i have said it more than once: i have lost interest on big-ass hifi that occupies 1/3 of the house and consume so much of my undivided attention. instead, i am a sucker for tiny, minuet and classy mini-hifi that come in colors that can match my colorful lifestyle!
my fave shopping haunt for this kind of stuff is at ikano's harvey norman. within the sub-Rm1K price range, there are only yahama and onkyo to choose from, both i believe are made in malaysia, no less.
the yahama has macho looks and feel, but the sound is way too blur ("moong" in cantonese) and poorly defined. even a superbly pristine recording like 2v1g-1 does not sound good! the moment i put the disc into the bright-as-caribbean onkyo "colibrino" (even the name sounds sunny), i smiled and nodded. for less than RM2K, you can complain much la!
the onkyo is lightweight. the main amplifier/ receiver must be made form class D/T amp. but the workmanship is great, for a malaysian product. but the CD tray is a wee bit flimsy and plastick-y. the remote is a curse, very el-cheapo feel and pasar-road type. i will speak to hwee seng (onkyo's distributor in malaysia) one day and make hell of a noise!
the sound is good, altho' lacking in almost every department compared with my over-performing and over-achieveing mini maggie costing close to RM6K. it lacks the many ounces of highs, many ounces of midrange clarity and bass... but hey, this is only a RM1,700 mini hifi, great real, ok?
better still, onkyo can further be improved from some simple audiophile tweaks. first, place some acoustically treated rubber pad or cones (you can get from hifi shops) on the bottom of both the speakers and immediately, you can hear everything clearer and better defined.
second, get some audiophile-grade speaker cables to replace the flimsy stock "chicken" cables. i use wireworld 16-gauge which costs a measly Rm35 per meter. wow! the improvement is tremendous. all frequencies gained clarity, transparency, weight and definition. at least, 30% improvement, no exaggeration!
i was thinking of other tweaks (like changing power cord!) but that would be way overkill for a tiny monster like this. let's just enjoy the music, shall we?
i thoroughly enjoy the music, much more than from the happily departed philips micro mini cube that i bought for Rm299 from harvey norman also. philips was small and cheerful music cube, onkyo is really hifi on a shoe string.
highly recommended. i may get another one, a maroon-colored one for my living hall!