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DAB radio under 15. DAB Alarm clock under 20
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# 1
MSE Lawrence
Old 29-01-2008, 3:42 PM
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Default DAB radio under 15. DAB Alarm clock under 20

What's the deal?

DAB radios are no-need to tune, easy to use sets often with a larger range of channels than AM/FM. When they became mainstream a few years ago they were over 100 each, now the price has shot down to 15.

Where to get the cheapest?
  • The Cheapest: Technika mono DAB/FM 14.97 in-store/online exc. postage.

    Tesco has a limited supply of this new budget set, which packs in a digital FM tuner and 20 channel preset capacity (10 DAB/10 FM). It's unlikely to deafen or particularly awe you with its small mono speaker, and thus has limited appeal to die-hard music fans, though you could plug stereo speakers in. It will run on batteries as well as the mains.

    In-store: It's available in-store at larger Tescos, so locate your store and call to see if it's in before wasting a trip.

    On-line: You can order from Tesco Direct, though then there's a 4.85 delivery fee. Alternatively if you're buying something else, and the total is over 25 then you can do a 'Reserve and Collect' at most main (non-express) Tescos so there's no delivery fee.
  • Including wake-up call: Technika DAB Alarm Clock 19.99 in-store/online exc. postage.

    This compact alarm clock from Tesco features 10 presets and all the alarm clock functions you need to get to work on time. It's 19.99 if you can find one in-store.

    In-store: As above, locate your store and call before wasting a trip.

    On-line: Again, 'Reserve and Collect' is available on orders over 25, so you'll have to add something worth 5.01 to get it. Otherwise there's a 4.85 delivery charge for buying from Tesco Direct.
  • The Name Brand: Sony XDRS50 Portable DAB radio 29.99 delivered

    This small-but-smart Sony set's reduced from 55 at Amazon. It's a simple unit with 10 presets, which'll run off the mains or batteries. If you use batteries though, be warned they'll run out a fair bit quicker than they would in an FM portable.
Seen a better DAB deal? Post below and I'll add it in.

Why get DAB?

DAB is an easy to use system, where you don't need to tune (you just scroll through the stations) and offers a different range of channels to normal FM radio.

Pros
  • Ease of use.

    All of the stations appear in text on the (usually quite large) screen and all sets will auto-scan for stations. This makes it ideal for elderly people (Martin bought one for his Gran) or the technologically challenged; you no longer need to remember any numbers, just scroll.
  • More potential choice.

    Whilst it's quite close-run in some areas, DAB offers a wider choice of stations for many people in the UK, especially outside of the M25.
  • Access to DAB only/regional stations.

    Some of the BBCs best radio stations exist only on DAB, BBC 6 Music for example (additional note from Martin... he's very young is our Lawrence!). Also, Channel 4's set to launch C4 radio soon, promising since it'll be headed up by ex-radio 2 controller Jim Moir.
  • Access to more info.

    DAB has the capacity to send more info to sets, which is displayed on the radio's screen. Thus, you can get the headlines, or find out what's playing at a glance (depending on the station).
Cons
  • Sound quality.

    If you have good reception FM can offer higher quality sound than DAB as most UK DAB stations broadcast a low (128kbps) bitrate MP2 signal. FM transmitters (or 'exciters') broadcast 'transparently', meaning that if you were to get perfect reception (which is nigh on impossible), you'd hear exactly what was coming from the studio (after other processing etc).

    Yet if the station you listen to is usually on Medium Wave (e.g. BBC Radio 5) the reception should be much improved.
  • FM's healthy.

    Unlike analogue TV, FM radio signals aren't on their way out just yet; in fact, FM broadcasts aren't even up for review until 2012, and it'll be a fair few years after that before they'll be stopped. Some sets support both FM and DAB to give you the best of both.
  • New DAB?

    There's a new DAB+ format in the pipeline, which isn't backwards compatible with the current one, meaning it may become obsolete.

    Devout optimists claim it'll come out in three years time, but judging by DAB's slow ascendancy and take-up, it'll probably take a whole lot longer.
  • Station closures.

    GCap, the commercial radio operator, has just pulled two of its DAB stations, stating that DAB 'was not an economically viable growth platform' for it.

    However, this doesn't really spell the end of the format as a whole as some doom-mongerers have decided. The BBC and Channel 4 amongst others are strongly investing in the DAB format.
-Lawrence


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Last edited by Former MSE Dan; 12-03-2008 at 12:10 PM.
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# 2
deanos
Old 20-02-2008, 7:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frmarcus View Post
Which? verdict (not good!):



Technika DAB-206

This cheap radio scored average marks in our listening tests – so don’t expect top quality sound. It’s a basic set with no electronic programme guide (EPG) or Pause Rewind functions and our testers found it difficult to use.
Whats that got to do with the £15 one Martin has listed, its a totally different model !

I have the £15 one to use in the bathroom and its a very good unit, i did post about it here a couple of weeks back >
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....html?t=718299
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# 3
photome
Old 20-02-2008, 7:13 AM
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Heard on the news the other day that the industry now believes that DAB is not the way forward, cant remember who has put all the investment in to the hardware (masts etc) but it seems it is now for sale for 1p.

Looks like we will all be buying something new soon, although I am still on my AM/FM radio
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# 4
anewman
Old 20-02-2008, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSE Lawrence View Post
Some of the BBCs best radio stations exist only on DAB, 1Xtra for example (additional note from Martin... he's very young is our Lawrence!).
That one is also available on terrestrial digital TV. I tried DAB but now I have tried it I'm happy enough with FM, CD's and so on. Didn't do anything for me. The main annoying thing at the time I used DAB was all the channels specially reserved for mobile TV for those virgin phones. So radiowaves intended to be free for all are abused by companies again, like top up TV did on freeview (how is paying for it freeview?)

It would take alot to get me over to DAB. Maybe we need something like this.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xm_radio
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# 5
louby_lou
Old 20-02-2008, 8:18 AM
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I have to say I bought the Technika mono DAB/FM from Tesco last week for 14.97 in-store for my boyfriend's valentines day present and he absolutely loves it. Its intuitive and easy to use, stores more than enough channels, can be turned up pretty loud and is a decent enough design (personally I'd like one with a retro design finish but beggars can't be choosers!).

I think unless you are some audio conasseur you probably won't notice the difference between this and a more expensive model - i certainly dont, and it serves its purpose which is after all to be a radio, and I dont fancy forking out 60-70 for Chris Moyles and co to sound a bit crisper.

In short, don't be put off by the online reviews, this is a good unit, for a good price, it does its job and looks decent so for under 15 - so why not
* MFW by 2020 *
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# 6
digitaltoast
Old 20-02-2008, 9:17 AM
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I'm so glad Martin has done a fair review of DAB - for too long there's been hysteria about it being "CD quality" and nonsense like that. Unless you're partially deaf, you'll notice a big drop in quality.

Also, 5 national DAB stations have closed in the last 2 months, as well as these:
http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/s...d.php?t=558911

I'd keep that FM radio if I were you!
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# 7
MINCER
Old 20-02-2008, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaltoast View Post
I'm so glad Martin has done a fair review of DAB - for too long there's been hysteria about it being "CD quality" and nonsense like that. Unless you're partially deaf, you'll notice a big drop in quality.

Also, 5 national DAB stations have closed in the last 2 months, as well as these:
http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/s...d.php?t=558911

I'd keep that FM radio if I were you!
Well some of us aren't deaf and have now got better sound quality as a result of DAB - not everyone can get perfect FM or MW reception (no more annoying hiss in the background).

Also adding to the 'hysteria' about DAB not being around for much longer is rubbish - if we based success on the number of companies entering or leaving the business then when the Internet bubble burst in the 90's we'd have all gone back to faxes and phones. The market is just trying to find it's natural level - there will be winners as well as losers.
All the World is a Stage; and I'm going through a difficult one at the moment!
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# 8
almillar
Old 20-02-2008, 10:30 AM
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DAB is a decent system, but greed has meant that too many stations have been packed in to the available bandwidth (sortof like Sky and Freeview). When they quote 'CD quality' that technically means 44kHz, but if it's broadcast at 120kbs (like many of the music stations, speech ones are worse) then it is exactly the same as a low quality MP3 - I think 190kbs should be a minimum for music.
Sure, there's no hiss, but that's not how you hear low sound quality, just like records have crackle but tapes don't. Listen to cymbols crash and you can hear 'swishing' as there's not enough bandwidth for complex sounds like this. DAB certainly has potential, but good FM still sounds better ATM...
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# 9
Niftythrifty
Old 20-02-2008, 10:36 AM
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Don't digital radios use more electricity?
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# 10
chardir
Old 20-02-2008, 12:01 PM
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Anyone know of a good value DAB radio with a line out socket?
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# 11
crispibits
Old 20-02-2008, 12:06 PM
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Digitaltoast, I'm not deaf, I just happen to live in an area with no FM reception. If you get FM reception in even a slightly dodgy area you'll get stereo hiss on a portable. To my ears having clear (if slightly 'flanged' at high frequency) reception is better than that dead annoying hiss, or even worse, no reception at all. Please stop assuming everyone lives in a perfect reception area, or listens to their DAB in an acoustically perfect setting. This is a thread about a 15 quid DAB for goodness sake! I now have a DAB, and can listen to the Archers (Radio 4), Dick and Dom (Radio 1), The Evening Concert (Radio 3) and Smooth Classics at 7 (Classic FM) for the first time in years. Anyway, I'll get off *my* soapbox now. Whatever you listen to, enjoy it :-)
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# 12
codger
Old 20-02-2008, 12:32 PM
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Actually. . .

On the basis that the cheapest isn't necessarily a bargain, by far the Best Buy anywhere at the moment is the Pure Evoke 3 from PC World at 129 97p.

Comet won't budge from the 200 retail and prices for used examples on eBay are just silly. (Dixons is probably the best genuine buy.)

Sadly, there's a reason for using the word "genuine": PC World won't deliver this Amazing Bargain to anyone. They say it can only be collected from your local store.

Forget local, I haven't found it in any regional store in my part of the world, though I haven't had time to range right across the country.

If any MSEr is lucky enough to find a Pure Evoke 3 in their neighbourhood PC World, then Christmas has definitely come early.

If, that is, PC World ever placed more than one unit on sale at this price in the first place!
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# 13
garrypark
Old 20-02-2008, 12:45 PM
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Just a word of warning for those who use earplugs/headphones.

Every DAB radio I tried had an annoying background hum when using headphones - even when the volume was set at zero!

EXCEPT that is for the Pure Evoke 3 - it really was worth the extra money especially with the digital SKY+ type recording feature.
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# 14
deanos
Old 20-02-2008, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chardir View Post
Anyone know of a good value DAB radio with a line out socket?

The Technika one has a headphone socket you can use
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# 15
Torkijo
Old 20-02-2008, 2:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrypark View Post
Just a word of warning for those who use earplugs/headphones.

Every DAB radio I tried had an annoying background hum when using headphones - even when the volume was set at zero!

EXCEPT that is for the Pure Evoke 3 - it really was worth the extra money especially with the digital SKY+ type recording feature.

The Pure Move is OK for Headphones and the Chronos II

Have tried the 20 Tesco clock radio and the DAB side is fine but it feels a bit plasticy and the Alarm is a very very loud buzzer that will definately wake you up but probably put you in a foul mood for the day - i took it back the next day(same as i did for the 35 Wharfedale one from Argos) ended up with the Pure CHronos II and cant fault it except no line in to plug in the Ipod.
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# 16
martynelmy
Old 20-02-2008, 2:48 PM
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Default get real

Well said, it has to be better than trying to listen to football on Radio 5Live or Talksport after dark. Out in the semi-sticks reception on MW is dreadful. Virgin on 1215 AM is pathetic so DAB has got to be worth a try.

On a broader point, the biggest problem DAB has is that FM is pretty good in the UK and the BBC is brilliant so it is very difficult for other stations to compete.



Quote:
Originally Posted by crispibits View Post
Digitaltoast, I'm not deaf, I just happen to live in an area with no FM reception. If you get FM reception in even a slightly dodgy area you'll get stereo hiss on a portable. To my ears having clear (if slightly 'flanged' at high frequency) reception is better than that dead annoying hiss, or even worse, no reception at all. Please stop assuming everyone lives in a perfect reception area, or listens to their DAB in an acoustically perfect setting. This is a thread about a 15 quid DAB for goodness sake! I now have a DAB, and can listen to the Archers (Radio 4), Dick and Dom (Radio 1), The Evening Concert (Radio 3) and Smooth Classics at 7 (Classic FM) for the first time in years. Anyway, I'll get off *my* soapbox now. Whatever you listen to, enjoy it :-)
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# 17
sgrahams
Old 20-02-2008, 2:57 PM
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Red face DAB - take care..

Take care when buying DAB; several stations have recently shut down their DAB stations as not profitable. An article in The Independant this weekk also questioned DAB sound quality - perhaps this is why they are becoming so cheap.

Unfortunately, I bought two recently, one being the Technika.. the tuning is initally very confusing, even when reading the instructions; but at 15 it is excellent value and the sound quality is similar to my other Roberts.

IMHO, could end up like the Dodo.

Sincerely,
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# 18
dvdevns
Old 20-02-2008, 4:51 PM
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Question DAB in Europe

Can anyone confirm or deny that the DAB radios we can purchase in the UK won't work in Europe (specifically France)?
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# 19
stann0
Old 20-02-2008, 5:14 PM
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Just bought a Technika DAB alarm radio, Very pleased with it. My old FM/AM clock suffered from poor reception at night, just when you want it working.
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# 20
leejp
Old 20-02-2008, 6:00 PM
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Default Look here

I had a Bush DAB radio, which sounded like it had been dropped in a fish tank.

Doubtless, DAB using mp2 is pure rubbish, and go here for the whole history and saga of DAB, DAB+ and why the AAC codec will change this..

http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/

Stories of the BBC launching music stations in glorious 1960s mono, because there was no bandwidth on the multiplex, or at bitrates below 96kbps, making satellite radio (and good quality FM) far superior quality..

Oh dear, maybe the Govt will ultimately sell off the Spectrum...

Expect to pay 5 at a market for a new FM radio.
Lee.
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