Myryad Mi - £1,295

Super user interface, neat packaging and great sound make this the star of the show

The elder statesmen of the one-box system breed these days, the Myryad Mi has no way of connecting to a computer. It will, however, connect via its ‘M-Port’ to an iPod or iPhone Touch, which gives it some of the internet connectivity that some others lack.

You can, for instance, use services like Spotify via an iPhone. It’s a mixed blessing; Apple products famously have a nice user interface, but you have to tie one up as a basic data-forwarding device when you could, with a fully Ethernet-enabled streamer, use that boring router box parked out of sight near your phone master socket.

And the Apple user interface isn’t such a big attraction, when the one built into the Mi is so lovely. It’s not a full touchscreen, but it’s not far off: indeed, strictly it is a touchscreen but a rather limited one, with touch-sensitive, context-sensitive buttons at fixed positions. It lights up in colour and shows things in large type, including CD-TEXT information read off suitably coded CDs.

The large type of the display means you can read what’s going on from across the room. The lack of USB is offset by the ability to read MP3 CD-ROMs. Three line inputs are provided, plus two digital (optical). Power amplifier and power supply are both switching designs.Sound quality

The Mi quickly established itself as one of the definite successes of the listening session. Our panel immediately warmed to it from the outset and found no reason to change their mind. It has a convincingly direct presentation and a knack of getting stuck in to music that can easily fool you that you are listening to fancy hi-fi esoterica.

A few minor details give the game away, however. There isn’t quite the sweet clarity in the treble, for instance, that the very finest kit can offer, but on the other hand we’re not sure any of the rival one-box systems in this Blind-Listening Group Test could teach the Mi much in that department.

Stereo imaging is good, but possibly not the most precise in terms of depth, and maybe one could occasionally wish for slightly more inner detail in complex recordings, but as systems at this price go there are really no legitimate grounds for complaint.

Among other admirable qualities, the Mi happily blends smoothness with insight, steering well clear of harshness, but never afraid of music with real bite. This made it equally adept in the rather angular sounds of Pink Floyd and in the luscious classical orchestration of Dvorak. It has good bass extension with well-balanced weight, tunefulness and attack, and its midrange tonality is very even. We did feel that the digital inputs lagged a little behind the CD transport in precision, and once again the radio is little better than so-so; although that’s not unexpected at this price.

Overall, a confident and convincing sound that’s hard not to like.

LIKE: Good bass and treble extension; fine lateral imaging
DISLIKE: Image depth  a little limited; lacks computer connectivity
WE SAY: Great with CD; useful connectivity to Apple portable devices

DETAILS
Origin: UK/China
Type: One-box system
Weight: 5.6kg
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 350x87x330mm
features:
• Rated output 50w (8 ohms)
• 3 line inputs
• 2 optical digital inputs
• DAB/FM antenna input
• M-Port
• Speaker output
• Optical digital output
• Recording output
• MP3 input and headphone ouput
Distributor: Armour Home Electronics
TELEPHONE: 01279 501111
WEBSITE: myryad.co.uk