When the old ghetto blaster I've been using to listen to CDs and cassettes died, I began to look around for a replacement. I'm of the generation which has seen recorded media move from ancient 78s played on a radiogram (bet not many of you remember those monstrosities), through the vinyl, cassette and CD eras to the age of the MP3 player and downloaded music, all of which were initially hailed as the next big thing. As a consequence, I'm reluctant to put all my eggs in one basket and do without a hi-fi system altogether, especially as I have a pretty large collection of assorted vinyl, cassettes and CDs acquired over the decades.
As I trawled through various websites it became obvious that if I wanted a space saving hi-fi system, I'd have to forego a turntable but there were plenty of micro systems to choose from and eventually I plumped for the Sony All-in-One Audio System which currently retails at £64.24 on Amazon and has garnered 4½ out of 5 stars from previous buyers. It isn't high end and doesn't profess to be so but reviewers of the product mostly gave it a big thumbs up. I duly paid over my money and within a couple of days was the proud owner of a sweet little micro system.
What did I get for my money?
Although the turntable isn't part of this system, it incorporates a single CD player, single cassette player and AM/FM radio as well as the facility to connect MP3 players for playback through a jack-to-jack connector (which isn't included with this system). This is all wrapped up into a very neat little black and silver package which stands 9½" high x 6" wide and 8" deep, with the two matching speakers being a roughly similar size making it compact enough to fit on most shelves. It just about covers all modern musical options making it ideal for technological Luddites such as myself.
Putting it all together
Setting up the system is simplicity itself. It was merely a case of connecting the speakers into their corresponding colour coded sockets on the back of the unit and similarly connecting the radio aerial. This comes with a comprehensive instruction book but it isn't really necessary for setting up the system as it's all pretty self-evident. Like most boxed electronics these days, this is a plug and play device.
The system can be operated either manually using the buttons on the unit or by using the remote control, which takes a couple of AA batteries, not supplied. As well as operating buttons, the front has a digital readout window and there are sockets for attaching MP3 players and headphones.
There is a clock which is set in a similar way to most digital clocks but as the time setting is lost whenever the power is disconnected, I haven't bothered to do this, as I'm one of those sad people who go round unplugging everything rather than leave equipment on standby.
The sound of music
For such a little piece of kit, the sound quality isn't bad at all. OK, this isn't anywhere near the sound quality of a Bang & Olufsen but neither does it have the tinny sound which generally comes from small, cheap systems. Having said that, the sound controls are pretty limited and confined to either louder or softer plus what Sony refer to as Dynamic Sound Generator X-tra which is supposed to give the sound a bit of extra oomph but quite frankly I can't hear any difference when using this.
Radio Ga Ga
I'm not a huge radio listener these days other than early morning listening and occasionally tuning in to woman's Hour and have a portable radio to do this but nevertheless I've set up the radio. Once again, this is a very simple operation as tuning is automatic and scans for stations, stopping each time one is found. Reception, at least here in East Berkshire, is pretty good on most of the main radio stations although the antenna does seem to occasionally pick up some external noise such as that annoying mobile phone interference.
I've got it taped
I know cassettes are a thing of the past but I have quite a lot of my music in this format, some of which aren't available in any other format so personally I think this is a great additional facility to this micro system. The tape deck is hidden away behind the front panel but is easy enough to access and means that the sleek appearance of the front isn't compromised. The system only has a playback facility, however, and doesn't record onto tape but that shouldn't prove too much of a problem to anyone these days.
As well as playing commercial CDs, this system will playback discs containing MP3 files and it's possible to select straight play of these files or select a shuffle option. The CD player is set on the top of the unit and opens with a simple push down motion
And so into the 21st century
Being able to connect my MP3 player into this hi-fi is a great facility. Many of these micro systems only have input sockets for iPods with anything else requiring plugging into the back of the system which can be fiddly. This MP3 facility operates in the same way as a car MP3 system, by way of a 3.5mm jack-to-jack cable. This isn't supplied with the system but they can be bought for around £1 from most electrical suppliers.
The final analysis
I'm very pleased with this micro hi-fi system which, as one would expect from a company such as Sony, is an excellent piece of budget equipment. The sound quality is plenty good enough for general listening to both music and radio. To my mind this little sound system deserves 5 stars as its pros far outweigh the cons.
It looks good with a sleek frontage with tape controls hidden behind a panel
It's compact enough to fit into a very small space
It's easy to operate and has good sound quality
It has a tape cassette player which means it can cope with some older recorded media
The radio auto tunes to all the main UK radio stations as well as local radio
The system can be operated manually or remotely
The radio may pick up external interference
No record facilities
I have had this Sony CD player a couple of years now, ands it's never put a foot wrong. Unlike my old CD player I was able to move the speakers around with one which is so helpful when low on space
The CD player is predominantly plastic in a brushed aluminium style with a glass display. The speakers are mahogany and very light. The whole system seems fairly robust but I wouldn't like to knock it around for fear of it breaking. The surfaces don't seem to scratch easily from my experience of scraping it along a wall when pushing it into position which left no marks on the surface.
***** The CD player has:*****
Compact 2 line speakers
MP3 player plug in so you can listen to your mps player through the speakers 3.5mm
Compatible with variety of media codec's from mp3, wma and aac.
DSG Bass adjustment
3 mode equalizer presets
3.5mm headphone slot
This CD player is by far the best sound system I have ever had the pleasure of owning the sound quality is amazing it's clear and crisp with no hiss. The functions on the player are also great I love the fact I can plug in my mp3 player or laptop into via a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio wire, meaning I don't need to get up to change CD I can relax on the sofa changing to virtually any song. The fact I can plug my laptop in means I can use the speakers to listening to Youtube videos, catch up services such as I-player and music.
I do have a few cassette tapes which I have played on the player they are a good sound quality, the one thing that lets it down is that the remote control does not work for the tape deck, but you can control everything to do with CD and radio with it.
This CD player is a complete bargain in my opinion for £80, its sound quality and features are really good, I don't think there is anymore I can ask of this system for its price, don't think I will be purchasing a new one anytime soon.
We bought one for our bedroom which is quite small and its pretty good, although it doesn't sound as good when played in a larger room. One of the speakers was faulty when we first bought it but after taking it back and replacing it the new one works just fine.
It has 2 x 5 watt speakers, programmable CD player, a single cassette deck, fm/am and a digital tuner. CD player has all standard functions, shuffle, repeat etc. Also has a headphone socket, LCD display, built in clock, remote control, and you can play mp3s.
A nice little music player that is complete with all your standard basic functions, nothing special. System is very easy to use, as is the remote control. It looks good with the nice wood finish and the compact design. Ideal for a garage, kitchen or small bedroom. Not suitable for the serious music lover.
A good affordable product from Sony.
I bought this little system from Argos last November. I know it's wise to shop around and listen to a system like this prior to purchase - but I was drawing a blank:
Most hi-fi systems these days have shunned compact discs in favour of streaming media and MP3 playback, and it was a struggle to find a system which could play CDs for under £100.
Argos only had a handful of CD players, and this seemed a good all-rounder with it's 5W speakers, CD player, radio presets and it does look good! I got this for well under £100, and I won't say that it was a bargain, but it IS good value.
It really looks the part, being both modern, but the wooden-cased speaker units (in dark wood) look really good in "older style" rooms.
Sound output is good, with little distortion, but it does suffer from some differentiation between very low volume and medium volume. For example, it's one of those things where the difference between volume setting 7 and 8 is too great. I don't worry about it much, but it's an observation.
The main thing for me is that this plays CDs. The radio presets are easy to set up and reception is far better than my previous hi-fi system.
There is a clock/alarm, which keeps good time. This is a useful backup wake up call in the morning, though setting the alarm is a bit fiddly using the remote control.
The remote control is full of buttons, most of which I don't use, but I do find it strange that pressing the play button doesn't automatically switch on the CD player (which has it's own dedicated button). Similarly, the select and set buttons don't seem to have been very well thought out - But it all works fine.
I've not tried the tape deck - in fact I forget that it's there. I suppose that it has it's uses, but these days I listen to CDs and don't have much time for MP3s, other than on a dedicated MP3 player.
I was looking for a system which while compromising on sound quality due to the cheap price, would still offer some semblance of sound quality. Eventually I chose this system based upon the design as it looks attractive and sleek and being a micro system means it will not present any issues with lack of space.
So what features does the system offer? it allow you to store 30 radio stations, gives the opportunity to play both cds and mp3 cd's courtesy of it's support for mp3 playback as well playing cd rewritable and writeable cds.
Looking at the power rating and you will see that it offers 5 watts per channel. Surprisingly though, this does not limit the ability to drive the speakers to a fairly loud volume without encountering any distortion. I noticed that when I placed these on a shelf, it created a lot of booming and was beginning to have regrets. However I would recommend you purchase a set of speaker stands because it will allow you appreciate the qualities.
What this system offers with the cd player though is a lively engaging sound, the bass while not deep, is quite tuneful. However the biggest asset in sonic reproduction is the vocal range which is nice and open and presents real feeling.
The cassette deck is not something I have tested because i have very little use for one anymore. The radio stations are easy to lock on and furthermore offer good reception with a good crisp clean sound throughout the FM and AM stations.
The hi fi also gives you a line input which will allow you to attach an mp3 player but unfortunately as is the norm for this type of connection, you are trying to amplify the sound through a headphone connection which results in quite a low muffled sound.
I was pleasantly surprised by this system. It is never a good idea to buy a hi fi without having listened to it first but on this occasion I struck lucky.
Excellent for the money
The Sony CMT EH15 stereo system is a fairly hefty 'desktop' stereo system at around 7kg in weight. It comes with two speakers (5W) and a base unit and the appropriate cabling to connect the 3. I bought mine around 6 months ago, and in this time have had a few issues with it.
Firstly, the tape deck - now, most of us don't use tapes these days. But when I do, I'd like them to be able to be removed again! I only used the tape deck 2 or 3 times, but each time the tape would become stuck in the drawer. Since then I've simply steered clear of the whole issue, and stuck to CDs.
The system has a great 'AUX IN' setup too, and I get really good sound quality plugging in my MP3 player too, which is very handy (or was when I was a student on a tight budget who couldn't afford to buy loads of CDs!).
Overall I've found the sound quality of the system to be excellent, although the bass isn't as deep as I'd like.