2011's Best... Hi-Fi and AV Kit

Sonic boon

Pioneer SC-LX85 THX Ultra 2 Plus

Xmas Gift Guide With hi-fi and home cinema now two sides of the same coin, it’s inevitable that these 2011's Best... heroes come in every shape and size. But while price points and technologies differ, all can be considered solid gold entertainers.

So if you’re looking for the UK’s best value Blu-ray player, the highest-performing dock, or simply the finest home cinema receiver you can buy, groove on down...

Samsung HT-D6750W

RH Numbers

Build around a highly competent 3D Blu-ray receiver, this home cinema in a box is a brilliant buy for system addicts. With media playback from USB and networks, plus Smart TV connectivity through integrated Wi-Fi, it’s not short on functionality.

It ships with a forest of tall-boy speakers and some nifty sonic processing to send extraneous sonic detail out as front height information from a swivelling driver atop the main stereo pair. Samsung calls this a seven-channel system as a result. It’s not, but let’s not split hairs.

While the sub-woofer does a spirited job of reaching down the bass register, and the wireless - dual-band 2.4/5GHz - rears reduce cable clutter, the real star of this particular show is the brand’s Super Tweeter, which gives the system a crisp articulation that belies its convenience calling card.

Samsung HT-D6750W

Reg Rating 80%
Price £800
More info Samsung

Philips Fidelio DS9010

RH Numbers

Philips effectively bustled B&W’s Zeppelin Air out of the limelight with this superb-sounding iPod dock sound system. Featuring the brand’s "SoundCurve" design, a quality aluminium chassis and cloth covered drivers, it’s a step above the dock rank and file.

Despite its small size, stereo imaging is pronounced and mid-bass smooth, thanks to some highly effective ring-radiator tweeters and ported bass driver. While this particular Fidelio lacks support for Apple's AirPlay - for that, you’ll need to seek out the DS8800W - it does sport a nifty proximity sensor which illuminates the system’s icons when you reach out to touch. We’re easily pleased.

Philips Fidelio DS9010

Reg Rating 80%
Price £399
More info Philips

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity