The Insider: The digital revolution that's music to your ears

Digital radios

Digital radio offers a wide choice of stations and now almost all of the population is covered by BBC or commercial transmitters. Music fans will be in their element with a digital radio, as you can tune in to a much wider range of stations than FM models and, in a good reception area, the sound is crystal clear because digital radios suffer less from atmospheric and electrical interference.

As regular radio listeners know, it's crucial to have good sound quality for happy listening. "The price difference between some digital radios may seem quite a lot, but when you hear the difference in sound quality with top of the range models, you'll be glad you made the investment," says Martyn Hocking, editor of Which?

Although the best digital radios can be expensive, superior sound quality, smart design and extra features often justify the higher price tag. Most digital radios can pick up FM radio as well as digital stations, but some allow you to pause and rewind live radio, set reminders for future shows or record programmes to an internal –or external – memory.

Two of the leading brands are Pure and Roberts, both of which finished top in Which?'s latest test. The Pure Evoke-S (£165) was given a test score of 87 per cent and had superb sound quality, which testers described as clear and detailed. It looks smart and has plenty of features, including bass and treble controls. It also lets you pause and rewind live radio and program in 100 of your favourite stations. Its bold, bright LED display and intuitive controls make this radio suitable for most listeners.

The Logik LOGR118D may seem like a bargain at £40, but its sound quality is very poor. The first model Which? tested had a prominent buzz. Thinking it might be faulty, testers bought a second sample – it had the same problem. The Logik's minimum volume setting was too loud and the display was difficult to read unless the radio was tilted at an angle.

Where to buy

Ideally you should listen to a digital radio before you buy it. Try listening to the type of programmes you normally listen to – if you like Radio 4 at home then ask the shop to tune the digital radio to this station, but also try out some different speech stations to hear how the digital radio reproduces different types of voices.

Searching online will often find the cheapest prices, but you can also get good prices from independent retailers. You can check stockists and compare the latest prices using Which?'s price comparison service www.whichcompare.co.uk.

What to ask...

Can I receive digital radio in my area?

Not everywhere in the country can receive digital radio broadcasts, and some places have to put up with patchy quality. Go to digitalradionow.com to do a postcode check, and if reception is patchy you could try installing a rooftop DAB aerial (from £15).

What is the sound quality like?

The sound of your radio should be clear and crisp, with no background noise – try listening before you buy. Some models allow you to control the treble and bass.

Mono or stereo?

Mono digital radios score well in Which?'s tests, but might not be suitable if you plan to position your radio in a large room. Check before you buy, as many mono digital radios can be connected to external speakers or added to a hi-fi system to convert the sound to stereo.

How clear is its display?

Ensure the display is clear and bright, and it uses large, easy-to-read letters. If you're partially-sighted, also check that the display is a good size.

What features does it have?

Some models let you pause live radio, record programmes or store preset stations, so you can easily flick between your favourites. Clock displays with alarms and timers are also useful.

How heavy is it?

You'll want a light model if you're someone who likes to move around the house with your radio, or if you want to listen in the garden. For outside listeners, it's also worth checking whether the radio can run on batteries too.

The Insider is written by Which?, the independent consumer champion. For more information go to www.which.co.uk/digitalradio. To get three issues of Which? magazine for a special price of £3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before