Best Gear of March 2019

Best Gear of March 2019

When it comes to great gear we can recommend without reservation, speakers were the name of the game in March, which brought us three systems: a high-performance wireless speaker audiophiles will appreciate, a state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos-enabled “immersive sound” setup from one of Britain’s top speaker companies, and a modest but very good sounding home theater package from a respected American brand that can be had for less than a grand — all recipients of Sound & Vision’s prestigious Top Pick designation.

Moon 390 Network Player/Preamplifier: $5,300

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

Simaudio’s Moon 390 offers everything you could want from a modern stereo preamp, starting with impeccable sonics, versatile analog and digital connectivity — including a built-in phono preamp and HDMI switching — multiroom capability, and app control. If that’s not enough, throw in high-resolution streaming with MQA decoding, Roon integration, and ready access to a huge library of hi-res titles via the likes of Tidal and Qobuz. As reviewer Al Griffin put it: “Simaudio’s Moon 390 is about as full-featured a stereo preamplifier as you’ll find on the current hi-fi scene. But what impressed me most was its performance — from streamed high-res tracks to standout discs from my LP collection, the 390 made listening an absolute pleasure.”

AT A GLANCE

Plus

Excellent sound quality
Strong feature set
Good ergonomics and control app

Minus

Pricey

Full Review Here

KEF R5 Surround Speaker System: $10,200 (as reviewed)

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value

KEF continues its longstanding tradition of sonic excellence with the newly revamped R Series, featuring the 12th generation of its famous Uni-Q coincident driver — a design the company has been refining for more than two decades. Veteran reviewer Tom Norton praised the system — reviewed in a full-on 5.4.2 configuration with four Dolby Atmos-enabled height modules and two subwoofers — for its all-around outstanding performance: sweet with music and potent, but not too aggressive, with movies. Looking for a less expensive setup? The system can be scaled to more affordable levels by using Q Series models for surround and height-channel duties.

AT A GLANCE

Plus

Sweet, clean highs
Superb dialogue clarity
Detailed but not aggressive sound

Minus

Slightly limited treble diffusion
R3s make for pricey surrounds

Full Review Here

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