Hereby Which Hi-Fi? we spend a lot of time trying to give you the best value for your money. Faithful readers will also know that for the very best sound, we’ve recommended using individual parts to assemble a hi-fi system – specialized parts to run every essential part of the music recreation chain, from source, through amplification to speakers.
However, we also know that many people have neither the space nor the inclination to put a lot of volume in their living room with six or seven speakers – no matter how great they sound. Not to mention the cost of such a setup.
Now, with impressive advances in technology, the gap between individual devices and a good all-in-one or just-add-speaker system is now relatively small – and in February 2023 Which Hi-Fi? we’re highlighting five of each that are great value and give great sound.
Also, don’t miss our feature on home theater systems that take our recent 2022 Award winners as a starting point. All blockbusters… Read this and more in this month Which Hi-Fi? magazine.
And as usual, we also have reviews of the very latest hi-fi and AV products in our First tests section.
You can subscribe or buy the latest issue here (opens in new tab)or buy the digital edition iPhone, iPad (opens in new tab), Android devices or Kindle Edition (opens in new tab).
Less boxes, great sound
Simplify. Streamline. Tidy. These are the buzzwords of our time as so many of us try to find a clear path through the complexities and consumables of 21st century life. And they also have their place when choosing a hi-fi system.
All-in-one music systems have been around in some form since Thomas Edison first flipped the handle on his prototype phonograph, but only recently has the principle of add-only speakers from source equipment led to the high-performance one-box streaming systems available today.
Of course, individual parts still have their place in the streaming world, but for those who want to keep their Hi-Fi set up neat and discreet – or who are short on space – it’s tempting to install a single unit that can handle all their streaming needs. option. And the market is also varied, offering equipment with very different functions and designs.
To help you find the one-box unit that’s right for you, we’ve rounded up five of the best products between £800 and £1800, all of which stream high-resolution music from multiple streaming services (as well as other sources) and have their built-in amplifiers.
You don’t have to limit yourself to streaming your music either, because each of our quintet has a range of inputs so that you can also connect other sources (such as a CD player). So all you have to do is add your favorite pair of speakers, choose your favorite armchair and enjoy your favorite piece of music.
And we’re not done there yet. If your space is really limited, or you just want a system that fits neatly on your desk or a bookshelf, we’ve also rounded up our favorite small systems for a variety of budgets and that range in size from dinky to, er, slightly smaller from format.
Sure, these systems are small. But, as they say, size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it that matters.
You don’t need to tell us that emptying your bank account to buy a television or projector is rather a waste of money if you don’t have great sound to match the beautiful pictures.
That’s why it makes perfect sense to boost the sound quality of your video source, with a soundbar or a full home theater system.
The question is; which products work best together? And what about the budget? That’s where we come in. We thought now would be a good time to put together a collection of systems – four in all – based on the latest Which Hi-Fi? Award-winning AV equipment. In that of February Which Hi-Fi?can we reveal the results of our mix-and-match deliberations as we bring you four great AV systems, from a modestly priced soundbar combo to a ‘dream’ surround sound setup for those with the right money to spend .
Scary monsters, super sound
While the nostalgia of mono audio and grainy visuals may be part of the appeal of the horror genre’s history, it pays to see today’s horror movies look and sound their best. After all, why wouldn’t you really want to feel like you’re in an old creepy haunted house? With the lights off… stood in silence… waiting for a killer to strike?
And two of the things that are central to achieving that sense of involvement are the music and the sound effects. We’ve rounded up 14 (because 13 would have just been too meta) of the best horror movies with soundtracks that are absolutely sure to send shivers down your spine – and give your surround sound system a run for its money.
First with reviews
New year, more awesome gear. Us First tests In this section you will find our renowned in-depth, unbiased and expert reviews of the very latest AV and hi-fi kit.
To start with, we look at Sony’s super OLED TV, the XR-55A80K. Clean, pure detail and texture reproduction is just the beginning of what this five-star television can do. Read more in this month’s magazine!
Sennheiser’s Ambeo soundbar has been a longtime favorite of ours, and while the original Ambeo has been rebranded as Max, Sennheiser has also released a newer version called the Ambeo Soundbar Plus. It commands the room with a wide and immersive sound that earned it five stars this month.
Røde is better known in the pro-audio world, but the Aussie-branded NTH-100 is aimed at the home headphone market, and they’re a lot better – proof that wired headphones are still a great option if you want premium sound quality.
We also had Razer’s Barracuda Pro gaming headset and Chord Company’s Clearway Analogue RCA (2022) to test, as well as Philips’ 65PUS8807 – the company’s choice of its range to be referred to as ‘The One’. Is it as good as Philips thinks? Discover it this month! Finally, the Elac Debut ConneX DCB41 is a compact system that makes a huge impression.
Learn more about all these products in February 2023 Which Hi-Fi? matter.
The best (a lot of) money money can buy
Our Temptations section of Which Hi-Fi? here you will find high-end hi-fi and AV products with a suitable price tag.
This month we take a look at a pair of opulent standmounters from Triangle – the Magellan Duetto 40th. They cost a pretty penny, but as we found out, “These are exciting forefoot performers that grab the listener and put them straight into the action.” Read more in February What hi-fi?
However, that’s not all. Chord’s Ultima Pre 3 and Ultima 6 combination pre and power amps are also getting a run out this month. The effortless way this pairing goes out of the way to let us focus on the music is something that, should you be lucky enough to spend the £13K on it, would be worth every penny.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Buyer’s Guidewith a definitive list of the best home entertainment kits money can buy, including the 2022 winners Which Hi-Fi? Awards. If you’re looking to buy anything from a pair of wireless headphones to a home theater speaker system, find out where to spend your money wisely in this section.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the February 2023 issue of Which hi-fi?. Grab a copy today or simply download it on your tablet or smartphone. Enjoying!
You can subscribe or buy the latest issue here (opens in new tab)or buy the digital edition iPhone, iPad (opens in new tab), Android devices or Kindle Edition (opens in new tab)