Feeds

Ten... mini hi-fi systems

Good things in small packages

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Product Round-up Compact enough for a bookshelf but punching above their weight compared to a portable radio, mini hi-fis are an audio staple. These items can become the sole sound system for anyone pushed for space in bijou flats, bedsits and student digs or serve as a back-up in bedrooms, kitchens and other places around the home.

This part of the market is still fairly conservative. CD playback remains key, while ‘special’ features such as an iPod dock or DAB radio tuner wouldn’t have looked unusual almost a decade ago. USB sockets are increasingly common in these systems but often restricted to playing MP3 files rather than higher quality lossless formats like FLAC. Also, wired or wireless network connections, now essential in a lot of consumer electronics devices, are only slowly making their way into mini systems. With a varied price range, it's not simply you get what you pay as this round-up uncovered some sound offerings at a reasonable sum.

Arcam Solo Mini-Muso

RH Numbers

This system from the British luxury brand is a modern classic. You can partner the Mini with any suitable speakers or with the Muso pair, which use sturdy metal enclosures. The main unit is equally robust and adorned with a vast array of sockets. There are combined binding post/screw terminals for the speaker outputs (and on the speakers themselves), while a USB port is for MP3/WMA playback, as usual. It lacks a built-in iPod dock but the optional irDock is top-notch and offers control through the system’s user friendly remote. Power output is 2 x 25W. CD playback is where it excels, delivering clean and precise audio quality, although it’s less forgiving with MP3s. The radio (including DAB) features both F-type and Belling-Lee connections and fares well too.

Arcam Solo Mini-Muso
 hi-fi system

Reg Rating 75%
Price £999
More info Arcam

Cambridge Audio Sonata DR30 and S30 speakers

RH Numbers

As with the Arcam, this is a classy offering built around the slim metal-cased DR30 receiver. A separate £149 unit (CD30v2) provides disc playback or another option is the £400 NP30 network media player. The separate DD30 iPod dock is supplied in the box. The receiver’s wealth of sockets includes screw/binding post speaker terminals. Power output is 2 x 40W. It lacks a USB port but there is a mini-jack for MP3 players. DAB tuning was problematic at first but fine after recanning. Vocals are powerful and forthright but higher notes could do with more sparkle and the speakers sound boxy at times. Compressed iPod tracks are also somewhat woolly. All in all, it’s a chic but slightly disappointing system.

Cambridge Audio Sonata DR30 and S30 speakers

Reg Rating 65%
Price £430
More info Cambridge Audio

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Next page: Denon CEOL Noir

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.