This space-saving all-in-one has built-in speakers and is wall mountable. Features include DAB, MP3 playback from USB and analogue mini-jack input. A sliding panel reveals an iPod dock area and, on the right, an upright CD drive. Given its cost and dimensions, it’s not bad value. CDs sound especially good and the bass is surprisingly strong (power output is 2 x 20W RMS). Audio for MP3 via USB or iPod lacks definition, so it does little to improve compressed formats. The biggest letdown was the radio. Using its supplied wire antenna FM and DAB reception were awful. The F-connector will take a rooftop aerial if you have one but that limits where you could put this otherwise portable product.
Reg Rating 55%
More info Panasonic
Philips Harmony DCB8000/10
This new system comes as a two-part package of disc player linked by control cable to a CD-playing DAB/FM receiver unit. There are the usual phono inputs and outputs, analogue mini-jack line in, front-mounted USB and top-mounted iPod dock. There is some snazzy lighting on the receiver’s volume control and the units have an attractive metallic finish. Its supplied speakers are unusually large for a mini hi-fi and use real wooden cabinets (not cheap and nasty MDF). This isn’t just for show, as the overall the sound quality is warm and richly detailed. It doesn’t quite match the top-rated Onkyo above but it’s a cheaper alternative to the likes of Arcam.
Reg Rating 75%
More info Philips
Next page: Pioneer X-HM50-K
@Hitmouse "cheap car stereo..."
Here's a suggestion: buy/build a 240-12v transformer and box for your car stereo: buy and connect your chosen speakers (car power amp optional) and you're done. Do need to have a car steroe with 'traditional' fixed front panel rather than the 'remote' display common in today's manf fitted models.
With all the 'custom' cases around for PC's - box for the radio/media player shouldn't be a problem.
Not a new idea I grant you - I did this >28yrs ago for university to end up with v compact radio/tape player. That was years before compact hi-fi systems were available for the budget user
Uncontrolled audio quality comparison tests which are not performed using "blind testing" techniques are next to worthless. The whole area of audiophilia is riven with mumbo-jumbo, meaningless and undefined terms and snake oil salesman.
you have missed the point...
why the F should he have to purchase an iPod dock and iPod? he has perfectly functional SD cards and USB sticks...
If I see a product with an iPod dock on it, then I'll give it a miss as part of the price of the product is payment to Apple for the license to include said poncey iPod dock...
I've researched most of these brands and more, and yet know one does a desktop system that you can stick a USB stick/SD card in full of podcasts and listen to them while you work.
The let-downs for them are that they:
1. don't remember last position if the machine is turned off, or power is otherwise lost
2. have no FF/RW within tracks, which you need for tracks that are 30-60 minutes long
3. tiny buttons or so vertically unstable that you have to hold them to operate them
4. No display to show track information
My cheap car stereo lets me do this, but honestly it seems there's nothing for the home that I can just toggle on and off when I walk into the kitchen. I don't want to have to plug in an iPod as that introduces more layers of complexity.
Hitmouse is talking sense
I sympathise. For some reason, the industry does not want to make anything which allows flexible playback of your mp3 library on your hi-fi. The best you can do currently is buy a cheap mp3 player and attach it with a cable, as I do. It would be trivially easy for the manufacturers to make a good USB interface, or build mp3 storage into a receive unit, or even to make a seperate unit, but the nearest you will get to that is the Brennan.
There are products like squeezebox, but these introduce many layers of complexity, and want to involve your network, pc,TV, nas and other ecosystems.