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April 14, 2015

Comments

John

Rereading my review a day later, it strikes me as a bit harsher than I intended. So let me clarify some of the things I do like about this radio:

The radio feels very solid and build quality seems good. Plastic dials are a bit lighter than I'd like but they definitely don't feel like they're apt to fall off. The geared tuning dial offers a pleasant resistance -- not too tight or too loose -- and the backlighted dial is nice (though can't be adjusted, as far as I can tell).

I found the sound to be very pleasant and without the muddiness that I've found on some other Sangean radios (e.g. WR-12, U-3). But what's sounds pleasant to me may not to you, and the lack of any tone controls means you're stuck with it.

If you're more likely to listen to just a few strong stations and don't intend to explore the dial much, or if you'd use it primarily as an MP3 speaker, this radio could very well work out very well for you. It just didn't work well for my purposes.

Ken K. in NJ

Thanks for the review John. One more to scratch off my list.

That "channel-locking" tuning seems particularly boneheaded for an analog radio. Without a digital display, how do you know when you're on your station if you have to wait until it locks to reach full volume. Seems to me it would be very difficult to land on a particular station.

John

Ken: I might have been able to live with the mediocre reception on this radio, but the channel-lock tuning was the deal breaker for me. At first I thought I might have a defective unit, but after playing with it a while I'm pretty sure it's a "feature" of the radio. Perhaps this was an attempt to counter drift, a complaint that plagued the WR-12? If so, it's poorly implemented here.

Gary

It sounds like the WR-15 is a DSP-based, analog tuned radio, which I believe poster Drive-In-Freak speculated it might be. This is what causes the muting between stations and the "channel lock" tuning. It wouldn't work for me.

herculodge

What a shame. Looks like I'll stick to the WR-2.

Gary

John,

Thanks for your good review. Perhaps you'd consider posting it on Amazon to help other would-be purchasers.

John

Thanks, Gary. Good suggestion on the Amazon review (just hope Sangean doesn't send some goons to kneecap me though ;)). And thanks for clarifying what you think is going on with the channel-lock tuning. I've never had a good grasp of what's going on under the hood of radios and evaluate largely by ear, so please pardon a layman's description.

Wals

To bad. Waiting for something great from Sangean and it might be a while?

Anybody else notice that WR-1 in the Toyota/Camry TV spots?

Gary

John,

Read the section of this review entitled "Tuning and Soft-Mute." I think it will explain what's going on with the WR-15.

http://radio-timetraveller.blogspot.com/2013/04/review-of-kaito-ka321-dsp-receiver.html

Drive-In-Freak

Yep, sounds like a case of DSP muting syndrome to me.
Notice something a little....off..about the AM dial? It's linear. Hmmmm....
http://demandware.edgesuite.net/aasr_prd/on/demandware.static/Sites-radioshack-Site/Sites-master-catalog/default/v1429034429202/images/01200586_00.jpg (BTW these are currently on sale for $6 and well worth it IMHO)
Call me crazy, but I wouldn't bet against it being the same circuit that's in the latest Rat Shack transistor radio with a bigger speaker and a power supply slapped into the case.
Oh well. It's kinda cute, anyway.

Drive-In-Freak

Hey, wait a minute. That's not what I was trying to show in the picture above, but RS has it as that model. The one on Jay Allen's page has that dial on it too. I'm guessing the changed the circuit at some point as mine looks like this...
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/62/47/58/6247583d47226614b6223ec8c571e266.jpg
..i.e. linear. Very strange.

Angelo

Great review and comments. It looks nice. But a lot of radios look nice. Seems like this one falls short in some critical areas.

John

Thanks, all, for the explanations and links. Yes, this "soft muting" sounds exactly like what I experienced with the WR-15. And I too noticed the linearity of the dial but didn't attribute any substantive significance to it. I appreciate the education you're giving me.

Are these DSP radios the way of the future? In looking into this a bit today, I saw mention that the technology makes radios much cheaper to manufacture, so I suspect it might be. A shame....

Mark

Any chance for a picture or two of the guts?

Drive-In-Freak

I think the radio-on-a-chip "DSP" sets are definitely the way of the future, but the technology is still very much in it's infancy. Over time they will get better.
Cheaper to build? You bet. Take a look inside Rat Shack's latest...
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/44/49/7b/44497bdfaad379f095506d1ee176f31c.jpg
Yep, that's it. No coils (other than the AM loopstick antenna) no cans, no front end caps...not even a volume pot.
It's so simplified that...well..to e honest with you I have no idea how it works at all. Your basic superhet circuit isn't really all that complicated and the same basic circuit has been in use for almost 100 years now, but these new chip things are...let's just say that to me they may as well be from Mars.

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