Best hi-fi systems 2022: micro, vinyl and streaming music systems for the home

Best Hi-Fi Systems Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best hi-fi systems you can buy in 2022.

Whether it's an all-in-one microsystem complete with speakers, or a single box of streaming, CD- or vinyl-playing electronics to which speakers must be added, or a pair of integrated stereo speakers housing everything you need, an integrated hi-fi system can save you money, space and, let's face it, a fair bit of time and effort too.

Our pick of the best hi-fi systems on this page are all very different in terms of price, form and unique appeal. We have CD and turntable systems, wireless Bluetooth systems, and integrated stereo speaker systems – each with varying functionalities and sonic chops.

But needless to say, whatever their differences, every combination below has great features, design and class-leading sound quality in common. All sound pretty special and will be much more satisfying than a solo wireless speaker.

How to choose the best hi-fi system for you

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Hi-fi systems like the ones you'll see below essentially cover the roles of multiple electronics separates in just one box (or two in the case of stereo speaker systems), combining source and amplification together – and sometimes even speakers as well. To that end, they major on convenience and space efficiency; they require less room and fewer cables.

Which type would best suit you depends on what equipment you already have and the music sources you use. If you already own speakers that you'd like to keep, we'd recommend either a speaker-less microsystem or a just-add-speakers source-and-amplifier component. If you're starting from scratch, these options are also valid – but you'll need to buy speakers to plug into them as well.

Then you'll need to decide whether vinyl, CD and/or network streaming is your priority; very few these days offer all three. This is a category that varies greatly in its offering, so take a keen look at the specs of each when you shop.

Best hi-fi systems: Denon D-M41DAB

A truly remarkable system for its modest asking price
Proof that a great entry-level hi-fi system needn't multiple components.

Specifications

Power: 30W per channel
Inputs: RCA, optical x2, Bluetooth
Outputs: Sub, headphone
Radio: DAB, FM
CD player: Yes
Wi-fi streaming: No

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Bluetooth connectivity
+
Price

Reasons to avoid

-
No network streaming

The default budget all-in-one system choice for years, this Denon multi-award-winner is still at the top of its game. 

You can buy it with or without Denon's own speakers. Without, the system is called RCD-M41DAB and can be found online for under £250 / $350 / AU$500. The speakers are dubbed SC-M41. Put the two together and you have the D-M41DAB – we'd happily recommend Denon's speakers if you don't have your own already.

The inclusion of Bluetooth (which can be turned on or off to avoid affecting the D-M41DAB’s overall performance) is cause for celebration, as is the superb sound quality. In terms of performance, this system could hold its own against groups of separates at a greater cost. The drop in sound quality from CD to Spotify stream has no effect on the D-M41DAB’s sonic mastery – it remains graceful, insightful and expressive. A truly remarkable system for the money.

Read the full Denon D-M41DAB review

Best hi-fi systems: KEF LS50 Wireless II

KEF's striking design is matched by stunning sonics (Image credit: KEF)
Innovative, entertaining winners of a current What Hi-Fi? Award.

Specifications

Power: 380W
Inputs: Optical, coaxial, 3.5mm, HDMI eARC
Outputs: Sub
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Big performance leap
+
Clean, punchy sound
+
All-encompassing connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive

The follow-up to the outstanding KEF LS50 Wireless speakers improve on greatness – no easy feat, even for an audio brand as sure-footed as KEF. 

Like their illustrious predecessors, the LS50 Wireless II serve as a superb all-in-one system by dint of their advanced connectivity. Improvements including upgraded components and a new KEF Connect app where you can access the likes of Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music and Deezer. Not that you'll need to reach for any of the aforementioned apps; these speakers are capable of streaming via AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth, and are also Roon Ready.

KEF's striking design is matched by stunning sonics, enhanced by refreshed Uni-Q drivers and KEF's all-new MAT absorption technology. The presentation is spacious and the addition of the new MAT technology can be heard in the refined treble and clean mids.

Quite simply, if you're in the market for a high-fidelity all-in-one system packed with streaming smarts, this sophisticated sequel should be top of your list. Looking for a similar concept in a floorstander instead? See the KEF LS60 Wireless system further down this page.

Read the full KEF LS50 Wireless II review

Best hi-fi system: Technics SA-C600

The most compelling just-add-speakers streaming amplifier around (Image credit: Future)
A truly compact just-add-speakers system that shines.

Specifications

Power: 30W per channel
Inputs: RCA, Phono MM, USB Type A, USB Type B, optical, coaxial
Outputs: 3.5mm headphone, subwoofer
Radio: Internet
CD player: Yes
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Entertaining sound
+
Expressive and punchy dynamics
+
Well equipped
+
Good MM phono stage

Reasons to avoid

-
Setting up without the app is a bit clumsy
-
Line-level input could sound better

The SA-C600 really is a well-equipped unit. Technics has seen fit to include a CD player alongside the more usual network streaming capabilities with up to 32-bit/384kHz file compatibility. There is support for Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Music, as well as DAB/DAB+ and FM radio. You also have a choice of Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay 2 in addition to a raft of physical analogue (stereo RCA) and digital connections (USB Type A, USB Type B, coax and optical). Note, there is also a moving magnet phono stage, which makes sense given the brand’s strong connection to record player manufacturing.

Usually, such systems are all about looks and features but Technics has shown that it is possible to add great sound into the mix. It is a really well-conceived product and fully deserves its What Hi-Fi? Awards win. Highly recommended.

Read the full Technics SA-C600 review

Best hi-fi systems: KEF LSX II

If you have a smaller room, the LSX II will happily fill it with clear, musical sound (Image credit: KEF)
A fantastic, multi-talented streaming system perfect for smaller rooms

Specifications

Power: 200W
Inputs: HDMI ARC, USB-C, optical
Outputs: Sub
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Well-rounded sonic performance
+
Excellent imaging and dynamics
+
HDMI and USB-C inputs

Reasons to avoid

-
Native 24-bit/192kHz playback requires wired connection
-
Best suited to smaller rooms or desktop use

KEF’s LS50 Wireless II (above) and newly launched LS60 Wireless (below) stereo speaker systems have stolen a lot of headlines in recent months (and rightly so), but we shouldn’t forget there is actually a third member of KEF’s wireless speaker system family – the LSX, now in its second generation.

For the LSX II, KEF’s taken what was already a winning formula, introduced some key upgrades that improve functionality and usability, and without really altering the speaker hardware has produced a talented set-up that sings with any genre of music sent its way.

The KEF LSX II is a stylish streaming system that comes with none of the baggage and boxes a separates set-up brings. If you have a smaller room, the LSX II will happily fill it with clear, musical sound. Nothing else really comes close at this level.

Read the full KEF LSX II review

Best hi-fi system: Triangle AIO Twin

(Image credit: Future)
A talented, versatile and great-sounding all-in-one system that can do it all

Specifications

Power: 50W per channel
Inputs: Ethernet, RCA / Phono MM line level, 3.5mm, optical, USB-A
Outputs: Sub
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Enthusiastic and capable sound quality
+
Elegant design
+
Versatile features and connectivity
+
Good app

Reasons to avoid

-
Built-in phono stage could be better

The Triangle AIO Twin is an all-in-one wireless speaker system akin to the superb KEF LSX II (above) but at half the price. That was more than enough to pique our interest: music systems that integrate all amplification, connectivity, streaming and more features into one box or a pair of speakers are an increasingly neat and attractive way to get hi-fi sound into your home.

Not only are they lifestyle-friendly (not everyone has space for so many separate boxes), but their feature set means you can play just about anything through them.

And that’s the case with the versatile Triangle AIO Twin: it may look like a pair of ‘normal’ speakers, but this a fully-fledged, versatile music system in its own right, with a whole host of features and a level of performance that makes for quite the bargain at this price point.

Read the full Triangle AIO Twin review

Best hi-fi systems: Marantz PM7000N

(Image credit: Marantz)
A just-add-speakers system that delivers a fine sound in a neat package.

Specifications

Power: 60W per channel
Inputs: USB, coaxial, 2x optical, 3x RCA, phono
Outputs: Sub, 6.3mm
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Spacious and insightful presentation
+
Clarity
+
Features

Reasons to avoid

-
Some controls feel plasticky

Marantz's PM7000N may look like one of the company's stand-alone integrated amplifiers, but it's packed with streaming features to make it an ideal just-add-speakers system. 

Inside the traditional-looking case lies 60W per channel of amplification, a DAC, network module, Bluetooth, HEOS multi-room support and AirPlay 2 for one-touch streaming from Apple devices. It's also capable of streaming hi-res 24-bit/192kHz audio. Quite the box of tricks.

Once up and running it delivers a spacious and insightful sound that keeps us listening well into the evening. Powerful, expansive and weighty, the PM7000N is a has the quality and dynamic ability to ensure that every note - at both ends of the spectrum – shines. 

Teaming old-school amplification with a digital streaming experience might not be ground-breaking anymore, but Marantz has done it better than most. Easy to use, great to listen to – a sure winner in its class. 

Read the full Marantz PM70000 review

Best hi-fi systems: Rega System One

(Image credit: Rega)
Fuss-free and a glorious listen, Rega’s System One is the new entry-level vinyl system to beat

Specifications

Power: 30W per channel
Inputs: RCA x2, phono
Outputs: RCA, 3.5mm
Radio: No
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: No

Reasons to buy

+
Zealous musical presentation
+
Simple set-up
+
Compact amp and speakers

Reasons to avoid

-
Amp and speakers could look smarter

The three-product vinyl set-up under our noses here is the entry-level Rega System One, comprised of two 2021 Award winners – namely Rega’s excellent Planar 1 turntable and integrated io amp – and Rega's Kyte stereo speakers.

You can get a slightly more sonically transparent combination by swapping out the Kytes for something like the Dali Oberon 1, but that doesn't mean this all-in-one triple-threat option isn't a very good one.

Judged as a complete package, the System One gets the basics of music reproduction spot-on, delivering musical cohesion and dynamic expression in a way that eludes most alternative set-ups. If you’re after a simple-to-use vinyl set-up that’s a great deal of fun to listen to, this is a great place to start.

Read the full Rega System One review

Best hi-fi systems: Naim Uniti Atom

A streamer that not only looks great but sounds great.

Specifications

Power: 40W per channel
Inputs: USB, HDMI, optical x2, coaxial, RCA, Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA preamp, 3.5mm
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading clarity and insight
+
Precise timing, impressive dynamic range
+
Looks as impressive as it sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Really nothing noteworthy

To describe the Uniti Atom as a streamer would be akin to describing Wagyu beef as sustenance. From the coffee-coaster volume dial on the roof – the pleasure of spinning it is almost enough in itself to justify buying this system – to its full-colour LCD front panel display exhibiting album art as it plays, Naim has nailed a gorgeous aesthetic.

All you need do is add a pair of suitable hi-fi speakers (Naim promises 40W per channel at 8 ohms, so a pair of £1000/$1000 standmounters, say, would be ideal). Once you've soaked up the delicious design cues, you'll be wowed by the Atom's performance – levels of clarity and insight and truly exceptional – and connectivity. Google Chromecast, Tidal, Spotify Connect and Internet radio are built-in, with further wireless connection available via AirPlay and Bluetooth aptX HD. You can also play music stored on a USB stick.

All in all, the talented Uniti Atom is everything we've come to expect from Naim. A superb blend of lifestyle product and premium hi-fi.

Read the full review: Naim Uniti Atom

Best hi-fi systems: KEF LS60 Wireless

(Image credit: KEF)
Everything a modern all-in-one hi-fi system should be

Specifications

Power: 1400W
Inputs: Optical, coaxial, RCA x2, HDMI eARC
Outputs: Sub x2
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Focused, hugely entertaining sound
+
Superb driver integration
+
Streaming and amplification built-in

Reasons to avoid

-
Wired connection needed for native 24-bit/192kHz playback

KEF redefined what you should expect from an all-in-one stereo system with the LS50 Wireless standmounters (above) and it has managed to raise the bar once again with the stunning LS60 Wireless floorstanders, which combine streaming smarts, amplification and stereo speakers into two slim (CD-width!) cabinets.

But the KEF LS60 Wireless isn’t just towers based on the bookshelf version. That description just doesn’t do it justice, and as you can see from the image and price tag, the company has thrown so much more at the LS60 that it's on a whole different level. If your interest is piqued, we really do recommend you read our in-depth review.

In a nutshell, though, the British brand has managed to combine impressive engineering and a comprehensive feature set with an attractive user experience and top it all off with fantastic audio quality. It’s a fine example of modern hi-fi and currently has no real rival if you’re in the market for a convenient yet premium solution. 

The LS60 Wireless system is a fantastic achievement and a fitting way to celebrate KEF’s 60th anniversary.

Read the full KEF LS60 Wireless review

Best hi-fi systems: Pro-Ject Juke Box E

Pro-Ject forces a little of the 21st century into a turntable.

Specifications

Power: 50W per channel
Inputs: RCA, Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA, preamp
Radio: No
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: No

Reasons to buy

+
True just-add-speakers convenience
+
Capable, even-handed sound
+
Good range of features

Reasons to avoid

-
Some will hanker after more power
-
Baffling remote control

Here’s a record player – based on Pro-Ject’s well-regarded Primary turntable – that’s also tricked out with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge, amplification and Bluetooth receiver in one handy package. All you have to do is add speakers. 

And when you do, you'll be rewarded with a sound that's always enjoyable to listen to, whatever your musical preferences. Sound is spacious and easy-going, with plenty of top-end shine and mid-range detail.  

Around the back of the deck, you’ll find the usual connections including stereo RCA outputs. There are also left/right speaker outputs and an aerial socket for the Bluetooth receiver. The supplied remote handset isn't the best, but does the trick.

For the money, this all-in-one vinyl system sounds great and offers a level of functionality that would cost much, much more to replicate with individual components. Impressive.

Read the full Pro-Ject Juke Box E review

Best hi-fi systems: Naim Mu-so 2

A super-sounding and feature-packed premium wireless speaker.

Specifications

Power: 450W
Inputs: Optical, HDMI ARC, USB, 3.5mm, Bluetooth
Outputs: N/A
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive detail and dynamics
+
Solid, quality bass
+
Plenty of streaming features

Reasons to avoid

-
That price

The Mu-so 2 combines amplifier, streamer and speakers in one stylish, sophisticated package. AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth allow you to treat the Naim as a wireless speaker, while built-in services like Tidal and Spotify and support for high-res audio formats give it a serious arsenal of streaming skills. But it's not all about streaming; the presence of an HDMI ARC input allows you to wire up a TV and boost its sound at the same time.

Don't be put off by the price tag, though – this is a sensational system. It looks like a premium wireless speaker and it performs like one too with a confident, solid sound. Bass is generous and of a high quality. The sound is packed full of detail and delivered with immense rhythmic drive. If you want a do-it-all premium solution with an equal dose of convenience and quality, the Mu-so 2 could be the solution.

Read the full review: Naim Mu-so 2

Best hi-fi system: Sonus Faber Omnia

(Image credit: Sonus Faber)
To both the eyes and ears, Sonus Faber’s latest wireless streaming speaker is bellissimo

Specifications

Power: 490W
Inputs: HDMI ARC, RCA, phono, Bluetooth
Outputs: N/A
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Clear, lively, wide-open sound
+
Extensive features
+
Beautiful craftsmanship

Reasons to avoid

-
Up against some tough competition

Coming from a gene pool as strong as Sonus Faber’s, it’s little wonder the Omnia enters today’s all-in-one streaming wireless speaker market as one of the most beautiful (or should we say “bellissimo”) out there. But it doesn't just look great; it sounds great too.

The Omnia is one of the biggest and most open-sounding examples of its type we’ve heard. Close your eyes and you don't need to stretch your imagination to believe the sound is coming out of a pair of standmounters. That depth and breadth means instruments can work comfortably with space around them – even in denser mixes. And the Omnia impressively refrains from hardness or distortion at high (and even maximum) volume levels. Size is also in the Omnia’s favour when it comes to bass reproduction, which impresses in quantity as well as quality. 

The Naim Mu-so 2 (above) is a little more musically cohesive and tonally warm, but if you value openness and clarity and your listening habits are compatible with the connectivity the Sonus Faber has to offer, the Omnia is one of the finest of its kind you could hand over music duties to. 

Read the full Sonus Faber Omnia review

Best hi-fi systems: Cambridge Audio Evo 75

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)
This premium just-add-speakers streaming system is a beauty

Specifications

Power: 75W per channel
Inputs: Coaxial, optical, RCA, USB, HDMI ARC, Bluetooth
Outputs: 3.5mm, preamp, sub
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Open, articulate, punchy performance
+
Exhaustively featured
+
Seamless operation

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward remote buttons
-
No phono input

The Evo 75 is one half of Cambridge’s new two-strong Evo system offering, which includes a more extensively featured, 150W-per-channel model called – you guessed it – Evo 150 (which is also excellent).

Together, they mark Cambridge’s entrance into a burgeoning market of premium amplified streaming boxes that only require a set of speakers to form a complete system. 

There are now many streaming hi-fi products that sound great, look superb or are pleasant to use, but not many manage to nail all three as convincingly as the Cambridge Audio Evo 75. In the premium one-box streaming system market, nothing has before come this close to Naim’s Uniti range in offering the complete package.

If you’re looking for the ultimate convenience in a superb-sounding, well-featured parcel, and can’t stretch your budget to the Naim Uniti Atom (above), the Evo 75 is simply the best system of its kind to spend quality time with.

Read the full Cambridge Audio Evo 75 review

Read the full Cambridge Audio Evo 150 review

Music streaming system: Bluesound Powernode (2021)

(Image credit: Bluesound)
The latest Powernode is a superb streaming amplifier

Specifications

Power: 80W per channel
Inputs: Mini toslink/3.5mm combo x2, HDMI eARC, USB, Bluetooth
Outputs: Sub, 3.5mm
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-Fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Punchy, musical performer
+
BluOS is a treat to operate
+
Inconspicuous design

Reasons to avoid

-
Tough competition

If you can be a veteran in a hi-fi category that’s only truly been prevalent for a handful of years, then Bluesound’s Powernode can be considered one in the network streaming amplifier market. The model here is the fourth-generation model, which succeeds the 2018-released Powernode 2i and returns to the original suffix-less name as it does so. Those familiar with the Canadian company’s product line-up won’t be surprised to read that this Powernode remains an amplified version of the company’s Node music streamer, the latest version of which is a 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award winner at its entry-level price point.

The fact that there aren’t many streaming amplifiers available at this modest price point almost means the Bluesound Powernode is among the best by default. But thinking that way undermines its obvious sonic talent and the leap it has made from its predecessor, not to mention the well-roundedness of the feature set that makes Bluesound products so appealing. 

In every way, the Powernode is now better than ever, and all told that is really, really good.

Read the full Bluesound Powernode (2021) review

Best hi-fi systems: Marantz Melody X

(Image credit: Marantz)
Great features, wide connectivity and good sound.

Specifications

Power: 60W per channel
Inputs: RCA, optical x2, Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA, 3.5mm
Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+, internet
CD player: Yes
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Open midrange
+
Multi-featured
+
Very easy to set up and use

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound lacks excitement

As a mini system, the Melody X is a good option for those who already have a pair of speakers they’re attached to, or are desperate to invest in. It's a serious wi-fi streamer with built-in amps and a CD player. There's AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and hi-res audio support, plus HEOS multi-room support for connecting to other products from Denon and Marantz. 

Streaming-wise, Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Prime Music are all on the table – and you can use Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant virtual assistants to control the system through their respective apps. Sound is fairly detailed and the mi-range performance is clear and open. 

In the box, you get a decent remote that's easy to use. Build doesn’t feel rock solid (the unit is largely made of high-gloss plastic), but that's perfectly acceptable at this price. If you're after an affordable, feature-packed mini system that delivers refined sound, Melody X should be on your shortlist.

Read the full Marantz Melody X review

Best hi-fi systems: Revo SuperSystem

A beautiful sonic performance and retro looks make it a seriously tempting set-up.

Specifications

Power: 80W
Inputs: 3.5mm, optical, USB, Bluetooth
Outputs: Optical, RCA, 3.5mm
Radio: FM, DAB/DAB+, internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Authority
+
Scale
+
Plenty of connections

Reasons to avoid

-
Not compatible with small rooms

This talented hi-fi system will fill your room with sound and, now that it can be had for less than the £550 ($600, AU$1400) we originally tested it at, is good value too.

A retro-styled walnut exterior belies the exhaustive list of modern features packed within. The list includes Bluetooth support, wi-fi, internet radio and Spotify Connect. The Revo's sonic performance doesn’t disappoint either. The 15cm bass driver provides tight low-end that makes for a pleasingly-warm presentation.   

There's a long list of connections, including a 3.5mm output, optical in, ethernet and USB, which can be used for both charging devices and playing music stored on memory sticks. If that's not enough, DLNA certification means you can play music from networked storage devices. There's no official control app, Revo uses the free Undok app to great effect. 

If you have the space and are after a one-box system to do it all, this will do nicely. Super by name, super by nature.

Read the full review: Revo SuperSystem

Best hi-fi systems: Arcam SA30

(Image credit: Arcam)
Looks like a stereo amp but is an excellent just-add-speakers system

Specifications

Power: 120W per channel
Inputs: USB, optical x2, coaxial x2, RCA x2, MM/MC phono
Outputs: RCA x2, 3.5mm
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth, open and detailed presentation
+
Useful Dirac Live room EQ
+
Exhaustive connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Dedicated app is basic
-
No Bluetooth

We think Arcam has missed a trick with the SA30. The company refers to this as an amplifier, but with a built-in streaming module it is in fact a 'just-add-speakers' streaming system.

Both are talented products and similarly well-featured, though we can't figure out why Arcam didn't include Bluetooth. That apart, the SA30's connectivity is good –
Chromecast, AirPlay and UPnP streaming are all integrated – and there's even Dirac room equalisation to optimise the sound.  

It all works well with the SA30 delivering a refined and spacious sound that delivers plenty in the way of insight and scale. At a rated 120 watts per channel it is more than capable of powering suitable speakers to high levels.

If you can do without Bluetooth and a fancy display, the S30 is a fine example of how well music streaming can be discretely implemented into traditional hi-fi.

Read the full review: Arcam SA30

Best hi-fi systems: Naim Uniti Star

Great functionality and a thrilling sound to boot.

Specifications

Power: 70W per channel
Inputs: RCA, HDMI ARC, optical x2, coaxial, Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA
Radio: FM/DAB (optional), internet
CD player: Yes
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Entertaining and informative sound
+
Musical cohesion and excitement
+
Extensive features, fine build

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing

The Naim Uniti Star is a cutting-edge streaming system - all you need to do is to add speakers. It differs from its pure streaming siblings in having a CD drive built-in. This makes it ideal for anyone who still has a CD collection but also wants the ability to stream music in any manner they choose.

Naim’s engineers have taken care to ensure the level of dynamic subtlety, resolution and musical drive remains consistent whichever source you use. Connectivity is outstanding. Highlights include aptX HD Bluetooth, AirPlay (with AirPlay 2 coming soon) and UPnP network streaming, plus  support for Spotify, Tidal and Chromecast. It's also Roon-ready, and capable of working as part of a Naim multi-room set-up. There’s a generous spread of physical connections too, including  HDMI ARC to make connecting the Star to your TV easy. 

The Star is a great addition to Naim's superb Uniti range, and if you need CD replay is the obvious choice.

Read the full review: Naim Uniti Star

Best hi-fi systems: Naim Uniti Nova

As complete and convincing an argument for one-box convenience as you’ll hear.

Specifications

Power: 80W per channel
Inputs: Optical x2, coaxial x3, RCA x2, USB x2, HDMI ARC, Bluetooth
Outputs: RCA, sub, 3.5mm
Radio: FM, DAB, internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Purposeful build, elegant looks
+
Comprehensive functionality
+
Muscular, detailed, confident sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Not cheap
-
So-so control app

Now, this is a lot of money to pay for a one-box, just-add-speakers system. Of course, the Uniti Nova looks good, is built to last and is lavishly specified. But by the time you’ve auditioned and purchased appropriate speakers you’re looking, realistically, at a total price of anything up to around £9000 ($9000). That’s nobody’s idea of a frivolous purchase.

But if you have the money and inclination, and want a product of overarching convenience that doesn’t compromise on performance in the slightest, you owe it to yourself to hear the Uniti Nova. It combines no-compromise performance with lots of connectivity, including wi-fi, AirPlay, USB and HDMI ARC. Bluetooth is of the AptX HD variety, which is a good as Bluetooth gets. 

Build quality would put many a bank vault to shame, while a 5in LCD that wakes when you approach is just one of a number of luxurious touches. Sound is dynamic, natural and confident – it barely breaks a sweat, even at high volume. 

If your budget stretches, the lavishly-specced Nova won't disappoint.

Read the full review: Naim Uniti Nova

Best hi-fi systems: Dan D’Agostino Progression Integrated

(Image credit: Dan D'Agostino)
This integrated amplifier certainly lives up to its name

Specifications

Power: 200W
Inputs: XLR x4, RCA x2, USB, optical, coaxial, phono (optional)
Outputs: 6.3mm, XLR
Radio: Internet
CD player: No
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Staggering clarity and detail
+
Superb build and finish
+
Modular nature

Reasons to avoid

-
Headphone socket on the rear panel

At its most basic, this is a line-level analogue integrated amplifier, but add the optional digital module for an extra £5600 ($5000, AU$8995) and you get a good range of digital inputs alongside network streaming capabilities, making it a fully fledged just-add-speakers streaming system. Regardless of whether you’re after a straight high-end integrated or something more fully featured, the Progression Integrated is something that must be heard.

Our time with the D’Agostino had us trawling through our music collection, impatient to hear what all those familiar tracks sound like through it. It’s rare to find such a powerful amplifier sounding so transparent and responsive.

Ultimately, it delivers a superb all-round performance. And its modular nature means it offers far greater flexibility than most rivals, too.

Read the full Dan D’Agostino Progression Integrated review

Music streaming system: HiFi Rose RS201E

(Image credit: HiFiRose)
This versatile streaming system is a treat for the eyes as well as the ears

Specifications

Power: 100W per channel
Inputs: RCA, optical, HDMI, USB, USB-C, Bluetooth, microSD card, Bluetooth
Outputs: 3.5mm
Radio: Internet
CD player: Optional
Wi-fi streaming: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Unique ‘hands-on’ user experience
+
Responsive touchscreen
+
Clear, tonally balanced sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Falls short of class-leading performance
-
Bluetooth not aptX

To simply look at, the HiFi Rose RS201E has nothing obvious about it that screams “touch me”, and yet during our time with it we’ve been more ‘hands-on’ with it than any other product we’ve tested this year, bar phones and tablets.

That’s because this just-add-speakers streaming system has been designed to be physically interacted with. Whereas on-unit control of such products is usually a last resort if we’ve misplaced our app-toting phone down the sofa and the batteries in the remote have died, the HiFi Rose is lovely to physically use – providing it’s within comfortable reach of where you’re seated. That’s down to the fact that nearly its whole fascia is a wide-view 8.8-inch touchscreen that is a gateway to navigating music playback and more. 

Even if video playback and on-unit control aren’t core features for a music streaming system and won’t be for everyone, such a responsive, interactive touchscreen and video capabilities are things we wish rival products had.

Purists looking for the most insightful and musical performance to deliver their streaming service’s streams or their networked audio should probably look elsewhere, but if you like the RS201E’s quirks and don’t mind sacrificing a little sonic transparency to get them, we very much doubt you’re alone in that.

Read the full HiFi Rose RS201E review

How we test hi-fi systems

Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, from TVs to speakers, headphones to hi-fi systems. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them? Allow us to explain.

The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency.

All DACs are tested in comparison with rivals in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity. That's why our reviews are trusted by retailers and manufacturers as well as consumers.

From all of our reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended on this page, or on any other Best Buy page, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.

You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.

MORE:

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Our pick of the best hi-fi speakers for every budget

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her eight years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.

  • Big Aura
    Hi - your deal finder software is slightly off-alignment! It suggests that John Lewis are selling Muso-2gens for £49! (sadly it's only replacement grilles).
    Reply
  • simonali
    Barely any of these are what I'd describe as a system. Only two have a source AND speakers, the rest have to have something added to make them a system. A set of active speakers is not a system, it's a pair of speakers with no sound coming out of them without a source!
    Reply
  • crumpet
    I am looking for a preferably quality all-in one system with CD (and SACD would be a definite plus). Airplay2 would also be a nice plus via ETHERNET, but it MUST be free of any radiation devices: definitely NO Bluetooth and NO wi-fi. I am making my living space Bluetooth free and wi-fi free (not just because Bluetooth is lossy and generally low quality). Marantz used to make some systems that would be perfect - e.g the Melody series - unfortunately, they now come with Bluetooth, which rules them out. Any suggestions?
    Reply