Best hi-fi systems 2024: CD, vinyl and streaming music systems for the home

Whether it's an all-in-one microsystem complete with speakers; 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.

As the hi-fi system is an eclectic product category that varies wildly in size, price and features, our pick of the best hi-fi systems on this page covers many form factors and budgets, so even if our top pick doesn't suit your needs, something in the top 10 should. We have CD and turntable systems, just-add-speakers streaming amplifiers, and integrated stereo speaker systems, each with varying functionalities, sonic chops and, naturally, asking prices.

But needless to say, whatever their differences, every combination below has in common the great features, design and class-leading sound quality that make them fantastic value – and, consequently, worthy contenders on this curated list. All of them sound pretty special, too...

Written by
Becky Roberts
Written by
Becky Roberts

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 ten 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, not to mention review the latest and greatest kit across the audio spectrum – including the hi-fi systems below.

The quick list

You can see a quick breakdown of all the hi-fi systems on this list with a summary of what they’re best at and why we think they’re worth your money below. If you need more detail, just click the photo of a product to go to the in-depth entry.

The best hi-fi systems in 2024

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Below, you'll find our picks of the best hi-fi systems available. Every system has been tested by our team of product experts to ensure it delivers great performance and value, so you can trust our buying advice. And seven of the nine below are What Hi-Fi? Award 2023 winners.

Best microsystem

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. Proof that a great entry-level hi-fi system needn't have 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
+
Attractive 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, so much so we're yet to really find anything of its type that can outdo it at a similar price.

You can buy the D-M41DAB 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 based on our experience using it.

Read our full Denon D-M41DAB review

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Denon D-M41DAB scores in-depth
AttributesNotesRating
Sound Balanced, even-handed, graceful and expressive.★★★★★
Build Utilitarian, but certainly sturdy and dependable.★★★★★
FeaturesExceptionally well-furnished for the price.★★★★★

Best budget speaker system

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. A fantastic stereo speaker 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 (below) and more recently launched LS60 Wireless stereo speaker systems have stolen a lot of headlines in recent years, 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. Essentially a more modest, miniature member of the clan, the LSX II are pretty much perfect for smaller rooms.

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 setup brings. If you have a smaller space, the LSX II will happily fill it with clear, musical sound, and at this level, nothing else really comes close.

If you're still in the market for a pair of small speakers but don't want to spend quite so much as the KEF LSX II, the Triangle Twin AIO, found below, are a fantastic bargain desktop system at an extremely attractive price. 

Read our full KEF LSX II review

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KEF LSX II scores in-depth
AttributesNotesRating
SoundClean, punchy and extremely enjoyable.★★★★★
Features Versatile, well-equipped and very talented.★★★★★
Build Classic KEF - attractive without being showy. ★★★★★

Best premium speaker system

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. This all-in-one stereo speaker system is both innovative and entertaining.

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

-
Pricey options

The follow-up to the outstanding KEF LS50 Wireless speakers improves on greatness – no easy feat, even for an audio brand as surefooted as KEF. While the recent release of the more expensive JBL 4329P (£3499 / $4500) and the (also more expensive) KEF LS60 Wireless (£2250 / $2499 / AU$4295) has muddied the waters somewhat, we still favour the LS50 Wireless II as being premium class leaders that don't make quite such a hefty dent in your finances as their aforementioned rivals.  

Like their illustrious predecessors, the LS50 Wireless II serve as a superb all-in-one system (streaming and amplification is built in) by dint of their advanced connectivity. Improvements include 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 somewhere at the top of your list. 

Read our full KEF LS50 Wireless II review

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KEF LS50 Wireless II scores in-depth
AttributesNotesRating
Sound Clean, precise and an absolute joy.★★★★★
Features Versatile, well-equipped and very talented.★★★★★
Build Beautifully made without being showy.★★★★★

Best high-end speaker system

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. JBL proves that convenience doesn't need to hugely sacrifice performance.

Specifications

Power : 300W per channel
Inputs : XLR, 3.5mm aux, Toslink/optical, USB Type B
Outputs: Subwoofer
Radio: Internet
CD player: Yes
Wi-fi streaming : Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Big, clear, powerful sound
+
Classic aesthetic
+
Generous streaming and physical connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Treble could be sweeter

It’s still the case today that all-in-one systems generally don’t tend to perform as well as the best separates systems totalling similar amounts. However, such space-efficient, convenient, do-it-all designs are improving sonically by the year and becoming all the more compelling for it. Case in point: the JBL 4329P Studio Monitor.

These are speakers that sound more or less as they look. They do everything to capture our attention as we play Pink Floyd’s Time, conveying the size and scale of the track’s atmospheric soundscape while ensuring every instrument has the room, clarity and texture needed for its role to be fully appreciated in the mix. Bass is impressive, both in terms of quantity and quality. But these aren't one-dimensionally big and boisterous; detail and dynamic expression is in ample supply here.

That the JBL are so versatile, not only in terms of connectivity and placement, while managing to sound so mature, is a testament to JBL’s persistent efforts in speaker design and electronics, and a milestone in all-in-one speaker systems of this kind and at this price. Will the sonic sacrifice inherent in choosing all-in-one designs over separates systems always exist? Probably, but the once-wide gap is certainly getting narrower.

Read our full JBL 4329P Studio Monitor review

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JBL 4329P Studio Monitor
AttributesNotesRating
Sound A mightily impressive presence – open, solid and powerful.★★★★★
Features Generous inputs complement its core streaming support.★★★★★
Build A rather imposing-looking speaker, particularly when the woofer-covering grille is removed.★★★★☆

Best budget streaming amp

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. A truly compact just-add-speakers streaming/CD amplifier that truly 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

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

The SA-C600 really is a well-equipped streaming amplifier, to which you just need to add speakers. 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's a really well-conceived product and fully deserves its What Hi-Fi? Award win, even with tough competition from the similarly outstanding Marantz PM700N (£999 / $999 AU$1999) and the Bluesound Powernode (£849 / $899 / AU$1599). 

Highly recommended.

Read our full Technics SA-C600 review

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Technics SA-C600
AttributesNotesRating
Sound Entertaining, vibrant and punchy.★★★★★
Features Well-equipped with a good MM phono stage.★★★★★
Build A simple yet elegant build.★★★★☆

Best premium streaming amp

What Hi-Fi? Award winner. A streaming amplifier that has set the bar at this premium level for years.

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 sounds

Reasons to avoid

-
Starting to show its age

To describe the multi-award-winning 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.

This is another streaming amplifier, so 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/AU$2000 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 – as it's consecutive What Hi-Fi? Awards every year since 2017 go to show. The superb Sonus Faber Omnia and the excellent Naim Mu-so 2 are fantastic alternatives, but for our money, the Uniti Atom remains the finest premium streaming amp you'll find today.

Read our full Naim Uniti Atom review

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Naim Uniti Atom
AttributesNotesRating
Sound Beautifully balanced and authentic - truly exceptional. ★★★★★
Features Great, although lacking a CD player.★★★★★
Build Looks as impressive as it sounds ★★★★★

Best turntable system