If the Beach Boys had an MP3 radio

Kaito radio-recorder combo strikes the right balance between old and new.

Mike Yamamoto Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.
Mike Yamamoto
Hammacher Schlemmer

Creating a retro music system is tricky business. So often companies either go too far or simply reproduce the same ugly designs sported by the originals.

But Kaito--not to be confused with the band--seems to have struck a rare balance with its radio MP3 recorder. When the removable MP3 player is docked snugly in place, the system looks like a 1960s-style transistor radio. It does far more than relay airwave signals, however, with the ability to record AM-FM or shortwave broadcasts in digital formats not unlike the Swedish-made "Popcatcher" digital radio and recorder we saw earlier this year.

In addition to its 400 preset stations, Kaito's radio can tune in all seven National Weather Service stations anywhere in the country--so you can always check to see if your beach-blanket bingo party might get rained out.