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September 21, 2013



I'm in agreement and I've written about it here---years ago. Interestingly, I think the variation in sound is even noticeable on lower priced radios. I have an old "Lloyds" radio with a wooden cabinet. If you compare it to a similar plastic cabinet radio----the wooden one has a warmer sound to it---at least to my ears. I can't explain why. I'll leave that to the engineers. But there is most definitely something to it. I realize that old tube radios made of wood sound fantastic (I have a couple). But that can be explained by tubes vs. solid state. However, when a cheap wooden cabinet radio sounds warmer than a cheap plastic cabinet radio----I'm at a loss to really understand the technical reasons. I only know what I'm hearing is real.


Many wooden radios are relatively empty boxes made of wood. The warmth is likely due to the resonance of the empty, wooden box. If you knock on the side of a high quality speaker system it will sound like you're knocking on a piece of stone -- no spurious resonances (not like an empty box).

I have one portable transistor radio with a wooden cabinet that had a somewhat hollow sound with an upper bass emphasis. I filled some of the empty space inside the cabinet with pieces of foam, and now it sounds better (not so hollow and bloated). Due to heat considerations it probably wouldn't be good to to the same thing with an AC powered tube radio.

Mark Roberts

Counterexample: One of the best sounding table radios of all time, the Advent 400 FM radio, is in a plastic cabinet, both for the radio section of the unit and for the separate speaker. Far more important than the cabinet is the quality of materials used for the speaker, the size of the speaker, and the quality of the circuitry used to drive the speaker (such as the amplifier).

It's amazing to me the amount of superstitious stuff that appears here.


I don't think it's superstitious. Perhaps Advent wanted better profits by using a relatively cheap synthetic material instead of wood----or they desired a more modern look. I haven't yet seen a Stradivarius violin made out of poly resin. They seem to be made of wood---at least the examples I've read about. I understand how speakers/amps have a bigger impact than the cabinet material but I don't think it's superstitious to believe that you might gain a slight edge with the wood----I've heard it.

Vimal Oberoi

"Living off-grid? The ideal shortwave radio system for you"
Posted on September 23, 2013 by Thomas



Vimal, interesting article; I'd add a vote for the solar battery charger - aside from allowing you to use any radio you want, you can also charge batteries for flashlights/lanterns. I've spent many an Earth Hour playing a board game under a ceiling-bounced flashlight listening to whatever's interesting on the radio, all rechargeable-battery powered.


As far as solar powered radios go there's an overlooked and very inexpensive option.
You know those solar led landscape path light things?
The lights on a stick people put around their driveways and such? They have a rechargeable (usually NiCad) AA cell, a solar panel to charge it, and can be had for less than $2 a pop.


It's true those solar powered walkway lights used to use rechargeable AA batteries, but no longer. They now use a very cheap little button cell. What do you expect for a buck or two?


Quite a few still do. The Dollar Tree out of all places has them.
If you should mistakenly get some with a button cell the solar panels are still with it. Those are good sized panels for the price.

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