One of a number of mini hi-fis from Pioneer, this affordable offering covers all the basics, such as FM/DAB tuners, CD playback and a built-in iPod/iPhone dock. The front-mounted USB port handles MP3 or WMA files. It doesn't skimp with its connections, as it provides an Belling-Lee antenna input, two analogue inputs (one as a mini-jack) and conventional screw terminal speaker outputs that can also accept binding posts, so it's no trouble to use higher calibre cabling or change to your own choice of speakers if you fancy the option. As it stands, it's a decent value system that doesn't compromise too much on quality.
Reg Rating 70%
More info Pioneer
Pure Sirocco 550
Pure’s mini hi-fi manages to include a Wi-Fi connection for about the same price as many ‘ordinary’ products. This is for accessing any of the thousands of internet radio stations, podcasts, on-demand programmes (including BBC catch-up), the Pure Music cloud-based portal or tracks bought from the Lounge service, as well as music streamed from a PC or NAS drive (including AAC format). Unsurprisingly, it also handles DAB, FM, CD and (from USB) MP3 and WMA, or anything from a docked iPod/iPhone. Navigation could be better and audio quality is acceptable given the price but I’d recommend buying one without speakers and adding superior ones from elsewhere. Power output is 2 x 40W (RMS).
Reg Rating 75%
More info Pure
Next page: Sony CMT-FX350i
@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.