Digital Radio

We’ve been toying with the idea of digital radio for a while. We listen to the radio quite a lot and it’s been annoying us that we get bad reception in the new house.

But DAB radio’s are expensive and we’ve questioned the value. Several of our friends have them though – a surprising number in fact! – and with moving out of London meaning we get less access to stations like XFM that we like, we decided to look into them a bit more closely.

I, with my techie hat on, was looking for features. We like the “live pause and rewind” on our Sky+ box, and I was hoping to get that functionality in the radio too – should be simple enough you would think. I also wanted to be able to plug an iPod into it – preferable through a line-in socket. Sally, with her aesthetics hat on (we’re a good team) wouldn’t let me get a cheap, plastic-looking one – preferring the slightly vintage look of the Pure and Robert’s models.

We tested the water by getting a cheap (£35) Roberts clock radio. A lot of our listening is done in bed as we attempt to wake up, so this seemed like a good way to try it out. And…

I was astonished!

I thought we’d get poor reception, with it constantly breaking up. But, no. DAB, here in Swindon at least, is crystal clear. We get a good range of stations. The sound quality is excellent. And the radios are incredibly easy to use – I don’t say that lightly by the way, but you literally plug it in and it works with barely a button press.

We were SO impressed that we almost immediately went to Amazon and spent a lot more money on a Pure Evoke 1S for the kitchen. Which is equally easy to use, crystal clear, well built, has most of the technical features I wanted (not live pause and rewind – surprisingly few models had this!), and looks the business.

I’d happily evangelise DAB radio to anyone. If you’re thinking you have reason to switch – do it!

I still think the receivers aren’t particularly good value but in this case I’m happy to pay the premium for being a fairly-early adopter. Perhaps prices will come down as take-up increases? Or maybe the signal is sufficiently poor on other places to limit its take up. I guess only time will tell.