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Digital Radios: What to Watch Out For

Updated on March 8, 2014

Digital Radios: What to Watch Out For

The way we listen to the radio these days is a far cry from those dark and distant days of the past. Those were the days when families would gather together around the set, to listen to their favourite shows. If there was one thing that radio achieved it was the ability to bring families together.

However, radio technology has come such a long way since those days that now, we can listen to it wherever we happen to be. Now, they are portable, and digital, giving us much clearer and crisper sound than our predecessors could ever have done.

Whether it is out jogging, or relaxing in the garden or park, radio listening is still more popular than ever. This lens lists just some of the digital radios that can be purchased now, their audio quality and their performance.

Digital Radios:

What to Watch Out For

Does radio technology these days have good quality sound? You can be guaranteed that virtually all digital radios perform phenomenally well in the vast majority of cases. With crystal clear sound, ease of use when picking and setting channels, and information about what channel you are actually listening too - and who is presenting the show. Yes, listening to the radio has now become a much more enjoyable experience than it once was.

The days of crackle and static while trying to listen to your favourite shows are long gone. Who would have thought that so many years later, listening to the radio would be such a wonderful experience? I well remember the days of the old radiograms, as my parents actually owned one.

And they did bring the family together, despite the frustration many times of losing the channel we were listening too. There was a certain 'charm' however, to that whole experience back then, because we kind of knew that those days would never come back again. The old radiogram entertained us through many a cold dark winter, and we were glad for it.

However, times moved on, and with the advance of radio technology, radio portability and ease of use in tuning into the channels we want, we now have a relative plethora of radios for us to choose from. The rise of the digital radio and its success cannot be under-estimated. And, even now, I am still trying to get used to the fact that I will not hear any crackle or static while listening to my radio in the present day.

Thanks to digital technology those days of trying desperately to tune in to your favourite shows while trying to avoid static - for those of us of a certain age - are thankfully long gone. That is not to say that all areas of the UK are covered by digital technology just yet. Purchasing a digital radio with an FM tuner, is a must, if this is the case for your area.

With this lens I have tried to take into consideration what the reader is actually looking for - plus their budget - when choosing a digital radio. There are so many digital radios out there that it really can become a mass of confusion as to which one you actually need.

There are a number of things to consider here. Are you looking for a desktop radio, a portable radio, or a full size music system which includes digital radio? Furthermore, do you live in an area which can actually receive digital radio transmissions? It is worth noting that not all areas are covered as yet by digital technology. So, it is always worth purchasing a radio that includes an FM Tuner too - just to give you back-up.

If you do happen to live in an area in which digital radio reception is patchy, my advise would be to go ahead and purchase your digital radio anyway. The point being that every part of the country at some point in the near future will be covered by digital radio. If you happen to live in the UK, there is around 93% coverage at the moment. Go to the UK Digital Radio Website, and type in your postcode, if you are not sure.

The cut-off date for ending analogue reception in the UK is 2015. However, because there has been so much argument among Government officials over this, we may be looking at 2020 being the final cut-off date when analogue reception will end.

However, by purchasing your digital radio now, you will be safe in the knowledge that you are at least 'digital secure' for the future. As for digital reception in the USA? Each country has their own policy about digital radio technology. But you can find out about the status of your own country by going to the 'WORLD DMB' website.

Digital radio technology will only continue to improve as the years go on. This technology is still fairly new, so expect the technology to get even better. Suffice to say, that the old analogue radio technology is now a thing of the past.

Yes, there are still radios that can tune in to the analogue waveband, but this, will soon be switched off for good. And with the prices of digital radios coming down all the time now, there has never been a better time to purchase a digital radio for yourself. You will be amazed by the choices of stations you will have, and by the quality of the reception too.

The future is digital. And the future will be yet more channels to choose from, giving the listener a choice they have never had before during the history of radio.

Digital Radios - What to Watch For

Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS (Black)
Sangean PR-D5BK AM/FM Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS (Black)

This radio is absolutely fantastic. I purchased this one a few months ago and hit has never let me down yet. It comes with five pre-sets, and it can recharge your batteries straight from the system itself. The batteries, however, are NOT supplied with this radio. Weighing around 1.5 pounds this radio is light, portable, and is outstanding quality. It can be powered by either the mains adapter or batteries. The display is clear and bright and back-lit and, for the price, you are getting a top-quality piece of equipment here.

Sangean WR-2 FM-RBDS AMWooden Cabinet Digital Tuning Receiver (Walnut)
Sangean WR-2 FM-RBDS AMWooden Cabinet Digital Tuning Receiver (Walnut)

The sound quality of this digital radio equals that of its larger cousins. Having listened to this radio in action, I can vouch for its top-quality performance. With rich tones and powerful bass this is a top-quality radio you will be proud to own. This radio can display short text messages too, within the display - as it has an RDS [Radio Data System]. Volume on this radio goes from 1-60. Tap it again and it turns into a treble control. Two more taps create a bass control. An outstanding piece of equipment here, that I myself would love to own.

Sangean PR-D5 Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS (White)
Sangean PR-D5 Portable Radio with Digital Tuning and RDS (White)

This radio is exactly the same as the black version of the Sangean. Again, you are getting a top-quality piece of equipment here. This white version can do all what the black version does. It recharges your batteries straight from the system while plugged into the mains. The display is bright and back-lit and it has five pre-set channels. The AM reception on this radio, by the way, is one of the best you will ever hear. And this can be said for the black version too.

Sony ICF-M260 AM/FM PLL Synthesized Clock Radio with Digital Tuning & Alarm
Sony ICF-M260 AM/FM PLL Synthesized Clock Radio with Digital Tuning & Alarm

Sony as usual really strive to make top-quality products and they have achieved their aim with this radio. The sound quality of this radio is wonderful. And,for its size it really does pack a punch. This radio has 15 pre-sets which is a lot considering its size. And, it also has a built-in alarm clock too. This radio, however does NOT have a mains adapter but runs on batteries instead. Despite this, the Sony ICF-M260 Digital Radio is one of the best you can buy for performance and sound quality.

Sangean RCR-5 Digital AM/FM Clock Radio
Sangean RCR-5 Digital AM/FM Clock Radio

On seeing this radio in action recently, I was impressed by what I heard. The alarm clock functions are some of the best you will find in any digital radio system. This radio is the perfect bedside companion. The display includes information on sleep times, wake times, what station you are listening too, who is presenting the show, and what type of show you are listening too. You can select different days for your alarm to switch on, on an individual basis,or you can set it to switch on every morning. This radio has an atomic clock. This means that as soon as you plug it in, it will pick up the correct time. The sound quality of this radio is wonderful too, and you will not be disappointed with your purchase of this digital beauty.


Digital Radios - What To Watch Out For

This is a clip on the Sangean DPR-69 Portable Digital Radio.

Which Do You Prefer - Digital or FM?

This is a simple question, which radio technology do you prefer? Do you hearken for the past and the old FM radio reception? Or are you all out for digital radio? Which one is it?

Which is better Digital Radio or the old FM Radios?

Digital Radios - And What To Watch Out For

Ever since digital radio arrived on the scene, I have been a huge fan. When they first arrived not all areas were covered by digital reception. This kind of made the new technology defunct in many aspects. And what happened was that a lot of people, quite a lot as a matter of fact, made do with their old radios.

They clung onto their old FM radios as if their lives depended on it. The fact of the matter was, that the old FM analogue reception was about to become obsolete - or so the media kept telling us. Now, around 93% of the UK is covered by digital technology which includes radios and televisions.

My own mother - who was a stickler for not wanting to change over to digital radio, is now listening to it. And she has admitted to me that she doesn't know how she has done without it now. Granted, I bought one for her and showed her how it works, now she loves it.

The problem was that the old analogue system was filled with issues - as it had always been - with static getting in the way when trying to tune into a channel. I, myself, stuck rigidly to my old analogue portable radio for a long time, before I was swayed by the ease of digital.

It is not that there are no problems with the digital service, there still is. Fade outs, no reception or weak reception. the problems are there that have to be addressed. However, by purchasing a digital radio with an FM/AM tuner, you are getting the best of both worlds. You are preparing for when your area finally goes digital, and plus, you are still able to listen to your FM/AM channels too.

As for myself? I would not go back to the old system, which is surprising for me because I tend to miss quite a lot of what we had in the past. When it comes to my radio listening however, nothing can beat the clarity and ease of use of digital radios, and I would now, never be without one.

Digital Radios - And What To Watch Out For

Great feature here explaining the virtues of digital radio.

A review on the Sangean DT-400W Pocket Radio

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