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Mini Systems Buying Guide

Mini systems, also known as mini hi-fi systems are a great way to bring audio into your space in a simple manner. Unlikely purchasing a home theatre system, these systems focus on fewer components, making the buying decision easier. At the same time, they provide excellent control and the versatility music lovers are looking for in them. Buying the right make and model depends first on your needs but also on the space plan to use it.

How Hi Fi Systems Work

A mini hi fi system is a type of device that allows you to play audio into a space. With a variety of design options, these systems allow the home or even business user to create audio that can fill a room with sound. Hi-fi systems come as a pre-packaged bundle. It is possible to purchase just the audio device and speakers separately, but doing so can be more expensive. More so, if you buy them individually, you will need to tune them as well as configure the process. This is more work than what many people want to invest in. Therefore, buying the pre-packaged system is often the best route to take.

The Mini System

A mini system is a specific type of hi-fi system. It is a larger setup than the micro system (which is also a common form of hi-fi system.) The mini system is ideal when you want to broadcast sound into an entire house or most of it. It is also the type that is most commonly used in public places. This type of system should come with the following:

  • A multiple disc CD changer usually with three to five options for CDs for added functionality and more selection options.

  • Speakers usually with two or more speakers, depending on the number of locations requiring it.

  • Subwoofers, Some models will come with subwoofers as well, though this is not always the case it can be worthwhile to invest in.

Main components

There are three main components to any hi-fi system. Although there are variations for this system, most will have three major pieces that make up this package. This includes:

Audio source

Which in most mini's is a CD player. It can also be a radio, iPod dock or another type of device that generates the sound or audio that you wish to broadcast over the system.


This is the brains of the system. It provides the user with the ability to control the volume and the balance of the sound broadcasted.


In larger systems, like the mini systems, there are often more than two speakers. This creates stereo sound. However, most mini systems can have as many as seven speakers. This creates the feeling of surround sound and ensures the sound is carried through the entire space.

Application Methods

The first step in making a buying decision is to know what type of audio system you want to listen to using the mini hi-fi system. Depending on if you need a specific setup or not, you may want to look for a system that provides you with exactly what is necessary to get the audio access you need. You will find mini systems that use all or just some of the following audio sources.


This is the most common option for hi-fi systems of this size. Most will also include flexibility here, including the accessibility of CD-R and CD-RW formats (be sure this is an option if you are in need of it).

MP3 Player

If your sound is on your iPod or other MP3 players, look for a mini system that will provide this type of playback. Most of the time, this is the case. You do not have to burn your music to a CD to get it to play well in this format as you once did. More manufacturers are offering this.


Many times, in commercial establishments especially, users want to be able to tune in to either AM or FM radio channels. This is an option for most systems as well. Keep in mind that the newer systems may include digital DAB radio tuners. This allows you to listen to digitally broadcast radio recordings as well. Look for a model that includes pre-set channels so that it is easy to flip from one channel to the next.

Audio Cassettes

Even some of the more modern systems still provide access to audio cassette playbacks. Some also do LPs, which is ideal if you are looking to create the old feel of these records on a location-wide basis.

USB Connections

The newest models of mini systems also provide USB access. This allows the user to plug in the system to any USB compatible device, even potentially a computer or laptop. This can provide even more ability to use these systems.

What to Look For

When selecting mini systems, it is important to look for those that offer enough power. Output power, also displayed as watts is the amount of power the system has to push the sound throughout the space. With mini systems, you will want to ensure the system can offer between 30 and 100 watts of power per speaker. This differs somewhat if the space is smaller. Additionally, it is a good idea to look for a mini system that includes a separate subwoofer. This installation can help to enhance the bass sound (which is the lower frequency sound) when the audio is on. If you want to use your mini system for sound for movies (which is often a better level than that which is offered from most televisions) be sure the system you buy is DVD playback compatible.


Overall, the investment of a mini system can help you to get music throughout your home or business. It is a simple installation that will provide years of overall good service to you.

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