Any proponent of free-market liberalism will tell you that competition is healthy. We thought the Onkyo had the budget hi-fi system sewn up in an audio monopoly – but then the Yamaha CRX-M170 came along to rock the establishment.
The first thing that’s guaranteed to strike you when you gaze longingly towards the stylings of the M170 is the piano-black lacquer finish. We’ve seen this sumptuous number before on Samsung’s latest range of LCD TV’s, and it looks just as good on this Yamaha.
But the M170 has plenty more hidden away underneath its dress. There’s a CD player, a DAB/FM/AM tuner, and an auxiliary input, so it can handle whatever format you decide to throw at it.
And when you get round to turning the hi-fi on, you’ll be warmly greeted by a clean, simple control layout – both on the fascia and on the remote.
For such a modest micro-system, both in terms of price and size, the M170 delivers incredible sonics.
This is undoubtedly helped by the fact that your £300 bags you a pair of Yamaha’s excellent speakers, which sing like little boxy angels. Not only is audio is precisely tailored and detailed, it’s sumptuously smooth too.
Reception on both DAB and FM radio is crystal clear, thanks to the two separate aerials for each transmission. And you’ll also benefit from 10 DAB presets and 30 FM presets.
The Onkyo CS-515UK was never going to be an easy beast to slay. These two micro hi-fi warriors are identically priced and specced, and both pipe out astounding sound per pound, but we reckon the Yamaha just shades it in the end, if only on the shallow grounds of looks.