Seven systems win Awards: from multi-room to microsystem

Seven systems win Awards: from multi-room to microsystem
(Image credit: Naim Audio)

Ah, the simplicity of a good system: minimal boxes, minimal cables and minimal real estate. Whether you're looking for a just-add-speakers streaming or fruitfully featured turntable solution, a modest (yet ever reliable) microsystem, or a multi-room speaker set-up, you'll want something that's as convenient as it is high-performing.

Well, hunt no harder, for we've found (and granted 2019 What Hi-Fi? Awards to) seven systems that strike that balance perfectly, from as little as £225 to ten times that...

All for one and one for all

(Image credit: KEF)

First up is the Denon D-M41DAB, which wins our 'best microsystem' award for the third year running. If you're after an affordable all-in-one solution with a CD player and Bluetooth, it's nigh on impossible to go wrong here.

Those with higher budget and streaming ambitions should look to the KEF LSX, a pair of active (i.e amplified) stereo speakers with network streaming built in. With "class-leading insight" and "extensive connectivity", these are essentially scaled-down versions of the LS50 Wireless system that sat in this enviable place last year. Plonk them on stands or a bookshelf and you've got a world of streaming at your fingertips (via your smartphone, natch).

Just-add-speakers systems

(Image credit: Marantz)

Prepared to have a box of tricks you must add a pair of speakers to? The first of three just-add-speaker systems we can heartily recommend is purely for vinyl lovers. The Pro-Ject Juke Box E turntable marries record spinning with amplification and a Bluetooth receiver to an inspiring success that hasn't been surpassed in the last twelve months. 

Thinking more of a hi-fi box that opens the floodgates to a world of music streaming? The Marantz PM7000N belies its traditional looks with a 21st-century feature list that spans network streaming smarts, multi-room and both analogue and digital connectivity. As we concluded in our five-star review, it's "a practical, well furnished just-add-speakers streaming system that impresses with its entertaining performance". A more sophisticated and higher-performing option is the twice-the-price Naim Uniti Atom, which is a repeat winner that looks as good as it sounds.

Multi-room masters

(Image credit: Future)

While many streamers and streaming systems are based on platforms that allow you to pair platform-sharing devices together, the crux of a multi-room system remains true to its origin: in the likes of wireless speakers from Sonos and rivals such as Audio Pro. Oh look, we've given it away. In the multi-room category, both brands and their great-value ecosystems are Award winners for yet another year in their respective 'premium' and 'budget' price breaks, combining vast streaming features with class-leading performance and neat designs.

Each brand has a 50 per cent chance of winning the esteemed multi-room system Product of the Year award at What Hi-Fi?'s annual ceremony, which takes place on Tuesday 5th November. One of the five hi-fi system winners – the one we think represents absolute best value – will also take home the golden gong.


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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 10 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.