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CEDIA 2019: DENVER TECH SHOW PREVIEW

S W S E IN! L E R I W E TH ISSUE Turntables Systems Amps DACs Speakers and more…

True hi-fi sound without the cables…

REVIEWED 99 £5

Denon’s new AV amp

Elac Debut 2.0 surround True package wireless in-ears from Sony

B&W’s stunning Formation Duo worth £3499!

IKEA’S NEW SONOS SPEAKER:

under £100

PLUS OUR TOP 10 MUSIC INTERNET RADIO STATIONS


CONTENTS 06

FIRST TESTS

A Denon amp, BenQ projector, Pro-Ject deck, Ortofon cartridge… and more!

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INSIDER

A preview of what to expect at the CEDIA EXPO tech show in Denver

THE WIRELESS ISSUE!

28 INSIDER

Five products we think you’ll like this month

30 TURNTABLES 38 HEADPHONES 44 DACS 48 AMPLIFIERS 54 SPEAKERS 62 RADIOS 68

TWO-BOX SYSTEMS Much

more than just a pair of speakers

Six of the best Bluetooth turntables around Our pick of the best wireless in-ear headphones

Even these hi-fi stalwarts have had a Bluetooth makeover

These amps can be the hub of a wireless system

Let your tunes off the leash with a wireless speaker Bluetooth breathes new life into the good old wireless

WORTH

£69.99

SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE! Native Union Eclipse 3-Way USB Charger

FREE when you subscribe. See page 24

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THIS MONTH WE GIVE THE DEFINITIVE WORD ON THESE PRODUCTS

WIN!

WORTH

£3499!

76 WIN A PAIR OF

B&W’S STUNNING FORMATION DUO SPEAKERS

60

58 70 6 57 59 56

CARTRIDGES Ortofon Quintet Blue

10

DACs Audiolab M-DAC nano Chord Hugo 2 Chord Hugo TT 2 iFi xDSD

50 52 53 51

HEADPHONES Apple AirPods Bose Soundsport Free Bose Soundsport Wireless Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 RHA TrueConnect Sennheiser CX Sport Sennheiser Momentum Free Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Sony WF-1000X Sony WF-1000XM3 SoundMagic E11BT

ADD A STREAMER

Hi-res streaming is here, and we show you how to add it to your existing system

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TEMPTATIONS

These ATC SCM50 speakers prove that great engineering doesn’t date

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AMPLIFIERS Audiolab 6000A Copland CTA408 Denon AVR-X2600 NAD D 3020 v2 Roksan Blak Yamaha R-S202D

TEMPTATIONS

Copland’s CTA408 – £6K worth of integrated amplifier from Denmark

BUYER’S GUIDE

FIND THE BEST KIT AROUND, FAST!

Every product worth owning. Starting on page 77

46 47 45 45 45 44 46 47 46 22, 47 44

HI-FI SYSTEMS Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo KEF LS50 Wireless KEF LSX Piega Premium Wireless 301 Totem Acoustic Kin Play

37 36 32 35 33

PROJECTORS BenQ W2700

16

RADIOS Geneva Touring S+ Pure Evoke H2 Pure Move T4 Roberts Revival iStream 3 Revo SuperConnect

69 68 68 69 69

SOUNDBARS LG SL9YG

14

SPEAKER PACKAGES Elac Debut 2.0 5.1 HT

12

STEREO SPEAKERS Wharfedale D330 ATC SCM50

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TURNTABLES Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT Cambridge Audio Alva TT Elipson Omega 100 RIAA BT Pro-Ject Juke Box E Pro-Ject T1 Sony PS-LX310BT

39 43 42 41 8 40

WIRELESS SPEAKERS Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) Apple HomePod AudioPro Addon C10 AudioPro Drumfire JBL Xtreme2 Naim Mu-so 2 Sonos/IKEA Symfonisk (bookshelf) Sonos One Tivoli Andiamo UE Megaboom 3 UE Wonderboom 2

63 66 66 67 65 67 20 65 64 64 63

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T W O - B OX SYS T E M S

End of their tether Where’s the music coming from? These two-box systems can do it all on their own

View online review whf.cm/LSX

KEF LSX (page 32)

View online review whf.cm/KinPlay

Totem Acoustic KIN Play (page 33)

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T W O - B OX SYS T E M S

Y

ou can remove the cables from just about any audio component these days, as this issue of What Hi-Fi? proves. But there is still something mightily impressive about a pair of stereo speakers that are not only wireless, but have everything you need built right into the cabinets. This quintet of two-box wireless systems has various feature sets, and while you can still connect them to traditional components, such as a turntable or CD player, you can now stream directly to their speakers and still expect true hi-fi sound. They don’t come particularly cheap – you’ll need a grand spare in your bank account to take home even our most budget recommendations, the KEF

LSX or Totem Acoustic KIN Play, and more for a decent pair of speaker stands – but the idea is that the best of these products can at minimum compare with a system of separates. It’s becoming a more popular solution, too: the four pairs of speakers that here accompany the KEF LS50 Wireless have all been released since that then truly innovative product was the first entrant into our Hall of Fame at the 2017 What Hi-Fi? Awards. That isn’t to say hi-fi separates are dead, but the bar has already been set high for technology that only a few years ago seemed like science fiction. Whether or not you’re ready to cut your system loose, we’d recommend trying a few of these out for a truly optimistic vision of where hi-fi is headed.

View online review whf.cm/FormationDuo

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo (page 37)

View online review whf.cm/PremiumWireless301

Piega Premium Wireless 301 (page 35)

View online review whf.cm/LS50Wireless

KEF LS50 Wireless (page 36)

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Wedding of the centuries These five decks have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

W

hile it's often said that opposites attract, we can’t blame you if you’d written off the marriage of technologies in a Bluetooth turntable – this is a relationship with an age gap of more than 100 years, after all. But in many ways, it makes complete sense. As vinyl sales continue to dwarf other physical media, your deck should represent this brave new world. There are numerous ways to listen to music in 2019, so that should be reflected in the ways your source can communicate. These five record players possess a range of talents, from the entry-level Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT, whose

fuss-free nature and fully automatic functionality facilitates an almost plug-in-and-play wireless system, to the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth deck in Cambridge Audio’s premium Alva TT. It isn’t all a one-way street. So taken were we when testing Pro-Ject’s Juke Box E, we created a new category for last year’s What Hi-Fi? Awards to celebrate it as a turntable system. With not only the phono stage, but a fully functioning amplifier built inside, you can actually send music to it via Bluetooth and have it sung by whichever speakers you’ve decided to partner with it. If you’d written off Bluetooth turntables as something of a fad, then take these five picks out for a spin.

CONTENTS Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT (page 39) Sony PS-LX310BT (page 40) Pro-Ject Juke Box E (page 41)

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Elipson Omega 100 RIAA BT (page 42) Cambridge Audio Alva TT (page 43)


WIRELESS DACS

Conversion therapy Even DACs, once the preserve of the true hi-fi enthusiast, are getting the wireless treatment, and the future is looking extremely bright

Y

ou don't spend money on an outboard digital-to-analogue converter if sonic performance is not your primary concern. But that needn’t mean convenience is ignored, nor that it is only wired sources deserving of that acoustic polish. The four we’ve picked here offer a range of solutions at varying price points. There’s the truly portable Audiolab M-DAC Nano, the palm-sized dimensions of which make it ideal for those wishing to boost the sound of their phone or laptop, with a tempting price tag that is somewhat at odds with its sonic prowess. The iFi xDSD is not quite so diminutive, resembling a corrugated hip flask, but makes the step up in terms of performance and boasts an

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admirable wealth of supported file types for its mid-range price point. And we get serious with Chord’s Hugo 2 and Hugo TT2. The cost is little short of eye watering, but you get an astonishingly high-end performance that reflects every one of the thousands of pounds you’ll be spending. In short, these four small boxes can make huge changes to the way your system sounds, no strings attached.


WIRELESS DACS

CONTENTS View online review whf.cm/M-DACnano

Audiolab M-DAC nano (page 50)

View online review whf.cm/xDSD

iFi xDSD (page 51)

View online review whf.cm/Hugo2

Chord Hugo 2 (page 52)

View online review whf.cm/HugoTT2

Chord Hugo TT 2 (page 53)

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AMPLIFIERS ROUND-UP

Best of both worlds

These four stereo amps take what’s best about traditional hi-fi and bring it into the 21st century

T

he amplifier remains at the heart of any traditional hi-fi set-up, but that isn’t to say time must stand still. Nor does it mean the convenience of wireless technology has to replace what’s great about the old school: the tactility of a weighted dial, the range of physical connections and, most importantly, great sound. Rather than deal in fundamental changes, this quartet of class-leading amplifiers builds on the component’s decades of success, bringing it forward to the current era of smartphones and streaming. That extra functionality needn’t mean breaking the bank, either. The first amp in our list, Yamaha’s R-S202D, will give you change from a budget of £200. It’s a timeless design, built to the kind of

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standard you’d feel more than pleased with much higher up the market, and has a DAB tuner built in alongside its Bluetooth connectivity. Not that you have to hide the fact you’re modernising your system, as the NAD D 3020 V2 proves with its ultra-sleek vertical design. To some it may appear as style over substance, but that preconception is soon proved wrong after only a few moments of listening. Our other mid-range selection, the Audiolab 6000A, builds on that again with an even clearer, perhaps more mature sound, which could entice you to push your budget a little further, while the group is completed by a true temptation component in Roksan’s Blak integrated amp. Proof, if needed, that even high-end audio doesn’t always require cables.


AMPLIFIERS ROUND-UP

View online review whf.cm/6000A

Audiolab 6000A (page 58)

View online review whf.cm/R-S202D

Yamaha R-S202D (page 56)

View online review whf.cm/Blak

Roksan Blak integrated amplifier (page 59)

View online review whf.cm/D3020V2

NAD D 3020 V2 (page 57)

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WIRELESS SPEAKERS ROUND-UP

RELEASE THE SOUNDS You can let your tunes off the leash with these ten class-leading one-box speakers

W

ireless speakers are like opinions: everyone has one and only a few are worth listening to. But when you hear a good one, it can change your perspective. It doesn’t necessarily matter how much you’re willing to spend, either. Musicality is not the preserve of wireless speakers costing three or even four figures. We’re now reaching the point where the very best can push a comparatively priced system of separates. The ten boxes here cover those bases pretty comprehensively, from Amazon’s Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – a snip at £50 for truly smart speaker – to

the new Naim Mu-so, successor to the company’s premium multi-Award winner. Price isn’t the only variable covered here, though. We have portables, ideal for taking with you on your travels, and those you can slot neatly into a class-leading multi-room network. There are small ones, medium-sized and big ones – and, in the case of Audio Pro’s Drumfire, a veritable behemoth – and more than one option to be controlled with your voice. You’ll know the brands, you’ll probably have heard of the products, but these are among the best wireless products currently on the market.

CONTENTS Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen) (page 63) Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 (page 63) UE Megaboom 3 (page 64) Tivoli Andiamo (page 64) JBL Xtreme 2 (page 65)

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Sonos One (page 65) Audio Pro Addon C10 (page 66) Apple HomePod (page 66) AudioPro Drumfire (page 67) Naim Mu-so 2 (page 67)


9000

BUYER’S GUIDE

BUYER’S GUIDE The definitive guide to the best home-entertainment kit you can buy From 65in 4K TVs to turntables, and from portable Bluetooth speakers to Dolby Atmos surround sound packages, here’s where you’ll find the perfect hi-fi and AV product, fast. NEW ENTRIES THIS MONTH Some cracking new kit comes in to the Buyer’s Guide this month, including another AV-amp winner from Denon, Elac’s excellent Debut 2 5.2 surround-sound speaker package, and a rather fine moving-coil cartridge from Ortofon.

Elac Debut 2 5.2, p109 You’ll be hard pushed to find better at the price

NOW WITH THE BEST BUYS IN EVERY CATEGORY HI-FI Stereo amplifiers Pre- & power amplifiers CD players & transports DACs Music streamers Radios Stereo speakers Systems Multi-room systems Turntables Wireless speakers

85 86 87 88 90 91 94 98 100 100 102

HOME CINEMA Blu-ray players Home cinema amplifiers Projectors Set-top boxes Soundbars & soundbases Speaker packages Video streamers Televisions

105 105 106 107 107 108 109 110

PORTABLE Headphones Portable music players Smartphones Streaming apps & services Tablets

112 117 118 119 119

ACCESSORIES Analogue interconnects AV & hi-fi racks Cartridges Headphone amplifiers Mains products Phono stages Speaker cables Speaker stands

120 120 121 121 121 122 123 124

WHAT IS 8K? Everything you need to know, and some things that are simply interesting, about the latest TV technology: 8K. Turn to p110.

Denon AVR-X2500, p106 Denon does it yet again with its £600 AV amplifier

AMAZON PRIME TIPS Amazon Prime is one of the big hitters of the video-streaming world – and getting bigger day by day. It’s worth picking up some navigational tips and tricks; so we enlighten you on p118.

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