutes of time out – if a few moments is all you have, we promise to make every one of them count.
Out today in print and in digital form, our new April issue will ensure you reap the benefits of spending a bit of time with us and are able to apply that knowledge to your hi-fi and home cinema set-up.
In the driving seat
This seven-strong line-up of standmounts represents the sweet spot in the stereo loudspeaker market: sublime sound and an asking price that needn't mean a quiet, solemn word with your bank manager.
With prices in our round-up ranging from £300 to £650, you can pick a set that best suits. They have been weighed, they have been measured, and they have been given a What Hi-Fi? star rating under intense review conditions.
Our Award-winning Product of the Year, the excellent Bowers & Wilkins 606, gets our nod for the best of the bunch, but what if you want something a little different in your life; something quirky but still sonically stellar?
Six other splendid standmounters from Dali, Monitor Audio, Mission, Fyne Audio, KEF and Dynaudio are included here. Who knows, maybe you'll end up booking one of our favourites in for a test drive.
The product: integrated amplifiers. The budget: £3000. The positive: all of your amplification – both pre and power – housed in one sleek little box.
The trio we've put through their paces here are all hands-down five-star performers. You could possibly find better, but you'd either have to double your outlay or ditch the attractive one-box aesthetic.
So, what did we like most about each model? The answer is within the pages of our group test feature.
Flying in a Blu Dream
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are all very well, but what if you want to see and hear all of the trimmings? We're talking deleted scenes, bloopers, alternate endings and commentary in UHD, HDR, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X – without any bandwidth or buffering issues and a superior picture and sound quality than the equivalent 4K stream.
For this, you'll need a 4K Blu-ray disc and a decent disc spinner to play it on. Enter two models from Sony, two from Panasonic and one from Pioneer. Know their names now and be ready to swoop in when the best deals land.
The joy of six
Thanks to some smart advertising, JOMO ('joy of missing out') is now a thing. So, if you're serious about staying in (and ensuring that missing out remains a thing of joy) you might want to consider welcoming one of these six-strong speaker packages into your home.
The four cinematic speaker sets in this feature have been given a grilling by the What Hi-Fi? team, and our star ratings are nothing if not meticulously thorough. The prices here are similar too, ranging from £1349 (for the Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack) to £1699 (for the Dali Oberon 5 5.1 Speaker Package).
If you've got grand designs for a top home cinema, do the right thing: read this group test first.
Remember, you saw it here first
As box-fresh products wash up on the golden sands of the beach we know only as hi-fi, we want you to know about them and crucially, we want you to know whether they're worthy of your money.
And lo! At the front of every issue of What Hi-Fi? you'll find our First Tests section – our brutally honest in-depth reviews of new kit fresh on the market.
We've put Linn's first (and only) wireless speaker through its paces, as well as a new Philips OLED TV, a Chord Electronics phono stage, Kanto Audio powered speakers and a Cambridge Audio CD player – and that's just for starters.
And now ladies and gentlemen, the Temptations!
We're not suggesting you head out and spend just under £8k on Mark Levinson's integrated amp, nor nearly £3k on Astell & Kern's stunning A&ultima SP2000 – although if you simply must after reading about them, we support your decision wholeheartedly (albeit with a modicum of jealousy).
The beauty of our Temptations section is that we've had access to each product for a substantial period of time, and we'll let you know whether each is actually worth the significant asking price.
Even if a purchase is out of the question, you'll get detailed, impartial information on the product's merits. To top it all off, there's no commitment and no hard sell. As Paul Rodgers once sang: "All right now, baby it's all right now."
That's not all, folks
On top of all this, our KEF Heritage Museum feature delivers a slice of pure Kentish hi-fi history. You'll also learn which five products drew our gaze in our regular Top Five monthly feature, and of course there's our extensive and regularly-updated Buyer's Guide: a definitive and unparalleled guide to the best hi-fi kit your money can buy.
So, grab a snack, jump under a blanket and revel in the joy of reading our latest issue. Because, if you've got your copy of What Hi-Fi? close by, you can't go far wrong.