Network music streaming continues to be a convenient way for many of us to listen to music at home, and its appeal is clear to see. With access to millions of digital files at the tap of a touchscreen and CD-quality sound or better on offer from hi-res subscription services like Qobuz Sublime or Tidal Master, streaming is a remarkably slick way of playing music and this month’s Group Test looks at six low-cost network audio navigators to get you started.

Despite streaming being a thoroughly modern way to listen to music, physical formats continue to play on in many systems, with vinyl being by far the most popular for readers to get their music listening kicks, judging by the number of votes that it received in our recent twitter poll asking: “What is your favourite music format?”. It seems that we’re a diverse bunch when it comes to ways to listen, but for those looking for something that combines both worlds, check out Yamaha’s MusicCast Vinyl 500. It promises to bring vinyl and network streaming together in one very neat solution.

Finally, with just a month to go until the Hi-Fi Show Live 2018 gets underway at the Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor for the sixth consecutive year, there’s just enough space to reveal that next year’s event will move to Royal Ascot and runs from 9-10 November 2019.


Inside the November issue: Falcon Acoustics’ RAM Studio 30 floorstander, Sennheiser’s HD 820 high-end closed-back headphone, Vincent’s SV-500 integrated amplifier/DAC, ELAC’s Debut B6.2 two-way standmount loudspeaker, YBA’s Genesis PH1 MM/MC battery-powered phono stage, Acoustic Energy’s AE309 £1,000 floorstander and Pro-Ject’s Primary E turntable. Plus, Music Legends celebrates the music of the Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin and Insider talks to audio icon Ken Ishiwata about 40 years of hi-fi design at Marantz. Group Test looks at six entry-level network music players from: Auralic, Mitchell & Johnson, Raumfeld, Sonos, Tibo and Yamaha.


Lee Dunkley, editor