Best portable radio?
Aug 3, 2003 at 4:35 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 76

D555

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Hello,

Is there a micro/portable FM stereo radio that is the best, regardless of price?

Some items to consider:

1. No constant background hiss
2. Decent alternate channel selectivity (400khz in the USA)
3. Relative freedom from mixing products (overloading)
4. Great sound
5. Bass boost capability
6. AM capability a plus (CQUAM stereo!)
7. Solid construction quality
8. Digitally tuned

It has been my experience that while sounding good, the recent Sony digital portables have a bad time with selectivity and overloading. Hiss problems too (though I read that the SRF-M37 has no hiss problems).

Present Sangeans on the other hand seem to be decent RF performers as many have double-balanced FM mixers and two IF filters but are plagued by hiss and don't sound as good as the Sonys.

My current portables:
Sony ICF-7600GR: no hiss, OK selectivity, some mixing products with the antenna extened. Great sound, no bass boost. Excellent AM performance.

Sangean: ATS-909: hissy, great selectivity, overload rejection is quite good, OK sound, bass/treble boost switch. Very good AM performance.

Grundig Satellit 700: very low hiss, great selectivity, overload rejection phenominal for a portable, great sound, bass and treble controls.
Excellent AM performance.
The problem? TOO DARN BIG AND HEAVY!

My current micro portables:
Sony SRF-M35: hissy, rotten selectivity, overloads like crazy, good sound, weak bass. AM performance decent.

Sangean DT-110: hissy, OK selectivity, overload isn't too bad, fair sound, bass boost. Very good AM performance.

Sangean DT-200: hissy, decent selectivity, good overload rejection, Ok sound, no bass boost. Excellent AM performance.

I'm wondering if there is some, small, vintage Walkman-type portable from the late 80's or early 90's that actually outperforms today's units (I don't care if they are a bit larger)? I'm thinking that Sony must have made a "built like a tank" miniature FM stereo radio to match the other "built like a tank" CD and MD portables of the late 80's and early 90's.

Some period Sony examples of what I'm thinking about:
SRF-M100 (Japan-only)
ICF-SW1S (I hear that it is hissy)

The current Sony unit that intrigues
me:
SRF-M10 (not available in USA)

Has anyone tried the expensive Sony SRF-M10?

Best regards,

Paul
 
Aug 3, 2003 at 4:40 PM Post #2 of 76

Pappucho

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Aug 3, 2003 at 5:14 PM Post #3 of 76

Gojira

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With the Proton model 100 radio walkman lies your salvation. I used to own one back in the early 80s, and I don't recall any radio walkman sounding nearly as good. I am looking for one myself, but I am not holding my breath.

I hate both modern radio and Clear Channel though so such things are a bit impractical for me, and sound quality is not on my feature list when listening to the BBC or NPR. It's too bad that radio shows like http://www.joefrank.com and http://www.newmetaphysics.com are no longer played by my local stations.

What I would really like to see is a radio walkman with superb sensitivity (and maybe a decent antenna), like that of a real communications reciever, so that I could receive more distant broadcasts. I have trouble receiving WZBC (Boston College), which I consider to be the only station in Boston even remotely worth listening to (although I did enjoy listening to a "goth" radio show from a local college station called "Bats in the Belfry"
smily_headphones1.gif
)
 
Aug 3, 2003 at 5:21 PM Post #4 of 76

D555

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Hello Pappucho,

Thanks for the tip! I've been to that site and am aware of Xin's current lineup. I'm hoping to find something better than what Xin recommends. It's my impression that Xin focuses on the sound and not too much on RF reception. I desire both excellent RF qualities paired with excellent sound. My guess is that the solution (if it is available at all) is going to found in the past, not the present or future.

Best regards,

Paul
 
Aug 3, 2003 at 5:32 PM Post #5 of 76

Pappucho

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The Proton 100, I have been looking on ebay endless without any results...

How about the sony SRF-A1 with Am stereo reception. A variant to this one just sold on ebay, the A100....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...7&category=932

The A1 doesn't have those speakers. I am also looking for the SRF-40, which is an early fm stereo only Sony from 1980. Very nice build quality, but I haven't heard it myself.
 
Aug 3, 2003 at 9:11 PM Post #6 of 76

D555

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Hello,

I have the SRF-A100. Great AM-stereo reception, OK build quality. To me, the FM section is only fair and too much circuit noise --> hiss. Don't like the dial arrangement either -- 80's looking, I guess but, in my opinion, it looks cheap.

A real surprise (and still in production) is Japan-market Sony SRF-AX51V. It's incredibly small, has AM-stereo, has a decent FM section (more on that), circuit hiss is quite low, has real metal trim and looks kinda classy. It has a little case that fits well. The sound is quite good. The drawbacks are: not digital, the FM does cover 76-108mhz but the US FM (88-108) is crammed in the upper half of the scale so FM tuning is very, very tricky. No bass boost. Finally the headphone/earbud connection is a rare 2.5mm submini stereo. The suppled earbuds are only fair so a 3.5mm to 2.5mm stereo plug adapter is needed. Radio Shack sells them.

Somewhere, I have an early digital AM/FM Walkman circa 1990. No bass boost, if I recall correctly. It might be worth revisiting.

Best regards,

Paul
 
Aug 3, 2003 at 10:19 PM Post #7 of 76

austonia

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the built-in radio on the iRiver iFP-390T is better then even the top of the line sony T615. i was able to directly compare them. the iRiver is also a 256mb mp3 player/voice recorder/line-in mp3 encoder.
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 3:30 AM Post #8 of 76

Jap

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[size=medium]The best portable radio you will probably find, especially for FM reception, is the incredible Tivoli Audio Portable Audio Laboratory (or PAL) by the late great audio engineering legend, Henry Kloss. (See http://www.tivoliaudio.com/pPALBLK.htm).

The model on the above link is the black version, but the radio also is available in seven other colors: Electric Blue, Earth Brown, Spring Green, Moonlight Gray, Pearl White, Sunset red and Neon Yellow (see links at bottom of the above website for the other colors).

The PAL is said to better than many home tuners (including very good ones!) at locking onto FM stations for gorgeous sound. I have personally auditioned this unit twice, and it is a guaranteed buy for me.
[/size]
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 4:23 AM Post #10 of 76

D555

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Hello LTU,

I've thought about the T-615.
It *looks* like a quality unit. The one review on AudioCubes was very, very positive.

What can you tell me about it?

Does it have the "constant background hiss problem"?

How is the bass?

How is reception? Good sensitivity
and selectivity? Overload problems?

Best regards,

Paul
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 4:43 AM Post #11 of 76

LTUCCI1924

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HI: It is a great very thin radio and I velcro a super mini amp V6 on the back of it becaus its so thin and use the shure E2c. I carry it in a cell phone case a small one on my belt.
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 4:51 AM Post #12 of 76

donovansmith

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Quote:

Sangean DT-110: hissy, OK selectivity, overload isn't too bad, fair sound, bass boost. Very good AM performance.


I have the RadioShack version of that radio and am not impressed at all by the AM. The FM isn't the best I've heard either. My huge RadioShack DX390 (Sangean ATS-818, iirc) and much smaller RadioShack DX396 (Grundig Yacht Boy 3xx, don't remember exactly which one) outperform this little thing by an order of magnitude. It isn't totally bad considering it's so small, but I really only wan't to listen to AM on the go (Denver's FM radio sucks so bad it's not even worth listening to) and the DT-110 is underwhelming for AM.
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 5:45 AM Post #13 of 76

D555

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Hello Donovan,

I've heard other remarks that the DT-110 has mediocre AM performance. However, comparing it to the DT-200 (which has been reviewed to have excellent AM performance) my results aren't so bad. Maybe there is some sample to sample variability with the DT-110.

I would agree that it's not a communications receiver and the ATS-909 does better in some respects as does the Sony ICF-SW7600GR (sync detector works pretty well). Still, I was pretty amazed by the performance of this little radio. It easily picks up 770khz KAAM in Dallas right next to a much stronger 760 AM sports station (I'm a couple of hunderd miles away from KAAM). Some radios have a bit of a hard time separating the two stations. The DT-110 does pretty well. Locally, it picks up the low powered information stations (530khz and 800khz).

My FM reception test is a low-powered vintage country music station about 40-50 miles away. That station has incredible sound quality. Some home tuners have problems with that station. It takes a real good vintage tuner to pick it up and receive it cleanly in stereo. The Sangean ATS-909 and Grundig Satellit 700 both receive that station amazingly well and in stereo.

If I can only find a small pocket FM portable that will do the same......

Best regards,

Paul Bigelow
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 10:08 AM Post #14 of 76

linnem

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Hi!

I'm responsible for the review at audiocubes (t615) and I can still stand by it 100 % even though I sold it. It does have its quirks, low but audible hiss, no auto scan tune (but it does not mute when tuning manually, very rare!) but thats about it. If you want FM and AM go for this one otherwise I would agree to go for the Iriver FM only. Really nice FM with all the features you want.
 
Aug 4, 2003 at 2:45 PM Post #15 of 76

D555

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Hello,

Do the EQ modes work in the FM mode for the iriver 390T? I inquire because the EQ modes do not work in FM for the IMP-350 MP3/CD player.

Best regards,

Paul
 

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