Best hi-fi systems 2018: micro, hi-fi, vinyl

Whether it's a true all-in-one complete with speakers, a single box of electronics to which speakers must be added or a pair of speakers housing all the electronics you need, a good all-in-one set-up can save you money and space. And the best can deliver all the audio performance you crave.

We've rounded up a selection of options, at different price points, each with its own unique appeal. Needless to say, they all sound pretty special too.


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Under £250

Best hi-fi system under £250

Denon D-M41DAB

Proof that great entry-level hi-fi sound needn't mean several separate components.


Power: 30W/channel | Wireless: Bluetooth | Radio: DAB, FM | CD player: Yes

Reasons to Buy
Excellent sound quality
Bluetooth connectivity
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

This has been the default all-in-one system choice under £250 for years, and the latest iteration of Denon's multi-award-winner has Bluetooth for wireless streaming.

You can buy it with or without Denon's own speakers. WIthout, the system is called RCD-M41DAB and sells for around £280. The speakers are dubbed SC-M41, and they're £100 a pair. Put the two together and you have the £380 D-M41DAB - we'd happily recommend Denon's speakers if you don't have your own already.

Sound quality is remarkable for a system at this price. It has a character of performance that could hold its own against groups of separates at greater cost. That's why it wins an Award yet again in 2018.

Under £500

Best hi-fi system under £500

Revo SuperSystem

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


Display: OLED | Wireless: aptX Bluetooth, wi-fi | Radio: FM/DAB/DAB+/internet | Inputs: 3.5mm, optical, USB, ethernet | Outputs: Headphone, RCA

Reasons to Buy
Plenty of connections
Reasons to Avoid
Not compatible with small rooms

This talented all-in-one system will fill your room with sound, and now that it can be had for less than the £500 we originally tested it at it's good value too.

A retro-styled exterior belies the exhaustive list of modern features packed within, and its sonic performance doesn’t disappoint either. Given its size (16.5 x 43 x 22cm) we think it would be most at ease in your living room or bedroom – somewhere with more space and preferably away from corners.

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

Under £1000

Best hi-fi system under £1000

Bluesound Powernode 2i


Power: 2 x 60W | Inputs: USB, optical, analogue | Outputs: Headphone, subwoofer | Wireless: Apple AirPlay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth | Hi-res audio: up to 24-bit/192kHz

Reasons to Buy
Bold, spacious and detailed sound
Splendid timing and dynamics
Good features and connectivity
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

Recent improvements have made this the finest just-add-speakers hi-fi system for less than a grand. You’d need a four-figure budget for a streamer and amp combination before it could come close to bettering the performance of the Powernode 2i.

If the Award-winning Naim Uniti Atom is out of reach, Bluesound has come to the rescue with another one-box product that refuses to compromise in any single area, representing another superb all-rounder on a smaller budget.

Best all-in-one system under £2000

Best all-in-one system under £2000

KEF LS50 Wireless

All the performance of a top traditional system in a smart package.


Power: 230W/channel | Wireless: Bluetooth, wi-fi | Inputs: Analogue, optical, USB, ethernet | Output: Subwoofer | Hi-res audio: 24-bit/192kHz

Reasons to Buy
Impressive clarity and insight
Taut bass and strong dynamics
Features and excellent build
Reasons to Avoid
Some small usability issues

These KEF Wirelesses are way more than just active versions of the Award-winning LS50s. They’re a complete system wrapped in a neat and brilliant package.

That £2000 price tag looks pretty hefty for such compact speakers, but remember that money also buys you a dedicated streamer, a Bluetooth module, 24-bit/192kHz DAC, preamp and four power amplifiers with a total of 460W of output.

Is this what the hi-fi system of the future should look like? We certainly hope so.

Best hi-fi system under £2000

Best hi-fi system under £2000

Naim Uniti Atom

A streamer that not only looks great but sounds great.


Power: 40W/channel | Inputs: USB, ethernet, HDMI (optional), optical, coaxial, analogue | Outputs: analogue, headphone | Wireless: aptX HD Bluetooth, AirPlay, Chromecast | Music streaming: Tidal, Spotify

Reasons to Buy
Class-leading clarity and insight
Precise timing, impressive dynamic range
Looks as impressive as it sound
Reasons to Avoid
Really nothing notworthy

You may see the Uniti Atom being described as a streamer, but to do so is to do it something of a disservice. In effect it’s a system, to which you need only attach a suitably talented pair of speakers.

From the coffee-coaster volume dial on the roof – the pleasure of playing with it, as we found with the Naim Mu-So, 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 the crossover between lifestyle product and premium hi-fi.

Under £4000

Best hi-fi system under £4000

Naim Uniti Star

The greatest functionality of any of Naim's splendid Uniti range, and thrilling sound to boot.


Power: 70W/channel | CD player: Yes | Wireless: Bluetooth aptX HD, Chromecast | Music streaming: Tidal, Spotify | Radio: Internet, DAB/FM (optional) | Inputs: HDMI ARC, coaxial | Outputs: Analogue

Reasons to Buy
Entertaining and informative sound
Musical cohesion and excitement
Extensive features, fine build
Reasons to Avoid

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. Given our experience of other Uniti products in the range, we’re not the least bit surprised that the Star turns out to be so capable.

Under £5000

Best hi-fi system under £5000

Naim Uniti Nova

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


Power: 80W/channel | Hi-res audio: 24-bit/192kHz | Wireless: Bluetooth aptX HD, AirPlay, Chromecast | Music streaming: Tidal, Spotify | Inputs: Optical, coaxial, RCA, USB, HDMI | Outputs: RCA analogue, subwoofer | Radio: DAB, FM, internet

Reasons to Buy
Purposeful build, elegant looks
Comprehensive functionality
Muscular, detailed, confident sound
Reasons to Avoid
Not cheap
So-so control app

This is a lot of money to pay for a system. Of course, it 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 between £6k and £9k. 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’s really very good indeed.

Best turntable system

Best turntable system

Pro-Ject Juke Box E

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


Power: 25W/channel | Wireless: Bluetooth | Cartridge: Ortofon OM 5E | Outputs: RCA analogue, speaker | Input: RCA | Remote control: Yes

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. Simples.

And when you do you'll be rewarded with a sound that's always enjoyable to listen to, whatever your musical preferences.  This is an all-in-one vinyl system that demands very few compromises, given its price.


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