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Best Stereo Systems

Top Picks Stereo Component Systems


Best Stereo Systems: These three top pick stereo systems have a stereo receiver, a disc player and two speakers with suggested retail prices ranging from $700 to $1,997. Click on the 'Compare Prices' links to find the best prices.

System One: Yamaha RX-397 Receiver, Yamaha DVD-S661 CD/DVD Player, Polk Audio TSi100 Speakers - MSRP: $707

The Yamaha RX-397 Stereo Receiver has 50-watts/channel, with dual zone audio output and a remote control. Read a profile of the Yamaha RX-397. The Yamaha DVD-S661 DVD Video player has built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, HDMI out and DIVX disc playback. The Polk Audio TSi100 compact bookshelf speakers are two-way with a 5.25" woofer and 1" tweeter and are available in black or cherry finish. They can be placed on a shelf or wall-mounted and can also be used as surround speakers in a home theater system.

Yamaha RX-397Compare Prices

Yamaha DVD-S661Compare Prices

Polk Audio TSi100Compare Prices

System Highlights:

  • Most affordable stereo component system.
  • Zone 2 output can be used for music in a separate room (wiring and amplifier required).
  • Low Impedance capability means it can power speakers from 4 to 8 ohms.
  • High damping factor (150) means tighter bass.

System Two: Denon DRA-397 Receiver, Denon DVM-1845 5-Disc CD/DVD Changer, Monitor Audio BR-2 Speakers - MSRP: $1,067

The Denon DRA-397 Receiver has 80 watts per channel and features dual zone audio outputs, XM Satellite Radio Ready and has an optional iPod docking station. The Denon DVM-1845 is a 5-disc progressive scan DVD Changer with 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converters. The Monitor Audio BR-2 speakers are two-way bass reflex with great sound quality and are available in black, cherry or finishes. Read my full review of the Monitor Audio BR-2 speakers.

Denon DRA-397Compare Prices

Denon DVM-1845Compare Prices

System Highlights:

  • DRA-397 is XM Satellite Radio Ready
  • Optional iPod Docking Station
  • 5-disc CD/DVD Changer

System Three: Pioneer SX-A9 Receiver, Pioneer PD-D6 CD/SACD Player and Monitor Audio BR-5 Tower Speakers MSRP: $1,997

The SX-A9 and PD-D6 are from Pioneer's Elite series of audio components. The receiver has 70-watts per channel and dual-mono construction with two toroidal power supplies, which is like having two separate amplifiers that allow the receiver to respond to the power needs of each channel independently improving channel separation and soundstage performance. The SX-A9 incorporates Pioneer’s Wide-Range Linear Circuit for extended frequency response from 5Hz to 100kHz, especially important for SACD sources. Read my full review of the SX-A9 Receiver. The companion Pioneer PD-D6-J CD/SACD player is equipped with Burr-Brown 192 kHz / 24-bit DACs (digital to analog converters), which offer better dynamic range, greater detail and improved low-level signal resolution and detail. It also employs Pioneer’s proprietary Hi-Bit Legato Link Conversion that extends high-frequency response out to 40kHz. Read my full review of the PD-D6-J. The Monitor Audio BR-5 speakers are one of the best values I've heard. Read my profile of the BR-5 speakers. They have excellent tonal balance, outstanding midrange clarity and warm, yet articulate bass response, a nice combination of warmth and definition.

System Highlights:

  • SACD playback for better audio performance
  • Dual mono amp construction provides improved fidelity
  • Tower speakers offer excellent sound quality.

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