Our sound systems have truly become more versatile through the years, as we moved from carrying large vinyl discs of 44 minutes of music to phones that contain thousands of songs as MP3 files. Today's systems represent the golden age of audio in which we can opt for every shape, size, and form of music, physical or digital.
However, there is an increasingly growing number of people who want to experience high-quality sound from smaller packages. Whether more people want a portable speaker to bring a musical atmosphere wherever they travel or a complete hi-fi system that’s simply easy to handle and maneuver in your home, the demand for big sound in a small package is on the rise. Thankfully, the options are better than ever and varied for everyone's taste. Here is Origin Hi-Fi’s guide to buying tiny hi-fi.
What is Tiny Hi-Fi?
A hi-fi system is composed of an audio source, amplifier, and speakers. These elements can be independent components or fully integrated stereo speakers that house your audio source too. Mini hi-fi simply means you have a smaller setup and can still incorporate vinyl, CDs, or wireless Bluetooth. We believe the integrated sound is far superior to a single wireless speaker because even if you lack space, there's no reason to sacrifice your sound quality. It's also highly likely that you already own some music sources and supplies you can incorporate into a slightly larger system.
What's the Difference Between Micro and Mini?
Tiny hi-fi systems are known as either “micro” or “mini.” Let’s take a look at the difference between the two in the realm of CD-playing capabilities. A micro hi-fi system comprises a little compact unit ideal for your office or lounge space. Many micro systems incorporate an AM/FM radio tuner, CD player, and at times an iPod dock. The speakers may range between 10 and 30 watts per channel, making them the less powerful sound option. Mini hi-fi systems are a bit larger and suitable for a larger house or a public space. They may include a multi-disc CD player that holds 3 to 5 CDs and more powerful speakers between 30 and 100 watts per channel. Some mini systems also have a separate subwoofer to handle the bass. While both systems include speakers, your audio sources will greatly differ between your models, so be sure your model includes the source you want to use for music.
What Can I Listen to on a Hi-Fi System?
A mini or micro system will play music from a mix of formats. Almost every hi-fi system has a CD player that can play both CD-R and CD-RW formats. Furthermore, the majority also incorporate MP3 playback, so any CDs with audio files from your computer will also be playable. Nowadays, nearly every hi-fi system also includes a radio and iPod capabilities so you can scan through AM/FM or dock your iPod whenever you’d like to switch up your source. Some systems include a USB input so you can attach flash drives or even your cell phone to play music, and a few specialized sources may feature a tape deck for audio cassettes or a turntable for vinyl records. However, as those technologies are less common, you may have to purchase a few more components to construct a not-so-mini system.
What Are Some Other Features to Look For?
When it comes to mini and micro systems, it’s important to understand power. An output of 20 watts is enough to create a clear sound for the average living room, but if you want to be able to enjoy sound throughout more rooms, a system with up to 100 watts will be necessary. A system may list power output per channel, while others will list total output.
Some hi-fi systems have DVD and CD playback. A hi-fi speaker always has better audio quality than a TV speaker, and the inclusion of a separate amplifier will offer you more fine-tuned volume control. If you don't want to spend too much money on a home theater, a sound system that includes a DVD player is the perfect solution for quality audio in movies.
If you’re a fan of listening to the radio, many systems will allow you to save stations as preset channels. This is ideal for switching between all your favorite stations without having to tune to a specific frequency.
There are classes designated to audio systems, and Class A/B/AB designs have been the choice of superior large systems, relegating Class D as the subservient design of small systems with a noticeable gap in audio quality. However, Class D is one of the most efficient systems with low heat dissipation needs and physically smaller and lightweight forms, making it ideal for smaller hi-fi. Throughout the years, Class D has made step-by-step improvements, and today we think it’s worthy of broadcasting a better sound, so don’t be afraid if you see a Class D label.
If you’re considering investing in micro or mini hi-fi for your home, it’s best to consult with an expert. Our team at Origin Hi-Fi is prepared to meet your needs with well-crafted audio systems from our partners. Contact us today to begin!