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The switch over from analogue to digital failed to totally capture public endorsement although the manufacturers were still keen on the new technology. We are still in a state of flux as FM and DAB continue to fight for the dominate position in the field of audio broadcasting for a UK audience.
While several countries, including Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have announced their definite plans for a switch over from FM to DAB, the UK is still waiting for DAB coverage to reach certain thresholds before any further steps are announced. As a result radio products continue to arrive supporting both FM and DAB technology. One such example is the Alba Mono Radio DAB/FM offering.
Unlike the vast majority of products I tend to review, the Alba Mono Radio DAB/FM is not a new product. In fact the Alba Mono Radio DAB/FM offering is currently listed on the Argos website as a clearance product with the reduced price point of £15.99. I should point out that there is a family connection between Alba and Argos in that both companies form part of the Home Retail Group with Argos providing the support aspect of the Alba Mono Radio DAB/FM should they occur with this product.
With dimensions of 160 x 110 x 55mm (W x H x D), including the large volume control button on the top of the unit and a telescopic aerial on the product’s rear, this DAB/FM has rounded corners. The DAB/FM radio has a plastic shell. The front face of the Alba radio is coloured a pale blue, almost cyan in appearance, with the rest of the unit in lacquered black. On the right of the front face is a perforated area for the speaker outlet grill while a 50 x 15mm mono display, providing relevant feedback and status information, sits in the upper right corner.
Running across the top of the radio unit are its various controls. I have already mentioned the rather large volume adjustment knob. This is located on the right of the radio’s top. Stretching out to the left of this knob are two rows of small buttons covering a range of features. These mini buttons are clearly labelled in white to help identify their functions. The top row features Alarm, Prev, Menu/Info, Scan and Power while the bottom row is made up of Snooze, Next, Select, Preset and Mode. Most of the buttons possess a single function but some, such as Power, Menu/Info, Prev, Next and Alarm, will give access to functions that vary depending upon the length and number of quick presses applied to them.
The rear of this Alba DAB/FM radio houses a number of options including its ability to operate as mains power or battery driven device. A concealed compartment can hold four AA batteries while a power lead socket is available for attaching the supplied lead. One difference between the battery and mains power options is that the latter mode will store the DAB radio station list in memory so that it will be available immediately. This feature is not available in battery mode so that the list will need to be reread each time the device is switched on.
Next to the power lead socket is a 3.5mm jack socket for attaching your favourite set of headphones and an on/off slider switch. Completing the features on the rear is the telescopic radio aerial.
Alba has included an instruction manual. This will lead through the setting up process. There are also sections dealing with the radios two alarm, clock, 20 radio pre-sets, snooze and sleep features. As mentioned this product is currently available from Argos priced at £15.99 and has an appearance which reflects its price point
|Power adaptor Output||DC 5V 1A|
|Power adaptor Input||AC 100-240V|
|Batteries (not supplied)||4 x 1.5V AA size|
|Audio output||1 x 3W RMS|
|Frequency range DAB||Band III, 174 MHz to 240 MHz|
|Frequency range FM||87.5 MHz to 108 MHz|
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