All-in-one hifi with astounding audio and aesthetics

Despite its sub-£1,000 tag, this supreme machine offers high-end sound and cool good looks

Denon DRA-100, £679
Denon DRA-100, £679 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

For a supremely sleek one-box hifi with all the streaming ability you could need, this Denon is a near miracle – especially given its price. The DRA-100 is made for those who aren’t total hifi nuts but still appreciate high-end sound and want something that looks cool, on or off. You will most likely feed it music from your phone, tablet or laptop using the included Spotify (or use a superior‑quality streaming service like Tidal. I know I have mentioned Tidal a couple of times before, but it does offer a beautiful, sophisticated interface and superb-quality recordings of the kind of music you, as a grown-up, are going to like). It also has built-in internet radio.

The Japanese manufacturer has gone for a thick-gauge aluminium surround and an elegant white-on-black OLED display panel. When you set it up, it asks if you would like it to go to maximum volume (yes, please). All other aspects of operating the DRA-100 are intuitive and totally satisfying.

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The sound comes courtesy of twin 70-watt digital amplifiers capable of driving some serious speakers; don’t insult the DRA-100 by trying to get away with cheap ones just because it’s a sub-£1,000 machine. Go for real quality and it will reward you amply.

Just one small complaint: the big headphone jack Denon fits into this machine is a bit pretentious. Some particularly snooty hifi people insist the requisite headphones with big plugs provide better sound. They don’t – at least not for anyone without superhuman ears. 

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