Sony SRF-M35...excellent am/fm pocket portable!
Apr 13, 2002 at 4:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 59

Mike Walker

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I live in a difficult area for fm reception. First of all, I'm in a rural community, so I'm in the "deep fringe" of most fm signals. Except for one! There's a full-power (100,000 watt) fm here in my county, whose tower is only about 8 miles from my house. The signal they put into my area is so strong that it was off the scale of the JVC tuner I used to have with digital signal strength readout. And it is so strong that, on MANY not so high-end portable radios, I get WKBC-FM (the station...in North Wilkesboro, NC) from one end of the fm dial to the other, completely swamping more distant stations which I enjoy. A REAL problem!

I have, however, through much trial and error, found a few portable radios which are up to the challenge. My Grundig Yacht Boy 400 simply ignores WKBC-FM, except at it's primary (97.3) dial position. Ditto my Drake SW-8 communications receiver, Pioneer home theater receiver (with roof antenna AND antenna amplifier...all that signal, still no interference!), Grundig E-Traveller VII, Sangean ATS-909, and several others. But the only am/fm pocket-portable (a.k.a. "Walman") that I've found that is really up to the challenge is the Sony SRF-M32, and the most recent version (with mostly cosmetic, rather than electronic changes) the SRF-M35.

I've owned my SRF-M32 for several years. I found it "refurbished" at the Sony Outlet store in Gaffney South Carolina about 1995. It's been great, but is kind of scratched and rough looking (again, I bought it "refurbished" years ago), so I've been searching for a replacement. First I tried the highly regarded Sangean DT-110. Yes it does have great sound quality. It also has very poor rejection of the "monster signal" on my doorstep. So I decided to stick with what I know works, and set out in search of the SRF-M35.

When I got to my local "On Cue" store in Wilkesboro, NC, it was my lucky day. The SRF-M35 was on sale at FIFTY PERCENT OFF! 18 bucks (including tax)! So I bought two of them. Now I won't be without my little traveling companion! Great fm reception (with appropriate, automatic "blend to mono" under multipath and weak signal conditions, so signals never get too noisy), and surprisingly good am reception too! I'd estimate am frequency response goes to 7khz or a little higher, a good octave better than most am radios. A good thing too, since a couple of my favorite music stations in the area are on am (including WKSK...580am in West Jefferson, which now covers MANY counties with their 5,000 watt signal), WKBC AM...800am in North Wilkesboro, WIRC AM..630 in Hickory (all country stations), plus a 10kw "blowtorch" of a talk station on 1200 in Blowing Rock, NC. All come in like they're next door, despite the fact that all (other than WKBC AM) are at least 40 miles from my rural home!

The SRF-M35 is a great little radio!
 
Apr 14, 2002 at 7:02 PM Post #2 of 59

Duncan

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I must admit that I have a Sony SRF-M48RDS, and I find it great too... it can get a little scratchy when there are too many station close together - but nothing in life is perfect I guess
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 25, 2002 at 3:21 PM Post #3 of 59

LTUCCI1924

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HI:
I have had a lot of portable radios in my time but the very best that I have ever had and still is the SANGEAN DT200. It is about the size of a pack of cigerattes 100s. It uses 2 aa batt. and puts out 28 m/w per channel. Has anyone heard this radio?
 
Apr 25, 2002 at 3:45 PM Post #4 of 59

Mike Walker

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I've tried the DT200, and while it did offer excellent sensitivity, it suffered from the extreme overload problem I described with other inexpensive radios (where my local 100,000 watt fm can be heard from one end of the dial to the other, obscuring weaker stations I want to hear!). There are also a couple of other quirks about the DT200 which rule it out for me.

First, although sensitivity is above average on am, I find am audio to be a tad distorted, particularly noticable on music with substantial bass content. And worse, it has that damn 90 minute auto-shutoff! ARRGH! I frequently patch the output of a portable radio to the input of a portable recorder, such as my Archos Jukebox recorder to record long-form radio programs, such as the weekly two hour broadcast of "A Prarie Home Companion" on public radio. The Sangean ALWAYS cuts off the last half-hour. Is there a way to defeat the auto-shutoff? I noticed that on the newer DT-110 if you hold the power switch down a couple of seconds when you turn on the radio, it defeats auto-shutoff. Is this also true of older models such as the DT200?
 
Apr 25, 2002 at 4:02 PM Post #5 of 59

LTUCCI1924

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The auto turn off is at one hour and unlike the 110 90 min. turn off that can be over ride. The dt200 is set at the factory and can not be over ride. I live in the big city so I get great reception and very clear sound. I use only the fm. I called the factory and asked the tech. which portable radio was the best one and they said that the dt200 lacked a lot of features that others had but was the strongest and cleanest of all the other portables. Maby one could put tape over the on button and override the auto off? Or something like that. I like the auto off because I can lay in bed and fall to sleep and not wake up to dead batt.
 
Apr 25, 2002 at 4:58 PM Post #6 of 59

JML

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The other option is the Aiwa CR-LD101. Digital tuning, 45 presets, sufficient power, sweet tone, very sensitive & and with very good rejection of adjacent stations. In an urban area, I found it to work better than the Sangean. 90 minute suto shutoff, user defeatable. http://www.aiwa.com/Catalog00/Products2.asp?id=278
 
Apr 25, 2002 at 7:13 PM Post #7 of 59

Flasken

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LOL

I just found my sony m55.. It is SO small it looks absolutely rediculous when it is attached to the coiled cable of my DT250's.. And, yes, i do mean the radio is attached to the cable - not the other way around
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May 13, 2002 at 10:42 AM Post #9 of 59

WinterRain

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Try Koss PP257-7i. I got it for Can$40 (US$25). Digital tuner type, 5 FM preset + 5 AM preset, bass boost. Sporty looks. Like most portables, the earphone that comes with it goes straight to the waste basket. Use a better set of earphones if you have one.

It is designed for jogging so the reception is good even while you're on the move.
 
May 13, 2002 at 10:32 PM Post #10 of 59

Duncan

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Thanks for the Heads-Up WinterRain
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May 26, 2002 at 2:25 AM Post #13 of 59

Mike Walker

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With all due respect, ALL amplifiers produce noise. Every blasted one of 'em, including the little headphone amp in the SRF-M35. But if your headphone's sensitivity is a good match, you shouldn't hear the hiss. I DO NOT hear it with MY Sony. Any of them (I own three) with Sony MDR-7506, Koss KSC-35, Koss Sporta Pro, or Sony EX-70lp headphones/earphones.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an audiophile, and want to banish audible noise. But I find it slightly amusing that people spend time turning their portable stereo equipment all the way down, deliberately trying TO HEAR NOISE (which EVERY amplifier produces to some extent), and are horrified when they hear it. Suggestion: turn the volume up slightly until you can hear THE MUSIC! Is noise still audible when listening TO MUSIC? If so, you may consider this a problem worth solving.

Many, or perhaps most of us could hear hiss through our main audio systems if we listened with our ears against our tweeters, and no signal present. Does this mean our amplifiers are defective? To quote my hero, Al Borlin (from "Home Improvement") 'I don't think so, Tim'!

The SRF-M35 is an EXCELLENT portable stereo radio, with a noise floor much lower than most (due largely to it's superb sensitivity, and to the fact that it gracefully blends to mono as signal quality declines, so weak signals and multipath don't make distant stations unlinstenable.

The Sony SRF-M35 is a keeper! And for a few dollars more, you can buy a great pocket radio with excellent stereo fm reception (through headphones), a small (mono) speaker, and nearly full shortwave coverage. It's the Grundig E-Traveller VII, and I NEVER leave the house without mine!
 
May 26, 2002 at 5:57 AM Post #14 of 59

Fixup

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There are two types of background noise. Every amp generates hiss. This is the first type, its character is that its level goes down when you turn volume down, vice versa. However, M35's noise is not this type.

The second type of noise is not generated by the amp itself, but by long and/or improper groud lines before the amp. The noise level of this type does not change when you change volume and the noise is still there even when you turn the volume all way down. M35's noise is this type, so is that of most RadioShack radios and other poorly designed ones.

Therefore, if you listen to M35 at very lound volume, its noise appears reletively low because this noise does not change with volume. But, if you are used to listen at low volume like I am, then the noise is unacceptable, especially for classic music - the noise shows up whenever music goes quieter.

So, M35 is fine as a jogging radio. But if you listen to classic music under quiet enviornment, its noise is too annoying. M95 is much better - far more sensitive and less noise (non audioable). M95 costs a lot more though and, unfortunately, Sony does not sell it in USA. Aiwa CR-LD120 is second to M95 (less sensitive). If you can live with an analogue tuner, then SRF-S83 or 59 trashes any other FM/AM radios including M35 without question.

I am still searching for a digital radio that's as sensitive and selective and good sounding as SRF-S83.
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:21 AM Post #15 of 59

LTUCCI1924

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FIXUP:
HI: I have the sangean DT 200. It is digital and very sensative and very clean and clear. It also is very strong at 28 M/W per channel. Have you heard of this radio. I think it is the best portable radio that I have ever had. It is about the size of a pack of 100's cigarattes and uses 2 AA batterys.
 

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