I haven’t had a radio review in a while. Sedated on the Sangean Kool-Aid evidenced by a Sangean U3 worksite radio in my office/gym, a Sangean PR-D4 in the kitchen, a Sangean-made C.Crane CCRadio-2E in the bathroom, and the Sangean WR-2 as my “crown jewel” bedside table radio.
I haven’t had a Sangean WR-2 in a year because a year ago Southern Cal Edison fried all the electronics on our block doing unauthorized work. They had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to residents. I was paid about $400 for the loss of some of my electronics, including my Sangean WR-2.
For a year I used my CCRadio-2E as my bedside radio. A great performer on AM and FM, the 2E suffers from a telescopic antenna (hooks around my arm when I get up at night) and sticky on/off and preset buttons, a common complaint with a model that costs in excess of $160.
I decided to get my beloved black WR-2 back. This radio, which I first purchased in 2005, is one of those radios that marks my entry into being “radio-minded,” a guy who is very aware of the radio performance hierarchy.
The WR-2, with its wire antenna, is very sensitive on FM and very capable on AM. I like its heavy low-profile, which makes it difficult for me to knock off the bedside table. With fond memories of my WR-2, I recently bought another. To my surprise, the black WR-2 was different than my previous one, noticeable in two ways:
Different speaker calibration: Brighter, louder sound out of the box with “15” being very loud. In contrast, you had to crank the WR-2 1.0 up to “40” to get decent volume.
Different interface: The WR-2 1.0 had a separate clock setting button with separate hours and minutes buttons. This made setting the time relatively simple.
Below, you can see the WR-2 1.0 and 2.0 respectively:
Goodbye to simplicity with the WR-2 2.0. Now you have no separate clock buttons. You must press a menu and scroll through the following:
Clock Setting (set time with Tuning Wheel)
DST (daylight savings time)
Clock 12/24 Hours
VER P.01 (your radio’s software version)
You use the volume control to set hours and minutes.
You must follow 4 steps for Snooze.
You must follow 5 steps for setting alarm.
The Good News:
The complexity of the interface is not a deal-killer by any means. So far no bugs have been detected.
The sound is actually better than the 1.0 version—brighter, louder, crisper, less muddled.
The AM and FM performance seems identical.
I’m no Luddite who cringes in the face of radio DSP chips, software updates, Internet radio options, Bluetooth, etc. However, a part of me, the romantic with fond memories of those majestic vintage Panasonics and Sonys from the 1960s and 1970s, loves the simplicity of an analog radio.
Because I do not have my father’s engineering and math genius (I turned out to be a college English instructor), I don’t have the tech proclivities to maintain vintage radios (cleaning the pot, ridding static, etc.), and my vintage radio quest halted several years ago. But I wonder if I would have been happier getting a new analog radio from Sangean: The Sangean WR-15. Perhaps in the near future I will get one.