Enjoying your favorite music has never been easier. What used to be really bulky and overly complex and expensive devices have turned into not only very compact and practical units but also pretty affordable ones. Sure, there's prestigious stuff on the market as well, but we're usually looking for the best possible budget options available out there.
While we're at it, home entertainment systems are becoming smaller and smaller. And that's something that's extremely practical for today's standards and tendencies for minimalistic home layouts. But at the same time, they still manage to deliver pretty great sound qualities.
Going compact has many advantages, and that's exactly what we want to look into here. In this guide, we will be taking a closer look at the best budget-friendly micro hi-fi systems that you can find on the market today.
Best Budget Micro Hi-Fi System Buying Guide
But before we get into it, there are a few important things to tackle here. Finding the right product for you might not be that simple. We'll tackle all the important aspects one by one with the main goal of helping you decide which one to get.
If we're talking about budget-friendly mini-sized home entertainment systems, then a price below £100 would be the best territory. Of course, depending on the features, it can go up, nearing the £150 mark. But if you want it really cheap, there are even some solutions that go below £50. Overall, you can find a good deal within these limits, just bear in mind that you'll either get fewer features, or it can come at the cost of overall qualities. Either way, you get what you're paying for, especially with the examples that we'll talk about below.
Speaker and driver sizes of micro hi-fi systems are, as you'd already assume, substantially smaller compared to regular ones. However, even within this smaller-sized area, there are some variations. These smaller drivers are usually anywhere from 2 to 4.5 inches in diameter. And these are the drivers supposed to reproduce lower frequencies. Tweeters are usually at around 1 inch in diameter, in case there are any.
Either way, in most cases, larger speakers mean that there are fewer compromises when it comes to the sound quality. It gets much harder to keep the sonic output qualities as the size reduces.
Read more: Top 10 Best Ceiling Speakers
The Entire Hi-Fi System Size
The whole point of micro hi-fi systems is to have a compact-sized unit that would save up on space and make things much more practical. However, there are even variations within this category. Smaller ones are usually done as standalone "all-in-one" kinds of devices. They are just small enough so that they could fit an average shelf in your room or even a nightstand. For some additional flexibility, some of these microsystems can have detachable speakers.
On the other hand, things get a bit larger if you have separate speakers and the base unit. The base is essentially the amplifier along with other devices integrated into it, including CD players, radio receivers, Bluetooth receivers, and others.
As far as the output power goes, mini-sized hi-fi systems don't go above the 40-watt mark. The power is usually divided into two channels. So if you have 40 watts, then each speaker will put out its own 20 watts.
With this said, micro hi-fi systems usually go anywhere from 10 watts and up to 40. The smallest ones, which are usually the standalone devices, would cover around 10 to 12 watts, sometimes up to 20 (although it's not that common). But the formations that include separate base units and stereo speakers usually go from 20 watts in total and up.
If you need something small for your bedroom or just any type of smaller room, then 10 watts will be enough and you shouldn't spend on a stronger system. More power comes useful either for living rooms or even entire apartments.
Features and Functionalities
Finally, one of the most important issues to tackle is about features and functionalities. No matter the size or overall design, micro hi-fi systems are always multi-functional products. Pretty much all of them come with a radio receiver and an auxiliary input, but the rest always differs. A lot of them come with a Bluetooth receiver and a CD player, while you can also find USB and SD card ports. In some rare cases, they even feature vinyl record players.
More expensive devices also allow for detailed tone-shaping options and other functionalities. These include things like fully customizable digital equalizers. However, with budget-friendly micro hi-fi systems, these things are usually pretty limited.
Top 10 Best Budget Micro Hi-Fi Systems
When it comes to audio equipment of any kind, you can't ever doubt in Sony. Be it small or large, cheap or expensive, the company always delivers. As for compact and affordable hi-fi stuff, we would like to introduce their CMT-SBT20 as a great example.
Based on the standard classic hi-fi home entertainment systems, Sony brings a smaller alternative with some contemporary features and qualities. The CMT-SBT20 comes with the base unit that serves the purpose of an amplifier, radio FM receiver, and Bluetooth receiver. It's accompanied by two speakers that are designed to cover most of the audible spectrum and deliver tight and pleasant-sounding bottom-ends.
Using the NFC technology, you can simply connect any of your Bluetooth-supported devices, like phones or tablets, just through a simple touch. Additionally, this micro hi-fi system comes with a USB port and even a CD player. The total output power is 12 watts, which is just about enough for a smaller living room.
- Fairly compact
- Relatively cheap considering the qualities
- Great for simple setups in smaller living rooms
- It could use a few more features, but we can't complain much about it
If you want a simple, cheap, yet modular unit for this purpose, we would recommend Grouptronics and their GTMC-101. This unusual-looking hi-fi system brings a compact design with a front-loading CD player, detachable speakers, as well as an option to mount it on a wall in your home.
Of course, there's also the radio receiver, an auxiliary input for any supported device, as well as a USB port. One of the downsides, though, is that it doesn't come with a Bluetooth receiver. However, its overall compact design, the option to detach the speakers, a remote control, and the option to be powered using batteries make it really practical. Not to mention that it's super cheap.
- Really cheap
- Modular and flexible, you can attach or detach the speakers
- Easy to use
- Some may not like its overall design
- It doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity
Just like Sony, LG is another company that always keeps their quality at the best possible level, no matter the price range. If you want to go cheap and yet have a great compact hi-fi home system, then their CM1560DAB is worth checking out.
This one is a small 10-watt system that comes with a base and two speakers. Aside from a CD player and an FM radio, CM1560DAB comes with a Bluetooth receiver and a USB port. What's more, there's even an auxiliary input on the front panel, making it easy to connect it to any type of supported device.
Using its two speakers, 5 watts each, you can get a pretty decent sound out of it. What's more, the unit comes with pre-made equalizers, which can come in handy for different types of music, or just your personal preferences.
- Fairly cheap
- Compact and simple
- Useful functionalities
- Good sound quality
- Nothing for its price level
Akai Core A61039DAB
If you want to save up on space but still have a reasonably powerful and good-sounding hi-fi system, then we'd recommend something like Akai's Core A61039DAB. Once again, we have a setup with the main base that comes with an FM radio receiver, Bluetooth connection, a USB port, as well as an auxiliary 1/8-inch output jack. The addition of the SD card port also makes it pretty interesting.
But what makes it really stand out are two things. Firstly, the radio unit supports DAB (digital audio broadcasting) technology, allowing for an improved quality of even your local radio stations. Secondly, the two speakers, each coming with 10 watts of power, are more than just decent. Within this reasonable price range, you get a surprisingly awesome sound quality.
- Great sound quality for the price
- DAB technology for radio
- 20 watts of output power is more than enough for such a compact product
- Nothing for this price level
Knowing how awesome their stuff is, we couldn't help but include yet another one of Sony's products here. Up next, we have their CMT-X3CD, which is an "all-in-one" kind of deal for those who like it super-simple. Sure, the cost level is about on the edge between cheap and mid-priced, but we decided to feature it due to some surprising qualities for its price.
This standalone device encompasses everything you need, including a CD player, Bluetooth connection with NFC "single-touch" functionality, and two small speakers that reproduce the sound using a 20-watt integrated amplifier. Of course, there's also the FM radio receiver, a USB port, and even an auxiliary audio input.
Overall, this is one of the best options if you like to have a simple device instead of bulky speakers in your home. However, some may not like the "standalone" formation as it may come at a cost of some sonic qualities. But for the price, it's more than a great option.
- Really practical and compact
- Simple to use
- Great functionality
- Great deal for the price
- Being a standalone device with integrated speakers might impact its sound quality
Tivoli Audio Music System Three+ MSY3P-616-UK
But in case you really want to keep it simple and compact, this one by Tivoli Audio will keep you satisfied. Essentially, this is a super-simplified hi-fi system with a Bluetooth connection, two very small speakers, an FM radio with DAB technology, and even an integrated rechargeable battery that can last for up to 16 hours at an average volume level.
Another great thing about it is that it comes with a nice and clear-looking display, as well as some pretty interesting functions. For instance, you can adjust bass and treble in the form of a 2-band EQ, and there's also an option to control balance (left and right panning).
This is a cute little piece, making it very simple and practical for anyone who just needs a compact hi-fi system to listen to music. But with that said, having a smaller device with integrated speakers can come at a cost of audio quality loss.
- Comes with a 2-band EQ and other useful parameter controls
- Really compact
- It might lack some of the desired sonic qualities due to small speakers
Speaking of mini-sized hi-fi systems, we would also like to include Digitnow and their very diverse M503. Well, considering its size, this one comes with a lot of features. The most interesting one is a vinyl record player, all while keeping the unit's size fairly compact.
What's more, the record player comes with three standard speed modes – 33, 45, and 78 RPM. There's also a 45-RPM vinyl adapter, so you won't need to worry about that.
M503 also comes with all the other features and functions of its larger competitors on the market. There's an on-board CD player, AM and FM radio receiver, USB input, SD card slot, an auxiliary audio input, as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
But what brings it as a great addition to this list is its compact size. This is all possible with two integrated speakers in the standard stereo formation. In short, Digitnow M503 easily replaces any of those larger home entertainment systems.
- Encompasses all formats in one compact device
- Decent sound quality
- Really easy to use
- Comes with a remote control
- Pretty cheap for its features
- Nothing at this price level
You rarely stumble upon such a great hi-fi system on the market like Roxel's RCD-250BT. Here we have a standard stereo setup with the base unit, featuring an amplifier and different integrated parts, and two speakers, each featuring two drivers. Such a combination provides superior sound quality compared to those "all-in-one" devices.
But nonetheless, RCD-250BT still keeps things fairly compact, at least considering what you get with the whole system. In addition to this, it features a pretty-looking matte finish, making it fit easily in any possible setting in your home.
But the most important part is that it comes with a total of 40 watts of power, 20 watts per channel. And it's all possible with the support of all the standard components: CD player, radio receiver, USB port, SD card port, auxiliary input, and a Bluetooth receiver. What's more, it even comes with two microphone inputs, a feature that makes it useful for karaoke sessions.
- Really cheap considering its qualities and features
- Great sound quality
- Compact design
- Nothing for this price level
Denver MC-5220 MK2
Although those standalone "all-in-one" devise might not have the most favorable sonic output all the time, they are super useful for those who want a simple solution and to save some space. A great compromise for this purpose is definitely Denver's MC-5220, the MK2 model.
This one features a vertical layout, including a vertical CD player. The device also comes with an auxiliary input and an FM radio. However, it doesn't support anything else than that, which may be a disappointment to some users who prefer Bluetooth connectivity. Nonetheless, Denver MC-5220 MK2 is still a viable option. For a standalone device, it still packs pretty decent speakers and sound quality.
- Really compact
- Sounds pretty great for a standalone device
- Great design
- Lack of Bluetooth connectivity and other features
If you like something compact, yet flexible and decent-sounding, an interesting choice would be OneConcept V-12. This mini hi-fi system is fairly modular, featuring all the basic stuff in a reasonably-sized device.
Sure, there's no Bluetooth connectivity, but OneConcept's V-12 includes a CD player, auxiliary input, AM and FM radio, as well as a USB port. It also has two speakers in stereo formation which can be detached. But the most important thing here is that you'll get a fully functional hi-fi system at a reasonable price.
- Decent sound and build quality for the price
- Modular, you can detach the speakers
- Fairly compact
- Really cheap
- It doesn't come with a Bluetooth connection
Mini hi-fi devices are one of the best solutions to replace bulky home entertainment systems. In most cases, you can even get a pretty decent sound quality, even at a lower price point. So you can't really go wrong with any of the examples that we mentioned above. Just make sure that your choice has all the important features that you prefer to have.