If you thought Bluetooth speakers killed the home stereo, you would be wrong. Stereo systems are making a big come back with Bose and Sony launching an innovative home stereo system recently. In this article, we take a look at the 10 best home stereo systems with a wide variety of recommendations for you to check out.
Not only have we put together a list of the best home stereo systems, but we’ve also researched and answered many of the burning questions consumers have when it comes time to purchasing. We answer most of these questions at the beginning of this article and also include a comprehensive buyer’s guide at the end.
Home Stereo vs Bluetooth Speaker
We took a look at the differences between home stereos and Bluetooth speakers and look at why you might want to choose one over the other.
The most obvious difference is the power source and portability. A home stereo system requires power from a socket to operate while a Bluetooth speaker can operate off its built-in battery. This means your Bluetooth speaker is going to be portable while the home stereo is more of a fixed unit.
Almost all home stereos come with a remote control while Bluetooth speakers typically don’t. This is because Bluetooth speakers are portable and any additional accessories would probably get lost. Nowadays Bluetooth speakers come with an app which means you can adjust settings using your phone. We’re also seeing more and more home stereos coming out with apps that allow you to control everything from audio to internal configurations.
We have already mentioned portability with regards to the power source but there is another element to consider. Home stereos can be a single unit or, in many cases, 3-piece systems. This makes portability difficult. In most cases, you want to set up your stereo in a position where it will stay permanently.
Another major difference between a Bluetooth speaker and a home stereo is that the latter has a built-in AM/FM radio. All stereos come with AM/FM radio as standard while most Bluetooth speakers do not have this feature. To pick up AM/FM stations, you need an antenna. Having an antenna on a portable Bluetooth speaker just isn’t practical as it would make the device less portable. Home stereos are installed in the home and can, therefore, connect an antenna to pick up radio stations.
Many analog components like tape cassettes and vinyl are largely considered to be near obsolete, however, there are many people who still prefer to use them. In recent years, vinyl has made a big comeback with many artists releasing limited copies of singles and albums in this format.
The issue with analog components is that they are large playback devices and, they require a physical record or tape. This would defeat the purpose of a “portable” Bluetooth speaker if you had to carry a bag of music everywhere you went.
Stereo systems, on the other hand, belong in the home so, you have access to all your tapes, CDs and records. All of the options we reviewed for this article have a built-in CD player and one is a modern-day record player which plays vinyl.
Unfortunately, we don’t have tape options but you can purchase a cassette to MP3 converter which allows you to copy your tapes to USB. Many home stereos have a USB port which you can then use to playback your old tapes. You can also dump the USB onto your PC for safe storage on your hard drive.
Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV
AUX, USB, WiFi
8.7 x 14.5 x 4.3″
You can always count on Bose to be at the top of most consumer audio best list articles. Bose products are always fun and innovative with good sound and great features. The Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV is arguably the best home stereo system currently on the market.
The Wave SoundTouch IV is a dual speaker stereo system with some advanced internal processing to deliver one of the best audio experiences for a system this size. Most impressive is the Wave SoundTouch IV bass response. The bass is boosted while still retaining a good amount of definition. If you’re not fond of big bass, this can be adjusted on the Wave SoundTouch IV internal EQ. More on that in a little bit.
Both the mid-range and treble are well balanced with a notable crisp high-frequency response adding to the speaker’s intelligibility and clarity.show more
There is no shortage of input options when it comes to the Wave SoundTouch IV. These include ⅛-inch AUX, USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi. There is also an Ethernet port if you prefer to connect to your home network using a cable. For fans of the old school, there is also a built-in AM/FM radio and CD player. A ⅛-inch headphone jack is also located on the rear of the Wave SoundTouch IV.
Using the WiFi connection, you can play audio from popular streaming services and internet radio stations like Sirius XM. Streaming is done through the SoundTouch app which even allows you to set up to six presets of your favorite stream service, playlist, podcast or radio station.
In addition, the Wave SoundTouch IV is compatible with Alexa through an Amazon Echo device.
Fans of minimal design features will appreciate the Wave SoundTouch IV has no buttons cluttering up the speaker. There is a large LCD display flanked by speakers left and right. To turn the device on and off you simply touch the top of the speaker. Hence the name Wave SoundTouch.
Controlling the Wave SoundTouch IV can be done using the supplied remote or via the SoundTouch app available for both iOS and Android.
The remote includes buttons for all the regular features like play/pause, track skip, volume, etc as well as separate buttons for each input including Bluetooth pairing. There is also a separate button for each of the presets mentioned above making it quick and easy to change between each one. In addition, there are also a thumbs up (like) and thumbs down (dislike) buttons for streaming services. Lastly, the remote allows you to program/control alarms and put the Wave SoundTouch IV in sleep mode.
If you’re looking for a home stereo system for the bedroom, the Wave SoundTouch IV is a great option. Why wake up to the annoying tone of your mobile when you can wake up to your favorite music instead? With the Wave SoundTouch IV you have the option of setting up two separate alarms. If, for example, you and your partner wake up at separate times, you can program a different alarm time for each person. You also have the option of choosing the audio you wake up to be it a song, playlist, radio station, CD, podcast, etc.
Stopping the alarm is as simple as tapping the top of the Wave SoundTouch IV, just like an old school alarm clock. Alarms can be programmed using the remote or via the SoundTouch app. You can even snooze the alarm from across the room using the snooze button on the remote.show less
What’s in the Box?
Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV Conclusion
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest home stereo system you might want to consider the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV. Although a little pricey at $599, this Bose stereo system has all the features you’d want and more. If you own other Bose SoundTouch systems, these can be connected to the Wave SoundTouch IV for an integration home audio system. The Wave SoundTouch IV blends the old (AM/FM radio, CD player) with the new (Bluetooth, WiFi) to make the best home stereo system.
The SoundTouch is available in two trendy colors: espresso black (as pictured) and platinum silver.
Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System
AUX, USB, BT
14.5 x 13.2 x 18.5″
If you prefer the “classic” looking stereo system, then the Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System is definitely one to check out. The CMT-SBT100 is a 3-piece stereo system with a receiver and two separate speakers. Even though this is a 3-piece system the CMT-SBT100 is compact enough that it won’t take up too much space while still providing room-filling sound.
The CMT-SBT100 features 2 x two-way 25W speakers each with a low-frequency driver and tweeter. The combined 50W Sony stereo system delivers a surprising amount of volume for its size. More than enough to fill small to medium living spaces. The bass is present but I wouldn’t call the CMT-SBT100 a bassy stereo system. It’s more than adequate for most, however, bass fans might find the CMT-SBT100 somewhat limiting in the low-end.
The mid-range and treble is clean delivering excellent clarity for both music and dialogue-heavy audio like the radio or podcasts.show more
Even though the CMT-SBT100 is compact, it certainly makes space for inputs. These include ⅛-Inch AUX, USB, and Bluetooth. There is also a built-in AM/FM radio and CD player (plays CD-R & CD-RW). A ⅛-inch headphone output is located on the front panel. The CMT-SBT100 is NFC enables so a Bluetooth connection is instantaneous for NFC enabled devices simply by tapping the sensor on the stereo system.
The front of the CMT-SBT100 is neatly laid out with buttons to access controls and functions, a large rotary volume knob and LCD display. The USB port is also located on the front panel for easy access. Buttons include power, function (input selector), Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, track skip/radio tuning, and EQ. As with most Sony products, there is a Bass Boost button which enhances the low-end of the speakers. This definitely increases the bass but, as mentioned, isn’t as significant as you would expect. The EQ button allows you to independently adjust bass and treble.
In addition to the front panel controls, the CMT-SBT100 comes with a remote to control all of what’s mentioned above and more. On the remote, you’ll find separate buttons for each of the inputs, AM/FM radio and CD player making switching between these quick and easy. There are separate buttons to adjust treble and bass as well as the Sony Bass Boost feature.
You can tune AM/FM radio stations and also save and access your saved stations using the remote control. Lastly, you can also control the usual features like play/pause, track skip, etc.
The remote takes standard AA batteries which means no expensive disc batteries and you can even use rechargeable ones.show less
What’s in the Box?
Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System Conclusion
If you’re a Sony fan then the CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System is an obvious choice. This stereo system is compact yet powerful making it perfect for small to medium-sized living spaces. Bass enthusiasts might be disappointed with the bass response, however, I would say the CMT-SBT100 has a sufficient low-end response for most consumers. The best thing about the CMT-SBT100 is ease of use. Both the front panel and remote are nicely laid out making the stereo easy to control and operate. For under $200, you get a premium stereo system with premium Sony sound.
The CMT-SBT100 is available in just one color which is the black pictured in the image above.
HYM Originals Seed All in One Record Player Stereo
RCA, USB, BT, WiFi
15.0 x 10.6 x 13.8″
If you’re looking for a modern-day record player then there’s only one product worth mentioning, the Seed from HYM Originals. The Seed was the idea of a group of designers from Taiwan who, through a Kickstarter campaign, received $381,372 in pledges. This home stereo system not only sounds great but looks awesome. The Seed garnered a lot of attention with articles from Forbes, DesignBoom, and more.
The Seed features a 4” low-frequency driver with a 1” tweeter capable of producing 80W of power from the built-in class D amplifier. Now, it’s important to note there are two different sounds to the Seed. With the turntable mounted on top of the speaker, there is a lot of dampening required of a record to play without interference. If there was no dampening, the bass from the speaker would just make the needle jump all over the place, essentially the record wouldn’t even play.
To stop the needle bouncing all over the vinyl, HYM Originals had to attenuate the bass and volume. When you are playing a record the speaker is still warm and overall sound quality is excellent. It’s just not as loud when compared to playing audio via the other inputs. This is an amazing feat to overcoming and I don’t think people truly appreciate the design and technology that went into creating this modern-day record player.show more
The technology is so advanced that HYM Originals have a patent over the three-point suspension design which keeps the stylus in place. This is unlike any other turntable and, when you first inspect the record player, might think something is broken. This is because all of the turntable parts on top of the Seed are on a suspension so, when you touch the parts, the move. Similar to a camera on a gimble mount.
If you consider yourself to be an audiophile, then the sound quality won’t be as good as a standalone turntable with external speakers, however, for the average consumer, you’ll be blown away. If you do have your own external speakers, there is an RCA line out which you can use to connect to a receiver or powered speakers. So you have that option if you would like to play your vinyl really loud. The turntable plays at 33⅓ and 45 RPM.
The Seed doesn’t just play vinyl. Other inputs include USB, ⅛-inch AUX, Bluetooth, and WiFi which enables Apple Airplay. As well as RCA line out there is also a digital SPDIF out. You can download the Seed app which allows you to adjust settings and play your favorite streaming services and internet radio stations.
On the front of the Seed, below the speaker, is a panel of back-lit capacitive touch buttons (operate with a human touch). The buttons include play/pause, track skip next & previous, volume up & down, and mute. Also included is a remote which allows you to control all of the above plus Bluetooth pairing, platter speed, WiFi pairing, AUX input, and independent bass volume control.show less
What’s in the Box?
HYM Originals Seed All in One Record Player Stereo Conclusion
With the resurgence of vinyl in recent years, a lot of all-in-one record player stereo systems flooded the market. The problem is most of these are rubbish. The only company that seems to have gotten it right is HYM Originals with the Seed. The Seed not only sounds good but the trendy, contemporary aesthetic will look good with most decor. At just under $700, the Seed isn’t cheap but, if you’re a serious vinyl enthusiast, you just have to have it.
The Seed is available in three incredible colors, white oak (as pictured above), walnut, and black. All of these have the same solid wood finish so no difference to the components, only the wood stain.
Sony Shake-X10 High-Power Home Audio System
RCA, AUX, USB, BT
42.2 x 15.4 x 21.8″
If you like to entertain people at the house, then the Sony Shake-X10 is definitely one to check out. The Shake-X10 is part of Sony’s new generation of home stereo systems which are similar to their portable EXTRA BASS Bluetooth speakers. Sony’s Shake-X10 is more than your average Sony stereo system, this setup is designed to get a party started complete with built-in DJ system, karaoke, and lighting effects.
The Shake-X10 is a 3-piece stereo system with a receiver and two 7.8” speakers. Each speaker stands almost 20” high, so about a medium-sized home stereo system. The Shake-X10 is seriously loud! More than enough volume to fill a medium to a large-sized room and will even be effective out on the patio for music in the backyard. The system comes with Sony EXTRA BASS which is very impressive. Dance and urban music enthusiasts will appreciate the amount of bass the Shake-X10 can produce. Definitely enough for a house party.
Not only does the Shake-X10 produce big sound but it also provides the lighting. The receiver and both speakers are illuminated with an array of LED lights. The speakers even have lights on the back which light up the wall or surface behind for added effect. Obviously, these lights are only going to be effective for night time parties with the house lights dimmed. There are a few lighting states available that can be set on the Shake-X10 receiver, the remote or via the Sony Fiestable app.show more
Another party feature is a full DJ styled control station on top of the Shake-X10 receiver. Using the DJ controls allows you to scratch and sample tracks, add audio effects, and more. In addition, you have separate controls for the microphone and instrument inputs. On top of the receiver are two ¼” inputs which enable you to plug in a microphone and a guitar or even two microphones. This is great for an acoustic session or karaoke party.
Other inputs on the Shake-X10 include RCA, USB, and Bluetooth with NFC for quick pairing. The USB can both playback and record audio. So, if you want to record your DJ set, you can do so via the USB. The RCA line out is great for connecting additional speakers but you also have the ability to connect other Sony speakers via the Party Chain button. Party Chain is found in most of Sony’s new generation speakers, both fixed home stereos and portable Bluetooth speakers, and allows you to connect multiple speakers together to form one big PA system. This is great for house parties where you might have several rooms you want to send music to.
As well as DJ effects, you also have the standard audio controls on top of the Shake-X10 receiver. These include play/pause/stop, track skip, volume, AM/FM tuner, and CD eject. There’s also Bluetooth pairing, record to USB and EXTRA BASS buttons. All of these controls can also be operated via the Shake-X10 remote or Music Center app.show less
What’s in the Box?
Sony Shake-X10 High-Power Home Audio System Conclusion
If you like to party then the Shake-X10 is definitely for you. This Sony stereo system has features for every kind of house party including, live music (vocals and guitar), karaoke, and DJing. The lights add a cool aesthetic and create a party mood. The system is loud with a decent bass sound for making some serious noise.
The Shake-X10 is available in only one color which is the matte gunmetal grey with brushed silver finishes.
Denon D-M41 HiFi System
RCA, Optical, BT
12.6 x 15.3 x 22.8″
Denon is one of those brands which never disappoints. They aren’t as loud as Bose or Sony with marketing initiatives but, in my opinion, their products usually sound better. The Denon sound is clean and precise where Bose and Sony products are usually tweaked to sound more exciting. The Denon D-M41 HiFi System was released as an upgrade to the hugely popular, now discontinued, Denon D-M40.
The D-M41 is a 3-piece stereo system with a receiver and two Denon SC-M41 speakers. Each speaker features a 4.7” low-frequency driver with 1” tweeter capable of producing 60W RMS. The D-M41 incorporates a built-in 60W amplifier (30W per channel) to drive each SC-M41. The stereo produces a nice tight bass sound with a decent amount of low-end definition from the SC-M41 speakers. The mid-range and treble are well balanced delivering excellent clarity and intelligibility. When it comes to audio quality, you can’t fault the refined, sophisticated sound of the D-M41.
The D-M41 built-in amplifier delivers exceptional performance and will work with any brand of bookshelf speakers from 6 – 16 ohms. Each channel of the D-M41 delivers 30W at 6 ohms which is more than sufficient for most compact bookshelf speakers.show more
The D-M41 allows for several inputs including RCA, optical, and Bluetooth. There is also a built-in AM/FM radio and CD player. If you have a powered subwoofer, there is an RCA pre-output connection. In addition, there’s an optical audio output for connection to digital devices as well as a headphone output.
The ultra-compact D-M41 receiver features a brushed metal finish with neat button layout. There are your standard audio controls including play/pause/stop, track skip/AM/FM seek, input selection, Bluetooth pairing and power. There is also a large rotary knob for adjusting the volume.
The supplied remote allows you to adjust all of the above functions with more buttons for accessing system preferences quicker and easier. You can also set up the clock, timer and adjust the LED display brightness.
If you’re a headphone enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know the D-M41 has a sophisticated built-in headphone amplifier. There are three gain settings, high, medium or low, depending on the impedance of your headphones. Details on how to use the headphone amp can be found in the user manual.show less
What’s in the Box?
Sony Shake-X10 High-Power Home Audio System Conclusion
If you’re looking for a home stereo with good sound and classic functionality, then the Denon D-M41 HiFi System is definitely the way to go. This no-frills mini stereo system is great for small to medium-sized rooms or even the bedroom. The D-M41 is not recommended as a party system but rather for those who like a good, balanced sound signature. At just under $500 the D-M41 isn’t cheap, but the audio quality is worth the price alone.
Onkyo CS-265(B) CD Hi-Fi Mini System
RCA, USB, BT
12.5 x 10.8 x 8.0″
Onkyo is another consumer audio brand well known for good sound quality and reliability. Their receivers are especially popular using quality parts to deliver exceptional performance for all makes of speakers. The Onkyo CS-265(B) CD Hi-Fi Mini System is a good example of the quality we have come to expect from Onkyo. This home stereo is ultra-compact making it easy to install anywhere in the house.
The CS-265(B) is a 3-piece stereo system with receiver and 2 x 4” 30W (Peak) speakers. The receiver delivers 20W RMS per channel which perfectly matches the speakers. The CS-265(B) sounds exceptional and is surprisingly loud for its size. While this isn’t what you would consider a “bass stereo system”, the CS-265(B) produces a tight, punchy bass sound. The CS-265(B) even has a Super Bass feature which boosts the low-end in two stages. It’s not as significant a boost as you get from a Sony speaker, but slightly cleaner sounding in comparison.
The mid-range and treble are well balanced and clean with crisp highs. The system sounds great for music, radio and even podcasts. Dance and urban music lovers might find the bass lacking slightly but I’m sure will still appreciate the overall audio quality of the CS-265(B).show more
The CS-265(B) offers just three inputs: RCA, USB, and Bluetooth with NFC as well as a ⅛-inch headphone output located on the front panel. The stereo system also features a built-in CD player with AM/FM radio. The CD player plays CD-R and CD-RW for those who might still have old mix CDs lying around.
The CS-265(B) receiver has a contemporary, minimal design with a clean front display panel and buttons neatly recessed on top. Buttons include power, input selection, Bluetooth pairing, track skip next & previous, stop, play/pause, and volume up & down. On the front panel, there is a single button for ejecting the CD player. The LCD is very detailed displaying an array of information including track details, play mode, audio settings, timer indicator, audio input selected, and folder details for USB and CD-R/RW.
The CS-265(B) comes with a remote to which mirrors the buttons on the receiver and more. Notable buttons include a button for each input, Super Bass, tone control (bass and treble adjustment), setting the clock and alarms, shuffle and repeat play modes. The CS-265(B) alarm set up is highly customizable even allowing you to set a different alarm for each day of the week. A great feature if you only need the alarm to wake you up during the week for work.show less
What’s in the Box?
Onkyo CS-265(B) CD Hi-Fi Mini System Conclusion
At more than half the price, the CS-265(B) is essentially a cheaper, slightly smaller version of the Denon D-M41. The Denon has a better bass response and is louder, but it costs almost $500 where the Onkyo comes in at under $190. The CS-265(B) has excellent sound quality and will fill small to medium-sized rooms with ease. If you’re looking for an affordable mini stereo system with premium features and sound quality, the CS-265(B) is definitely the way to go.
The CS-265(B) is available in two color options. The black as pictured on this article and all over white.
Philips BTM2180/37 Micro Music System
AUX, USB, BT
8.2 x 33.0 x 14.9″
Philips has been designing and manufacturing quality home audio systems for decades. Their audio products are reasonably priced and deliver good audio quality. The Philips BTM2180/37 Micro Music System is ultra-compact with a minimal footprint and yet significantly more powerful than your typical mini HiFi unit.
The BTM2180/37 is a standard 3-piece stereo system with receiver and 2 x 3½” 35W speakers. As to be expected of speakers this size, the BTM2180/37 does lack in the bass department. For general background music and listening to podcasts, the bass is more than sufficient. If you’re looking for a party system, the BTM2180/37 isn’t for you. The mid-range and treble are clean but not as detailed as the more expensive Denon or Onkyo competitors.show more
The BTM2180/37 allows for three audio inputs ⅛-inch AUX, USB, and Bluetooth. There is also a built-in AM/FM radio and CD player. The CD player can play CD-R and CD-RW but is limited to MP3 and WAV audio formats only. The ⅛-inch AUX and USB inputs are located on the front of the BTM2180/37 receiver making it easy to plug and unplug these devices.
The ultra-compact BTM2180/37 receiver is neatly laid out with your standard audio control buttons. These include power, input source, play/pause, stop, track skip next & previous (AM/FM tuning), volume up & down, and CD eject.
The supplied remote allows you to control the above functions as well as switch between audio presets, set alarms, program track & radio presets, and adjust the display brightness. Even though the BTM2180/37 is compact, the display is large enough to easily see what you’re adjusting from across the room.
Even though the BTM2180/37 is a somewhat simple home stereo you have the ability to set up an alarm that can use CD, FM or USB when the timer goes off. The alarm can be set up using the buttons on the receiver or, via the remote control.
Another useful feature is the ability to store up to 20 radio station presets. Again, this can be done on the receiver or via the remote.show less
What’s in the Box?
Philips BTM2180/37 Micro Music System Conclusion
The Philips BTM2180/37 is a stereo system that’s simple and easy to operate with no complicated extra settings. The audio quality is pleasant and can get loud when needed. This is a great stereo system for the elderly or someone who perhaps doesn’t like technology. The remote and front display is simply laid out with clear labeling for every function. Having the USB and ⅛-inch AUX inputs on the front means everything about the BTM2180/37 is easy to access and operate. At just under $170, the BTM2180/37 offers great value for the money.
The BTM2180/37 is available only in black as pictured in this article.
Sharp XL-BH250 Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System
AUX, USB, BT
6.9 x 12.4 x 9.5″
Back in the 90s, if you had a 5-disc stereo system you had some serious street cred. The Sharp XL-BH250 Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System is a great example of one of these old school home stereo systems but with some modern touches and features. The biggest difference between the XL-BH250 and 90s 5-disc changers is the size. The XL-BH250 is about half the size and sounds twice as good.
The XL-BH250 is a 3-piece home stereo system with a receiver and 2 x 4” speakers each capable of producing 25W RMS. Even with only 25W, the XL-BH250 has some serious bark. Easily enough to fill small to medium-sized living spaces. The bass is clean with a nice punch, however, this is not a party system by any means. The mid-range and treble are pleasant with a good balance and clean sound. For music and dialogue, the XL-BH250 is a great easy-listening stereo system.show more
Aside from the 5-disc CD player, the XL-BH250 also has a built-in AM/FM radio. The XL-BH250 plays both CD-R and CD-RW. In addition, there are three inputs including ⅛-inch AUX, USB, and Bluetooth with NFC. There is also a ⅛-inch headphone output. All you need from a modern-day home stereo system. Both the USB and AUX inputs are located on the front panel making them easy to access.
There are several buttons on the front display including a separate button for each CD tray. This makes switching CDs and ejecting CDs quick and easy. Also included are buttons for power, input selection, track skip/AM/FM tuning, play/pause and stop. A large rotary knob in the center of the receiver adjusts the volume control. The LCD display shows an array of information including track info, audio settings, clock, and timer information.
The supplied remote enables you to access all of the functions mentioned above and more. The XL-BH250 features an X-Bass bass boost which can be engaged or disengaged via the remote. There is also separate tone control for bass and treble adjustment. You can also set up your clock and timer settings using the remote. The front panel LCD on the receiver is large enough that you can do this from across the room.show less
What’s in the Box?
Sharp XL-BH250 Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System Conclusion
If you’re still rocking CDs, then the Sharp XL-BH250 Micro Shelf Executive Speaker System is definitely the home stereo system for you. The XL-BH250 is an easy to use stereo system where the old school 5-disc changer meets modern Bluetooth with NFC. Both the receiver and remote are neatly laid out and easy to operate. For the size, the XL-BH250 sounds really good and is surprisingly loud. At just under $180, you get great sound and a 5-disc changer in an ultra-compact home stereo.
The XL-BH250 is only available in black as pictured in this article.
KEiiD Compact Home Stereo System
RCA, AUX, SD, USB, BT
26.0 x 8.6 x 6.3″
Now for something completely different. Ever wanted your car stereo as a home stereo? Well, the KEiiD Compact combines these two worlds to create a stylish and unique home stereo system. The result is better than you would ever expect. The receiver is actually a VW stereo refit which gives the system a modern retro aesthetic.
The KEiiD Compact is a single unit with a 2-way speaker system left and right of the receiver. Each speaker features a 4” low-frequency driver with 1” tweeter. KEiiD doesn’t specify the output of the system, however, I would put this at between 20W to 40W RMS. The wooden frame housing the stereo system gives helps to produce a punchy low-end response. The mid-range and treble are clean with a nice high-frequency sizzle. A really fun stereo system to look at and listen to.show more
When it comes to inputs, the KEiiD Compact gives you more choice than any other home stereo system we reviewed for this article. Inputs include RCA, ⅛-inch AUX, USB, SD, and Bluetooth. The KEiiD Compact also features a built-in front loader styled CD player and HD FM radio tuner. The unit is fitted with a telescopic antenna for picking up radio stations. It’s so old school but still really cool!
The KEiiD Compact receiver is laid out exactly like a VW car stereo. With 6 preset buttons located either side of the LCD display with a bank of button controlling various functions below. There is a separate rotary knob for volume and track skip/radio tuning. It also has separate controls for bass, mid-range, and treble so you can fine-tune the KEiiD Compact to your room or personal preference.
As this is a car stereo receiver, the KEiiD Compact has a built-in speakerphone. This allows you to make hands-free calls as well as talk to Siri or Google when connected to the KEiiD Compact.
The system comes with a remote control which allows you to control all of the KEiiD Compact functions including the speakerphone.show less
What’s in the Box?
KEiiD Compact Home Stereo System Conclusion
If you like quirky products, then you’ll love the KEiiD Compact. The first impression when you hear a company has installed a VW stereo in a retro speaker cabinet is “what are they thinking”! But when you listen to it, you’ll be blown away just by how good this home stereo system actually sounds. The KEiiD Compact has a vintage retro aesthetic so the stereo might not suit all living areas, however, it does come in black which gives the system more of a contemporary look. The KEiiD Compact comes in at just under $220 which is good value considering this is a piece of decor as well as a stereo system.
Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System
AUX, USB, BT
11.0 x 11.9 x 5.6″
Yamaha is one of our favorite brands here at Outer Audio. They manufacture some amazing products, built to last and with great sound quality. The Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System delivers Yamaha’s signature sound quality in our most compact home stereo recommendation.
The MCR-B020BL is a 3-piece stereo system with receiver and 2 x 3.8” speakers. Each speaker delivers 15W of power which is suitable for smaller living spaces. Even though these speakers are small, they manage to produce a nice punchy bass sound. I wouldn’t say the MCR-B020BL is a bassy stereo, but definitely better than you would expect from a system this size. The mid-range and treble are above average and again, really good for a system this size. Keep in mind the MCR-B020BL is designed to be ultra-compact so don’t expect audiophile quality. Having said that, if you’re just looking for a mini stereo system for some background music in a specific living space, the MCR-B020BL is perfect for this application.show more
The MCR-B020BL allows for three inputs including ⅛-inch AUX, USB, and Bluetooth. In addition, there is a built-in AM/FM radio and CD player. There is also a ⅛-inch headphone output which is conveniently located on top of the receiver next to the control panel. The USB port is also located on top of the receiver while the AUX input is located on the rear which keeps cables neatly out of the way.
The front panel of the MCR-B020BL is neatly laid out with an LCD display and large rotary volume control. The CD player appears neatly at the bottom of the unit. On top of the receiver is a small control panel as well as USB and headphone output. The buttons include power, input source, play/pause, stop, track skip/radio tuning, and CD player eject.
The supplied remote allows you to control all of the above including a separate button for each input making switching between these quick and easy.
Even though the MCR-B020BL is a mini stereo system, it’s packed full of features. Using the menu button on the remote, you can access internal settings which include adjusting tone (bass, mids & treble), dim the LCD display, set the clock & timers and activate power saving modes. The MCR-B020BL also allows you to store up to 30 radio station presets which can be quickly accessed using the remote control.show less
What’s in the Box?
Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System Conclusion
If you’re looking for something ultra-compact, affordable but still retains a high level of sound quality, then you won’t be disappointed with the Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System. The MCR-B020BL includes many of the features found in more expensive home theater systems but at a fraction of the price.
The MCR-B020BL is only available in black as pictured in this article.
Home Stereo System Buyer’s Guide
If you’re still not sure which home stereo is right for you, then have a read through our buyer’s guide where we narrow down the options based on popular reasons why someone would purchase a stereo system.
If you’re looking for a cheap home stereo system then your best bet is the Philips BTM2180/37 Micro Music System at $170. There are stereos much cheaper than the BTM2180/37 but the sound and build quality is very poor. If you do choose one of these cheap models, you’ll likely have to purchase another model within 12 months at which point you would have been better off purchasing the BTM2180/37.
Here are all the home stereo systems listed from cheapest to most expensive.
|Under $200||Philips BTM2180/37Sharp XL-BH250Yamaha MCR-B020BLOnkyo CS-265(B)Sony CMT-SBT100|
|Under $300||KEiiD Compact|
|Under $400||Sony SHAKE-X10|
|$400+||Denon D-M41Bose Wave SoundTouchHYM Originals Seed|
If you’re looking for big sound and, more importantly, big bass for parties, then the Sony SHAKE-X10 is going to be your best option. The SHAKE-X10 features big sound, Sony’s awesome EXTRA BASS as well as an array of DJ and lighting effects to get the party started. The SHAKE-X10 also incorporates Sony’s Party Chain technology which enables you to connect multiple Sony speakers together to form one big system. If you have other Sony XB speakers (both fixed stereos or portable Bluetooth models) then you can pair these with the SHAKE-X10. Keep in mind the speakers must all have the Party Chain function to pair. There is an RCA out on the SHAKE-X10 which allows you to connect any brand of speaker using a cable connection.
If you’re looking for a home stereo with the most up-to-date modern features, then the Bose Wave SoundTouch is by far the most advanced stereo system we reviewed for this article. The SoundTouch connects to your WiFi network and can stream popular services without needing an external device. In addition, the SoundTouch is compatible with Alexa devices so can fit in with your existing home audio network.
Most impressive is the advanced audio features in the SoundTouch. The internal processing makes this one of the best sounding home stereo systems on the market. The bass is awesome and the clarity is exceptional. The SoundTouch audio signature is loud and bassy for a party while being detailed enough to listen to your favorite classical music.
If compact is what you’re after then it’s a close call between the Yamaha MCR-B020BL or Onkyo CS-265(B). Both of these stereo systems sound amazing and are within a few dollars of each other. The Yamaha is only slightly cheaper at 179.95. If I had to choose between the two I’d go with the MCR-B020BL simply because I feel it looks nicer than the CS-265(B). Sound quality is almost identical with the Onkyo delivering a slightly cleaner, warmer sound.
Looks are subjective but if you’re going for something different, then the KEiiD Compact is truly unique and funky. It’s a great concept speaker with good sound and a lot of character. The KEiiD Compact is very versatile and can even be connected to your TV in place of a soundbar.
Choosing a Home Stereo System
Choosing a home stereo is simple enough but there are some factors you might not have considered:
In some cases, size matters. If you’re going to install your stereo where space is limited, then you want to look at a compact stereo system. Keep in mind the smaller you go the less low-end response and poorer the sound quality will be. Larger speakers tend to produce more bass while delivering better clarity and detail.
Another big consideration is the system features. Are you looking for something simple or are you looking for something advanced with loads of features? Some home stereos now connect to your WiFi network which means they can integrate with systems like Alexa and stream your favorite music services. On the other hand, you might just want to play CDs and listen to the radio in which case all the added extra features would be a waste.
We all want the best sound our budget can buy. If you’re really fussy about what your stereo system should sound like, be prepared to spend some money. Luckily, we’ve managed to find 10 stereo systems with great sound quality. Obviously, the more expensive options sound significantly better but none of our best home stereo systems sound poor in any way.
Bass is something many consumers base their decision on. In our options below, we’re honest about the expectations on the bass response so, if you are looking for big bass, look for the comments on low-end or bass. We also point out what to expect from overall clarity and sound quality.
If you’re looking for a powerful home stereo, keep an eye on the power output measured in watts or W. The higher the watts RMS or Peak, the more powerful your stereo system will be.
Inputs & Outputs
Most people just use Bluetooth these days to stream their favorite music. But did you know it’s better for sound quality to use the AUX input? If you don’t need to use your mobile device while the music is playing, rather connect via the AUX cable. Some home stereos use an RCA or ⅛-inch AUX input. For RCA connections you will need an RCA to ⅛” cable to connect to your mobile devices.
If you want to connect external devices or speakers, then you’ll need a line or digital output. You don’t find line outputs often on modern home stereos but we have included a couple in this article.