When choosing a radio receiver, it is recommended to be guided by the planned scenarios for using the device.
How to choose a radio receiver: what to look for
The main criteria for choosing a radio receiver:
Type: portable or stationary;
Power supply (battery, batteries, mains supply);
Antenna placement method: external or built-in;
Supported frequency range (FM, AM, LW, MW, VHF);
Adjustment method (digital, analog);
The device manufacturer is also important.
The main criteria for choosing a radio receiver
By type of placement, radios are divided into portable and stationary. The first ones are intended for use on the road, in the country or at home – if the user does not care about the quality of playback. Such devices are usually inexpensive (from 300-400 rubles), compact size and shock-resistant design. The disadvantage of the portable version is the poor sound quality due to both the “not the best” radio reception and the installed budget acoustics.
For lovers of high-quality, rich and realistic sound, stationary radio receivers are intended – massive, large-sized devices with a good antenna and sophisticated acoustics.
The main disadvantage of stationary radios is their relatively high price. They cost from 2-3 thousand rubles.
According to the method of power supply, radio receivers differ into two types – operating on batteries, on a built-in accumulator or from the network.
Battery powered devices are usually in the lower price range. Since the power consumption of such radios should be minimal, the developers reduce the current consumption by installing low-power antennas, speakers and other 'stuffing'. As a result, the sound quality becomes acceptable only in the immediate vicinity of the broadcasting station. Therefore, battery-powered radios are not recommended for purchase.
Radios operating on a built-in rechargeable battery can be waterproof or complemented with high-quality acoustics. Therefore, if a portable device is required, it is worth paying attention to just such a technique.
The third power option is mains operation. These radios can be equipped with the most powerful acoustic equipment and active antennas, which provide the best sound quality. However, they are not portable.
Antenna placement method
The antenna of the radio receiver can be placed both inside the housing and outside. The devices of the second type are recommended for purchase. Placing the antenna inside the case leads to a decrease in its sensitivity, so it will be possible to listen to only radio stations with dense and stable broadcasting without interference.
The telescopic external antenna keeps the connection more stable. In addition, you can 'tie' copper wire to it – and then the signal will become clearer. This is important if you plan to listen to the radio outside the city – for example, in the country.
Active-type antennas, providing the most dense and clean signal, are rare, and radios equipped with them are expensive – from 10-12 thousand rubles. They should be purchased if you want to listen to stations broadcasting outside the usual range for the area – for example, foreign ones.
Supported frequency range
The number of stations that you can listen to on your radio depends on the supported frequency range. There are five ranges:
FM. Typical frequency range for Russia and the former USSR. Almost all stations available 'here' broadcast on the FM band;
AM. 20-30 years ago it was widespread, today it is almost never used. A few regional radio stations broadcast in this range;
LW, MW. Rare ranges. It is not used in Russia, so foreign radio stations broadcast there. A receiver that supports it should be purchased to listen to just such channels;
VHF. A band with the maximum coverage area, but at the same time a limited number of stations broadcasting in it.
Therefore FM receivers are recommended for purchase. But if you plan to listen to radio in a place that is very far (more than 20 km) from the nearest tower, you should pay attention to models that support the VHF range.
There are two types of radio adjustment – analog and digital. The first involves setting the active frequency by electromechanical manipulation. The main advantage of the method lies in the fact that you can choose a range on which this or that station is better 'caught'. The disadvantage is that the choice of receivers with analog control is limited.
Digital adjustment has many benefits. First, the automatic station search mode will help you not to memorize the frequency ranges of each of them. Secondly, the memory on the station allows you to quickly switch between them.
Unfortunately, with digital adjustment it can be difficult to tune the stations in detail, especially if the frequency it uses is clogged with junk signal – but the sound in adjacent bands is clear.
Thus, for urban use, receivers with digital control are suitable, and for suburban use it is better to purchase analog devices.
The most important acoustic characteristic of a radio speaker is power. The higher it is, the louder the device plays. But the battery life is also decreasing. However, many manufacturers deliberately overestimate the power of the speaker, and it is impossible to fit '45-watt' speakers into a relatively compact cabinet.
The acoustic environment created by the radio depends on the number of speakers. Of course, the way the radio works itself involves broadcasting in mono, but devices with two speakers create a more pleasant acoustic environment than with one. But the radio receivers do not need the 2.1 configuration – unless, of course, they are equipped with digital sound converters (MP3 support, etc.).
Additional features that can improve the user experience of a radio receiver include:
Playing music from external storage – flash drives, memory cards, etc. A useful feature if the radio is bored and you want to listen to digital audio from your library. The receiver must of course have the appropriate connectors and slots;
Record radio stations. The purpose is self-evident. The best option for this feature is Timed Recording so you don't miss a show, podcast or interesting interview. The receiver can record the station both to the built-in storage (and then its volume is important), and to the external one;
Waterproof. An essential function for tourist radios;
Alarm clock. The radio turns on at the specified time;
Bluetooth. Designed for communication with mobile devices. In this case, the radio acts as an external speaker or hands-free headset.
The best manufacturers of radios are:
Sony, Philips, Panasonic – produce high-quality radios of various types;
Tecsun is perhaps the best manufacturer of portable radios with a wide range of supported frequencies.
Also worth mentioning is Sangean, which makes high-end, high-end fixed radios.
In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose a turntable and the secrets to choosing a portable speaker.
Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.