The Panasonic SC-HC30DB is a mini hi-fi system that can play CDs, MP3s, and digital (DAB+) and FM radio. It also has an iPod/iPhone dock.
Panasonic SC-HC30DB: First impressions
This mini hi-fi is a refined version of the Panasonic SC-HC3 and it looks similar to the earlier system. Roughly the same size and thickness as a standard computer keyboard, it’s one of the slimmest and most affordable iPod-compatible hi-fis available on the market.
The Panasonic SC-HC30DB sports a dark tinted glass fascia; we think it looks great. You can use the bundled stand or mount the player on the wall — it would look nice under a Panasonic plasma panel like the Panasonic TH-P42V20A. The remote is a little chunky though: it looks like something you would find shipped with a huge LCD TV. We would have preferred a credit card-style remote of the kind that most other mini hi-fi systems include.
Panasonic has opted to put the iPod dock inside the body of the SC-HC30DB behind a sliding door which also hides a vertical CD tray.
Panasonic SC-HC30DB: Features
Besides supporting your iPhone or iPod, the SC-HC30DB comes with DAB+ and FM radio, and it can play standard CDs as well as discs with MP3 files on them. DAB+ digital radio is the biggest difference between this mini hi-fi and the SC-HC3. The player has an auxiliary 3.5mm input and headphone jack on the rear, allowing other MP3 players to be connected easily.
Underneath the Panasonic SC-HC30DB's sleek front panel are two full-range speakers rated at 20W RMS each. If that’s not enough power for your liking, the player has virtual surround, bass boost and an adjustable equaliser to squeeze out every last ounce of performance.
We like that the hi-fi doesn't have an external power brick, and that it has an FM/DAB+ antenna port instead of a hardwired antenna. Panasonic’s SC-HC30DB system also supports a wake up function, so you can use it as an over-powered clock radio for the bedroom.
Panasonic SC-HC30DB: Performance
The Panasonic SC-H30DB performed well in our testing, balancing treble and bass impressively during all our listening. We experienced no distortion at all until near maximum volume levels, while reception of both DAB+ and FM radio was consistently clear.
The system delivered good high and middle tones, but really surprised us with its solid emphasis on bass. The Panasonic SC-HC30DB noticeably outperformed some of the other systems we've recently looked at like the Pioneer XW-NAC3 and Revo Ikon.
We loved the response we got when enabling D. Bass — which worked wonders for rock music when combined with the Heavy preset. We didn’t find it necessary to individually adjust the treble and bass levels any further, although the option remains there if you want the speakers to pack some extra punch.
Overall, the Panasonic SC-HC30DB is a great micro hi-fi system with a reasonable asking price.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>