The 10 Best Mini/Micro Audio Systems to Buy in 2017

The best audio systems when you're squeezed for space

Want big sound but have little space? Check out some my favorite compact audio systems. No cheap boomboxes here, just great sound and flexibility. These units are perfect for the office, bedroom and more.

1
Best Compatibility: Yamaha MCR-N560 Network Mini System

yamaha-mcr-n560.jpg
Yamaha MCR-N560 Network Audio Mini-System. Image provided by Yamaha

The Yamaha MCR-N560 is system that consists of a compact CD Receiver (32wpc) system and two compact two-way bass-reflex speakers. The CD transport can play CD/CR-R/RWs as well as WMA and MP3 discs, while an included USB port can access audio files from flash drives, iPod or iPad.

The system also provides a 30-channel preset AM/FM tuner for local radio listening, as well as a built-in ethernet connection for access to content stored on a network-connected PC or streamed from the internet via hundreds of internet radio stations (via vTuner). The Yamaha MCR-N560 is also Apple AirPlay-enabled.

This system also features a subwoofer preamp out, as well as a headphone jack. You can also connect external sources, such as an audio cassette deck or DVD/Blu-ray Disc player via provided analog and digital optical/coaxial audio inputs.

 More flexibility can be added to the MCR-N560 by plugging in either a USB WiFi Adapter and/or Bluetooth Adapter.

You also have the option to operate the MCR-N560 using the provided remote control or the Yamaha's Network Player Controller App for iOS or Android.

2
Best Bluetooth: The BENQ TreVolo

BENQ TreVolo Front View Speakers Open
BENQ TreVolo Front View Speakers Open. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

If you are looking for something a little different with regards to a compact audio system, then you have to check out the BENQ TreVolo.

At its core, the TreVolo is a Bluetooth-enabled system that can stream audio content directly from compatible portable devices such as many smartphones and tablets. Also, it provides both analog audio and USB inputs for physical connection of other source devices, such as a CD player or flash drive.

However, what makes this system really different is the incorporation of fold-out flat panel Electrostatic speakers. In addition to the fold-out Electrostatic Speakers, two compact woofers and two passive radiators are included for the lower frequencies.

The system is easily movable from room to room, and can run off AC or its built-in up-to-12-hour rechargeable battery capacity (rechargeable battery included).

3
Best Design: Onkyo CS-265 Colibrino Bluetooth Mini-System

Onkyo CS-265 Colibrino Bluetooth Mini-System
Onkyo CS-265 Colibrino Bluetooth Mini-System. Image provided by Onkyo USA

The Onkyo CS-265 is a compact system featuring a stylish exterior finish (you have a choice of red, white or black). Inside the main unit, there is a high current 20 WPC amplifier (measured at 1khz @ 6 ohms), 2-Way bass reflex loudspeakers featuring 3 15/16-inch midrange/woofer drivers and 3/4-inch tweeters, slot loading CD player, and AM/FM Radio Tuner. The Onkyo CS-265 also features a convenient front panel USB port for connecting iOS devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad) and flash drives.

Additional features that make the CS-265 more flexible and easy-to-use are Super Bass feature, which increases bass output (also helps retain bass response at lower volume, line input for connection of analog audio sources, a headphone output that is great for late night or private listening, and a wireless remote control.

The big added bonus is that the CS-265 also includes wireless Bluetooth, which allows you to stream music wirelessly from a compatible smartphone or portable audio player to the system.

This system may be small but delivers great sound for home or office.
 

4
Best for Office: Denon D-M40 CD/FM/iPod Micro System

Denon D-M40 CD/FM/iPod Micro System
Denon D-M40 CD/FM/iPod Micro System. Image provided by D&M Holdings

Here is a compact audio system that really packs a punch. The Denon D-M40 features a mini-size CD player/Receiver, combined with newly designed compact efficient 2-way loudspeakers. In addition, the D-M40 provides for an optional external subwoofer via a dedicated subwoofer pre-out connection.

The amplifier of the D-M40 delivers 30wpc (at 6ohms/1 KHz) and the CD player is compatible with both CD-R/CD-RW/MP3 and WMA discs. Other practical features include an FM/AM tuner ​and iPod/iPhone connectivity via USB.

The D-M40 has an analog audio input, as well as 2 digital optical inputs for 2 channel PCM audio sources.

This system is targeted for office use ​but makes a great bedroom or dorm system as well.

5
Best for Bedrooms: Panasonic SC-HC39 Micro-System

Panasonic SC-HC39 Compact Audio System
Panasonic SC-HC39 Compact Audio System. Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Panasonic has always done well with their compact audio products and the SC-HC39 is no exception. For about $125 you get a compact audio system that can be table or wall mounted, with a single tray CD player (also features CDR/RW playback), FM tuner with 30 FM presets, direct streaming via Bluetooth or ​NFC, and wireless remote control. A great added bonus is that this system can also access internet radio stations and streaming music services if you have the Panasonic Music Streaming app installed on a compatible smartphone. Another interesting feature is that the speakers are made out of bamboo and are supported by dual passive radiators. This is a great little system that is both stylish and sounds good.

6
Runner-Up, Best Design: Yamaha MCR-B043BL Micro Component System

Yamaha MCR-B043BL Desktop Audio System
Yamaha MCR-B043BL Desktop Audio System. Image provided by Yamaha Electronics

The MCR-B043BL is a compact music system that consists of a CD Receiver and bass reflex designed compact speakers with 4 1/2-inch drivers housed in an attractive horizontal form factor that is available in four color choices (Black, Blue, Red, and White) which complements a variety of room decors.

If you have limited space, you can use the system as is, but if you prefer a wider stereo image, the speakers can be detached from the central receiver and placed farther apart, but keep mind that they still need to be wired to the central receiver.

The CD transport is compatible with CD/CR-R/RWs as well as WMA and MP3 discs, while its USB port can access WMA or MP3 audio files from flash drives. You can also stream music wirelessly from Bluetooth compatible smartphones and tablets. The MCR-B043BL incorporates a compressed music enhancer that provides the best possible quality from digital music sources, as well as a 3-band equalizer to fine tune all audio sources.

Other features include a 30-channel preset AM and FM tuners, Aux input for analog audio sources (3.5mm), headphone jack for private or late night listening, and wireless remote control.

With its attractive design, color choices, and practical features, the MCR-B043BL is a great compact system option for the bedroom, kitchen, office, or dorm.

7
Best For College Students: Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System

Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System
Sony CMT-SBT100 Micro Music System. Image provided by Amazon

If you are looking for a traditional style compact audio system that provides good sound, consider the Sony CMT-SBT100.

To start, this system incorporates two powerful amps that provide up to 50 watts total of room filling sound. In addition to traditional bass and treble controls, an additional bass-boost feature included that optimizes low frequency output for its compact 2 way speakers (great for pop, rock, and rap music).

As far a content access goes, the CMT-SBT100 incorporates both AM and FM radio tuners, a CD transport that is compatible with standard Music CDs, CD-R/RWs), and both a front mounted USB port for plug-in flash drives, and an aux analog audio input for connection of portable MP3 music players, or even that old audio cassette player.

In addition to traditional physical connectivity, the CMT-SBT100 also includes Bluetooth with NFC. This means that you can pair a bluetooth-enabled smartphone in the traditional fashion, but if your phone is NFC-enabled, just tap it on the designated N mark on the top front of the system's central unit, and then wirelessly stream any compatible music content from your smartphone to the system.

The Sony CMT-SBT100 isn't fancy looking, but with its powerful amps and flexible content access, is not only a great choice for the dorm, but can fit in at home as well.

8
Best for Voice Dialogue: TV EARS Voice Clarifying TV Speaker

TV Ears - Voice Clarifying Speaker
TV Ears - Voice Clarifying Speaker. Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Voice Clarifying Speaker from TV Ears is specially designed to emphasize sound generally associated with vocal dialogue. The system is very easy to set up. Just connect the provided wireless transmitter to a TV that is equipped with either analog or digital optical output connections, then place the TV speaker near your seating location (within 50 feet of the transmitter - line of sight), synch them up and you are set to go.

This is a great product for those that are hard-of-hearing, or just have trouble hearing dialogue over music and sound effects on TV programs or DVDs. The TV speaker even has two 3.5mm headphone connection outputs for late night private listening.

9
Best for Hearing Impaired: ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker

Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Diagonal Front View
Zvox AccuVoice TV Speaker - Diagonal Front View. Image provided by Zvox Audio

Are you tired of leaning in to hear the voices on your TV or constantly turning the volume up and down between character conversations and all those explosions and other noise?

Whether are simply annoyed, or have a hearing impairment the ZVOX AV200 AccuVoice TV Speaker might just the solution for you.

The AccuVoice TV Speaker looks like a very small sound bar, but contains a set of left, center, and right channel speakers. It easily fits under the front most TVs with without blocking the bottom of the screen.

However, what really makes this device different is that it is designed to do one thing very well - amplify frequencies associated with the human voice. This AccuVoice feature provides extra clarity for viewing TV programs and movies.

In addition, provides PhaseCue virtual surround, which provides a wider sound field, but does disable the AccuVoice function. On the other hand, the three surround mode settings provided do provide varying degrees of dialog emphasis.

10
Best For Smartphone Users: Vizio Crave Pro SP70-D5

Vizio Crave Pro SP70-D5
Vizio Crave Pro SP70-D5. Images provided Vizio

Are you an avid music streamer that is looking for more than just a cheap Bluetooth speaker to play back music when you are home, but, at the same time, don't need an audio system that has a built-in AM/FM radio or CD player?

If so, check out the Vizio Crave Pro SP70-D5 wireless speaker system.

The Crave Pro SP70-D5 is a little large (measuring 18.43 x 7.64 x 4.92-inches). However, within its cabinet is a powerful two-channel stereo speaker system that includes two 2-inch full range speakers and two 5-1/2 inch subwoofers. Audio quality is also enhanced by the incorporation of DTS StudioSound/TruSurround, which widens the stereo sound field beyond the borders of the speakers, and TruVolume, which evens out volume peaks and dips.

You have the option of streaming music from your smartphone to the SP70-D5 via Bluetooth, but the SP70-D5 also connects to a home network via Ethernet and Wifi, and there is also a built-in USB port if desire to play any compatible music files you might have stored on a flash drive.

With inclusion of Ethernet and Wi-Fi, the big bonus is that the Crave Pro SP70-D5 works with Vizio's SmartCast system, which not only turns your smartphone into a complete remote control, but also provides as to the GoogleCast music platform (just like Chromecast device), opening up a host of internet streaming content providers.

Vizio's SmartCast system allows you to stream audio to multiple Crave Pro SP70-D5's, as well as other Vizio SmartCast-enabled speakers, turning your smartphone into a multi-room audio streaming device.

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