New Respect For Retro Reception

This year I got lucky. It hasn’t happened since my parents bought me one of those flip-top multi-band portables in the early 1970’s, but this year I actually got a great radio for Christmas. I was the merry recipient of a little black Grundig G5. I already knew this was a sweet receiver before I turned it on. Not just because I’ve read plenty of swell reviews, but also because I basically already have one. But now that I’ve gotten my hands the G5 itself, I can see that’s not really true. While this Grundig basically has the same electronic guts (and reception potential) as the Degen 1103 I purchased almost two years ago, the G5 is really a different animal. And in short order, it’s already become my radio of choice. I like it. And just to share the wealth, here’s a tasty bit of reception recorded just a few hours after I unwrapped this little beast.

Radio Bulgaria 9700kHz 12-26-07  0131 UTC  23:05

(download)

By my measure, the glorious minor-key wonders of these songs is reason enough to own a shortwave radio– just to be able to capture a bit of exotic music from an exotic faraway overseas transmitter. Okay, maybe the transmitter isn’t exotic, but you catch my drift. And while there is just a little fading here and there, there is no drift in this reception, as these 31 meter radio waves bounce over 4500 miles and across the Atlantic to my new portable. I believe the announcer is speaking French, but it hardly matters. This music is haunting and rich and seeped in electrical atmospherics of the planet. It’s Earth flavored.  

The exuberant manufacturing boom in China has also provided a real revolution in shortwave radio product development. The 1103 radios (and the improved G5/E5 versions) are just a couple chapters in the canon of new and compelling Chinese world band radios coming to market. The Degen (or Kaito) 1103 is best known in radio circles for blowing minds and frustrating others with its awkward interface, although almost everyone acknowledges that the receiver is a good value. Generally available for eighty to a hundred bucks, the 1103’s are damn sensitive and selective (with dual conversion to cut back on wayward images). And it scans the dial almost as gracefully as an analog set, moving through the frequencies in 1kHz steps with NO muting and very little chuffing. And perhaps the near analog scanning capability of this radio may have led to one of the oddities of its design. Most of the LCD screen is of the 1103 is filled with a pseudo-analog multi-band display, much like you see on less expensive non-digital receivers. It’s the same trick Sony tried in the 1980’s with the ICF-7600 & 7700. While it’s kind of entertaining and somewhat informative, the fake display is not very accurate (the motion of the LCD "needle" is jumpy and very un-analog), and there’s not much room for much information other than  the frequency. And all the text is quite small to make room for the imitation analog entertainment.

But the biggest complaint has been contrary ergonomics of operating  the radio itself. The worst of it is the lack of a dedicated volume control. Before you can adjust the audio level you have to push a button, which briefly turns the tuning knob into the volume control. Likewise, when listening you have to press a "time" button to briefly change the frequency display into a digital clock. Add to that the abnormal straight line format of the frequency input number buttons, and the fact that you can’t see the frequency and the time at the same time, and it all adds up to a quirky little radio. Yet I was quite pleased with mine and got used to the eccentricities.

But I gotta tell ya, after playing with the G5 for an hour or so I was clearly impressed. Side by side with the 1103 the reception seemed on SW and AM seemed about exactly the same, but there was even less chuffing when zipping through the frequencies. And when I was really looking for something to listen to, everything happened more quickly. It made me realize that with the 1103 I really did have to pause to think when I would punch up a frequency or change the volume. It’s just a smoother operation. But when I had to choose between these two radios, the E5/G5 was almost twice the price of the 1103. And it is NOT twice as nice. But it is better and a little bit more fun. However, the E5/G5 can now be found for a little over a hundred bucks. And it’s well worth that.

Now if you’re keeping score, you may have noticed that so far I’ve been talking about two different radios (that are very similar) and they both have slightly different brand names. Well, there’s now three companies main companies that are manufacturing this new wave of portable shortwave receivers (Tecsun, Degen and Redsun) but through the idiosyncrasies of trade and profit they end up with another brand name before they wind up on American store shelves. They become Kaito radios, or Eton or Grundig or something else. While the original Chinese branded radios aren’t generally sold on the web either, there’s a loophole of sorts that’s allowed a handful of dealers in China to sell them on ebay. And from what I can tell, they must be selling thousands. They all follow the same basic formula. All their auctions are "buy it now" (fixed price, no bidding), and including the somewhat expensive shipping from China still about twenty to thirty percent cheaper. And from what I’ve seen, all these Chinese sellers have excellent ratings on ebay. I assume there’s some risk, and I accept that as part of the bargain I guess. But I’ve never had any trouble.

However the biggest distributor or these Chinese radios in the states, the Eton Corporation, has been troubled by all these alien radios crossing the border to compete with their re-branded versions. So behind the scenes they seem to have worked out some "arrangements" with their Chinese affiliates. A couple of years ago some key Chinese radios that were popular on ebay suddenly were labeled with Chinese text, not in English as they had been. And some new models (or re-models), like the E5/G5, seem to have gone straight to market in North America and Europe with no versions branded by the actual manufacturer even going on sale in China. Another reason people might have been getting the Tecsun version of these radios is that in China they’ve been selling them in bright colors– red, yellow, blue, etc. Now Eton is getting splashy with the colored plastic too. Some of their new crank up survival radios (made by Tecsun) now come in all sorts of fancy shades.

And you know, bravo to Eton for their marketing schemes, for the most part. But sometimes it gets a little silly. Like calling the Grundig S350 (or the Tecsun BCL-2000) a "retro field radio" and carrying on about its "rugged body and military-style controls.” It’s freakin’ plastic for chrissake. And military style? It all sounds like a brainstorming session gone wrong. I noticed a picture of a G5 box which also described it as a "field radio." What does that mean? It makes me think of a war utensil, a camouflaged walkie-talkie or something. While this is silly, my biggest complaint is that Eton has gone so far as to actually rebrand their own rebranded radios. Why? For example my christmas present, that Grundig G5 was originally called an Eton E5. It’s just a different color than the E5, with a different logo. And both of them remain on the market. They did the same thing with the S350DL. It was originally a Grundig radio. Now it’s either a Grundig or an Eton S350DL. Using separate brand names for regional distribution is one thing, but it seems to me that the only good reason to multi-brand an item within a given market should be to differentiate an alternate feature set in some way, not a slight change in the way it looks.

But the good news is this– thanks to these Chinese radio companies and their distributor cohorts, old crackly shortwave gadgets are still alive in this era of small and fantastic gadgetry. While serious DXers and big radio enthusiasts always have new toys and new technology (showing up in seductive trade publication ads), because they consistently are willing to pay for it.  But for shortwave dabblers and casual listeners like me (and perhaps you), the array of more affordable radios had grown quite stale through the 1990’s. In that time a number of companies had gotten out of the shortwave business, and others (like Sony) were discontinuing models left and right, and weren’t coming out with anything really new. Much like the boring car designs of the 1990’s, the layout and functionality of the shortwave radios on the market was pretty universal and grey and boring. Unfortunately, I started to get an itch to start fooling around with shortwave listening again during those dark days.

I decided I needed to go out and buy a radio of some substance. Over, the years usually had a boombox around the house with shortwave reception, or a cheap Radio Shack (Sangean rebrand) portable in a drawer somewhere. But I’ve always looked longingly at the more expensive portables on the high shelf with their tempting green screens and scientifically accurate digital readouts, and wondered what it would be like to harness such power. So, this time I decided I was going to blow some real dough (relatively speaking) and get serious and invest in a digital shortwave receiver. In retrospect, I didn’t have all that much money to play with. But after some research my choice seemed to be between the Sony ICF-SW7600GR and the Sangean ATS-505. Fiscal realities led me to the 505. The cheapest of the two.

I should have saved up for the Sony.

I remember my first meaningful evening with the Sangean at a Maine campground picnic table. I was NOT impressed. And I thought digital receivers were supposed to be better. Not necessarily so. You can’t zip through a dial. It chuffs at each stop but you have to turn the dial excruciatingly slow to actually hear something (besides silence) at each frequency. In order to adjust the tuning steps from 5kHz to 1kHz you have to press this annoying button on the tuning knob, which in mine is almost impossible to engage (…sore fingertip, etc.). And then it doesn’t lock and falls back into the 5kHz step mode consistently. It just wasn’t an organic way to explore bands or tune a radio. And so, my initial experience with digital SW tuning was less than inspirational. In fact, I bought a few shortwave radios (new and old) after the ATS-505 and they all had analog tuning. And although it wasn’t as easy to know the exact frequency you are at, they were more fun to actually use than the 505.

A couple years later, the shortwave portable scene began to get back some of the cool factor that had always been its birthright  There’s something about a small and discrete global radio that appeals to the "boy secret agent" in a lotta guys. I suspect there were contributing factors– like the passing renewed interest in world radio after the 9-11 events, combined with our ongoing lover affair with small complex gadgets. In 2002 and 2003 a number of innovative and powerful SW radios went on sale. Radios like the Degen/Kaito 1102 & 1103, and the Tecsun BCL-2000/Grundig S350 were all groundbreaking for their price, and these and other SW radios that China starting to make were user-friendly for bandscanning– combining the best elements of analog and digital tuning. And all of these sets could be found for a hundred dollars or less. Casual shortwave listener/consumers like me could get a little giddy. And since that time, more interesting SW radios in that price range have gone on sale. And the prices are dropping.  

And what was kind of amazing to me, is that for next to nothing ($25 or so) you can actually get a real global radio made in China, that is just about the same size as an old transistor radio. And they’re not just feeble cheap toys. For example, I bought something called a Tecsun R-912, from China on ebay. It’s a multi-band analog cheapy that exists with a quite a number of model names that have slight design and color variations. In the U.S., the same little bad boy is called a WRX911. While this is a no-frills radio with a tiny speaker and a cheap thumb-wheel tuner, you get all the major shortwave broadcasters on it and it’s not a bad DX machine on AM as well. I’ve walked around the neighborhood with mine listening to stations as far away as Africa and Asia in my headphones. If I could send one thing back in time to me when I was a kid, it would be this little cheap and global radio wonder.

Then again, If you’re looking for the cream of the current crop of new SW radios, you probably want to investigate the modern mega-portable– the Eton E1 (which curiously has no handle) Unlike the others, the E1 is actually put together in India.  The original price–  $499. But recently this price has been is falling too (rather drastically at one particular outlet), and now there’s rumors that it may (or may not) be discontinued. And once the price started to fall, I started to fantasize about picking up an E1 one day. And then I saw the new monster portable that’s about to hit the market– The Grundig Satellit 750 (or Tecsun S-2000). Oooh. The mind reels. The initial price? Only $300, or so…

Okay, that’s still too pricey for me right now. And I am still amazed by the growing list of affordable portables that are ready to receive signals from around the world for $100 or less and a set of batteries. Besides the Degen 1102, 1103, 1104 and 1102 radios, there’s the E5 &/G5 (and the coming E4 and E6 and the BCL receivers, there ‘s the rather new Redsun RP2100 (or the Kaito version), and there’s this Kchibo KK-S500 that supposed to be interesting too. And there’s more, and more coming. And as far as the old stalwarts shortwave brands like Sony and Sangean? They’re still selling the same yawner models that have been around for over a decade now.

There was a brief media storm on the internet in 2006 about a supposed radio in development– the Degen 1108. It was supposed to be a hot new SW-AM-FM portable with stereo speakers and onboard MP3 recording and playback. Lots of buzz about this radio– message boards, discussion groups and massive hype. Yet, it was all a boondoggle. It was like some big marketing experiment to extract the wish list fantasies of online radio geeks. However, something slightly like the alleged Degen 1108 came to pass, the Degen/Kaito 1121. It’s a digital shortwave radio with a built-in (and detachable) 256MB mp3 player/recorder unit that can be set up to record a number of shows with a timer.  And with my penchant for recording radio, I’ve certainly been intrigued by the 1121. But 256 megabytes of storage is needlessly stingy for onboard storage these days, and from what I’ve read online, the interface is rather convoluted. Then again, the price has dropped to around $130, so my lingering temptation continued… until I saw something very intriguing on Eton’s website.

The new Grundig G4 World Recorder, which was introduced to the world at the recent 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is scheduled to go on sale in March, 2008.  From the promo photos the G4 seems to be a tweaked version of the Degen/Kaito 1102, a receiver I have yet to play with, but one that gets a lot of affection and praise in online reviews. And the minor miracle is that they’ve built-in a 2GB MP3 recorder/player into the G4. Nothing like this has ever been done before. With that much storage you’ll be able to record a lot radio on this thing, and I’m sure it will have timer (VCR-like) recording and all that jazz. I also has a flash card slot for additional storage and USB connection to bleed the recordings onto your computer. I have to tell you, this is one of those products that I’ve wished would be invented (and produced) for years (like car cassette decks that can record from the radio and boomboxes with built-in hard drives that digitally record too).

I’ve been looking for years just to find a portable MP3 player that actually includes an AM radio, let alone one that records. While there has been one (and only one) around for a while that does record (the Pogo "Radio Your Way"), the reviews have been consistently mediocre and there’s very little storage on board. Other than that, I’m not sure if there’s been one MP3 player with an AM radio inside (try to find one…). Just FM. And although the AM band isn’t so big with the swingin’ iPod set, the real reason there are no MP3/AM radio combo toys around is because it’s kind of a hassle to make one work well. Like any little computer, the MP3 players emit a lot of RF noise in the same frequencies where you find AM & SW signals Turn on your AM radio and your MP3 player, and see how the AM reception degrades when you wave the digital anywhere near it. It’s a matter of shielding.

All that said, I have yet to read a review of the Grundig G4 online yet. Just hype. But if the G4 does all they say it will, and does it well, I’m betting this gadget might make a big splash, at least for a shortwave radio. And maybe it will start a trend of including onboard MP3 recording on more portable receivers. I hope so. Meanwhile, I think I’m starting to get a crush on this G4. The idea of being able to record a bandscan without a cassette rig attached, and having TiVo-like capability with a multi-band radio is kind of exciting. It’s almost enough to make me imagine that amplitude modulation shortwave radio itself might have one last era of glory before its probable path to oblivion. 

Note: The Grundig G4 has already been discontinued. You can read about that and find more information about radio/recorders in the follow-up to this post here.

Tagged with:

19 Responses to “New Respect For Retro Reception”

  1. Stewart Says:

    Just for the record, my wife (who is extremely well-versed in Bulgarian music) points out that although this is a broadcast from Radio Bulgaria, the DJ is actually playing music from the Middle East. It’s very good, but it ain’t Bulgarian!

  2. prof Says:

    Thanks Stewart. I originally th ought it was Turkish or Arabic music, but I’ve also heard some Balkan folk music with those influences as well.

  3. Doug Says:

    Fantastic post, particularly for the excellent summary of receiver news. Just when I think I have all the shortwave power I need, you had to go and whet my appetite with the Kaito WRX911 and Grundig G4 (kind of salivating over that one). Damn you, Professor! *shakes fist*

  4. Travers Says:

    Congrats on the new toy! I’ve been contemplating another shortwave portable and the Kaito 1103 might be it. Seems like a really good deal for $80. Even though you’re not a fan of Sangean I’ve had good luck with their products. I still regularly use my ATS-909 I got in 1997. It’s sad their shortwave radio line hasn’t changed since they dropped shortwave for “HD” Radio. The future will determine if that’s smart or not!

    Shortwave as CES !? I thought CES was all computers and car entertainment systems :P Like you I’ll be paying attention to see how the G4 hype pans out.

  5. Mario Says:

    Respect for the great post. You can use for direct line-in mp3 encoding with Creative Zen V Plus, but after reading the user comments you better not. If you want the best SD Card Wave/mp3 recorder, try the pricey Edirol  R-09. Speaking about SW Receivers it seems I’m the first one who didn’t like Kaito/Redsun KA2100. I bought it new and it works exactly as described in Lawrence Magne`s Passport to World Band Radio (2007 Edition), including the minuses. Keep up the good work.

  6. prof Says:

    To respond… Travers, you should really like the KA1103. And as far as the Sangean ATS-909, it is certainly a good receiver (Harry Shearer says so). But at a price of $250 to $300, it oughtta be. While I haven’t played with one, from what I’ve read it has its down sides. It’s supposed to be big battery user and doesn’t really shine until you connect an external antenna. And reviewers often comment about the less than desirable audio. Some say the KA1103, which is much smaller, has better sound.

    And Mario, as far as attaching MP3 recorders, I do believe that plugging any of these into the receiver to record would introduce WAY too much RF noise into the reception to make it viable. I’ve tried using a couple of digital recorders to capture AM and SW and it’s not viable. That’s why I use cassette decks. In fact, I never record any bandscans using AC power for the recorder or the radio for the same reason. More noise.

  7. weatherall Says:

    > Radio Bulgaria

    Ooh, I must return when I have more time, and have a listen. Thanks for sharing your captures.

    > G5

    Well done! I’m glad you like it.

    > they’ve built-in a 2GB MP3 recorder/player into the G4. Nothing like this has ever been done before.

    You know about the Kaito 1121, right? It has a removable 256MB mp3 player. But the 2gb inside this thing they’re calling the Grundig G4 sounds intriguing indeed.

  8. MrPeter Says:

    Hi:

    >prof Says:

    >And Mario, as far as attaching MP3 recorders, I do >believe that plugging any of these into the receiver to >record would introduce WAY too much RF noise into the >reception to make it viable. I’ve tried using a couple of >digital recorders to capture AM and SW and it’s not viable.

    I just wanted to comment that I’ve been using my Iriver
    T-30 to record shortwave/am broadcasts from my KA1102
    and SW-7600G for a while now with excellent results. What I noticed is that if I place the T-30 right next to the
    radio for am broadcasts that it would introduce a significant hiss into the reception. However separating the
    two by about a foot or so fixed that. My guess is
    that some of these gizmos are probably worse than others
    in the rfi department so don’t give up just yet. Also, thank you for the excllent article.

  9. Scott Fybush Says:

    You’ve made my day, Prof! I’m getting so tired of lugging cassettes (which are getting hard to find) and balky, bulky cassette machines around with me when I travel and aircheck, and the G4 looks like it’s precisely the radio I’ve been dreaming of for the last few years. Wonder why it took so long?

  10. Steve from Idaho Says:

    you didn’t mention the Eton e10, which I’ve been very impressed with. I still like the older 70’s, 80’s portables, now probably considered to be desktops, made by GE and Elgin. I’ve had an Elgin R1750 for 35 years and it still beats the pants off any of the newer portables receptionwise, including the e10. Same with the GE shortwave I have…..great sound too. The newer ones are a little tinny sounding through the main speaker, and are great with earbuds. I still prefer the older earphones though, so I can hear other stuff going on around me, while I’m listening. Good review. I wish more people could appreciate all the neat stuff out there on shortwave. It’s really the only way to get the real news worldwide.

  11. Dale Says:

    Neat! I have the RS version of Harry Shearers’ Sangean, and a lot of times I can’t even get BCQ. As you say, some wire clipped onto the antenna helps alot. I got that unit when RS was trying to dump them for $150 and I had a $75 gift card for getting cell phone service there, so I spent all of 75 bucks for it! It’s a good size to throw in an overnight bag.

    I have a couple of Grundigs: the Satellit 700 and an 800 as well, and wonder how these newer, cheaper Grundys would compare as far as reception is concerned. The nice thing about the 700 is that it has stereo RCA jacks out on the side of the unit, so you can get a quality recording out of it (FM reception is terrific with that radio).

    But I also have as much fun with a Panasonic and a Worldstar from the 70’s. There’s a time and place for every radio, don’t you think?

  12. Travers Says:

    Follow up;

    Here’s the post on my new DE1103.  NICE inexpensive radio!  Perfect compliment for my DX398 :D

  13. DavidB Says:

    Regarding the Grundig G4, the various sources and specs I’ve seen (including the owner’s manual on Eton’s website), the internal flash memory is 1GB and the SD card slot accomodates up to a 2GB card (the older non-HC card limit).

    As a side note, have you noticed how small the G4 is? 3.5″ x 5.5″ and barely over an inch thick? Must be a very small speaker! I plan on using it to play podcasts on my lunch breaks (why won’t someone make a decent portable radio, with a nice size speaker, that plays MP3s???).

  14. Charles Says:

    I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has used and recorded with the G4. Although the unit at first appears to be the first real competition for Pogo Product’s Radio YourWay Lx AM/FM recorder, it appears to fall far short for two reasons.

    1. None of the Eton/Grundig documentation specifies the recording bitrate of the radio (e.g. 64 Kbps, 96 Kbps, etc). The Radio YourWay has a selectable recording bitrate that ranges from 32 Kbps to 256 Kbps. Grundigs recording bitrate rate is unspecified and not selectable. Since it apparently based on the Degen radio, I’m afraid that the non-selectable rate of the G4 is only a mere 32 Kbps. This would be a big mistake on Grundig’s part since this is woefully inadequate. I record AM radio on my Radio YourWay Lx at 96 Kbps and this is actually quite an improvement over 64 Kbps. Recording FM radio at 32 Kbps would be…ugh, you just wouldn’t do it. I have sent Eton/Grundig an inquiry about the mysterious recording rate and have not received a response.

    2. The lack of multiple timer programs on the G4 is also disappointing. I find it curious that some would sharply criticize the Radio YourWay Lx as it’s recording features are where it really shines. You can set up to 10 timer programs to record – and you can have a mix of one-time events or events that recur on a daily or weekly basis. Each event can specify a radio band/frequency, recording bitrate, start time, stop time (the G4 can only record a maximum of 99 minutes according to the manual). Each timer event can also specify to record from the radio, line input or microphone. And if that’s not enough, each timer event can specify to record a one-time recording, a weekly recording (e.g. every Monday at 10AM), record Monday-Friday, Monday-Saturday or every day. How’s that for flexibility?

    And if you’re wondering, I have no affiliation with Pogo Products (the maker of the Radio YourWay Lx). In fact, you can’t even buy the LX anymore. I actually own two of them and my manager also owns two of them. I have used them on a daily basis for two years – and this is where I believe their fatal flaw shows up.

    The keypad can’t hold up to daily use. All four of our units are experiencing weird intermittencies. At first it starts off having to press a button extra hard in order for it to be recognized. Then you might push one button and the unit reacts as if you pressed another. They are still usable, but it’s frustrating. the LX has an amazingly well-designed 10X/100X fast forward capabilitiy that allows you to zip though commercials with ease.
    Unfortunately, but understandably (this is my most-used button) this is one of the first buttons to start acting up. Pogo is offering to replace the units with refurbished ones for $50 each. This is very fair on their part, but I’m sure the same problem will eventually rear it’s ugly head on the refurbished units.

    After discontinuing the LX, Pogo recently introduced a “Radio YourWay Mini” with 1GB internal flash which recorded in AAC format instead of MP3. It didn’t matter much since the unit could only record to it’s internal flash memory and there was no USB port, thus no way to offload the recordings. The Mini was mysteriously discontinued after only a month or two. Pogo is now saying on a May 19, 2008 post on their Yahoo Groups forum that:

    “Please note that Pogo Electronics is currently working on a new Radio Yourway Mini model, with mp3 recording and USB compatibility, features that were not in the original Mini. It is scheduled to be released in a couple of months.”

    I optimistically await the release of this new Radio Yourway Mini. I also (not-so-optimistically await the release of a G4-like radio with a feature-set that Pogo products has so intelligently designed. And I hope any/all of these can stand up to the rigors of daily use.

    If anyone has any hands-on information on the recording bitrates of the G4 (or any other radios that record), please post it.

  15. Charles Says:

    I just received a response from Grundig to my question about the G4 recording bitrate. I hope it’s just a matter of the wrong person getting the email. Their answer to my question does not put a favorable light on the company.

    > I can’t find from any of Grundig’s documentation at what bitrate(s)
    > this radio will record (e.g. 64kbps, 128 kbps, etc).
    >
    > Do you have this information?
    >

    Sorry we do not have it either.

  16. prof Says:

    Hey Charles, thanks for all the information. Perhaps I was just imagining (or hoping) that I heard that you could record in a variety of bitrates with the G4. However, l looked over the manual and you’re right. All it says you have to pick where to record on the inboard memory or the card and then "press the red colored REC button." And while I agree that recording at 32K mono is less than ideal, if it’s done right it would adequate for shortwave or AM. Adequate. And you’re right about FM however, 32K would be just awful.

    From what I’ve seen, the first factory run of this radio still isn’t in anybody’s hands yet. Yet to see an actual review of it anywhere online. Although it is for sale at a few places. And the good news is that at least one dealer is offering it for $135 (original price was supposed to be $200), but I bet it’s on back order.

    Charles, I think the reason they don’t know the recording bitrate is probably because there’s still waiting to hear from the factory in China. I have a funny feeling that they’re still trying to get the bugs out of the thing.

    As I see folks with interest in the new Grundig G4 coming by this post for a visit now and then, if somebody out there finally gets a chance to play with the G4 it would be awful nice if you’d post a little review here as a comment. We’re all curious. Same goes for that Grundig Satellit 750.

  17. Charles Says:

    prof Says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 6:10 am
    > And while I agree that recording at 32K mono is less than ideal,
    > if it’s done right it would adequate for shortwave or AM.

    “done right” may be the key words here. My experience is mostly from the 1st and 2nd generation Radio YourWay recorders. Considering the approximate 5KHz bandwidth of a demodulated AM station, recording at 32K is roughly 6 times the bandwidth of the source. Although that may be theoretically adequate, even my “high mileage” eardrums say otherwise.
    Maybe there are other factors with the Radio YourWay – possibly the A/D sampling rate is inadequate at their 32K bitrate, but I doubt it.

    I just don’t think with all the fantastic technology (that we more and more seem to take for granted these days) that goes into something as “simple” as a shortwave receiver, failing to provide the user the ability to make the choice between recording quality vs recording time would be unexcusable.

    Hopefully I’m jumping the gun here and the unit will actually surprise us! Maybe they use an “intelligent VBR” design that can actually read our mind as to our desired recording quality !

  18. Charles Says:

    We finally appear to have a follow-on to the Radio-Your-Way LX

    http://www.ccrane.com/radios/am-fm-radios/cc-witness.aspx

    Although there is no advertised affiliation with the orignial LX’s vendor, Pogo Products, the similarities between C. Crane’s “Witness” and Pogo’s LX are enough that I have to believe they are from the same company. The Witness (strange name, isn’t it?) is also apparently being sold under the name “Talkmaster” in Japan.

    I very much look forward to putting one of these through it’s paces as the LX was an excellent device for time-shifting AM radio (save for it’s keypad reliability issues).

    Although it lacks shortwave bands, it would be impossible to add a decent performing tuner in such a small form factor. For those wanting to use the Witness to record SW, these units have a line input and can be set for timer recording on the line input. One could then connect an external radio and either leave that radio turned on or use a radio that has a timer/alarm function that turns the radio on a programmed time.

    The RYW LX had an excellent 10X/100X selectable FF/Rew function. It is so far unknown what exactly the FF/Rew features are of this new Witness, however it apparently at least has the following skip functions:

    Fast forward/rewind (Search at 3 seconds/7 seconds/1 minute/2.5 minutes)

    Very promising

    Side Note: The first user reviews I’ve seen (Amazon) on the Grundig G4, are not promising to say the least.

  19. renee merideth Says:

    i have a dejur-grudig sterocette made in prob 1960's it has a small plastic pen looking object with it. it's in a carycase very well built in good shape but we can't figure out how to open it to the tape recorder and prob the mic and cord are inside.  it has an aluminum roll dowm top the plastic push buttons almost feel like ivory (i'm sure their resin) but really a heavy little rcorder. about the size of a rewind machine (vcr) prob weighs 5 lbs. do you know about it i'm gonna put it in my sale space and need to know how to open it and what it may be worth. thanks

Leave a Reply