Do you remember the glory days of the Boombox? If you do not, then you may not be familiar with the hefty tools and accessories that were required to play music in the not-so-distant past. Those days are no more. Today, the best mini stereo systems function more as complete living room/bedroom entertainment centers in their own right.
With the advent of such technologies as Bluetooth, streaming, internet radio, and station preset, never before can your living space imitate a live concert as accurately as current times. The Mini Stereo Systems displayed below will allow you to do just that and more. There are five in total, each with their own unique features and recommendations based on your personal style of music and streaming. A Buyer’s Guide will follow, concluding with a brief section showing which items from the list are the best.
- Best Mini Stereo Systems 2019
- 1. Sony CMT-SBT100 All in One Stylish Micro – Best Mini Stereo System
- 2. Pioneer X-EM26 (Japan) CD Mini Component Stereo System
- 3. Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component Stereo System for Home
- 4. Onkyo CS-265(B) CD Hi-Fi Mini Stereo System with Bluetooth
- 5. Bose Wave SoundTouch Mini Shelf Stereo Music System IV, works with Alexa
- 6. Denon D-M41 Compact Hi-Fi Stereo System with CD and AM FM Radio (Bookshelf Speaker Pair)
- 7. JENSEN JTA-475B 3-Speed Compact Stereo System with Turntable, CD/Cassette, and AM FM Radio
- Best Mini Stereo System Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
Best Mini Stereo Systems 2019
When trying to figure out which portable radio is the best for you, it is easy to get confused by the jargon and random specs. Before the reviews, here’s a short pit stop on a few of the primary features given within each brand. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best mini stereo system to suit your needs.
|Pioneer X-EM26(B)||20 W||FM||20||Yes|
|Yamaha MCR-B020BL||30 W||AM/FM||25||Yes|
|Onkyo CS-265(B)||40 W||AM/FM||30||Yes|
|Bose Wave IV||30 W||AM/FM||6||Yes|
All data collected in the article are relevant for 2019. This article will be supplemented and corrected as soon as the new information appears.
1. Sony CMT-SBT100 All in One Stylish Micro – Best Mini Stereo System
The Sony Micro Music Stereo System is without saying one either of the best home radio systems online or in physical electronics stores. At the surface, it may appear to resemble any ordinary-looking stereo but is anything but. The level of connectivity that’s possible here is surprising. Especially if it’s been a while since you’ve last had or used such devices from Sony in previous years.
If you like listening to local radio stations, there’s 30 presets built into the system itself. Just follow the instructions that come with the packaging to set everything up correctly. Bluetooth is also present, so stream to your heart’s content if you own a smartphone or other portable device that can be hooked up.
This attempt to find a balance and best all-around value have led the Sony CMT-SBT100 to be our best mini stereo system.
Best Value: Sony’s Top-Notch Machine for Serious Earheads
One of the best features is how audio is stored during streaming.
Audiophiles will appreciate the lossless sound produced, which is set to keep the quality stable. This could be important if you plan to use this best mini stereo system at the parties or get-togethers of any sort because the music sounds noticeably better on a good speaker system.
You might have to do some preparation to get a good balance of sound quality but it’s best that you hear it for yourself first. Likewise, poor audio will be easier to distinguish, so it’s great to see Sony implement something that can prevent awkward sound quality when streaming over the phone or internet.
Tuning the Volume
There are a few setbacks. One of them is with the volume. It gets loud but noticeably less loud than some of the radio’s competitors. You probably won’t play the stereo at the higher level anyway but if for some reason you do, prepare for the sound to be almost drowned out when there are lots of people over. The issue is better tested at it’s lower volume setting, which is difficult to sense when the dial is set close to zero.
Additionally, while Bluetooth does work, it may take you a few tries to get the signal paired. This can quickly get frustrating so consider it before you lay down a purchase. Most of the issues could be fixed by fine-tuning the settings on the remote, however. Therefore, if you trust the Sony brand, it is one of the safest buys around.
2. Pioneer X-EM26 (Japan) CD Mini Component Stereo System
Pioneer continues to impress with its stellar designs and sound quality of stereos. But their gadgets aren’t just cheap plastic works of art that are often seen it this category with lesser models. The Pioneer X-EM26(B) arguably the best mini component stereo system that we saw.
Manufactured for Audio Clarity
The X-Em26 B-series hails directly from the source of the company: Japan. Everything is produced to last, with two beautiful speakers that pump out bass at decibels that you may have never heard before. This mini stereo system blends well with most home decor as well, having a black finish that contrasts nicely with the silver volume dial on the right-hand side of the centerpiece.
One other piece you’ll notice is the USB cable to the left and CD player situated at center mass. It’s extremely fast and, if using it for charging, can fill up the battery of a smartphone at the same speed as a wall outlet.
Getting the Remote to Work
Remotes are always a hit or miss with stereo systems. Some of them look great but function at the same level as the cheapest radios. While the remote for the X-EM26 is indeed a pretty sight, it sometimes has trouble signaling to the radio. For example, if you attempt to change a station or song but aren’t sitting or standing directly in front of the product, you may have to move closer or change your position at times.
This annoyance is increased if you put many items in its view. Try to allow enough space for the stereo to be “contacted” at longer distances. Overall, it’s a cool piece that really brings out the base when the volume’s cranked up (at times, it might be a little too much). So look into this Pioneer mini component stereo system if that’s right up your alley.
3. Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component Stereo System for Home
Shorter is sometimes better, but not always! Have you ever noticed that some stereos tend to have worse sound when they are built at a lower clearance than usual? Of course, there are always exceptions, and the Yamaha MCR-B020BL proves this.
Less is Sometimes More
It is much shorter than the Sony and Pioneer, at least in the speaker department. But this remains a good advantage in its favor. Unlike ordinary-sized stereos, you will probably have more room to move it to an area that would be nearly impossible with a taller speaker system. Moreover, like many, you can further play with the minimalist style by separating the three sections into different areas of your living room. That way you’ll get better sound coverage and brilliant movie theater-like surround. This product made our pick for the best small stereo system for the home.
How It Performs with CD’s
But there is a catch, and it involves compact discs. Pop one in and you might encounter the issue of the mini stereo system vibrating at periods that are hard to predict. The abrupt movement could become strong enough to knock the music off track. If you are old enough to remember when CD’s were in their prime, then you know how delicate they are.
Too much movement with interior parts may potentially cause scratches to cover the bottom. Also, you can only listen to the radio in stereo, so don’t expect a big improvement over airwave quality. Hopefully, all these things are afterthoughts. If so, try out the MCR-B020BL if you live in a small apartment or need something for the room, but wouldn’t like to rearrange everything for it to accommodate your space.
4. Onkyo CS-265(B) CD Hi-Fi Mini Stereo System with Bluetooth
Onkyo continues with its CS-265(B), a sleek stereo that is also geared towards lovers of bass. Techno die-hards and pop music listeners will like the way it puts the emphasis on the base without sacrificing the mid tones.
Crank Up the Base
It can go up twice as high as the initial setting, so make sure that you are careful not wake up the neighbors when you turn this best mini Hi-Fi stereo system on after a previous session of loud play.
There is no lag in the USB either; when you are hooked up, the connection stays. That also goes for the Bluetooth functionality. All sounds have been measured to a max of 40 watts.
The Build Quality
Plastic haters take note: The speakers for the CS-265 are made of plastic. This might not serve as a dealbreaker to the general public but an audiophile might want to look at some of the other choices found on this list. Not to say that it makes the stereo a bad product, but the sound difference could be less desirable for someone that puts a value on the decibels before any other feature found on the mini stereo systems reviewed. But for the people who just want something that plays music and don’t need pinpoint clarity in the equalizers, the Onkyo should suffice.
5. Bose Wave SoundTouch Mini Shelf Stereo Music System IV, works with Alexa
The final product is the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV. For such a small product, there is a lot going on inside the mechanics of the stereo system. The Bose Wave IV made our pick for the best mini shelf stereo system.
If you are familiar with Alexa (a voice-enabled computer), then the features multiply exponentially. You can control all components of the device by simply telling the listening product (Alexa) what you want the radio to do. For all others, the brand remains a great piece that must be operated by remote control.
To Equalize or Not to Equalize
Bose has become famous for making electronics that can be heard from a long distance. This is a little stunning, giving the tiny dimensions of the stereo itself. It makes an excellent gift for all varieties of music but classical and rock sound exceptionally well when everything is set and ready to begin playing. Yet when one looks further into the reasons why these music genres are better, they will see that it is due to the equalizer settings.
Treble and Base cannot be altered. The only way to do so is when music from a tablet or smartphone is played since most mobiles now offer this by default. However, this mini stereo system does redeem itself by its size and radio functionality. It has guaranteed to ensure you will never lose a signal.
6. Denon D-M41 Compact Hi-Fi Stereo System with CD and AM FM Radio (Bookshelf Speaker Pair)
The Denon D-M41 Home Theater looks a lot like stereo systems you may have seen from the 1990s. But there are features found on this product that is unique to those from that time period. Bluetooth is the most notable. Just pair any of your compatible devices and let them play the music you love. But one great feature that could be overlooked is the built-in amplifier for the audio-in slot.
If you own a decent quality pair of headphones, your music will sound the same to which audiophiles recommend. Sounds will be heard that you’ve never noticed before, and low frequencies are especially great.
But if you want a stereo system that’s lightweight, you may want to look at some of the other product shown already. It weighs about 32 pounds, which is a lot in comparison to most of its modern-day counterparts.
7. JENSEN JTA-475B 3-Speed Compact Stereo System with Turntable, CD/Cassette, and AM FM Radio
When you must have every format shown in all of the reviews, but included in one single package, the Jensen JTA-475B is what you should settle on. There’s vinyl, a cassette slot, CD, and a USB port all rolled into one. The configuration is precise and easy to view when you have the lights off. You could improve on the speakers or add more with the RCA ports in the back too.
But like every product, nothing’s perfect. The cassette slot is situated in a location that’s a little awkward. If you have your left speaker touching the main unit, you will have to move it in order to put the tape inside and play it. And you won’t be able to convert any of your cassettes or vinyl into digital either.
Best Mini Stereo System Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
How to Choose a Small Stereo System for Home
To help you get a better feel for which of the items shown could fit your home better, here are a few quick pointers for you to remember prior to making an order.
This might come as an afterthought, but the type of music you favor should definitely be factored into your stereo purchase decision. The average stereo will offer some sort of equalizer settings that can be tinkered with to help a particular music style sound better when it is playing.
Some mini stereo system has fewer settings than others do. For instance, you may have used a system in the past that allowed you to change the gain. That had no bass booster or any way to manually set the lowest decibels to a higher volume.
Still, be sure that any brand you are states it’s availability in their product’s description. Furthermore, check for USB connectivity.
Some types might have them but could be manufactured in an awkward position, such as in the back of the stereo. You’ll want something that places the most used objects in the front.
Thankfully, this can be easily seen on photos. So go over them to make sure you won’t end up having to move your system to gain access to things you didn’t notice before buying.
This is one for people who own many Compact Discs. They become scarcer with each passing day. But the fact remains that many people still retain lots of music in hard copy.
Another thing to consider is how fewer laptops and computers possess CD drives. If you anticipate using a new stereo for playing the music that you have stored, be sure that it features a slot for this. With their dwindling use, CD use might be something that is easily overlooked.
AM and FM
Not all mini stereo systems carry both AM and FM capability. This difficult part comes when looking at a product’s description. Sometimes brands do not add this tidbit when detailing the features listed.
In certain cases, you could end up with both AM and FM on your new system but did not expect it due to the company simply not indicating that it was available. The best way to know, besides emailing the manufacturer or seller, is to view the item’s specifications.
When it comes down to it, speaker quality should also be detrimental to choosing your mini stereo. A nice product that has tons of great streaming and audio features. It can easily be ruined by the speakers are less than subpar.
There are good plastic and wooden speakers but wood tends to be the most revered, mostly by how it helps sound waves travel throughout your listening space with less distortion. Plastic, as mentioned earlier, will give great sound as well but usually has more distortion.
Types of Materials
If you were to line up several wooden and plastic speakers in a row, playing each from the same stereo system, you would hear how those with more synthetic materials in the build develop slightly more feedback at large volumes. They probably will look better too. Plastic speakers place more emphasis on design and appearance than their wooden counterparts. So it’s no surprise that audio may get a little twisted when things get loud, especially if you like using lots of filters in your music.
Still, plastic remains a step up from metal, something that is only seen in cheaper stereo systems. Soundproofing your entertainment room could make nearly any decent system sound excellent too. So consider installing absorbers on your walls, especially if placed in a room with few windows and doors.
What is the best mini stereo system?
You may have already guessed, but Sony and Pioneer (the first and second reviewed products) win based on the quality of construction, sound clarity, and ease of use when connecting the units to other devices. But this isn’t to say that the rest aren’t honorable mentions.
In some way, they even outperform the top choices. If you do not have one, you owe it to yourself to check them out. The stereo you end up loving might just give you that specific base level that you were looking for, or something else that places it in a higher position. Whatever the case, all of the Mini Stereo Systems will help kick your music listening to the next level.