Mini and Micro Hi-Fi System Buying Guide

1. What is a Hi-Fi System?

Hi-Fi systems are personal audio units’ design for use at home or on the go to play music. If it is an all in one Micro system or a Mini that is built up with different components, they come in variety of designs. Mini systems allow you to mix and match different Amplifiers and Speakers, possible combinations are endless.
Below are the three things that make up a Hi-Fi System.

a) Audio source

The source of the audio can come from Radio, a CD, MP3 Player, iPhone or iPod, cassette tape, or LP. HI-FI Systems can offer two or more of these in one system.

b) Speakers

Most HI-FI Systems are stereo offering two speakers, a left and a right. Speakers come in all sorts of combinations from a mono single speaker in a small form factor to a seven speaker system similar to a home theatre setup.

c) Amplifier

The power of the system is controlled by the Amplifier, also controlling the balance and volume of the music.

2. Micro or Mini Hi-Fi or Sound Bar/Speaker

Hi-Fi Systems are available in two combinations Micro and Mini. The Audio Source will vary between the two, keep in mind what you want it to do.

a) Micro Hi Fi systems

Micro systems a small compact profile perfect for bedrooms, lounge rooms or office spaces. Taking up very little room Micros are less powerful, ranging from 10 to 30 watts (W) per channel (speaker), but the sound will easily fill a small room. Often including CD player, AM/FM/DAB Radio and sometimes an iPod/iPhone dock.

b) Mini Hi Fi systems

Mini systems are a larger setup that perfect for large houses or big events. With two or more speakers the power range is far superior to the Micro with the Mini giving 30 to 100 watts (W) per channel (speaker). Some will include a subwoofer offering low frequency bass sound. Offering CD playback sometimes with multiple stacker CD player, AM/FM/DAB Radio and sometimes an iPod/iPhone dock.

c) Sound Speaker or Sound Bar

Sound Speakers are typically designed to stream music only. They come in many different shapes and sizes. They range from long large soundbars, to tall sound towers and even very small portable sound speakers. These sound speakers often work by connecting to a phone or another wireless system to stream music.

3. Playback

What can be played On a Hi-Fi system?

a) Radio

Most systems will offer AM/FM Radio Tuners; some will offer Digital Radio (DAB) to listen to many of the new stations aired digitally.

b) iPod/Phone

Some systems offer an iPod/iPhone dock, allowing you to directly connect and control your music through the Hi-Fi System. This will also allow you to charge your device through the system.

c) USB or MP3 Players

Some systems offer a USB port so you can connect your MP3 player (or iPod) for playback through the system. MP3 Playback allows you to connect a USB flash drive to play music the same way you would with the iPod or iPhone.

d) Cassette tapes or LPs

Tape decks are offered some times allowing you to play audio cassettes or a turn table to play vinyl records. These technologies are far less common today so finding these playback devices are far less common.

4. Features

Other things to look for:

a) Output power (watts)(W)

Watts are the power output Hi-Fi systems work on indicated with (W). 20 watts is enough to fill the average size living room with sound. If you want something that can be heard around the entire house going for a higher wattage closer to 100 watts will do the trick. Watts can be listed per channel (speaker) or total output. Keep an eye on the wording to get a good indication of the total watts a system offers.

b) DVD playback

Some Hi-Fi systems offer DVD playback and can be used as surround sound systems. The audio quality of these systems is usually far superior to the sound the television offers as stock. This is an excellent option if you don’t want to spend the money on a home theatre sound system.

c) Bluetooth

Bluetooth technology is a wireless communications system used to replace cables. Hi-Fi Systems with Bluetooth can often stream music direct from a mobile phone or another Bluetooth enabled device.