I worked for Proton for a year in the mid-80's. At that time their reputation was based on a Clock Radio (the 320) and a table radio (the 300). I knew those products intimately, went to the factory in Taiwan where they were made, and as head of Customer Service spoke to users every day about them. While I still own a Model 300, I haven't listened to a 320 clock radio in about a decade. So I thought it would be interesting to see how it stacks up to today's crop of clock radios.
The 320 was the Cadillac of clock radios in 1983. It cost about $100, which was outrageous considering others, like Sony's, could be had for only $25. It looked different. It was all black (Proton having virtually started the "all-black" look in electronic components). It was sleek, its cosmetics having been designed by a fancy design firm. It was packed with features: Dual alarms, Ramp-up alarm/radio volume, an automatic display dimmer, separate Bass and Treble controls, and hefty 3 watt amplifier to drive a huge (for the time) 4" speaker.
When I received my ebay purchase, where it still sells for a respectable 50-70 bucks 25 years later, the first thing I noticed was its WEIGHT--this is one hefty radio. No wallwart; the substantial power supply transformer is built-in. I still like the turquoise color of the florescent digital display. It uses analog tuning and has no presets (the Nakamichi radio was first, which I had something to do with, but that's another story). It uses that ubiquitous dangling wire for FM. It is susceptible to computer interference, but a strong station will cover it completely.
But the sound? The second I turned it on, I felt air puffing out the seams around the tuning dial from the bass notes! The bass is strong, like I remembered, but it's not as powerful or clear as today's best--you get about about 60% of what we hear from the BA radios. The bass distorts at mid-high volumes, but it plays loud enough. The bass control MUST be turned down on rap stations (not that I listen to them.)
Otherwise the sound is a bit plastic-y; the 320 is not a bass-reflex design, like the BA. There are really no sparkling highs to speak of. It's a bit on the warm-muddy side on voices. It is not the ultimate in clarity, but it is impressive on a quick listen. You will probably opt to turn down the bass for long-term listening.
Reception-wise, it is excellent on FM with just the short dangling-wire antenna. All stations of interest are there (88.1, etc). It was still very good on AM--I could get Airline Info from LAX on 530 AM, which doesn't come in on my BA Duo right next to the 320. Distant stations have some hiss, which can be tamed a little with the Treble control. Sensitivity like this also lets it pick up stray hum on AM from other nearby devices, unfortunately. Don't sit it near other radios, clocks, etc.
So if you can get one of these that is still working well (they had really high failure rates, about 30%! ) for around $50, go for it. It is in the "classic" category and is still a beautiful design. It really was the "first high-end clock radio."