Price From
Price to
Search product descriptions

Micro Hifi Systems buying guide

Share this article on Twit Facebook

Micro HiFi Systems Guide - An Introduction

A micro hifi system is one type of music centre, which is an integrated audio system designed for home use. They can play different media types, such as music or video, and the term usually refers to low-end or sub-high fidelity equipment. In recent years, the term micro, mini, or midi hifi have become more popular. The main feature that separates a micro hifi system from high-end equipment is that there’s usually one main unit, possibly with detachable speakers. Some models have these integrated into the main unit.

Integrated audio systems have a long history, originally integrating a record player with a wireless radio receiver. These were called stereograms or radiograms. The early models were large pieces of furniture, usually having a large wood cabinet on legs. The units were monaural, with a single loudspeaker in the main cabinet body. By the 1960s, the components became smaller and included stereo reproduction. Because the speakers had to be separated for proper stereo sound, the main cabinet became smaller, evolving into a three-box design. In the 1970s, the systems started being made from plastic or materials other than wood.

The 1970s also saw the inclusion of cassette players, later replaced by CD players and eventually adding DVD players in some models. The smaller sizes of these devices, compared to record players, meant that the systems could be made even smaller.

Hifi systems, including micro hifi systems, were looked down on by true music enthusiasts. The sound quality was lower than with separate components, with the main difference being the quality of the speakers. Their small size did not have the ability to reproduce the lower frequencies of sound. However, today’s modern equipment has greatly improved, making micro hifi systems extremely popular. There are still compromises, but the difference is much less than in years past. Due to their small size, micro hifi systems have surpassed true hifi systems in popularity.

When you are shopping for a micro hifi system, Price Inspector is your best resource. Our buying guide gives you enough information to make an informed purchase decision, comparing features and brands. Once you have selected your favourite model, we get you the cheapest prices in the UK.

Micro Hifi System Features

There are several different features to choose from when selecting your micro hifi system. You can choose from different colours to fit your home décor, such as red or pink, as well as common colours like black, white, or silver. More important, however, are the actual system features available, including:

  • Some micro hifi systems have a DVD player. If you want maximum functionality from one unit, rather than having to rely on multiple components, this may be a good option. It saves space and reduces the number of connecting cables.
  • A wifi micro hifi system gives you wireless connectivity to other devices, making it easy to transfer music such as MP3 files. These are convenient, but if you will be routinely transferring or downloading music, an Ethernet connection will be faster.
  •  Another feature to consider is a sleep timer. This will let you set your system for a predetermined amount of time, such as when you are going to sleep at night. After the elapsed time, the system will shut itself off so you won’t have to worry about leaving it playing all night. These systems may also include an alarm clock setting so you can wake up to your favourite music.
  • Some systems also have a port where you can dock your music player, such as an iPod player. This makes connecting easy and saves you from having to transfer your files, as you can quickly listen to music you’ve already downloaded, while taking advantage of the better speakers on your micro hifi system.


Popular Brands of HiFi Systems

A few of the popular brands of micro hifi systems include:

  • The Denon micro hifi system D-M37 features a front-loading CD player and AM/FM radio with 40 presets, and it can also play MP3 and WMA CDs. It has two 30-watt speakers and two analog stereo input
  • The Panasonic SC-EN38 has a built-in iPod cradle. This system also has an integrated CD player and AM/FM radio tuner. The MP3 playback lets you skip albums if you choose. The digital tuner offers a 30-station preset memory.
  • The Philips BTM630 is a Bluetooth wireless system with an iPod deck. The Bluetooth connection lets you wirelessly play music from your mobile phone, PC, or other Bluetooth device. The iPod deck charges your player while your listening to music, and you can control the player with the system’s included remote control. It plays music from CDs, memory cards, or USB devices. The system also includes a duplex speaker phone and microphone for mobile phone calls, and it automatically switches between phone calls and playing music.
  • Sony makes several micro hifi systems, including the CMT-LX20i. This system is made for iPods, and it includes a single-disc CD player. The LCD display provides easy visibility, and the player includes two 10-watt speakers. The integrated remote provides full iPod control, and the system has full bass capacity. It runs on batteries or AC power and has an AM/FM tuner.

There are several other popular brands, including:

Tips for you to consider before buying a Micro HiFi System

When selecting the right micro hifi system for your home, consider these tips:

  • What type of CD playback does it support? Most will play CDs, but you should find out whether they also support CDR or CDRW playback if you are playing CDs created on your computer.
  • A built-in iPod dock will let you connect your iPod or other MP3 player directly into the system, controlling the player with your hifi system. Check that there is a USB port if your MP3 player relies on this type of connection. Another way to connect your MP3 player is through a 3.5mm jack input. Simply plug the cable into your MP3 player’s headphone jack.
  • Some micro hifi systems also include a DVD player, making it easy to play a DVD audio disk or to use it to watch DVDs.
  • Many micro hifi systems have a built-in hard disc drive. This lets you store your music library on the system by ripping music directly from a CD, radio recording, or PC.
  • Consider the power output. This is usually referred to in terms of watts, or W. This is not the only consideration, but in general, if you have a larger room, you need more wattage. For a smaller room or if you plan to listen privately with headphones, you don’t need as much power.
  • Most micro hifi systems will include a radio tuner than can receive AM and FM signals. If you will be listening to a lot of radio, you might consider one that can receive DAB signals, which gives you more channels and the clearest sound.

Jargon Explained

High FidelityThis refers to the system’s ability to reproduce sound with little or no distortion. If the system is labeled “high fidelity,” you will receive higher quality sound and increase your listening enjoyment.
Monaural versus Stereo Monaural, or mono, means the system has only one channel. Even if there are two speakers, they are playing exactly the same signal. Most systems have replaced mono with stereo, but telephones and AM radio still uses mono sound. Stereo, or stereophonic, reproduces sound with two independent channels to more closely mimic your natural hearing. It results in different sounds being produced from each speaker, blending to sound like two different instruments, for example, are placed in slightly different locations. In live music, your left ear will pick up slightly different signals from your right ear, which is reproduced with a stereo system. A stereo player will produce more realistic sound.
WifiThis is the latest way to listen to radio. Simply connect the radio wirelessly to your router so you can listen to Internet radio even when the computer is switched off. This allows you to listen to hundred of stations around the world. A Wifi connection also lets you play your computer’s MP3 files without a cable hookup.
EthernetThis is a wired connection that allows for high-speed transmitting of data, such as music files. If you will be transferring large amounts of music files, an Ethernet connection will make the download faster.
EthernetA widely used technology that uses cables for the high-speed transmission of large amounts of data.
WMAWindows Media Audio. This is a type of music file compression similar to what MP3 players use. If you will be playing music burned through this software system, make sure the hifi system you select can support these files.
WattsThis is a measure of how much power the micro hifi system can produce through the speakers. For louder volumes, you need more watts of power.
USBMany micro hifi systems include a USB, or Universal Serial Bus, connection, which lets you connect your MP3 player to the system with a USB port. This is a standard connection type that makes it easy to connect computers, micro hifi systems, mobile phones, or other devices that use this type of connection
DABThis stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting. If your hifi system has DAB capability, you can receive more channels, up to 40 clear channels, for no charge. 

Buying Guide to Micro Hifi Systems
Search options