Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
A solid mini hi-fi system with USB recording
- Powerful, unobtrusive styling, small
- Direct ripping of CDs to USB devices is very slow
LG’s XA63 is a solid mini Hi-Fi system. Its advanced features are more novel than useful, but it handles most tasks easily.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The XA63 is yet another mini hi-fi system in a market packed with near-identical models. It's a solid performer with decent but unremarkable sound quality.
The system itself has a minimalist fascia, with matte black styling and a red LED screen. It takes a different approach to LG's FB163 despite having an almost identical form factor. The unit's controls are consolidated into a control wheel that takes pride of place on the system's central component. It's somewhat reminiscent of the latest generation iPod Nano — only a lot larger.
The system is split up into three components. The whole system is only 24cm high and 25cm deep, so it'll easily fit on the average bookshelf. The control unit is 21cm wide; the speakers are even slimmer, which is a bonus for placement. The only problem is the relatively short length of the cables, which may force users to purchase longer cables separately.
The system has similar functionality to the FB163 — it can play WMA and MP3 files through either the CD drive or USB port, and has a 3.5mm socket for connecting portable media players directly. There's no iPod connectivity, however, which emphasises the system's budget price point.
The system is easy to use. A set of buttons are used to switch between functions, while the few sound equalisation options are easily selected. Switching between each function is remarkably quick; there was never a lengthy wait for a CD to play or for files to be read via USB. File and folder structures were navigated successfully, although the system did struggle with longer file names.
The one interesting feature that the XA63 possesses is direct USB recording. This means you can copy an audio CD directly to a USB drive connected to the front of the unit. It's easy enough to do, but copy speeds are agonisingly slow at only 4x.
Sound quality is unremarkable. It's more than sufficient if you're listening to the radio or MP3 files, but the system struggles to keep up with high-quality music.
Treble is quite understated, giving the system a rather muffled sound. This all changes at higher volumes, however, with elements of treble becoming noticeably harsh and painful.
Mid-range sound is the most prevalent element here and it is decently balanced — but not particularly detailed. You won't be able to distinguish individual notes within complex orchestral scores, of course, but the XA63 can handle most pop and rock music acceptably.
Bass is simulated, but it's not particularly present. There's a decent amount of low-frequency reverberation, but no floor-shaking bass. The relatively flimsy speaker cabinets provide a noticeable amount of unwanted vibration.
All of these elements are thrown out the window when any of the equalisation options are enabled. We found these altered the sound very noticeably and while none of them appreciably improved sound quality, the six distinct settings altered bass and treble weighting significantly. We weren't particularly enamoured with any of these, but it's always nice to have options.
LG's XA63 is a simple system. Everything it attempts to do it does well, with the exception of the USB recording function. If you just need a small hi-fi system for the radio or to casually listen to MP3s, you probably won't have issues with the XA63.
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