I like listening to the radio, although not so loud as to annoy everyone, but as my stereo is in the living room, with the only other radios being rather doubtful clock radios, I find it hard to listen to the radio when I'm not near the stereo in the living room. If you're with me.
So, a few months back, with the end of the football season and the need to get a portable radio for the start of the next season, (this one. The one that's just started), so I can listen to a certain team playing as I can't really afford the cost and time to actually go to all the games.
I opted for a portable one so that I could take it where ever I was in and around the house and garden, which meant that I could get away from the hassles of family life and hide away on my 'shed'.
My main question was what sort of portable radio? Should I get a large 'ghetto blaster' (or what ever they call them these days), or opt for something smaller? Should I go for one that has attached speakers or one that I can put the speakers around the room? Should I get one with a CD player or not? .... Questions, questions, questions... but what was the answer?
And then it hit me, after a bit of looking around, searching though the internet pages and some of those old fashioned paper pages in certain catalogues, I decided to go for a comfortable size radio, which was just a radio. No CD player and no bells or whistles. Nothing fancy. In fact, it is far from fancy, in a way, it is more retro than fancy... old fashioned with a dash of technology.
And the radio I went for and have been listening to over the passed few months, especially over the passed 6 weeks with the kids off school, with me hiding away in my 'shed' in the hope of keeping my sanity. The radio I went for is in fact more than just a normal radio, it is what is called a DAB radio. With this ones full title being the
Murphy GSDAB2003 digital radio.
* What does it look like then..?
It looks like a radio from the 70's, with it's wooden casing and silver front, although this one has the technology of the 21st century. It's about 160mm high, 240 wide and about 55mm deep, which makes it ideal for not only sitting on a shelf but carrying around with you if you want to look something like one of those ghetto blaster that we used to carry around on our shoulders.
On the front there is a single speaker, which has a silver grill covering it. Then, just to the right, there are the controls, consisting of four buttons surrounding a cursor which in turn has a single button in the centre.
The four buttons are...
DAB/FM - which doubles as preset/save
The cursor, which has the select button in the centre, lets you skip up and down the radio stations, scans in automatic and helps you through the display options.
As for the LCD display, this is just above the buttons and glows a lovely calm blue when the radio is powered up.
On the rear there is one of those extendable aerials which pulls out the about 300mm, together with the little hatch that covers the battery compartment.
* So what does it offer..?
It is a radio. That's it. So all it offers is the chance to pick up the radio stations that are broadcasting around the area you are listening to the radio in. But it not only picks up the standard FM stations, it also picks up something that the boffins call Digital Audio broadcasting, or DAB as it is commonly known.
So, it basically offers the chance to listen to your favourite stations as clearly as if you were actually listening to it live in a stadium.
It runs off the mains and also, if you want to be mobile it runs off four 'C' batteries to give it the power it needs, but either way it has an output power of 2.5watts
It has automatic and manual station search, which is a matter of pressing a couple of buttons and a bit of waiting. You can then set 20 FM stations and 10 DAB stations into the memory, which saves you having to continuously search for your favourite stations every time.
The display shows you which channel you are listening too, flashing across the name of the station, the song that is playing, what is coming up next and what is the best way to cook a boiled egg... although I did make up the boiled egg one.
Right in the corner of the display there is the little signal strength which does tend to flash up and down most of the time.
* So, what about tuning it in...
Scanning both the FM and DAB is a matter pressing the scan button on the bottom bit of the cursor, then wait for the radio to scan through all the stations until it finds them. Then, it's a matter of either ignoring or saving the stations in the memory, 20 FM and 10 DAB, which is plenty of space for most peoples favourite stations.
To actually store a station is another matter of pressing a button, just press the scan, find the station, then press the preset/save button and hold it until the display flashes. Then press the arrow buttons until you find the number you want to save the station on. Finally, to actually save the station, you simply press the select button.
Job done. All you have to do it repeat these steps in order to save all the stations you want to save.
* And the sound..?
The sound quality, which does come from a single speaker, is so clear it's almost like being at an open concert, but the actual quality does depend on how well you have managed to tune the stations in. if you get a good reception then the sound quality is excellent, with no static sounds and dodgy crackling. But if you're slightly off then it could sound like you're hearing aid has been dropped inside a packet of cheese and onion walkers crisp.
* What will this one cost me..?
This little radio sells on the market, from many good stores, for around the £40 region, give or take a few quid.
* Is it worth it..?
Yes, without a doubt.
If you want a simple radio, especially a digital one, which looks nice where ever it is placed, a bit retro in fact, then this one is certainly well worth looking at.
It gives me everything I need when it comes to simple radio listening, be that the football games, the news or music. I can listen to the lot without any hassles of wires, external speakers or terrible reception.
It not only sounds good it looks good too, which is half the battle in itself.