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Ten... mini hi-fi systems

Good things in small packages

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Panasonic SC-HC35DB

RH Numbers

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.

Panasonic SC-HC35DB mini hi-fi system

Reg Rating 55%
Price £160
More info Panasonic

Philips Harmony DCB8000/10

RH Numbers
RH Recommended Medal

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.

Philips Harmony DCB8000/10 mini hi-fi system

Reg Rating 75%
Price £449
More info Philips

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