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Micro Systems Buying Guide

If you love music or sound and want to get more control over it, then the use of a micro system is the route to take. Called a micro hi-fi system, these systems offer a sleek design with plenty of power behind them. These are an easy way to play music throughout the home or your business. When making this buying decision, it is critical to know what you want and what to expect from the purchase. Ultimately, the equipment you buy will determine your level of satisfaction.

What Is it?

A Hi-FI system is a home audio system. In short, it plays music through a set of speakers. You could purchase each component of these systems separately. Doing so would likely cost more and requires more expert knowledge of the system and speakers then most people want to put into it. If you purchase a system, including the micro hi-fi systems, you will get the following:

  • The source of the audio - This could be a CD player, an iPod dock, a radio, or virtually anything else. Most of the time, quality systems will have two of these elements or more.
  • The speakers - Usually these systems will come with two speakers, though more may be added. They provide amplified sound throughout the space. Choose a system with as many systems as you need for the space.
  • The amplifier - This element of the package includes the balance and volume of the music.

The Ideal Use for a Micro System

The micro system itself is ideal for a smaller area. This is best, for example, for a lounge or office. These often come with an iPod dock, radio tuner, and a CD player. They are not as powerful as other systems. However, there is plenty of flexibility in these systems to give users what they are looking for in a standard room. Some modern varieties do offer enough flexibility of more than one room. Others do not.

Determine Audio Source

With a micro system, you will need to consider the type of audio source you would like to have access to. These systems can incorporate everything from MP3 players to your radio tuner and even a tape deck. This provides a basic level of connectivity. Ensure the system you select offers the specific type of control you want by providing the right audio sources for your needs. This is a very personal decision based on the types of audio you plan to listen to.

Higher Power Output

The output power, often displayed as watts, is one of the most important components to this system. Compare various providers and models to find the output range right for you. In most cases, getting about 20 watts of power is enough for the production of a clear level of sound in these systems. This is a good option for the average sized room in a home (consider a living room of 15 by 15 for example.) You will want more watts if you have a bigger location, of course. If you want to pump music throughout the entire home or through an office space, you will need larger systems. Some provide up to 100 watts of total output.

When comparing output levels between systems, you may notice that some systems state the output as "per channel." Though there are differences, most systems will have two channels built in. Other systems list the "total output." This is simply a combination of the per channel numbers. The higher the wattage the more power you get.

DVD Playback

Some systems will have a better sound quality than others do. When buying any micro system, it is a good idea to consider DVD playback if it is something you are interested in using solely. These speakers will improve sound quality compared to the average set of television speakers (but not necessarily better than most home theatre systems.) For those who want to improve their sound quality in a space while watching movies, these micro systems can do the job for you. If this is not the case, then this feature is less worthwhile to invest in.

Radio Usage

Many people who use micro systems do so in an office or space in the home where they want to tune into the radio. Most micro systems offer this functionality. However, some add features into this. For example, some systems incorporate a radio preset - the ability to preset various numbers on the radio system to specific channels. This makes going back and forth to your favorite channels easy to do.

In addition, consider whether the system offers AM and FM tuning. Though most systems do, not all of them do. If you want to tune into your favorite sports show or even your favorite game, you may need this access. 

Further, some systems also offer access to digital radio. If you are interested in having this specific type of access, which may include additional channels accessible with a subscription, then you will need to ensure the micro system is able to meet those needs.

Media Formats

Some of the best hi-fi micro systems now offer support for various types of media formats. Be sure the one you buy provides for your needs. Not all that offer CD playback will offer CD-RW and CD-R playback. Some will support iPod and overall MP3 playback. Even newer models are not offering USB ports. For those systems, that need connectivity in this way (for example to connect to a computer for outstanding improvement in sound throughout the space) then this is a key feature to seek out.


Overall, the investment in micro systems is an ideal one. If you have thought about the benefit of adding sound to just a room or two of your home, this is the route to take. Micro systems are not inexpensive, with some models costing several hundred dollars. Others are simple in their design and cost a fraction of that.

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