April issue on sale

Welcome to the April issue

For those of us with large music libraries stored in several locations, integrating everything into one controllable place can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. My music streaming setup currently pulls in music libraries stored on a laptop computer and a capacious Melco music server – both containing downloads and ripped CDs – as well as subscriptions to three streaming services, so integrating and accessing everything using just one inclusive piece of reliable software can often seem like the impossible dream.

But wait, the six playback software options in this month's Group Test promise to do just that, and along with a laptop are a great way to get started and enter the world of networked music without the need for a degree in computer science or a costly outlay in a dedicated audiophile component. Computer audio has come a long way since its introduction in the late nineties as a way to manage compressed music files, and with the aid of increased computing power has evolved to handle today's hi-res file formats and codecs with a high degree of control that smoothly integrates with our listening habits.

But it's not all about digital music, and analogue fans will enjoy our review of SME's £14,950 Synergy turntable – put through its paces in Exotica. It's one of the most impressive expressions we've heard for the love of the vinyl format, and despite being a packaged all-in-one, sounds far greater than the sum of its illustrious parts.

Also inside this month's issue: Q Acoustics’ Concept 300 standmount loudspeaker with Tensegrity stand, Audiolab’s 8300CDQ CD player with DSD and MQA-enabled DAC, plus an exclusive review of Quad’s updated Vena II integrated amplifier. Also, Music Legends celebrates jazz king Miles Davis and Dealer Visit heads to Birmingham to visit Hifonix while this month’s group test includes six desktop music management systems from: Audirvana, Foobar, iTunes, jRiver, MediaMonkey and Roon.

Lee Dunkley, Editor