Alba portable DAB/FM radio and MP3 player 

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This is certainly one of the smallest DAB radios around, but small certainly does not mean limited functionality as it also has FM and the ability to be an MP3 player.

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Alba MP3 Player and DAB Radio

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Alba pocket DAB radio

It is 8.5x6x2cm and weights only 120grams. It has a 2.5x1.5cm three line two colour display in the centre of the face that is extremely clear and easy to read. This is surrounded by eight rubberised buttons that control the unit. All but two are very obvious as to what they do and the 32 page manual describes everything in detail so the job of the two buttons that have a picture of a beating heart and a sun beside them are soon explained.

Both the left and right side are in the grey/blue rubberised material that could help if the unit were dropped, however this is not advised. The rest is shiny black that does show fingermarks apart from a chromed strap holder on the top. The rear, top and base have no controls or access points.

The left side has the on/off switch and this requires a firm press for a couple of seconds this is useful - as the unit has no hold setting - to avoid accidental switching on or off in your pocket or bag. It also has a cover over the SD/MMC slot. The right side has a standard 3.5mm earbud slot and a cover for the mini USB and power input point.

The unit sits nicely in the palm of the hand. Before you first switch on ensure the earbuds are connected and reasonably unfurled as the unit will immediately perform a scan for DAB stations available. It found 51 for me but I do live in a reasonable reception area. Why not check availably in your area by entering your postcode at . It is simple to quickly click through to find stations you like but with 51 it can take a while so why not quickly add stations to the 20 presets available for even quicker access to those towards the middle of the available stations. When you next switch on it will be turned to the station you were last listening to.

A press of the sun button will switch you to FM and here you will probably hear static as unless you have a station right at the lower end of the waveband in your area. Clicking the right arrow advances .05 of a MHz so to say get to 105.4 will take a while so again on FM you have 20 presets available so here they are even more important than on DAB.

Another click on the sun button will swap you to MP3 or WMA mode. I found the easiest way to transfer files was a straight copy from the PC via a card reader but if you have Windows 2000 or Windows XP then you can connect the unit via the supplied mini USB lead and transfer in that way. NO SD or MMC card is supplied but these are very cheap today 512MB ones are probably only around £15.

Unlike some devices that require all MP3 files to be in the root folder you can put them in as many different folders as you wish either by album or as I do by artist. A quick read of the manual will tell you how to swap folders.

There is a pouch provided to protect the unit when in a pocket or bag. Battery life is around ten hours between charges. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to listen to both DAB and FM on both bus and train journeys. However for those occasions when stations do vanish - underground - there is always your MP3 collection.

Doing my Internet search found it at a best price of £109.99 at Argos see link below.

I am also told it's available at Makro at £93.99 but you need a card to shop with them.

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Comment by DIYA, Apr 4, 2011 10:51

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Comment by Terry, Apr 2, 2008 19:53

Had this problem with a new Alba PRDAB200MP3 plays all MP3 except BBC podcaste MP3 format. If you run it through WinLame obtainable free on you will find the BBC MP3 formats will play okay. I email Alba last year with this compatibility problem but no reply yet, regarding file storage, you can only use one level of directory, I have 7 directories containing around 20 tracks per directory, but it is a fiddle moving around directories. You need to stop whatever is playing then use the right & left arrows to get to the DOS symbols of two dots .. which indicate the root directory, then the + or - buttons followed by the right and left buttons to display the directory, use the play button to select - horrible !
Regards Terry

Comment by vwebb, Jan 5, 2008 21:29

I've been through most of the steps described by earlier users. It was reassuring to know the problems weren't just down to me or my particular unit.

My Alba will play MP3 files ripped from CD as long as they're only 1 folder layer deep. It will also play MP3 downloads from Voice of America Radio. But it refuses under all conceivable circumstances to play MP3s downloaded from the BBC, which is what I mainly wanted it for!

I've tried downloading direct from the BBC website to the Alba, I've tried downloading to my PC then copying and pasting to the Alba, I've tried using the Sync facility in Windows Media Player. Very disappointed.

I haven't tried Alba's tech support yet, but I'll probably just send the device back unless anyone comes up with a solution soon.

Comment by Tim, Jan 3, 2008 10:57

Same problem as others...

Have tried renaming the folders etc but it makes no difference. I have 5000+ MP3s and uploading any combination of them fails to work. Not one MP3 will play. I can navigate around the folders and see the tracks listed, but trying to play anything sees the machine blink then give up and display "no files found". Can play them directly from the card but the device simply ignores everything.

Incidentally, none of the MP3s have DRM and all are encoded with standard settings.

Bottom line is that this product is rubbish. And absolutely no support from Alba themselves.

Comment by simon, Dec 28, 2007 11:47

stupid copy and paste
I had same problem. I found that this answer worked.
It could be down to the way you are storing music on the card. Folder structure seems to be important.

This will work: Leona Lewis - Spirit\1 Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love.mp3
This won't work: Leona Lewis\Spirit\1 Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love.mp3
hope this helps

Comment by simon, Dec 28, 2007 11:43

I had same problem. I found that this answer worked.

It could be down to the way you are storing music on the card. Folder structure seems to be important.

This will work:
Leona Lewis - Spirit\1 Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love.mp3

This won't work:
Leona Lewis\Spirit\1 Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love.mp3

hope this helps

Comment by bbhakor, Dec 26, 2007 11:50

device refuses to recognise any MP3s whatsoever (and they dont have DRM).

would like to know if joanne received a response from alba as i havent

a totally useless product

Comment by Joanne, Jul 21, 2007 5:13

I too have found problems with the mp3 function on my newly bought alba prdab200mp3, the downloaded track's titles scroll, but there's no sound?
I have sent a email query to alba customer support, if I get a helpful reply I will share it.
Other than this, for the relative low cost, I'm quite pleased with it so far.

Comment by Andrew Mitchell, June 18, 2007 10:17

Have now tried the mp3 function, a few problems here: (1) the unit must be in mp3 mode when you connect the USB cable to the computer or it is detected as a DAB radio device and asks you for a driver disk.  (2) Unit sometimes seems to lock up in mp3 mode, only solution is to eject the SD card, unit then switches off.  

Undocumented mp3 feature: holding the arrow keys down skips through the track at high speed.  

Comments about not playing files may relate to documented inability to play DRM protected files.

Battery is accessible by removing the two T8 screws and pushing the back cover upwards towards the strap loop, which releases two clips there.  The battery is marked "RPC Corporation Li-polymer battery AE604765P6H 3.7v 1800mAh P/N 49090080.  It is stuck to the rear cover and connected to the circuit board via a 5 pin connector.  There are 2 red and 2 black wires for battery + and -, and one yellow wire).  

Comment by Mr Mitch, June 2, 2007 7:31

I'm very impressed with the DAB reception quality on this unit.  The only DAB problem I noticed is that the presets are cleared on a rescan (FM preset information is retained however).  The FM reception is reasonable but there is no option for selecting mono, and stereo reception can be hissy.  The manual doesn't mention that in FM, the RDS station name is displayed.  Tuning in FM is quite awkward: either in 50kHz steps, search tuning stops at anything vaugely resembling a signal and the auto search (scans and stops for a few seconds on each station) doesn't play for long enough to assess station quality.  Taking the trouble to program the 20 presets would solve the problem (but they are listed as the frequency set, not the RDS name).  The colour screen is actually a 1-line yellow and 2-line blue display (not that this affects functionality).  The power save mode that turns the screen backlight off gives no indication that the unit has been switched off (there is normally a screen message).  If the language is changed (I tried German), much screen text remains in English.  There is a useful and apparently strong strap attachment point but no belt clip.  The battery is inaccessible (except perhaps with a Torx screwdriver).
I bought the unit from a UK electrical wholesaler very cheaply and am very happy with it as a DAB radio and tolerable FM radio, certainly much better than other cheap FM portables I've had.  I don't yet have an SD card so have not tried the mp3/WMA function.

Comment by cecilyporritt, Apr 23, 2007 6:37

I have recently acquired an Alba Dab Digital radio with MP3. I do not have any instructions with it. Can anyone tell me where I can get the instruction booklet please and then hopefully I shall be able to tune into Dab radio successfully.Thanks

Comment by Paul Cambridge, Mar 19, 2007 13:20

The DAB sound quality is awful and reception is very poor. Battery life is less than claimed unless you use a rechargable battery. Also the lack of FM is not good in areas where DAB is not reception is poor

Comment by paul, Jan 12, 2007 23:12

i bought my alba dab mp3 in nov and i'm very frustrated to find that some of my mp3's will not play back through it. the title appears but no sound, the display shows the track start to play then stop, start, stop, start until it just gives up trying. the same track will play perfectly from the memory card through my pc. any adeas?

Comment by DAVID J HARRISON, Sep 17, 2006 23:14


Comment by June, Jul 26, 2006 10:45

i love everything about my Alba dab radio plus it's mp3 player but i cannot download my music through media player on to my card in radio Titles come out but no sounds what am i doing thats not right would some one please tell me.

Comment by Rajiv, Jul 25, 2006 17:13

Just bought ALBA DAB MP3 (D200) from Argos. DAB is completely useless as soon as you walk into an office environment with lots of computers, printers and faxes. Not sure if all DABs are like this one. If anyone knows more about DABs which work in an office environment, pls post your comment on the web.

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