Best HiFi System Reviews UK 2020 - Top-Rated Models Compared
A high-quality audio system grants turning any common living area into a full-on cinematic masterpiece. Contrary to other music streaming systems, a hi-fi assembly is designed to produce an outstanding sound from each of its units. Picture this: a music player, an amplifier and four speakers walk into a room. The results? An exceptional audio system that makes the most dreadful CDs sound like remarkable pieces of art. What do you need about a Hi-Fi system? Which speakers are the best ones? How do you set them up? Read below and find the answers to all your questions.
Connectivity: CD (R, RW), Bluetooth, USB 2.0, AUX-in & DAB.
File Formats: CD-DA, MP3, AIFF, AAC, DAB FM, FLAC and WAV.
Special Feature: Designated Smartphone App.
Best HiFi Systems On The UK Market Reviewed In 2020
The best Hi-Fi system is produced by Panasonic, and it contains a three-way speaker system that will play music to absolute perfection. The main reason why Panasonic is credited with manufacturing the best Hi-Fi systems is that it uses the most sophisticated materials that affect durability, functionality and general sound quality. The excellent quality is further transferred to the exterior too because the front, top, and sound volume dials are all coated with high-grade aluminium materials that ensure unmatched longevity.
The Hi-Fi system also uses a unique DAC controller that can pick up all the richness from the current audio file formats such as SDS, FLAC, AIFF and WAV. To produce the optimal power and variety of sounds within a file, the Panasonic music system uses a Bluetooth remastering technology that counteracts data compression upon transfer. The fantastic Bluetooth sound upscaling feature isn't limited to wireless transfers, as the Hi-Fi system integrates a unique USB driver system that gives all your plugged devices the sophisticated care they deserve.
- It is made of top-grade aluminium electrolyte and metalised polyester film capacitors.
- It has an AUX-in port for audio and streaming services.
- It is capable of reaching frequencies as high as 50 GHz.
- It integrates the LincsDAmp technology that prevents jitter and excess noise from its power supply.
- It has a smart power-up feature that starts instantly after an external device is plugged.
- Its supports DAB+ and Bluetooth technology.
- The sound emitted from a TV connection is significantly lower than with other devices'.
- It doesn't have a balance control feature.
- Its USB port supports memory sticks of up to 32 GB only.
The second contender for the best Hi-Fi systems is comprised of a mini stereo system that doesn't take away from the remarkable features it employs. The LG micro Hi-Fi system is capable of producing a rich and powerful sound that can be enhanced by one of the pre-programmed modes that the system includes. The 230 W Hi-Fi system can play music from CDs, Bluetooth, USB sticks, Aux-In or through its FM radio antenna.
Bluetooth is supported by the digital sound system for both receiving and streaming music, as long as you have compatible external devices.
For those who want to practice their DJ skills on the down-low, you can take advantage of the mini system by using its auto DJ features that blend the sounds of song endings into the beginning of new ones. You can also use the micro Hi-Fi system as a professional recorder as it can transfer your music recordings straight to the inserted USB stick. And the best part of the mini system? You can get it at an excellent price!
- It comes with a one-year warranty by LG.
- It's the best micro Hi-Fi system.
- It comes with an easy to use remote control and extra batteries.
- It allows you to connect up to three devices simultaneously.
- It supports the LG sound sync feature that controls its volume levels by adjusting them to LG smart TVs'.
- Good value for money.
- It isn't compatible with DAB.
- Some customers found its instruction manual to be insufficient.
- It has an auto-shutdown function that can inconveniently turn off the unit if it isn't used within 20 minutes.
The top three best Hi-Fi systems are concluded with Sharp's XL-B515D model that specialises in exceptional audio quality production. With a maximum 40W power output, the all-in-one Hi-Fi system comes with a handy remote control that's fully functional at adjusting the high-quality speakers' system. The music system is compatible with playing media from Bluetooth, CDs, DAB+ and FM radio, USBs or even the 3.5 mm (0.13'') AUX-In socket.
Sharp's range of the best Hi-Fi systems can produce an intensely powerful audio quality due to the wooden housing it has - that not only contains the audio making noise, but it also emits a beautiful tone of the sound. When broadcasting music from internet radio, the Hi-Fi systems' DAB+ feature will receive the best signal while accessing more radio stations and in higher sound quality. All in all, its gorgeous black texture and ergonomic design make this streaming player not just one of the best Hi-Fi systems on the market but an excellent value for its price as well.
- It has been tested and approved by Digital Radio UK.
- It has a white backlit LCD display that makes its button control easier.
- It has sound-altering features for each music genre.
- It comes with a DAB aerial for radio streaming.
- Its UK-based customer support line is incredibly helpful and provides help long after its initial purchase.
- Its Bluetooth streaming quality isn't the best.
- Its antenna cable is relatively short.
Among the best Hi-Fi systems that use a compact-build is also Panasonic's PM250BEBS model that has one of the most reliable wireless streaming ability on the market. The mini Hi-Fi system has a superb black and silver design that is coated with wood constrained materials. This helps the music box to contain the internal noises, maintain a steady audio production and emit a power induced sound quality that is granted to get you groovin'.
With a total power output of 20W, this home sound system hosts a Bluetooth streaming service that is boosted by the speakers' enhancement features. You can also use its smart networking DAB radio for playing your favourite radio stations. For producing the best Hi-Fi sound, the Bluetooth mini stereo system uses a fully digital amplifier system that remasters the transmitted audio and delivers an exceptional-quality sound. All that and more are provided with an incredible budget-friendly price that can be regarded as one of the biggest bargains in history.
- It has sleep, time & play features.
- It is suitable with DAB+, DAB & FM radio stations.
- It comes with an AM loop antenna and an FM indoor antenna.
- It has low power consumption.
- It can be controlled through its Panasonic streaming app through Bluetooth.
- It has no headphone facility.
- Its CD function doesn't work with skipping tracks.
- It doesn't allow you to select favourite radio stations.
There can't be a talk about the best Hi-Fi systems without mentioning the leading manufacturer that is Sony. The multi-room CD player supports wireless music streaming that can be shared through the entire home. These Hi-Fi systems support an easy Bluetooth connectivity that is aided through NFC. All you need to do when you get home is simply press your phone against the console and Sony will take care of the rest. Thanks to its LDAC audio technology that transmits three times the data of a standard connection, you will experience an exquisite sound on every room.
One of the best features of this music streaming system lies in its upscaling technologies that promote the best quality music production, whether by wirelessly connecting to Bluetooth or by using its input ports. The DSEE HX will enhance the compressed digital files from its CD player and give them more power, richness and natural qualities. The speakers also support the S-Master HX all-digital amplifier that eliminates audio distortion by promoting a high-quality music listening experience.
- It allows you to use DLNA, AirPlay, GoogleCast and Spotify Connect for Bluetooth streaming.
- It has a smartphone app (SongPal Link) that groups all Sony devices.
- It supports DVD players and internet radio.
- It has an FM and DAB video antenna.
- Good value for money.
- It produces a weak headphone amplification.
- Some customers found its display too dimly lit.
- It has an all-plastic build that can be more prone to damage.
Next in line is Denon's elegant grey Hi-Fi audio system that contains a two-way speakers system with a subwoofer and a soft dome tweeter. The bass and treble of your favourite music will be so enhanced that you will experience the music like it was never heard before. The Denon speakers systems are compatible with multiple music streaming services like Spotify and Tidal while also providing variability with the internet radio. Its Bluetooth advanced technology will make sure to get the most reliable transmitting channels, so no interference or lag is caused.
The Bluetooth speakers system has an integrated CD player as well as an FM & AM tuner that use digital upscaling technologies to obtain the best sound quality. The Hi-Fi system also includes ac convenient headphone jack that can be used for enjoying music from a private setting. The DT-1 also has a very intuitive set up that ensures you can get to listening to your favourite tracks as soon as you power on the product. You can further use the handy remote control to switch between channels, devices, volumes, modes and much more - all at a record-breaking price.
- It comes with an AM loop antenna and an FM indoor antenna.
- It can easily be paired with Bluetooth devices by a one-touch operation.
- It has a sleep timer and an alarm time operation.
- It's compatible with CD-R, CD-RW (WMA or MP3) formatting.
- It's designed with a neat CD slot rather than a fiddly tray.
- Good value for money.
- Its speakers are quite heavy, which may be an inconvenience.
- It has a noticeable sound-whirring noise from the CD player.
- Its user guides don't correctly instruct on audio modifying modes.
Another product by Denon that got our attention due to the surplus of features it supports is the Ceol Hi-Fi system. The digital Bluetooth player has an upgraded layout that is designed to promote better audio clarity and music transmission while being durable engineering-wise. Its double speakers and receiver are incredibly easy to set up because they maintain an intuitive installation that is described thoroughly on the instruction manual. Even though the product has button keys on its exterior, you can use the included remote control to operate more conveniently.
As for its connection pathways, the Ceol N10 range of Hi-Fi systems can get connected through its USB port, headphone jack, optical digital, AUX-In and Ethernet port. The Denon Bluetooth speakers are compatible with the HEOS platform that's used for streaming music on several rooms within a house. You can further use its mobile app to connect the Ceol product so your entire home will get the Marvin Gaye treatment. Don't feel like getting up or operating it with the remote? No problem, simply connect the Hi-Fi system with Alexa and give it your commands!
- It's designed with a scratch-resistant surface that isn't prone to damage.
- It can connect through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and HEOS networks.
- It has a 50-60W power output for each of its speakers.
- It's compatible with Amazon Echo and Alexa.
- It has a CD player and an AM/FM tuner.
- It has several pre-programmed music streaming platforms.
- Some customers encountered issues with its firmware update.
- It doesn't come with a UK pin plug.
If you want to get a Hi-Fi system that does it all, Zennox's 7 in 1 product is the best choice for you. The budget-friendly sound systems are rightly labelled as multi-functional since they can play Vinyl (33, 44, 78s), CDs, DAB and FM radio, cassettes, MP3s via the AUX port or even transfer and record music through the USB and SD socket. Moreover, its dual cassette deck supports a tape-to-tape recording function that can come in handy in today's fast-paced life. Its renewed design with the incredible features makes it one of the best worthy Hi-Fi systems for its price.
The Hi-Fi system has a 5W power output through its speakers, so the sound emitted is undoubtedly strong and powerful. If you want to enjoy your Bill Withers by yourself, you can always use the headphone jack and marvel at the incredible sound quality it releases.
If you don't think that's enough, you should be pleased to know that the Zennox product can also be used as a time-operated device due to its timer function. The home music systems have an integrated wake-up alarm that contains a snooze function for all the family to use.
- It comes with a two-year warranty by Zennox.
- It has a power-saving feature that makes it very energy-efficient.
- It has an automatic and manual stopping turntable.
- It comes with a very functional remote control.
- It can play up to 60 MP3 or 30 CD tracks within a playlist.
- Good value for money.
- It doesn't support Bluetooth or any other wireless connection.
- Some customers found issues with the opening of the CD player.
- Its vinyl record player suffers some jumping and skipping between tracks.
Sony is back on the game, and this time by showcasing the new SMT-SBT20B product that has gotten quite a few thumbs up for its reliability. With a total power of 12W and an energy-conscious consumption, this Hi-Fi music player features two speakers and one receiver. If you're not happy with the initial setup, you can get to work and place the speakers wherever you want them, helping to create an effortless surround sound system. The Bluetooth streaming systems have an integrated DAB and FM radio tuner that can get you the best channels available in no time.
The budget-friendly speakers support wireless connectivity by specialising in Bluetooth transmission. For doing that, Sony has incorporated a one-touch NFC function that will play your favourite music within seconds of initial contact with the Hi-Fi system. If you're of an old-school person and want to enjoy your music by CD playback, you can use the device's CD player that will get you the best audio quality for your tracks. Not satisfied yet? You can always settle for more down-to-earth alternatives like USB playback that contains a lot of features thanks to Sony's interface.
- Good value for money.
- It has a beautiful design with an easy-to-read LCD display.
- It comes with a DAB radio antenna.
- It has a mega bass technology for a dynamic sound.
- It has a 3.5mm AUX-In that can be used for playing music from external devices.
- It doesn't have a good variety of radio stations.
- It doesn't have a headphone unit.
- Its bass feature isn't compelling.
The last Hi-Fi system as showcased on this list is provided to us by Loops and uses a setup that will make your home turn into a lovely theatre or cinema. The home audio system includes one Hi-Fi amplifier and two pairs of speakers equaling five units in total. Besides offering a power-induced home cinema, the Hi-Fi sound system also hosts six line inputs including one wireless Bluetooth receiver, two RCA inputs, an AUX-In jack, USB & SD slots, one FM radio socket and two spring terminals.
You can also take advantage of two of its 3.5mm microphone inputs that can turn the Hi-Fi system into a loud halier, singing system or full-on microphone. One of the best features of this device is the smart home compatibility it supports because it certainly makes the lives of its users significantly easier. You can connect the Loops speakers system with Amazon Echo, Alexa or other services and direct it to play, skip, raise the volume, or do anything you want it to. The surround sound system is shipped with adjustable wall brackets and other accessories, so you can effortlessly install the speakers around the house and bask in the true beauty of high-grade audio.
- It is the best Hi-Fi system in terms of input variability.
- It comes with a full one-year warranty by Loops.
- It has a sound metal body with air vents for better heat dissipation.
- Each of its speaker units has a polymer tweeter and surround woofer.
- It supports an easy Bluetooth connection; even with several devices at a time.
- Some customers noted that they experienced a constant static sound.
- It doesn't have much variability in terms of bass.
- It doesn't have flexible volume control.
HiFi System Buying Guide
Hi-Fi systems can be tricky to perfect because there are so many features that can make or break the said unit. If you bought a Hi-Fi speaker system back in the day, your only use for it would be to play tracks from your Vinyl, CDs or cassettes which in today's world are mere bits in the ocean. In 2020, a Hi-Fi sound system is used for playback with CDs, USB's different formats, SDs, Bluetooth streaming, Wi-Fi, Aux-In, optical inputs, radio and much much more. Other connections require additional inputs, compositions, specifications and features that significantly impact an audio's overall standard. If you are an audiophile that wants the absolute best sound in everything you watch and listen, we've got the structure all laid out for you.
Price isn't usually a determinant in a device's standard considering how there are plenty of budget-friendly options that provide excellent features. You should anticipate that a perfect Hi-Fi sound system doesn't come at a low price. You can get regular stereos or soundbars starting at just £50, and that should be alright if your expectations aren't very high. If however, you want a device that does it all and some more, you should be prepared to pay.
We recommend sound systems that start at £200 because anything lower than that would leave you dissatisfied and will certainly not be worthy in the long run. A good Hi-Fi sound system starting at that rate should have a CD player, Bluetooth compatibility and preferably, a USB port. Two attached speakers should be included as well, whereas an added amplifier or subwoofer is another plus. Still, if you're not interested in a multi-purpose unit and only require a high-grade player for your preferred device, you can find a worthy product on a lower price.
Space and Options
Large spaces come with large responsibilities, which are not always ideal for simple home use. Cinemas and clubs can afford more powerful speaker systems because the transmitted sound has a sufficient range of travel. Smaller environments like rooms in our houses prevent the audio to properly pass through, resulting in an audio disaster.
You want your Hi-Fi sound system to produce an excellent audio reproduction on all volume levels, not just high ones. That's why a compact-sized unit is ideal. Don't worry though, these units offer a lot of range and versatility, and usually come in one of the two following compositions.
These systems are manufactured, including the central unit that receives files from external devices and two (or more) speakers that emit the sound produced. This option is ideal for those who prefer to create a surround sound system seeing how they can place the speaker units anywhere around the room. The composition is also suitable in cases where damage is done to the one speaker because you don't have to replace the entire unit. You can also take advantage of these systems to add on with additional speakers in case you find the audio reproduction insufficient. These devices usually come with a lot of cable work, so you should make sure that your preferred purchase can work with a wireless connection like Bluetooth.
The all in one design is simpler but usually more reliable. These systems are produced with the main transmitting board and two integrated speakers on either side of the receiver. Even though speaker replacement is not an option, these products are usually manufactured to last a long life. Considering how they are generally smaller and more lightweight in build, they are ideal for those who are looking to save up some space within their living areas. With that in mind, the all-in-one systems are also easier to set up and install, because all that is required is a connection to the power source. Any other input would include external devices like USB, Bluetooth or FM & DAB radio.
Here comes the most crucial part. If you have a lot of electronic devices and want to use the Hi-Fi sound system for listening to music, enriching your game experience or watching perfect TV, then you're going to need a multi-purpose unit. But what exactly can a multi Hi-Fi audio system support? Well, plenty.
- CD Player - The primary and most common integrated function within a Hi-Fi player is its CD player tray. Usually, these units can play CD-R and CD-RW formats but are limited with MP3 or WMA files. Some systems also support DVDs, but are more costly and not commonly found.
- Bluetooth - Wireless connections are arguably the most crucial means of transfer in today's time. A HiFi device will use Bluetooth to wirelessly play media from several sources like smart TVs, PCs or Laptops and even smartphones. More sophisticated units also support a one-touch NFC function that instantly connects your mobile phone with the receiving unit by simply pressing the two with each other.
- AUX-In - This feature constitutes the physical components of a HiFi system that is usually located behind the unit and serves an excellent purpose for streaming audio files between external devices. If your TV doesn't have a smart interface, a 3.5 mm auxiliary cord is essential for connecting it with the HiFi unit.
- USB port - Today's most popular hardware for sharing media between devices is USB streaming. This is because the USB strip is very tiny, easy to maintain and convenient to use. A HiFi system that supports a USB connection is also favourable since it can be used as a recording device. High-end systems also let you charge your phone via the USB port, but that is an optional feature that isn't essential to the audio reproduction.
- Radio - Any good HiFi audio system has a built-in FM, AM or DAB tuner that can be used to access radio channels within a location's specific range. Pricey devices that support a wireless connection or ethernet port are also compatible with playing tracks from internet radio, so if you want to access your Spotify podcasts, you should be willing to add in a couple more pounds.
Q: What does Hi-Fi mean?
A: Hi-Fi stands for high-fidelity, which refers to any set of speakers' ability to generate a higher standard of audio reproduction. Hi-Fi systems usually include one or more music players, two or more speakers and an (optional) amplifier. Contrary to regular speakers or stereos, Hi-Fi systems use enhancing technologies that give the audio a better, more prosperous and more powerful sound.
Q: What should I look for when buying a Hi-Fi system?
A: Manufacturers and other sellers usually begin their product review by highlighting the Hi-Fi players' easy setup and the lack of effort that it takes to install it. That is partly true, but this effort is mostly made beforehand, that is before purchasing the system itself. That's because there are a couple of things that should be considered before buying. First and foremost, a good audio producing system isn't going to be cheap, and it is better to save up and buy a pricier unit later than invest in a cheaper one now and be dissatisfied forever. Other factors that you should consider include your living space capacity, stereo design and connectivity range.
Q: What is the best Hi-Fi system to buy?
A: The best Hi-Fi system of 2020 is Panasonic's SC-PMX92EB-K Micro Hi-Fi System that is suitable for use with several input channels and connection types while providing with the best audio reproduction. The micro Hi-Fi system is incredibly convenient as well, as it is easily operable with its designated mobile app.
Q: Where should I put Hi-Fi speakers?
A: A Hi-Fi music system is only as good as its speakers' position. For example, a home environment is significantly smaller than say, a theatre or a restaurant, so the speakers have to be positioned correctly so the system's features can be supported in all their power and glory. But how is that?
- Small House = Smaller Speakers - Investing in large speakers may sound like a good idea if you own a commercial area, but private homes don't usually do well with these devices. Because the walls are too closely bound, the frequencies within features like bass or treble can't distribute evenly which results in uncontrollable notes that do nothing but aggravate our ears. Don't worry about volume, because a lot of compact-sized devices are usually capable of producing a booming sound.
- Positioning - The Hi-Fi sound system in itself simply serves as a receiver because it generates audio from input devices like CDs, radio, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. What's essential within the positioning, though, is the speakers' location and their distance within each other. A speaker is generally made of a dome tweeter that constitutes the unit in which sound is gathered, produced and released. A lot of upscaling features usually take place in this section of the speakers, so you should make sure to place it ergonomically. The best position for these units is within ear level of the centre of the room. Considering how these systems are usually placed in living rooms, this should constitute the main sofa. This applies to freestanding speakers or compact-sized ones that can be placed in counters, shelves or other high surfaces.
- Interference - Considering how speaker systems are usually placed in rooms that are already occupied with other electronic devices, you can expect some interference. When we talk about frequent-wise interference, your most affected category will be the radio transference like DAB or FM. When you add our tendency to 'hideaway' appliances to create a tidier environment, this becomes a bigger problem. Placing soundbars or speakers in locations too close to other devices like TVs or monitors; or even shelves, counters and walls may reduce clutter, but it will also reduce the audio excellence for which you probably paid a high price. That's why the best position for these units is an open space, preferably in front of the TV or shelf that it lies on.