Best DAB+ digital radios

Starting with the capital centres, the nation's airwaves are in the process of switching to the invisible digital delights of DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting Plus) radio.

DAB+ offers more stations with better reception, much improved stereo audio quality and accompanying text information — plus it's all free. So, what's the catch? If you think you'd like to hear (and see) what all the fuss is about, you're going to have to buy a new radio. Yes, DAB+ radios are popping up all over the place, from handheld portables to bedside clock radios to full-size home stereo components. Here is a round up to give you a taste of what DAB+ has to offer.

Eight years in the planning, it has taken a while for Australia to follow in the likes of the UK's DAB broadcasting footsteps, but it was the first country in the world to introduce the new, more bandwidth-efficient standard: DAB+.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the digital radio phenomenon, check out our feature Digital radio: All you need to know.

Location plays a big part in actual DAB+ reception, and many of the radios here were tested on the lower Central Coast, north of Sydney — for more info check, which lists coverage and station availability nationwide.

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RobynH posted a comment   

I purchased an OXX digital/internet classic.....after weeks of ' white noise',it's now destined for the garbage as it now goes dead.A lot of money down the drain !


NickS3 posted a comment   

Adelaide DAB signal update......I live in the Hallett Cove area, and the reception is an absolute joke! and there appears to be no attempt to rectify the dismal signals.

I have a high end unit which is unable to pick up a signal and a Sangean clock radio which worked about 50% of the time.

It's about time to cut the bull and sort this transmission mess out, rather than the much reported " CD quality " mith of DAB and conning the public into buying non functional hardware.

In particular, there should be a published sensivity index for each radio so the public can select the best units with good "fringe reception" prior to purchase!.

The media needs to put pressure on the government to fix this mess and report the progress.


ADSLNerd posted a comment   

What was not mentioned in this review, is that DAB has DRM, and the time the transmission gets to you receiver for you to hear it is 10 seconds - that's right there is a 10 second delay between when the signal is transmitted and when you hear it. This delay is caused by compression / decompression plus DRM which adds overhead to the data / information. Simple test: Listen to AM on an anologue radio and digital radio - same frequency - you will notice the delay immediately.

Additionally, sound quality is pathetic because they are not using the highest quality bitrate because they are charged more for the different spectrum allocations. The higher the bitrate, the more spectrum is required. Also DAB due to it being digital does not go as far as analogue radio (shorter line of sight) which means more transmission towers are required to amplify the signal to spread it further. This then means reception is more random than analogue, and may even drop out completey due to interference issues even in Metro Brisbane (where I am).

The radios mostly only contain one speaker, which is a rip off for a DAB radio. 2 speakers for stereo sound should be standard. Then they dont take standard batteries, only customised battery packs which are not included in the price. Most of these radios feel really cheap / nasty and too light - very little quality. Basically they have put a DAB receiver in a plastic case - re-designed it and charged you about 300% more for an updated radio.

Firmware updates cannot be done over the transmission, as you must download the file yourself and update the radio via a USB cable (again not supplied). I personally believe DAB will fail, the radios are too expensive and have virtually no features, the signal is too dodgy due to spectrum / interference issues, and then there is probably more ads - and I hate ads completely. There are more negatives than positives.


SteveD1 posted a comment   

I regret buying Pure One Flow: can't buy power pack accessory (should be AA batteries), can't buy the USB connect cable (not included with product); can't easily connect to my network to listen to internet radio.
Over rated.


trainsem posted a comment   

I regret buying a Philips AJB 1002/79 clock radio in May 2011. The biggest problem is its fading display. At one time you could see the difference in the two levels of brightness. Now the three choices are: Unusably dim, off and off. In total darkness I can't tell the time.

It is too lightweight. It slides when you try to push a button. You can easily hit the wrong button when picking it up.

It does not turn off after an hour. It doesn't turn off (after an alarm) at all. It's really weird that there are so many mono models with tiny displays.

The only plus is that we are in a weak AM reception zone and DAB reception is superb.


Ian posted a comment   

I purchased a Roberts digital radio from Harvey Norman. Delight to find all the additional stations, also has FM. So we get the full coverage as all our Adelaide AM stations are on DAB. Love it very much. Easy to use. Only snag...big batteries and heavy to port around...but iPOD does the port thing.


DAB+ Fan posted a comment   

LG FB164DAB Micro System
We bought the above system about 9 months ago and it is excellent value for the price. Not only does it have digital radio it also play DVD's and CD's and you can play Windows media files through the USB connection. You can't beat the system for the price.


philbee posted a comment   

I have an OXX digital classic and I have display freezing problems as well. All buttons stop working and only power off/on will get it going again.

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