High quality AM/FM ultra-portable radio - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Jack_Straw, Feb 12, 2024.

  1. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    I need one ASAP. I’m a season ticket holder for Spring Training baseball and occasionally have to go to a weekday game by myself, so it would be nice to be able to tune into the radio broadcast while I watch the game. Has to be radio, because streaming has too much of a time delay for it to be useful at the event.

    Requirements:

    - Very small - needs to fit in a pocket, clip on to waistband/shirt collar, or worn somehow
    - Good reception on both AM and FM stereo (local FM station carries some games, but others are only carried by the flagship station about 75 miles away)
    - headphone jack

    Any other features like a small speaker, rechargeable battery, bluetooth, line output, etc. would be fine but not necessary.

    Are there any modern ones out there that are good quality? Would like to spend less than $100 or so, but I’m willing to pay for quality.
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  2. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Not too many good ones out there. I bought a little Grundig and it was a POS.

    sangean is one the few companies that still make AM / FM radios. Sony makes a few small ones. I gave up my search for one when I put Qobuz on my phone. I used to like having a small radio at work…
     
  3. Babado

    Babado Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Reno NV
    I would buy the Jazmm AM FM walkman and add some better ear buds.
     
    Jack_Straw likes this.
  4. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    Jack_Straw and sharedon like this.
  5. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

  6. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks. Surprised to hear that about the Grundig - i thought they were supposed to be a decent brand.
     
  7. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    I like the looks of that one - saw it and another Sony at Amazon, along with a Panasonic. I’d be more inclined to take a chance on one of them rather than the many off-brand ones. With this one, I’d be worried about the tuner wheel being on the side - probably impossible to walk with it in your pocket and not change the station. Also, the telescoping antenna probably works great, but might not be practical for use at a game.
     
  8. KeninDC

    KeninDC Hazy Cosmic Jive

    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    I have 5, yes 5, Sangean AM/FM portable radios of various sizes and capabilities. Sangean knows tuning, both analog and digital (costs more).
     
    Michael Macrone and Jack_Straw like this.
  9. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    That one has some really cool features - like the “lock” on the tuning and volume. Seems to be good quality, judging by the reviews. The only thing that worries me is one comment that says you have to use their earbuds to get the antenna functionality in the cord.
     
  10. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    The “DT” line from Sangean seems like exactly what I had in mind. Is there one model you would recommend over the others? Looks like the DT-200 has a built in speaker but the DT-180 does not. The DT-400W has the weather radio - nice feature, but I wonder if the AM/FM is any better or worse than the others.
     
  11. KeninDC

    KeninDC Hazy Cosmic Jive

    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    I've got a Sangean portable with the weather radio option for my beach house ('cuz I've ridden out a few hurricanes) and that feature does not degrade AM/FM reception. For most uses, weather is nice but not essential. I'm thinking the speaker is essential, especially if you forget your ear buds.

    DT-200 looks to be the way to go. Now I want one.

    I've got the following Sangean radios:

    WR-22 w/ Bluetooth - excellent table radio
    SG-102 - rugged, outdoor radio
    PR-D15 - portable, stereo
    WR-50 w/ extra speaker, Bluetooth - office listening
    PR-D4W - weather AM/FM radio, single speaker
     
    Michael Macrone and Jack_Straw like this.
  12. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    I did see this in the manual...

    2. EARPHONE JACK/ EXTERNAL FM ANTENNA JACK To listen using earphones, adjust the switch on the left side of the radio to "Stereo" or "Mono" position. When earphones are plugged in, they become an external antenna for FM, even when the side switch is in speaker mode. The included external FM wire antenna will also connect to this jack for even better reception in speaker mode.

    Edit: nice username. My license plate is JAXTRAW :righton:
     
    jonwoody and Jack_Straw like this.
  13. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Before buying another device it might be worth trying a couple of FM radio apps on your smartphone.
     
  14. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    KeninDC and Jack_Straw like this.
  15. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks! That’s the one I was locked in on, thanks to the other Sangean recommendations, but then I saw this one, and for a few bucks more I liked the rechargeable functionality plus the weather radio built in.

    sangean dt-800bk - Google Search

    I’ll report back when I get it. Thanks, all!
     
    KeninDC and McLover like this.
  16. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Too much delay. The realtime aspect of an OTA signal was the main factor.
     
    MGW likes this.
  17. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks! Yeah, I’m a little leery of having to choose between perfect reception (via antenna) and using earbuds. Would be nice to have great reception WITH the earbuds, but one of the reviews I saw for the DT-800 suggested that they may have improved the quality of the reception using earbuds. We’ll see. I may just have to try a few different headphones/earbuds and see what works best.

    Thanks! Nice license plate- Bet that looks nice on the MN plates!
     
  18. Radio

    Radio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
    Jack_Straw likes this.
  19. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    Yah, looks like earphones BECOME the antenna... "when earphones are plugged in, they become an external antenna for FM, even when the side switch is in speaker mode."
     
  20. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    I think a lot of these “Walkman” type tuners work this way. Not sure if this one is any better or worse in that regard compared to all the others, but in this case they provide a dedicated antenna that plugs into the headphone jack, so I guess it’s easy enough to do an A/B comparison between the reception with vs. without the antenna. Maybe the reception with the headphones is sub-par compared to the antenna, but it’s quite possible that it’s at least as good or better than most other tuners that use the headphone cable as an FM antenna.
     
  21. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Jack Staw not that I can deny a transistor radio is pretty cool and something people don't really think about in 2024 but can't you somehow do this with your phone? ;)
     
  22. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Good question, and yeah, it probably seems strange, but as I mentioned above I am primarily going to be using this at baseball games.

    I don’t think people realize how much delay is introduced when something is digitized and sent over the internet or bounced up to a satellite and back down.

    I did a little test yesterday during the Super Bowl. We were watching the 4K broadcast on my xfinity cable, and at some point during the game the sound started getting a little glitchy and then the video cut out briefly. My wife and my daughter were getting annoyed and said “can we just watch the NORMAL channel?”, so I switched over to the regular CBS channel, and noticed all kinds of digital artifacts and whatnot - a major downgrade from the 4K picture. So I switched over to my rabbit ears and noticed it was way ahead of the cable broadcast (and also a much better picture). I did a few experiments where I switched back and forth and counted the delay from the OTA signal to the cable one, and there was almost a 1 minute delay between the two. That wouldn’t work at a live baseball game - even a 5-10 second delay would be problematic. Imagine the crack of the bat, and then 10 seconds later “There’s a base hit!”. It would be so annoying that it would be pointless. .
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  23. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    My brother has a Sangean that likes.
     
  24. Angry_Panda

    Angry_Panda Pipe as shown, slippers not pictured

    Very true - as a Cubs fan, I prefer the radio call to the TV (Boog Sciambi isn't bad, but Pat Hughes is amazing), but trying to sync the local affiliate's radio signal to the Marquee streaming app requires something in the neighborhood of the same minute delay you noted. However, you should compare the FM reception on your phone to another FM radio - my phone uses an actual FM tuner for this, rather than any sort of streaming process, so it is synced to the tuner in my office stereo with no audible delay. It won't get you AM, but it's a start.

    As for an actual radio, I have a digitally tuned Radio Shack pocket radio that works pretty well - this one - but that price is absurd, and the Shack is long gone at this point, so I don't have a good recommendation there.
     
    MGW and jonwoody like this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine