Radio Designers Step Up Their Game
Radio receiver manufacturers are still coming out with innovative products,
even in this age of iPads and smartphones. Here are four of the most
interesting that have come to Radio World’s attention.
Pocket Radio: The Transistor Radio, v. 2.0
Just because the pocket-sized
transistor radio is iconic doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved.
The CC Pocket Radio
C. Crane Company, a California firm owned by AM
radio fan and engineer Bob Crane, has proven this point with its new CC Pocket
This standard-sized pocket radio supports AM, FM
and weather band broadcasts, and can store up to 55 presets to boot. The CC Pocket
Radio also comes with an onboard speaker, headphone jack (stereo for FM), and
LCD display with digital up/down tuning.
That’s not all: The CC Pocket Radio has numerous
cool programmable features built in. They include a NOAA Weather Alert (to
trigger an alarm whenever NOAA issues a weather warning), an alarm clock, an AM
2.5 kHz narrowband filter to improve station separation and 1 kHz step-tuning
on the AM band. For $59.95, the CC Pocket Radio is a true next-generation
“We loved making this guy,” said Bob Crane. “It
is perhaps the simplest digital pocket radio made but it still has high
Sensia 200D Connect: A Futuristic Internet Radio ... Circa 1970
With its egg-like shape, the Pure
Sensia 200D Connect evokes images of a true futuristic radio — as seen from the
sci-fi aesthetics of the 1970s.
Pure Sensia 200D Connect
But make no mistake: The Sensia
200D Connect is a 21st century Internet radio. In fact, it has so many features
that Pure rightly describes it as a portable music streaming and radio system.
Among the Connect’s features, it offers
a full-color 5.7-inch touchscreen and remote control, 30W RMS stereo sound
(speakers mounted at either end of the egg) and the ability to receive stations
on FM, the Internet and British digital audio broadcasting, DAB.
The Connect can also access music
from WiFi-accessible PCs, tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and USB memory
sticks. (The unit can also record to USB stick.) One last cool feature: The
Sensia 200D Connect’s touchscreen can be used to access Facebook and Twitter.
It sells for $399 at www.newegg.com.
FRX3: Emergency Radio Meets Sexy
Who says that emergency preparedness radios
can’t be sexy? Not Etón: Their FRX3 AM/FM/weather band radio is as alluring in
its red chrome (or black) X-shaped radio case as it is functional. The FRX3
comes with a rechargeable battery, plus solar panel and hand-cranked dynamo to
keep it topped up at all times.
Besides AM/FM, the FRX3 covers all seven NOAA
weather band stations and can be set to turn on whenever NOAA issues a Weather
Alert. The hand turbine can be used to recharge USB-connectable devices like
smartphones, by connecting them to the FRX’s own USB port.
Add a built-in flashlight, “glow in the dark” locator,
a red flashing light for emergencies, and even an AUX port to bring in external
audio, and the FRX3 is the sexy alternative to boring emergency preparedness
It is readily available online and sells for $59.95. A special American
Red Cross version of the FRX3 is available.
Digital Victoria: A Nostalgic Internet Radio
The Grace Digital Victoria radio
At first glance, the Grace Digital Victoria
radio is a 1940s tabletop receiver housed in an elegant 3/4-inch-thick wooden
case with gold trim. Look again, and you’ll see that the Victoria is actually a
fully-featured WiFi-enabled Internet radio.
Using its two knobs and four push
buttons — or included remote — listeners can access 18,000 Internet-based radio
stations; music services such as Pandora, Sirius and Live365; and audio files
from other computers over WiFi.
Tuning information is shown on the Victoria’s
black and white LCD screen, which seems appropriately in tune with this
receiver’s nostalgic styling. Meanwhile, the audio delivered by this radio’s
Class D Digital 16 watt RMS/50 watt peak amp and 4-inch full-range speaker with
bass rear port is full and satisfying. Add the fact that you can plug in an MP3
player for extra audio, and use the Victoria as a clock radio, and one can see
why it now occupies my bedside table.
“Grace Digital is about producing affordable
quality audio products for customers who are looking for more than the standard
clock radio,” said Greg Fadul, Grace Digital’s co-founder. In making the
nostalgic Victoria, “we wanted to provide something truly unique to the
marketplace, something we knew would elicit a genuine positive emotional
response in our customers.”
The Victoria is available for
$229.99 at www.gracedigital.com.
James Careless is a longtime contributor. He wrote
about SoundCloud in the March 1 issue of Radio World.