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Grundig DAB+ Micro System review: Grundig DAB+ Micro System

If you want to jump on the digital radio bandwagon and are also in the market for a micro system, the Grundig is a great buy at AU$299. Just don't expect exemplary sound or perfect reception for the price.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
4 min read

Design and features

The Grundig DAB+ Micro System (GMS558DABIP) has the honour, dubious or otherwise, of being the company's first compact stereo system with digital radio inside.

7.4

Grundig DAB+ Micro System

The Good

Digital radio on board. iPod connectivity. Relatively inexpensive. Deep, heavy sound.

The Bad

Sound is often too deep. Headphone jack at the rear of the unit. Squelchy sounds from iPod playback. No AM radio. Limited EQ presets.

The Bottom Line

If you want to jump on the digital radio bandwagon and are also in the market for a micro system, the Grundig is a great buy at AU$299. Just don't expect exemplary sound or perfect reception for the price.

Consisting of the main unit, and two speakers which match the main system in both height and finish, the Grundig's build quality is rather nice indeed. The glossy black plastic at the front of the system is muted rather than garish, covering a glowing blue touch panel resplendent enough to make even Ariel from The Little Mermaid jealous. All controls are taken care of thanks to this panel, which is responsive enough to touch, though the provided remote is actually easier to use.

Grundig DAB+ Micro System

The headphone jack is located at the back of the unit. We're puzzled, too. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)

Underneath the touch panel is the CD tray which plays standard audio CDs as well as MP3/WMA discs, and the display is able to show ID3 tags. At the top, slot an iPod or iPhone into the dock (with specific adapters for each generation and type of iPod included) and it will charge while playing or in standby mode. Other standard features include a self-timer and sleep function, plus regular FM playback. Curiously there is no AM antenna or playback function provided with the Grundig. The headphone jack is also located around the back of the unit, though auxilliary input (3.5mm) is at the front underneath a fold-down panel.

Grundig DAB+ Micro System

The flap underneath the main panel looks like it should house more than just this single little auxilliary input. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)

Putting the system together is painless and each individual component (speakers and main unit) are lightweight and compact enough to move from room to room as the mood takes you — or in order to find decent digital radio reception.

Using the remote is the most intuitive way to operate an iPod when it is docked above the system, as the main control pad acts in a similar way to the iPod's own navigation system. Using the Up and Down buttons allows you to navigate between options as if using the scroll wheel, and the enter and menu buttons work just as they do on the iPod.

Grundig DAB+ Micro System remote

The remote. Utilitarian but functional. (Credit: Alexandra Savvides/CNET Australia)

Sound quality

The Grundig has a deep and rumbling low register, and even when bass boost is set to "off" it manages to find something bassy to accentuate. Adjusting the equaliser helps a bit, but there are only five presets (flat, classical, jazz, pop and rock) and no manual overrides. Something acoustic like Patrick Watson's Wooden Arms album sounded bassy and slightly off when compared to a large hi-fi system.

Playing music back from an iPod resulted in a noticeable squelching electronic noise when first playing a song from the device. We used an iPod Classic 160GB to test the Grundig, and found the problem seemed to only occur when playing an artist or song outside of the playlist selection.

While the squelching wouldn't be noticeable in a loud environment it is certainly discernible enough in a quiet room. Once we managed to get a song started, the sound quality improved. At loud volumes the Grundig doesn't distort and there is only a small amount of dropoff if you aren't sitting directly in front of the speakers. For the price, sound quality is acceptable and best suited to dance, rock and bass-heavy tunes given the system's predisposition to these frequencies.

Digital radio reception is temperamental, to say the least. The thin wire antenna, which doubles as the standard FM aerial, is picky in where it can find a signal, requiring much gesticulating and adjusting to find the sweet spot. Due to the limited display, the Grundig can only show the station name and additional text information in sequential scrolling, or by pressing the "info" button on the remote. Standard FM reception is a tad better than digital, though again the antenna is temperamental in obtaining and maintaining a signal.

Service and support

Grundig asks rather nicely on the packaging of the Micro System to contact them directly rather than return the product to the retailer should anything go wrong. There is a freecall 1800 number provided, plus a link to FAQs on the Bush Australia website.

There is also a "Gold Technical Support Line", the number for which is provided on the front of the instruction booklet, with a warning that it will cost you AU$2.95 per minute.

Conclusion

If you want to jump on the digital radio bandwagon and are also in the market for a micro system, the Grundig is a great buy at AU$299. Just don't expect exemplary sound or perfect reception for the price.