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Sanyo DCDB10 DAB+ micro system review: Sanyo DCDB10 DAB+ micro system

Sanyo's DAB+ micro system is high on price and low on real value.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
2 min read

Design and features

If there's one thing to be said for the DCDB10, it's that it gets the micro side of a Micro Hi-Fi system right. At 395x170x233mm and 3.23kg it's small and lightweight, with the central control unit flanked by very light and small 4.5W RMS speakers. Buttons are large and easy to press, but feel light, cheap and liable to snap every time you do so. We'd suggest any users of the DCDB10 rely more on the remote control, a credit-card-sized affair that uses squishy rubber buttons instead.

4.7

Sanyo DCDB10 DAB+ micro system

The Good

DAB+ support. CD. Compact size.

The Bad

Tinny speakers. Terrible DAB+ antenna. Cheap construction. High asking price.

The Bottom Line

Sanyo's DAB+ micro system is high on price and low on real value.

The two speakers connect via speaker wires to the usual Red/Black terminals at the back, but Sanyo in its infinite wisdom hasn't opted to colour code the speaker wires itself, beyond striping one side black and white. Depending on your luck, audio hilarity (or more likely frustration) may well ensue. Speaking of luck, the antenna that snakes out of the back of the DCDB10 is of the fixed thin wire variety. More on that shortly.

The DCDB10 supports DAB+ digital radio as well as FM radio. Ten preset stations can be stored for each type of radio for swifter access. It's also a CD player with a pop-up tray at the top. If you're the type who likes watching things spin, a small clear section at the top lets you watch your CDs while they play.

Performance

Any DAB+ system lives or dies on the quality of its speakers. We've seen no shortage of DAB+ systems at the budget price point with weak, tinny speakers, generally in mono. At an asking price of AU$249, however, the DCDB10 can't be viewed as a budget system. At least it has stereo on its side. In our testing, however, the DCDB10's speakers showed the same weak, tinny characteristics of much cheaper systems. With straight DAB+ broadcasts that did help to mask their often flat nature — when we could get them — but popping in the remastered CD of the Beatles White Album displayed exactly how much range the DCDB10's speakers didn't have.

We were wary with regards to the DCDB10's thin wire antennas, as they're typically a poor way to get DAB+ reception, especially indoors. Testing and tuning the DCDB10 was an exercise in frustration, as we constantly fought to maintain enough signal to keep the radio flowing. As with other digital sources, if you can't get a signal, you get nothing. We got a whole lot of nothing with the DCDB10, far more than actual music. Grabbing a couple of nearby DAB+ systems with fixed antennas revealed it was distinctly the DCDB10's inability to grab signal rather than some kind of broadcast problem in our test area.

Conclusion

DAB+ radio prices have plummeted in recent months, and there's a lot of choice in the budget space. If the DCDB10 was half the price we'd cautiously say it wasn't overpriced, but still underpowered. At the current asking price, it hits both faults squarely and is best avoided.