AM/FM portable shoot-out: Aiwa LD101 vs. Panasonic RF-SW70 vs. RCA RP1667
post-198232
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 8

markl

Hangin' with the monkeys.
Member of the Trade: Lawton Audio
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Messages
9,130
Reaction score
39
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,130
Likes
39
My quest for the ideal work-out AM/FM radio goes on. I don't need a cassette or MP3 player, so these are purely radios. Also, I only use them in a work-out environment at the gym. Hot buttons for me are:

1. How many FM stations can I program?
2. How easy is it to scroll between stored stations while running, stairmastering, etc. Do I have to stop and look down to see what I'm doing, or can I change stations on the go?
3. How well does it clip to the waist-band of my work-out shorts? This turns out to be the most problematic area, as these portables never have decent clips for this purpose.
4. I've never owned, nor am I likely to own an "armband" style radio. These do not seem to be very ergonomic to me, so I haven't even explored them. I'm stuck with the ones that clip to your belt/waistband.

Models (in order of preference):
1. Aiwa CR-LD101 ($59.00) This model was recently replaced by the very similar CR-LD120 ($59.00)
2. RCA RP1667 ($24.99)
3. Panasonic RF-SW70 ($49.00). This is a brand-new model just released.

Headphones used (in order of preference, see this review for more details: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...threadid=17996).
1. Sony MDR-A35G
2. Koss Sporta-Pros
3. Radio Shack 33-1133
4. Sony MDR-A44L

Aiwa CR-LD101
I'm still far from completely satisfied with this radio but overall, it's the best of the 3.
1. Maximum number of FM stations can be stored easily. Fairly easy to program, but not as easy as the RCA.
2. FM reception is pretty good. Equivalent to the Panasonic, but better than the RCA.
3. Sound quality is pretty good, equivalent to the Panasonic and better than the RCA.
4. This unit has a "bass-boost" which is pretty crucial with vertical phones which are best for me for work-outs, so this is actually a plus.
5. Belt clip is weak as hell and totally flimsy, yet it still somehow manages to stay in place miraculously.
6. Durability is pretty poor-- the two main buttons that are used to scroll between stations are somewhat malfunctioning after only 8 months of use.
7. Eronomics are passable but not good-- the buttons are small and the volume control is tiny and can be jogged accidentally.
8. Overal score: B-

RCA RP1667
1. By far the easiest to program. A + for programability.
2. By far the best belt clip of the 3 that keeps it nicely secure even during hard-core work-outs.
3. The buttons for scrolling between stations are tiny and awkwardly placed making it impossible to switch on the go.
4. Sound quality is great from the mids on up, but there's zero bass. And no bass-boost. Too bad.
5. FM reception is the worst among the three by a fairly wide margin. Bummer!
6. Requires two AAA batteries where the other 2 only need one.
7. Overall grade: C

Panasonic RF-SW70
This is a brand new, just released model.
1. Absolutely impossible to program. Ergonomics are so utterly poor you wonder if this was designed for use by humans at all. Just dismal!
2. You can only program 5 FM stations in each of two separate "modes". It's very difficult and inconvenient to change "modes" to get to the other 5.
3. The buttons for scrolling through programmed stations are merely adequate, but far from "ergonomic".
4. Sound quality is pretty good, comparable to the Aiwa. The Panasonic also has a "bass boost", so thumbs up there.
5. FM reception is OK, equivalent to the Aiwa.
6. Overall grade: D

Someday, they will produce the ultimate AM/FM radio for me! Sadly, none of these are it.


Mark
 
     Share This Post       
post-198280
Post #2 of 8

purk

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 26, 2001
Messages
10,244
Reaction score
2,230
Joined
Sep 26, 2001
Posts
10,244
Likes
2,230
Markl,
Thanks for your very informative review.


Purk
 
     Share This Post       
post-198412
Post #3 of 8

leon

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Messages
764
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Posts
764
Likes
10
I've had the Aiwa since last November... it was left in the pocket of a pair of jeans, and accidentally got washed alongside a big load of laundry in hot water. It's working now, though


So far it's been more reliable than my Sony SRF-49. Different tuning methods, I know, but... I just wish I could turn off the beep.
 
     Share This Post       
post-198488
Post #4 of 8

purk

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 26, 2001
Messages
10,244
Reaction score
2,230
Joined
Sep 26, 2001
Posts
10,244
Likes
2,230
Markl,
How about the satellite portable radio?


Quote:

Someday, they will produce the ultimate AM/FM radio for me! Sadly, none of these are it.


 
     Share This Post       
post-198812
Post #5 of 8

martioz

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
139
Reaction score
0
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Posts
139
Likes
0
There are few more models around worth attention.

Sony SRF-M95 ( expensive)
Sangean DT330VW (larger due to built in speakers but excellent features)

Personally I would like to have LW range in my radio (I am crystal radio supporter)
 
     Share This Post       
post-198897
Post #6 of 8

markl

Hangin' with the monkeys.
Member of the Trade: Lawton Audio
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Messages
9,130
Reaction score
39
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,130
Likes
39
My recollection is that the Sangean radios don't have a belt clip at all, so I never considered them.

I should also mention that I tried a yellow, banana shaped Sony AM/FM radio about 8 months ago when I bought the Aiwa LD101. The belt clip on the Sony couldn't cut it so back it went.

Mark
 
     Share This Post       
post-198962
Post #7 of 8

leon

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Messages
764
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Posts
764
Likes
10
markl,
I think I've owned that one too.. wasn't impressed (but I don't remember why).

purk,
There isn't a portable satellite radio that's *pocket* portable. I was looking into satellite radio, but there isn't a really portable one, the smallest that's coming out is boombox-sized, so I passed
 
     Share This Post       
post-199259
Post #8 of 8

linnem

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Messages
214
Reaction score
0
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Posts
214
Likes
0
Forget about those so-called sports radio, they are not more durable then the standard line. I have had a lot of different pocket radios and here is my thoughts:

Sony srf-m95: very good fm performance, very small but a pain to program, tune. Has bass-boost and variable sleeptimer. Build quality not top-notch but fair. Loooong battery life on one AAA. Low internal noise (very quite). Flimsy belt clip.

Sony srf-m90: Predecessor to the above. Way better build quality (metal front). Shorter battery life, but more powerfull amp. 60 min sleep (or was it 90 min?).

sony srf-m35 (m30): Very high internal noise! No sleep function. build quality so-so. Has real preset buttons (big +). Will drive any headphone to great hights! Belt clip.

sony srf-m55: FM only. exellent build quality (must be made in japan). Auto power off. m95 like tuning/programming. Reception mediocre. Slim size and bassboost. Flimsy belt clip.

sony srf-s50: Analog & FM only. Small size. Very good reception and bassboost also performs fine. Good build quality. The srf-s80 includes AM, but I havent heard this unit!). Flimsy belt clip

Sony srf-m806: Much like the dt110, but has dedicated preset buttons. Mediocre reception and some internal noise.

Sony srf-t615: Japanees model only. Has all the fetures of the m95, but bigger (slimmer thoug). Very powerfull amp! Dedicated preset buttons. Tunes much like the m95, but it does not mute while scanning (very nice sony!). Best all-round radio I have owned to date. Slightly better AM reception then most. No belt clip, but has belt-ready "bag". low internal noise.

sangean dt110: Good all-round. Stupid preset system and short battery life. 60 min sleep. Seems pretty rugged, but mine blew the FM section in little under a year. Medium internal noise.

sangean dt300: Dull and boring unit. Despite big size no dedicated preset buttons. No 9/10 khz switch. Reception much like dt110. 60 or 90 min sleep (can't remember). Silly buttton layout.

All models need replacement phones, longer & thicker cord will improve FM reception. AM reception is all but the same on all units (remember this can only be teste side by side as reception can change greatly from day to day).

Radio-remotes on sony MD & CD's (mz-g750 & 755, c-dj75tr) perform & functions like the m95 sans sleep (big -).

Some people (eg. fixup) says the srf-s83 & srf-59 will outperform anything. I have not tried any of his radios so I wont comment on that for now...

I have probably owned or tried 1/2 a dozen more and will add the info as I search my brain.

Hope this will help some one...
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top