It is British Hello-Fi Week right here on What HiFi?, so what higher excuse to give you an exquisite system comprising the perfect of British parts? The set-up now we have right here is completely 2023, embracing because it does the double joys of streaming and vinyl in a single neat system. And, for the value of a (respectable) all-in-one system, you may benefit from the undoubted advantages of getting specialist bits of package doing what they do finest, and offering a sound that’s unmatched on the value.
music streamers: Audiolab 6000N Play (£449/$600/AU$999)
Turntable: Rega Planar 2 (£499/$775/AU$999)
Built-in amplifier: Rega iO (£420/$725/AU$949)
Stereo audio system: Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 (£249/$399/AU$699)
Complete: £1617 / $2499 / AU$3646
The enjoyment of choosing merchandise for a top-value system comprising British package alone is the sheer quantity of alternative that that ‘restriction’ brings. After all, that very profit brings about some critical choice complications. Which stellar performers to go away on the bench for the ultimate? “What?” we hear you cry, “Regardless of their years of sterling service? Harsh…”
Properly, maybe. However such choices should be made, and once we have a look at the package that makes the reduce, we won’t consider many merchandise we might fairly have in every place, British or not.
Right here, then, we current our first group representatives for an all-round terrific-value better of British streaming and vinyl stereo system. It could do the UK proud in a World Cup of hi-fi, of that now we have little doubt.
Music streamer: Audiolab 6000N Play
First up is the award-winning Audiolab 6000N Play streamer. having DTS’s Play-Fi Hello-res, multi-room platform at its software program core signifies that when linked to a community via ethernet or its dual-band wi-fi, the 6000N Play can entry companies akin to Spotify Join, TidalHD tracks, deezer, Qobuz, Amazon MusicNapster, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM.
It additionally means it might stream hi-res music Recordsdata as much as 24-bit/192kHz from networked servers, due to DLNA and UPnP compliance. In different phrases, it covers a lot of the bases for the trendy world of digital music streaming. There are digital and analogue outputs, the latter of which will be plugged into Rega’s io amplifier (under) on this system.
The Audiolab is an insightful and involving pay attention, with nice readability, openness and a down-the-middle tonal steadiness that retains us agreeably entertained. It reveals a wide-open canvas, coloring it with well-imaged element lavished with a welcome quantity of subtlety and area. It has perception right into a monitor too, and has the dynamic curiosity to seize the listener’s consideration and maintain it throughout a bit.
Turntable: Rega Planar 2
The trendy hi-fi system is on no account all in regards to the digital realm, although. Regardless of the vinyl-bashing fanfare with which the compact disc entered the musical fray 40-odd years in the past, the turntable emerged after only some years of slumber to take to the musical pitch as soon as once more. Enter the Planar 2, Rega’s turntable midfield normal.
The mannequin quantity has been round for nearly 50 years now in numerous guises; this iteration was launched in 2016 and is fitted with Rega’s RB220 tonearm, which options new ultra-low friction ball bearings, a stiffer bearing housing and an automated bias setting, making it nearly plug ‘n’ play.
And anybody properly versed in Rega’s spectacular decks will little doubt acknowledge its sonic stamp: balanced and authoritative with spectacular scale and pure musicality. It has a terrific capacity to get toes tapping, delivering bass with punch and texture. It has perception and agility too, whereas being exact and rhythmic sufficient to current a soundstage precisely. But it manages to retain an pleasant enthusiasm for the music on the similar time.
That capacity to tie all of the musical strands collectively and paint them on a exact and spacious canvas appears to come back simple to the Rega, and is what singles it out as deserving a spot on this set-up.
Built-in amplifier: Rega io
One factor the Planar 2 would not have is a built-in phono stage; fortunately that base is properly lined by its stablemate amplifier that comes full with a really respectable moving-magnet stage. One other award winner, this time of the 2021 classic, the Rega io is a formidable little field of methods that works each with the Planar 2 and the Audiolab 6000N Play streamer. The 30W-per-channel, entry-level (for Rega) io will be bought as a part of the model’s System One all-in-one proposition with the Planar 1 turntable and Kyte audio system. However it comfortably holds its personal on this step-up system.
Rega’s consistency with parts and their implementation make the io immediately recognisable as a descendant of the costlier, and actually fairly glorious, Brio. They each show an unbelievable sense of rhythm, punchy dynamics, agility, element and all-round enjoyable.
As we are saying in our evaluation of the io: “Play Drake’s Cash In The Grave ft. Rick Ross, and the io’s nature involves the fore, its pure sense of momentum driving the dominant bassline ahead. The deliveries of the 2 rappers have the transparency, richness and readability that calls for they’re taken be aware of, whereas the amplifier’s innate musicality captures the rhythmic chimes that maintain all of it collectively.” There’s a directness and buoyancy to the io’s sound that makes for a very compelling pay attention.
It is not essentially the most versatile amp on the market – it’s analogue solely, which on this system works completely properly – however those that are proud of a easy, no-fuss, purely analogue amplifier and who prioritize leisure will likely be very happy; Rega’s unmistakable and unquestionably entertaining signature amplifier sound is now extra accessible than ever.
Stereo audio system: Wharfedale Diamond 12.1
The ultimate members of this probably world-beating for the value British hi-fi squad are Wharfedale’s beautiful Diamond 12.1 standmount loudspeakers. These neat, properly made, compact packing containers stand simply 31cm tall, so they will not dominate any room. They are not overly fussy about placement, however they do excel when they’re just a little bit away from any partitions.
And, for his or her measurement, the Diamond 12.1 have a surprisingly daring and full-bodied presentation. They sound assured and composed – particularly when you think about their very cheap value – and provide loads of refinement.
When taking part in Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa they dig up a satisfying quantity of element and handle to arrange issues in a cohesive and musical method, with a presentation that does not begin to get confused when issues get busy.
They’re clean and forgiving however stay properly balanced, with sufficient in the best way of chew. We just like the reassuring method the Diamonds deal with larger-scale dynamics, delivering extra in the best way of authority and scale than their modest value and measurement recommend. Low frequencies come via with confidence and extra fullness than anticipated.
They ship soundstage, too, have a powerful punch and ship rhythms with a surefooted sense of drive. We’re impressed by the seamless integration between the drive models and the best way these audio system convey vocals with such confidence, speaking the fervour in music very well.
If you wish to take advantage of your music, it’s typically accepted that separate parts is the best way to go. We really feel that this quartet proves that. There may be an simple comfort to an all-in-one system, and they’re getting increasingly competent and spectacular on a regular basis; however using specialist package in every position can not help however do a greater job, and convey you extra pleasure to your music listening. When you have round £1600 to spend, you’ll wrestle to do higher than this in your cash – British representatives or not.
Learn our British Hello-Fi Week 2023 information, options and evaluations
Why the Seventies had been the proper time to start out a British hi-fi firm
11 of the perfect British document gamers of all time
These are the finest stereo amplifiers: the perfect built-in amps for each finances
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