A while back I was looking for a new stereo system due to the fact that the one I had was on it's way out, one of the speakers had popped pretty badly and crackled like a sparkler when turned up slightly. Plus, the actual CD housing case had split right down the centre and opened up in two sections, leaving a rather sharp edge when it did so.
So, I was on the hunt for a new stereo at a reasonable price, which was not as easy as I first thought as I found that some of the cheaper models looked as odd as a penny farthing competing in the 'Tour de France', and the better looking ones cost more than a small family car.
However, during my search I came across a rather nice looking system, with the well known name of Philips etched on it, but the only problem was that it was a bit above what I was willing to pay, even if I really liked the looks of it.
But, a few days later I noticed the exact same system on a shelf in a nearby electrical store, with the price being a lot less than the original price, so I jumped at the chance to get it, basically as I liked the style due to the fact that it would fit nicely with the rest of the furniture in the room I wanted it in, with its black and silver colouring and rather sleek design.
When I got it home I went about un-boxing it and setting it up, which took all of five minutes, making sure that everything was there and working properly, the price I got it for made me think that maybe something was not quite right with it, but once set up I discovered that it was all there and working fine.
** IN THE BOX you should get...
* The Micro stereo system itself
* Two speakers
* A stand
* Remote control
* Power adapter
* User manual
* Quick start guide
** TECHNICAL BITS...
* 2 x 30 watt speakers (total 60 watts of music power)
* Front loading motorised slide
* LCD display with blue back light
* DAB band III radio
* FM radio
* 4 mode Digital sound control.
* Dynamic bass boost
* Speakers contain Bass reflex speaker system, 2 inch way tweeters and 4 inch woofers.
* Plays CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3-CD and WMA-CD
* Disc playback modes are play/pause, fast forward/reverse, next/ previous, programme play, repeat, shuffle and stop.
* USB recording capabilities for 'ripping' music from disc.
** OTHER BITS...
* Auto tuning
* Auxiliary line in.
* 3.5mm headphone socket
* FM and DAB antenna
* 20 preset radio stations
* 1 Watt standby power
* CD Alarm, Radio Alarm, Sleep timer, USB alarm
* Main unit is 211mm wide x 250mm high x 160mm deep
* Speakers are 158mm wide x 250mm high x 330mm deep
* Weighs approximately 6kg.
** SETTING IT UP...
This was pretty easy indeed, being a matter of getting everything out of the box, (obviously), slotting the stand into the position on the rear. Then sliding the speaker wires into the appropriate 'holes' in the rear.
The speaker wires are 'bare' at the ends and have to be slotted into place, although I do prefer this as I find it a lot easier to extend the wire in order to place the speaker at a further distance than the original wire allows.
Then you slot in the antenna into place and you're ready to scan for any radio stations and store them into the system itself.
** MY OPINION...
It looks pretty stylish, in a black/silver and glass fashion, with the speakers being black whilst the main unit it half black, (the top section) and half silver, (the bottom section).
NOTE: this is quite important...
One thing you do have to remember about this is that the front slides up and down so you can change you CD's so you do have to have enough room above it to allow for this. If you allow twice the height of the unit itself you'll be laughing.
This sliding motion is one of the things I like about this system, the way that the top section gently slides upwards, revealing the CD loading section, allowing you to put in your favourite music, then the cover slides gently back into position, making the system look as neat and tidy as ever.
Anyway, along the bottom section are the button to control the music system, these are clearly marked and are all push operated.
These controls on the front are clearly marked and easy to understand, this goes for the remote control as well, so the system is a breeze to use. I won't go into the buttons as this could be classed as padding, but suffice to say that you can do everything with the touch of one button, even 'rip' your CD onto a memory stick via the USB port on the front of this unit
As for the remote, this is as clearly marked as the stereo itself, although the remote gives you more control over the stereo itself, with such things as direct number link to your chosen track using the shift key and the number keys. Or there's the MP3/USB controls which help you browse through any USB device that you have plugged in, and a lot more to boot, (I won't go into too much as there is a lot this remote offers, it's a matter of pressing a few buttons to see what's what).
Another thing I like about this stereo is the USB port which means you don't have to worry about scratching your favourite CDs as this system can read your memory cards using the USB port, providing you have a card reader which are only a few quid. This means that you can simply store thousands of your favourite tracks on a single card, slot it in a reader and slot it in the USB port on the front, giving you and endless supply of tunes which can be controlled so easily with the remote control.
Or failing that, if you haven't got a USB card reader or a stick, then not to worry, this unit has a built in Auxiliary port which allows you to plug in any other player via the external players headphone socket, (as long as you have the correct leads that is).
Now for the most important thing about a stereo system, the sound quality, (why else would you want a stereo?).
The sound quality is remarkable, although if you're going to play CD-R/CD-RW etc.. then the quality depends on the way you've recorded you music, but playing 'shop bought' CDs is like being in a concert hall, (almost). The bass boost give the younger side of you the chance to bounce a little bass around the walls, (just try not to annoy the neighbours too much), whilst the genre selection gives each of you chosen tracks a chance to be heard how they should be, such as 'pop'. 'rock', 'classical', etc.
As for the size of this system, well it is a micro system so it's not as big and bulky as some others of the same calibre. It sits nicely on a 'normal' table, (as long as you allow room for the CD cover to open upwards), with the speakers being almost as wide as the stereo itself. If you think of a shoe box with the lid open then you have a rough idea of the size of the stereo itself, with the speakers being slightly narrower and, most importantly, detachable.
Personally, with the aid of a little extra speaker wire and the fact that the wires simply slot into the appropriate holes in the rear of the stereo. I have my speakers on either side of the room with the stereo sitting more or less in a central position, which seems to give me a more 'stereophonic' sound as I listen to my classical music after a hard day in front of the PC. (OK then..!)
The other positives about this stereo is the few little extras that it offers, such as the alarm clock, which you can set to wake you up with your favourite music CD or even radio station. Plus the rather delightful blue screen which lies on the door slide of the CD cover, this blue screen may be small but the information it gives is clear and easy to read.
There was a slight negative, which didn't last too long as a negative may I add, that was that the DAB was a bit of a nuisance to tune in at first, trying to find more than one station, which was defiantly not an English station, but after a few scans, and a bit of messing about with the antenna, I managed to pick up a few digital stations which were all as clear as if I was listening to a CD.
(I have been told that I should be able to get even more digital stations if I invest in a digital aerial, maybe with a booster, but that's something I'll maybe look into in the future).
Now for the price, which I know you're all very interested in. if you look around you'll see that this particular system sell for up to £150,( in some place even a massive £200), which was what put me off buying this in the first place. But, after actually managing to get it for a mere £79.99 I am well impressed with what I paid for.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, now that I have used it and realised just how good it really is, I would probably have paid the £150 for it anyway, (maybe shops should offer a try before you buy scheme on products like this..?)
In all, this has to be one of the finest 'lower end of the price range' micro stereo system with DAB I have had the honour of using, offering you more than just a chance to play you Rihanna and Cheryl Cole 'songs', (if you like that sort of trash... I mean thing).