In my journey towards finding better hi-fi speakers, I’ve come across several types and options, with their pros and cons.
Some are incredibly powerful but audio quality is compromised, while others sound great but lack power. Some focus on portability, while others are made to stay in one spot.
Naturally, though, when looking for a hi-fi speaker system, there is no substitute for audio quality.
This is why the hunt for “hi-fi” speaker systems is here in the first place. No matter which direction you choose, ultimately, you’ll always have to make some sacrifices.
But what if you could have one that features a lot of benefits, all in one go? Are there such speakers to begin with?
That is where mini and micro hi-fi speakers come in. After countless hours squinting in front of my laptop, a lot of in-store visits, and some recommendations from friends and family, I discovered mini and micro hi-fi systems.
Of course, there are a number of considerations to make when actually buying one for yourself.
What are the advantages of these systems? How do they differ from traditional hi-fi speakers? And what are some important considerations to make when deciding on which one to buy?
After all, the wrong decision here could end up destroying your audio experience and leaving you with a very bitter taste in your mouth (and wallet).
Here are my thoughts on buying mini and micro hi-fi systems that I believe every part-time audiophile should follow.
What Are Mini and Micro Hi-Fi Systems?
Simply put, mini and micro hi-fi systems are designed to give you the best of both worlds. For example, they can be portable without sacrificing audio quality.
Most traditional hi-fi systems are designed to be stationary, meaning they cannot be moved around easily.
After all, with so much power, there’s bound to be some bulk as well, right? This can be a bit of a pain, especially if you like to listen to music in different parts of your house or take your system with you when traveling.
Mini and micro hi-fi systems are designed to be more movable. They are usually small, which makes them easy to move from one place to another if you have to.
Some examples of mini and micro hi-fi systems include the Sharp XLHF102B HI Fi Component MicroSystem, Toshiba TY-ASW8000 800 Watt Bluetooth Stereo Sound System, and Bose Wave Music System IV.
Personally, I’ve found these systems to be the perfect compromise between size and audio quality.
While these mini and micro hi-fi speakers may have a limited frequency range, the differences in audio quality are not always that huge compared to traditional HiFi if you are listening in smaller rooms at lower volume levels.
These speakers still sound great and you’d be able to enjoy your listening experience all the same.
Guide to Buying Mini and Micro Hi-Fi Systems
Now that you know what mini and micro hi-fi systems are, it’s time to take a closer look at the advantages that they offer and the things to consider when deciding to buy one.
1. Relatively Affordable, But Not Always
One great advantage of mini and micro hi-fi systems is that they’re relatively affordable. When compared to traditional hi-fi speakers, these systems are usually a lot less expensive.
Of course, if you go for mini or micro hi-fi systems that have the same frequency range and power that traditional ones offer, then you’d end up spending more. Ultimately, this consideration depends on your budget and specific requirements.
2. Surprisingly Packs a Lot of Power
Despite their small size, mini and micro hi-fi systems still offer great audio quality. The sound might not be as powerful or rich as what you’d get from a traditional hi-fi system, but it’s still more than enough for most people.
Considering their size, you might even be surprised! I once made the mistake of assuming that a mini hi-fi speaker system wouldn’t be good enough and missed out on a great deal! Make sure you don’t make the same mistake.
3. Ease of Use
Setting up a mini or micro hi-fi system is very easy, even if you’ve never done it before. Your system may be wired or wireless, and setting them up may simply be a matter of connecting an AUX cable or via Bluetooth!
Naturally, the set-up of these speakers will also dictate their usability for many audiophiles.
As with any electronics purchase, you should look for a mini or micro hi-fi system that comes with a warranty. This will protect you in case you start having issues with your new system or it ends up being defective.
Some mini and micro hi-fi systems come with additional accessories, such as carrying cases or remote controls. They may not be essential, but these extras are always useful.
When it comes to electronics, the brand is usually not that important. However, some brands can be more reliable than others.
If you can, try to find a mini or micro hi-fi system from a well-known and reputable brand. Make sure to read reviews before making a purchase.
Don’t just check the product specifications and reviews. Check out the customer service experience as well. You’d want to buy from a brand that provides great customer support.
This consideration goes without saying. For a speaker system to be classified as “hi-fi,” there are some prerequisites, which include having enough power to reproduce sound accurately at high volumes without distortion.
Remember that the human ear can only hear sounds within a certain frequency range. A sound that is either too high-pitched or low-pitched will be inaudible to us.
Since the human ear is most sensitive to sounds within the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the frequency range for a decent hi-fi system should be typically in the same range. This means that the system must be able to reproduce sounds within this frequency range clearly and without distortion.
8. Frequency Response
The frequency response of a speaker system is the range of frequencies that it can reproduce. Since the human ear can only hear sounds within a certain frequency range, you should get a system with a good frequency response as it can reproduce all the frequencies within this range clearly.
A system with a poor frequency response will have trouble reproducing some of the frequencies. It might even distort them. The frequency response of a hi-fi speaker system should be as flat as possible with a frequency response ability of between 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
9. Signal-To-Noise Ratio (SNR)
The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is a measure of how much noise the system produces compared to the signal. The higher the SNR is, the better. A hi-fi system should have an SNR of at least 85 dB. This means that the system should produce 85 dB of sound for every 1 dB of noise.
10. Total Harmonic Distortion Index
The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) index is a measure of how much distortion the system produces. Unlike the SNR, a lower THD is better. A hi-fi system should have a THD of less than 0.1%. This means that the system should produce less than 1% distortion.
11. Stereo Separation
Stereo separation is a measure of how well the left and right channels are separated. For single-speaker hi-fi systems, this is usually not an issue as both channels are too close together.
But if you have a multi-mini or micro-speaker system, this is a very important consideration as it can impact both your listening experience and the acoustics of your room.
A dual-channel micro hi-fi system should have at least a 4-feet separation between the channels, while mini or traditional hi-fi systems should have at least an 8-feet separation. These numbers are just estimates, and the actual separation will still depend on the room.
For mini and micro hi-fi speaker systems, this consideration involves understanding how many channels your system has and whether you can increase or decrease the separation within.
Mini and micro hi-fi systems are the perfect compromise between portability and audio quality. They are small and light enough to be moved easily, but they still offer great sound.
When purchasing any electronic device, remember that research is the key so you can find one that perfectly suits what you need.
If you are looking for a mini or micro hi-fi system, make sure you go through this buying guide in detail before making a decision!
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.