Receivers for Every Taste and Whim
response to our recent article about interesting new radio models
(“Radio Designers Step Up Their Game,” April 24) motivated us to
seek out more innovative receivers. And, boy, did we find some!
SOUNDWORKS AMBIANCE 2:
DO-IT-ALL, FULL STEREO TABLETOP
in the 20th century, a tabletop radio was just that — a tabletop
unit that only received AM/FM radio, with relatively decent sound
offered by the better models. Cambridge SoundWorks’ Ambiance 2
Music System is the 21st century tabletop. It is a sleek black stereo
unit that not only receives radio but serves as an iPhone
dock/charger/music access port, and Web radio via the Ambiance 2’s
built-in Wi-Fi connection — which also connects to the user’s own
PC/iPad-stored music collection.
Ambiance 2 also connects to Pandora, and displays song and artist
data on its color touchscreen. Such is the quality and response of
this system’s full-range stereo speakers that it was rated as
having “the best sound of any table radio we evaluated,” said
Consumers Digest in February, giving the Ambiance 2 its 2013 Premium
Best Buy Award. It sells for $249.99 at
THERE’S BLUETOOTH IN THE SHOWER
Bluetooth standard is named for King Harald of Denmark, a 10th
century ruler who so loved blueberries that his teeth were reputedly
stained blue. Hence it makes sense for a Bluetooth-enabled radio to
be found in the bathroom.
H202 shower radio comes with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing the
user to access music on Bluetooth-enabled computers, MP3 players or
smartphones. The H202’s white plastic shell is waterproof and has a
water-resistance 2 watt speaker. It boasts 10 station presets (five
each for FM and AM), an Emergency LED flashlight and buzzer (should
you get in trouble in the bathroom), large LCD display/clock and
alarm system, and an easy-to-hang bracket and hanger. Price: $109.95
XT511 EMERGENCY CRANK BASE RADIO:
radios equipped with hand-crank generators are a great way to ensure
that you always have a working receiver, especially if the main AC
power is down, the alkaline batteries dead and the sun is behind a
Midland XT511 Emergency Crank Base Radio has this very functionality
for receiving AM/FM broadcasts whatever happens, but it also is able
to receive NOAA Weather Alerts and play them whenever they occur.
XT511 is also equipped with a built-in GMRS two-way transmitting
radio (plus handheld microphone), the FCC-licensed radio band with up
to a 20-mile range in ideal conditions. This unit includes a USB
connector for charging cellphones, a flashlight and a clock radio
with Snooze. With this unit, found for $89.99 at midlandusa.com,
you will be ready for anything.
AM/FM/SW RADIO WITH BUILT-IN RECORDER
upon a time, shortwave radios were gigantic, tube-filled monsters,
and those few that claimed to be “portable” were only designed
for weightlifters. Today, things have changed: Etón Corp.’s
Grundig G2 Reporter is a fully functional AM/FM/SW (shortwave, aka
world band) receiver with direct access via telephone-style buttons.
It also has stereo speakers, a built-in microphone and an included
recorder that captures broadcast or voice audio to a removable
Micro-SD card. (You can also dub MP3/WMA audio files to the card via
a computer, then put the card into the G2 for playback.)
Grundig G2 Recorder has 248 memory presets, RDS, full clock radio
functions and input ports for LINE-IN and an external microphone. Yet
it weighs 9.6 ounces, and measures just 7.5 by 3.5 by 0.8 inches in
size. Price: $149.99 at shopetoncorp.com (sites like Amazon
may sell for less).
RETRO RECEIVERS FOR VINTAGE CARS
you own a vintage automobile — or just a reliable old junker —
and find yourself in need of a replacement radio? RetroSound Radios
may be able to help. They sell modern car radios in retro styles for
many makes and models of cars, including the classic 1957 Chevy.
RetroSound radios look and sound like the originals they replace,
with the exception of their discreet monochrome LCD displays and
mini-plug input jacks (optional) for feeds from smartphones, tablets
and iPod/MP3 players.
radios are also the same form factor as the old units, making
swap-outs easy. Prices vary; learn much more at retrosoundUSA.com.
Careless is a longtime contributor. He has written recently about
pirate radio, iTunes Radio, SoundCloud and other topics.