5 of the best Internet Hi-Fis and Wireless Sound Systems
Internet Hi-Fis and Wirelss Sound Systems have evolved from the old Hi-Fis of yesterday. Whereas yesterday’s Hi-Fis used to have cassette tapes and record decks, today’s are high quality iPod docks, MP3 streamers and complete Interent music systems.
But tracking down the best of these Internet Hi-Fis is not easy. Some are simply gimmicks, with sound quality that doesn’t match the promises offered. Others offer no more than a simply USB port.
But some offer much more. Of the five we’ve tracked down, some will let you stream your tunes from your mobile phone as well as your PC; others will let you stream your tunes wirelessly from your iPod or iPhone; and will even act as an extrenal sound card for your PC!
All these Internet Hi-Fis have several things in common, though – they’ll all connect to the Internet, they’ve all got great quality Hi-Fi sound, and they all come with built-in amplifiers, so you don’t need a Hi-Fi to plug them into – they are your Hi-Fi!
so if you’re looking for a hi-Fi that does more than just play tunes, check out these 5 Internet Hi-Fis.
Sony CMTMX750Ni DAB WiFi iPod Micro System
What is it: Possibly the best social Hi-Fi ever invented – at least in terms of features!
What you’ll love: This beast does everything. Stream tunes from your PC over WiFi? Check. Listen to 1,000s of Internet radio stations including SHOUTcast radio – without even switching your PC on? Check. Stream tunes from your DLNA-equipped mobile phone via DLNA? Check! How about iPod dock, USB port, CD player, DAB and DAB+ tuners and 100W amp? Check! It even looks great!
What you won’t like: The sound quality isn’t as good as some of the other systems here, but the features are superb.
What is it: The ultimate Hi-fi to free your music, hoovering it up from your PC or the Internet, and pumping it out loudly in perfect audio quality.
What you’ll love: The Marantz’s sheer versatility. You can stream tunes from your PC via (wired) Ethernet, plug in your iPod or MP3 player into its front-facing USB port, listen to your old CDs via its CD player, or just listen to DAB and DAB+ radio. At 60W per channel, it’s also twice as powerful as the Denon. It’ll even work as a sound card for your PC, giving you superior quality sound for your music and your games.
What’s not so good: Wired-only Internet connection, plus it’s not cheap, but its sound is better than most.
What is it: A micro system in many colours with great sound, wireless streaming, and a good price.
What you’ll love: The MCR-140 comes with Yamaha’s high-quality AirWired wireless streaming technology. Plug your iPhone or iPod into the supplied transmitter, and you can stream your tunes from your mobile directly through the MCR-140’s 15W amp.
What you won’t like: Great for bass, but not so good for vocals. Wireless streaming only available for the iPhone/iPod.
What is it: The award-winning Best CD system of 2010.
What you’ll love: The D-M38DAB is a 30W per channel CD system with iPod dock and USB port. It’s not the cheapest hi-fi here, but its sound is beaten only by the UnitiQute – which costs over £1,000 more! So if you want the best sounding Hi-Fi for your iPhone or iPod, this is the one to buy.
What’s not so good: Although you’re fine if you own an iPod or iPhone, there’s no streaming options on the D-M38DAB, making connecitivty to other devices and services limited. Which is a bit of a problem for an Internet Hi-Fi, but there aren’t many good ones around!
What is it: it’s a top-end audiophile Hi-Fi from legendary Hi-Fi company Naim.
What you’ll love: The gloriously-named Uniti-Qute can pull music from any source you care to throw at it, including DAB, Internet radio, network streaming from your PC (wired or wireless), an MP3 player via USB, or your iPod or iPhone. You can even control it using an iPhone app. Best of all, though, is the sound. No other machine here will beat it, so if you want the best sound quality you can get, you need to get the UnitiQute.
What’s not so good: The price! It’s £1350 and there’s no CD player, but it did win What Hi-Fi’s Systems Product of the Year.
It took me surprisingly long to pull this list together. Hi-Fi manufacturers seem reluctant to boast about their Internet Hi-Fis and Hi-Fi review sites seem reluctant to review them! Maybe both are too worried that network-connected Hi-Fis will be too easily dismissed by audiophiles and that they won’t be taken seriously enough.
If so, then the entry of Naim with its stunning UnitiQute should certainly start to change that. Naim is a big name in the audiophile world with superb quality products. The UnitiQute is one of the coolest Hi-Fi products around at the moment, but at £1350, it’s unfortunately a product I can only dream about at the moment!