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March 31, 2011

Comments

Carlos Edwards

Thanks for the remarks, Doug. This is a tempting radio, especially if the audio is more robust than the other Tecsun portable radios.

I would be very interested in a comparison on SW between the PL-660 and the new Sangean ATS-909x. My guess is that the difference between the two would be negligible (in terms of sheer performance). The Sangean's audio would presumably be superior.

Doug

Carlos——I had a PL-600 that I sold because I was never even satisfied with it, let alone thrilled. Mediocre FM and SW reception, though FM was fine. From aesthetics to ergonomics and performance on all bands, the 660 is significantly superior and the audio (though not up to my SR II or Panny 2200 due to its much smaller speaker size) is most pleasant. I cranked up our local classical and jazz stations with no distortion. A little thin on bass, I suppose, but I am not a big bass fan so not an issue. And, unlike the 600, the Sync on the 660 just flat out WORKS. Having separate LSB and USB bands is just one more plus. I just like handling this radio, like the overall feel of using it. And I am still stunned at how many SW stations I get and how strongly they come in, especially here in Portland, OR which is pretty far down on the World Band food chain for reception.

BTW, I got it from Kaito USA and saw no evidence that it had been opened, though it was not tape sealed.

I am eager to read your review of your PL-390.

Chris

How goes it compare to the G5?

Carlos Edwards

Doug - your mentioning an oldies station from Vancouver spurs this thought: dxing Canada on the MW AM is much more enjoyable than American stations, for me at least. I like to listen to 740 out of Toronto. 900 from Hamilton is good too. I'm in DC this week and I took the RF-888 with me just for fun. Last night I was still able to get 740 crystal clear. I sometimes forget how awesome the 888 is on MW.

I've returned the 390. For me the deal breaker was the audio, and SW was not as sensitive as I would have liked. I am not someone who drinks the koolaid with the 7600GR, but the Sony was the clear winner on all aspects of SW reception over the Tecsun.

That being said the ETM is a grand feature. It's just like Blake said - flipping through the SW channels as one would the television. For someone who is not picky about audio the 390 is probably a very fun radio.

Carlos Edwards

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250795801953&category=50596&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_1210wt_156

This Sony is going to go for an absurdly low price. Current bid is 24 dollars. These usually go for hundreds. About 40 mins left.

Gary

Doug - What version number is your PL-660? I think there are three versions, and the number is supposed to be listed on a box flap.

Doug

Gary. Version 1, so one of the early ones probably. Mine has the 3 second backlight while I think the later versions have a 30 second backlight. I prefer the 3 seconds.

Chris. I don't have a G5. Used to but I sold it a year ago.

Carlos. Agree totally on the superiority of Canadian AM. Local AM here is abominable: probably 2/3 political talk shows and religious broadcasting. The few news shows are hugely inferior to NPR.


Blake

Carlos,

I seem to have the same lament you have. Audio quality is not given the priority it should with radios. I agree that the audio on the 390 is not great but I actually prefer it over the Sony 7600G. To me at least the 390 has an intelligible sound. I can live with it based on its other benefits. The G5 sounds significantly better especially when the signal is not hemmed. I actually may slightly prefer the 660’s sound quality over the 390 though it does not play as loud. The Tecun’s do not quite have the purity of tone that I hear in the Grundigs. The G6 has a nice tone for its size but does not play as loud and clean as the 606. One thing I will do with the 390 is let it play a lot and see if the speakers break in some. Perhaps the sound will smooth out and be less grainy with extensive breakin. I think part of the sound quality issue stems from the DSP. I think the digitizing compromises the tone. I also believe that PLL tunning compromised the noise floor which impacts tone. All of my analog radios have special advantages in sound quality that none of my digital radios can match. My Grundig 350 is the best sounding portable radio I have. My best sounding radio is my Tivoli Platinum but the Grundig 350 is not that far behind.

Gary

Doug - From what I've seen on the Yahoo TecsunPL660 group, I believe version 2 adds the ability to manually select 1 kHz or 10 kHz tuning steps, in addition to the automatic 1/10 kHz switching. Version 2 or 3 (seems to be some disagreement on this) is supposed to make the audio levels on AM and FM more equal, and reduce audio distortion on AM. And on version 3, the gain switch works on MW.

Gary

Here's a message from someone with a Version 2 PL-660:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TecsunPL660/message/133

ant gain switch:
listening to a AM station and toggling the 'ant gain' switch between the 3 available positions, does not do anything.

backlight:
1) pressing the 'light/snooze' button, the backlight stays on for 30secs.
2) pressing any of the other front panel buttons, the backlight comes on for 3 secs.
3) if rotating the tuning knob, the backlight will stay on continuously until rotating stops. and then goes off after 3 secs.

so the backlight stays on for both 3 secs and 30 secs depending on what you use :) and in my mind, seems to work as intended. what i mean by that is, why would the backlight 'need' to be on for 30secs if i am pressing for example, just the AM wide/narrow band button?

i also have the feature on my unit to manually select any of the 3 'slow/fast/auto' tuning steps (when using the tuning knob), which i am led to believe was implemented on the 2nd production run.

Richard Berler

Doug...on ssb or sync, do any mixing products from local mw/fm's appear when listening to an international broadcaster on sw in these modes? I returned my G3 because of this. The only way I could get rid of this was by deploying the attenuator which worked, but diminished the sensitivity.

Miguel

Very interesting. Thanks

Pablo

Doug, one question: what about the supposed less sensitivity regarding the FM band in comparison with the PL600? (your opinion would be great as a former 600´s owner)...

Brandon

re: Canadian dx - living on the Lake Huron shoreline and in northern Michigan away from the bigger cities, I get a ton of daytime dx from all over Ontario.

Ron

Glad you're not getting any hiss, but like I said in my review, I don't know that I'd even notice it if I hadn't been going back and forth between radios.

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