Roberts Revival RD-60 review: Roberts Revival RD-60

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable
Reviewed:

The Good Stunning looks; easy-to-use, unlimited presets.

The Bad Speaker could be better; gold details won't be to everyone's taste.

The Bottom Line In purely technical terms, the Roberts Revival RD-60 isn't great value for money, but this radio is such a joy to behold that we wouldn't mind forking out for it. The speaker could be better, but that only adds to its retro appeal

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When a company can trace its roots back to 1932, it has every right to shout about it. Cue Roberts' Revival range. These retro, FM/DAB radios look like refugees from a dusty attic, but their reassuringly sturdy bodies hide one of the strongest DAB tuners we've come across. The Revival RD-60, fashioned in a classic 1950s style, costs between about £150 and £200, depending on the finish. Our black review sample sits at the top of the price scale, but all the options are expensive for a device with such conservative specs.

Lounge lizard
You can't help comparing this radio to its similarly priced sibling, the stainless-steel Revival RD-50. The controls and features on the two models are slightly different. The RD-50, for example, has only one preset, while the RD-60 has as many as you want, plus a 'favourite' button preset to Classic FM (you can reprogram this). The payoff is that the RD-60 lacks any internal memory, whereas the RD-50 can pause live radio for up to 40 minutes.

Then you have to consider the aesthetics. The RD-50's buttons click into place, while, on the RD-60, they're spongy and dull. The RD-50 looks great in a kitchen beside your stainless-steel gadgets, but the RD-60 is more of a lounge radio. The glossy black casing is undeniably beautiful, but the gold aerial, grille and controls, which are common to all RD-60s, no matter what the finish, will probably be too 'bling' for some tastes.

Pop lacks punch
Both radios sound very good and, in isolation, you're more than likely to be happy with either, but, when you put them side by side, the RD-50 sounds slightly better. It's not a massive difference, and it could well be down to our having worn the RD-50 in with a year of almost constant use. But, while the RD-60 handles speech and classical music with aplomb, pop lacks punch. The RD-50 sounds bright, with a broad aural spectrum, but the RD-60 sounded slightly boxed-in.

The RD-60's classy looks more than make up for its lack of internal components

With extended use, this may improve, but, in the short term, there's no way to tweak the output, as the RD-60 has no manual equaliser beyond DRC, a digital-only feature that enhances quieter sounds in a noisy environment. Plug in some headphones, though, and the RD-60 really excels. Even the stock white earbuds that Apple supplies with its iPods sound great with this radio, suggesting that the processing is spot-on when you bypass the speaker.

The RD-60 locked onto good, strong FM and DAB signals, delivering 39 DAB stations in our test area, and demonstrating minimal hiss on FM, resulting in a pleasant listening experience. Even with the aerial retracted, its grip on the digital multiplex was like a terrier on a trouser leg.

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Where to Buy

Roberts Revival RD-60

Part Number: CNETRoberts Revival RD-60

Typical Price: £200.00

See manufacturer website for availability.