Sony PS-HX500 £249

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

We first tested Sony’s PS-HX500 a cou­ple of years ago and gave it a glow­ing five star re­view. At the time it cost £450. At its cur­rent price, how­ever, the Sony is eas­ily the best-value turntable of its kind on the mar­ket. Not to men­tion one of the few we’ve lis­tened to that’s able to rip your records in hi-res.

Equipped with an in­ter­nal ana­logueto-dig­i­tal con­verter and USB type-b out­put, the PS-HX500 sim­ply hooks up to your lap­top or com­puter’s USB in­put and, via Sony’s Mac- and Win­dows­friendly High Res Au­dio Recorder soft­ware, records the vinyl ei­ther as a WAV (up to 24-bit/192khz) or DSD (5.6MHZ) file.

The process is sim­ple enough too: just choose your de­sired for­mat, hit ‘record’ when the vinyl starts play­ing, ‘stop’ when it’s fin­ished and hey presto! You have a hi-res song.

On the de­sign front, this turntable hasn’t fol­lowed in the fash­ion­able foot­steps of Sony’s colour­ful Walk­mans, in­stead ape­ing the min­i­mal­ist ap­proach of ri­val decks around this price. The straight-edged, an­gle-cor­nered rect­an­gu­lar plinth is an un­der­stated, all-black af­fair that leaves noth­ing to the de­signer-in-you’s imag­i­na­tion.

Of course, there’s lit­tle ad­van­tage in rip­ping your vinyl to hi-res – or even play­ing it straight off the deck – if the PS-HX500’S sound qual­ity is poor. But our Awards aren’t dished out merely for in­no­va­tion or tech­ni­cal wiz­ardry – this deck ex­cels in its own right.

There’s no mis­tak­ing the Sony’s pen­chant for de­tail, nor how ar­tic­u­late it is with off­beat rhyth­mic pat­terns, or when ty­ing to­gether mul­ti­ple in­stru­men­tal strands for a co­her­ent and lay­ered de­liv­ery. It has the dy­namic dex­ter­ity to bring to our at­ten­tion fairly ten­u­ous sonic shifts as well.

En­thu­si­as­tic and sure-footed

The sprightly Sony is quick off the bench too, spring­ing into ac­tion with a real sense of gusto and agility, putting its foot down when the piece re­quires, though equally ca­pa­ble of ex­pos­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

Each per­for­mance is set in a wide-open space, too, com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­dat­ing a full orches­tra and help­ing ex­pose the de­tail in each line with­out los­ing that all-im­por­tant co­he­sive­ness.

It’s pos­si­ble to part­ner the likes of Rega’s Pla­nar 1 with an out­board phono stage that also digi­tises your vinyl. In ab­so­lute terms that would give you an even bet­ter sound, but it’s not as neat a so­lu­tion and will cost around £100 more.

That’s why the PS-HX500 re­tains this Award. We sim­ply haven’t come across a bet­ter-sound­ing, bet­ter-value al­ter­na­tive.

More than just a means of rip­ping vinyl to dig­i­tal, the Sony is a great­sound­ing deck

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.