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Stereo System

The best stereo system: Our top 9 for spectacular sound

You don’t have to be obsessed with radio history to see the value of a great stereo system. These incredible and versatile tools are some of the most popular pieces of audio equipment in the world. 

Whether you’re looking for something to play your CD collection, or you just love listening to radio channels before bed, you’ll need the right stereo. 

Of course, there’s more to the best stereo system today than many people realize. Although you can still get traditional CD stereo system models with a 3 component design, there are other options too. 

For smaller homes, there are compact stereo systems that take up minimal space. For those with their eye on the future, there are Bluetooth stereo system options or with Wi-Fi connections. 

If you’re on the hunt for an amazing audio experience, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to explore the diverse nature of stereo systems, to help you find the product that’s right for you. 

Let’s get started!

1. Yamaha MCR-B020BL (best mini stereo system)

If you love high-quality music and radio, but you don’t have a lot of space in your home, we’ve got just the thing. This compact stereo system from Yamaha is one of the most appealing audio systems on the market. 

It comes with a CD player, AM and FM radio, and a Bluetooth connection for wireless streaming. 

All that, and the device is still small enough to fit in virtually any room or cabinet. 

The mini Yamaha stereo system comes with detachable speakers so that you can arrange the system according to your space requirements. 

There’s an aux input for connecting to a computer or external music system. Plus, you can charge your devices with the Yamaha through the included USB ports. 

You even get a remote control to manage your music from a distance. 

For a very reasonable price of around $200, features include:

  • CD player 
  • AM/FM radio
  • Bluetooth for wireless streaming
  • Aux input connections
  • USB port for mobile device charging
  • Remote control 
  • Compact design to fit in any living space
  • Large diameter speaker for full-room sound
  • Extra support for bass

If you’re looking for a big listening experience in a small package, this stereo system from Yamaha could be the answer. 

You get fantastic sound quality, from a device that’s small and unobtrusive enough to work well in any home. 

Unfortunately, the CD player does have a habit of jamming at times. 

Another issue is that you need to turn the device every time you want to switch CDs, which is a bit of a hassle. 

Pros:

  • Compact design for smaller rooms
  • AM and FM radio included
  • CD player, aux input and Bluetooth
  • USB port for charging mobile devices
  • Excellent sound and volume

Cons:

  • CD player frequently jams
  • Need to turn the device off to change CDs

2. Sharp CD-BH950 (best CD stereo system)

Why settle for a stereo system with a single CD player when you can have a device that takes up to 5 CDs at once? 

The Sharp CD-BH950 is one of the most versatile CD stereo system products we’ve seen. 

Offering the option to load and swap between five CDs at a time, there’s no limit to what you can do. There’s even a vintage cassette tape tray included for other music collections. 

If some of your content is digital, then you can switch on Bluetooth and stream from any device. You’ll also have an audio line-in for music and a USB port too. 

It’s worth reading through the full instruction manual before you get started so you know how to use everything properly. 

For an impressive price of around $200, features include:

  • 5 CD trays 
  • Cassette tape tray
  • Support for CDs, WMA, and MP3s
  • Bluetooth streaming 
  • Digital FM/AM tuner with 40 pre-sets
  • Optional subwoofer
  • Audio line-in and USB-in
  • Remote control

The Sharp 5-disc stereo system is a versatile and reliable piece of audio equipment. 

Whether you’re looking to play multiple CDs at once, or you just want to tune into the radio, Sharp has you covered. 

One slight issue is that the CD player doesn’t always work as well as it should. You may need to spend some time figuring out how everything operates. Plus, the remote can be complicated to use.

Pros:

  • Support for up to 5 CDs
  • Cassette tape tray included
  • WMA and MP3 support
  • Bluetooth streaming
  • Optional subwoofer available

Cons:

  • Subwoofer costs extra
  • CD player isn’t reliable
  • Remote control is confusing 

3. KEiiD compact stereo system (best multi-functional)

Compact stereo systems today can accomplish a lot more than you might expect. You can find Bluetooth stereo system products that also operate as portable speakers, for instance. 

The KEiiD is a stereo system that combines incredible Hi-Fi audio with the option to use your kit as a TV soundbar. Just connect to the TV via an aux cable, and you’re ready to go. 

There’s a built-in microphone so you can control your device with a smart speaker. Plus, you also get a CD player included, Bluetooth streaming, and FM radio too. 

Unfortunately, there’s no AM radio, but you could always play other channels via your Bluetooth connection. 

For a price of around $220, the KEiiD comes with lots of functionality, including:

  • Real wooden surround
  • Hi-Fi sound speakers
  • CD support included
  • Treble and bass components
  • FM radio 
  • Memory play with pre-sets
  • Built-in Bluetooth 
  • Microphone for smart control
  • USB, and aux port

This is a highly versatile stereo system with lots of features to explore. 

The HD display shows you what you’re listening to, and you can plug your product in and use it as a sound bar. There’s even an EQ system so you can control things like bass and treble. 

One slight issue is that the remote doesn’t handle more than 10 feet very well. It’s also a shame that you don’t get AM reception.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth included
  • CD player
  • FM radio
  • Complete EQ control
  • Microphone built-in

Cons:

  • No AM radio
  • Remote doesn’t work well at a distance

4. NAXA Electronics NPB-426 (best portable)

The best stereo system hasn’t always been the most portable device. 

Although companies have sold compact stereo systems for many years now, the multi-component structure of a stereo means that carrying everything around is often a hassle. That doesn’t have to be the case with the NAXA Electronics NPB-426. 

This compact stereo system comes with a cassette player, recorder, and AM/FM radio. On top of all that, you get twin detachable speakers, and a carry handle. 

Created for people who want to take their music on the go, the NAXA Electronics is one of the best mini stereo system choices we’ve seen. 

There’s a CD player, and a bass boost so you can really get the most out of your audio quality. 

For a price of around $55, features include:

  • AM/FM radio
  • CD player included
  • Cassette tape player
  • Bass boost option
  • 2-way power choice
  • Wireless stereo system performance
  • Removable speakers
  • Carry handle

Convenient and easy to carry, this CD stereo system gives you everything you need in a neat package. 

Although the sound quality leaves something to be desired – particularly at high volumes – it’s a great product for the price tag. 

It would be nice to have something that feels a little more durable though. Carrying a flimsy stereo system might leave you feeling a bit nervous. 

Pros:

  • Portable design
  • Bass boost feature
  • CD and cassette tape player
  • AM/FM radio support
  • Removable speakers

Cons:

  • Not the best volume or sound quality
  • Feels a little cheap and flimsy in places

5. Bose Wave System IV (best all-in-one)

If you’re looking for the best mini stereo system that won’t compromise on power, performance, or sound quality, you can’t go wrong with Bose. 

Although this compact stereo system isn’t the cheapest product on the market, it is one of the most dependable. Offering the perfect blend of elegant simplicity and amazing audio, the Bose has it all. 

There’s only one component to think about, which means that you don’t have to take up too much room in your home. The Bose Wave system can play anything from CDs, to AM/FM radio. 

The whole product sets up in a matter of seconds, and you can even set up to 6 pre-sets for both AM and FM stations. 

For a price of around $400, features include:

  • Beautiful all-in-one system
  • Acclaimed performance with digital electronics
  • Compact stereo system footprint
  • Tiny high-performance remote control
  • Multiple radio pre-set options
  • Clock settings and alarm features
  • CD player and MP3 player
  • Easy touch-top control

Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be any Bluetooth option with the Bose system, particularly when you consider the high price tag. You can, however, play your own music through an aux cable, so it’s not a total loss. 

We also love the fact that there are multiple alarms available with this product so that you can use it in your bedroom. 

If you want high-level audio and you don’t mind paying more for it, this could be the mini stereo system for you. 

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality and volume
  • Clock and alarm functionality
  • CD player and MP3 player
  • Compact and attractive design
  • Excellent for room-filling sound

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth
  • Expensive

6. Philips FX10 (best Bluetooth stereo system)

If you want a stereo system that looks great, sounds better, and can play your own music, Philips has you covered. 

This FX10 stereo system comes with a CD player, USB, MP3 access, and an FM radio. 

You can stream music wirelessly from your smartphone via Bluetooth. This short-range stereo system is both energy-efficient and easy to use. 

Unfortunately, it’s not very portable, so although you do get a compact stereo system, you might struggle to transport it. 

The good news is that this device does come with a dual amplifier, which means higher quality sound and performance. 

The dual amplifier ensures excellent outcomes for any kind of music by reducing the distortion from your speakers. There’s even a “Max” sound button which gives your lower end bass a huge boost. 

For a price of around $190, features include:

  • Bluetooth wireless streaming
  • Dual amplifier performance
  • Max sound for extra bass
  • Digital tuning with pre-set stations
  • FM radio 
  • Compact design
  • CD player
  • USB and MP3 access

The Philips FX10 is an easy-to-use and powerful stereo system. 

Whether you’re listening to your own music via a CD or Bluetooth, or you’re checking out radio channels, you’ll love the deep and high-quality sound here. 

If you’re looking for excellent volume, the Philips delivers. 

The wires to keep your system running are short – meaning you’ll need to keep your machine near an outlet. There’s also no setting for changing treble performance. 

Pros:

  • Bluetooth and USB performance
  • Handy CD player
  • FM radio with pre-sets
  • Convenient compact design
  • Good volume

Cons:

  • Short wires
  • No treble equalizer features

7. Sony Micro (best with NFC)

If your idea of the best audio technology is a mini stereo system that combines great sound with modern features, the Sony Micro is ideal for you. 

This high-performance stereo system doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it can provide a wide selection of features. You get 3 separate components, which you can split any way you like. 

There’s an integrated FM tuner to make finding the right channels quick and easy. 

You also get a CD player built-in, USB for playing your own music, and Bluetooth streaming. 

There’s no limit to what you can accomplish. All that, and Sony throws in a unique “Mega bass” feature, for enhancing some of the lower frequencies in your music. 

With an impressive price of around $150, features include:

  • Integrated CD player
  • Bluetooth streaming
  • NFC connection
  • Dual speakers
  • Aux-in and USB connection
  • FM tuner with digital scanning
  • Bass enhancement option

We’re particularly fond of the high-quality tech in this Bluetooth stereo system. Aside from letting you connect your music in seconds, the Sony also comes with an NFC chip. This means that you can just tap your device against the stereo system to link it. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out how to save your favorite FM stations to the pre-sets. 

The instructions included by Sony are a little confusing.

Pros:

  • Compact design great for smaller spaces
  • Bluetooth and NFC links
  • Excellent sound performance
  • Bass support
  • FM tuner

Cons:

  • Complicated instructions
  • Not the most reliable CD player

8. DPNAO mini stereo system (best wall-mounted)

If you’re looking for a stereo system that’s compact enough to fit in any home, then you’ll love this product from DPNAO. 

Both a boombox and a portable stereo, the DPNAO tiny radio system comes with a CD player, FM radio, and USB input. 

You can find the right channel on an FM radio in seconds with the automatic scanning function. 

There’s also a remote control, which makes it easier to manage your music from a distance. 

We loved the unique design of this CD player stereo system. It’s slimline enough that you can rest it on a bedside table or place it on the wall in your room. 

The sleep timer and snooze function combined with a clock means that you can also use this device as a personal alarm clock. All that, and with a price tag of around $70, you still get a great 2-year warranty. 

Features include:

  • Built-in CD player
  • USB flash drive support
  • Clock, alarm, and snooze function
  • LCD backlight
  • Wall mounting components
  • FM radio 
  • Automatic radio scanning
  • 24-month warranty

It’s a shame that this product doesn’t come with Bluetooth. Most of the leading stereo systems we’ve seen consider Bluetooth to be a standard feature. 

If you’re looking for something basic that can also work as an alarm clock, the DPNAO is a good option. 

Don’t expect the speakers to be incredible in quality. The volume on this device isn’t as great as it could be. 

You might find the user interface a little confusing too. 

Pros:

  • Excellent CD player
  • Sleep timer and alarm clock
  • Wall mountable design
  • Great FM radio connection
  • Appealing compact design

Cons:

  • Complicated interface
  • Limited volume performance

9. iLive IHB624B (best color changing)

Finally, if you’re looking for a stereo system that really lights up the party, then you can’t go wrong with the iLive. 

This unique stereo system doesn’t just offer fantastic audio. As well as a Bluetooth connection and CD player, you also get color changing lights to make your listening experience more exciting. There are automatic and manual color changing modes to choose from. 

Aside from a standard FM radio tuner, the iLive also comes with a brilliant USB port, where you can charge your devices when you listen to your favorite tunes. Also, despite a relatively small size, the iLive can deliver quite a lot of high-octane volume. 

For a price of around $95, you can expect features like:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • CD player
  • FM radio with wire antenna
  • USB port for smartphone charging
  • Color changing lights with multiple modes
  • Remote control
  • High volume support
  • Digital clock and sleep timer

There are lots of great features to explore in this Bluetooth stereo system. 

You can control your music from a distance, and you get a sleep timer to automatically turn your device off when it isn’t in use. 

One slight issue is that the remote control isn’t excellent at picking up connections all the time. 

The Bluetooth connections are a little sketchy at times.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB smart phone charming
  • Color changing lights
  • CD player
  • FM radio with auto tuning

Cons:

  • Not the best remote control
  • Limited Bluetooth connections

How to choose the best stereo system

Choosing the best stereo system is just like finding the right portable radio or boombox. Everyone has different preferences and requirements to consider. 

If you don’t have a lot of space in your home, then you might be looking for the best mini stereo system, or something more compact. 

If you like having the freedom to play as much of your own music as you like, you might want a CD stereo system with Bluetooth connectivity. 

One of the most common features that any user will need to consider when buying their new device, is sound quality. You’ll need to ensure that your wired or wireless stereo system can always deliver excellent audio. 

Other features to consider include:

  • Design: Design choices for stereo systems often revolve around size and practicality. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of space, then the Yamaha MCR-B020BL is one of the best products we’ve seen, offering Bluetooth and a CD player in a tiny package. Alternatively, if you want something that definitely won’t take up too much extra space, you can try the DPNAO for wall-mounted convenience. 
  • Modern features: Many leading stereo systems today come with extra features. It’s common to find Bluetooth in most market-leading products. We were particularly blown away by the extra functionality of the NFC chip in the Sony Micro. Being able to pair your device instantly is a huge bonus if you hate fiddling with complex technology. 
  • Music options: Most stereo systems will come with a CD player included. You may also be able to find a model with other options too. Bluetooth is a common feature of many leading products today. On the other hand, you could look into a more retro style of music with the cassette tape tray from the Sharp CD-BH950. Why not consider options like aux-in and USB connections to play your music too?
  • Bonus functionality: Aside from modern features like NFC chips and Bluetooth, make sure you check out some of the bonus capabilities your stereo can offer. For instance, the KEiiD stereo system comes with treble and bass control, and a microphone for smart speaker control. You could also check out the Bose wave system for its clock features and intuitive controls. 
  • Practicality: For a stereo system to be practical, it needs to work wherever you need it. This could mean looking for something highly portable. The NAXA Electronics stereo we covered above comes with a cassette tape player, a CD player, removable speakers and a carry handle. 

Finding the best stereo system

Choosing the best stereo system for your needs means thinking carefully about what you want from your music system. For sound quality alone, we would definitely recommend the Bose Wave. The room-filling audio that this device offers is absolutely second-to-none. 

However, if you’re looking for something that’s a little more compact and affordable, consider the Yamaha MCR-B020BL. We were extremely impressed by the sound quality of this mini stereo system. 

Though the Yamaha is small, it can belt out huge amounts of volume, and it offers an excellent user interface. 

Good luck finding the perfect stereo for your needs. Don’t forget to check out our other reviews on Radio fidelity for more useful insights.  

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