This Sony sits squarely at the budget end the market but still incorporates an iPod dock and reasonably sensitive DAB tuner. It has an analogue mini-jack input but no USB for memory sticks. Speaker terminals are merely spring clips and the supplied speakers have MDF cabinets with wood-effect covering. Audio quality is uninspiring, being particularly raspy for music radio. FM comes over better than DAB here and talk stations don’t seem too bad. CDs are relatively clear and bassy but lack the punchiness of the better products in this group. Four preset EQ settings do little to improve things, though swapping to higher quality speakers helps, within the limitations of its meagre 2 x 4W power output.
Reg Rating 50%
More info Sony
This system combines a beefy CRX-550 main unit and generously proportioned NSP-B300 speakers. The CD/receiver has a top-mounted USB for MP3 and iPod dock. Rear sockets include an F-type FM/DAB aerial connector and two aux inputs (one as a mini-jack), while all speaker connections accept binding posts or work as screw terminals. Power output is 2 x 32W. Its FM and CD performance are particularly good in the lower mid-range, with deeper vocals and piano conveyed especially well. It tends to expose the limitations of compressed MP3s and DAB. I also expected the overall sound to be a stronger given the speakers’ build quality but generally it’s a desirable package. ®
Reg Rating 70%
More info Yamaha
Ten... mini hi-fi systems
@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.