Sony’s New Unit Rocks the Airwaves



Black Friday looms. Shopping for the holidays and the downward spiral of the economy are two things that are on everyone’s minds right now. With uncertainty in the air, one can only wonder what the shopping season will bring.

One thing I am wiling to bet is that consumers will be looking for two things: high quality and cheap price. It loos like Sony has produced a model that fulfills both of these requirements, the XDR-F1HD HD radio!

Steve Guttenberg minces no words in his CNet review of the unit:

Sure, a lot of folks have abandoned AM and FM in favor of Internet radio and satellite radio; too bad the sound quality doesn’t hold a candle to cleanly received FM. Getting that clean signal, however, can be problematic; FM is too often plagued with static, noise, and distortion. That’s why the XDR-F1HD HD Radio is so impressive: so long as you’re tuning in a local station, it’s mostly immune to those forms of interference. The Sony pulls in hard-to-receive stations better than any high-end tuner we’ve ever used (and way better than the tuners built into audiovisual receivers). Some audiophiles believe the XDR-F1HD may be the best tuner available, regardless of cost, and we’re inclined to agree. Best of all, we’ve seen the XDR-F1HD going for as little as $81 online.

So, we are looking at a unit priced under $100 that is making high end pros turn their heads due to the quality of sound? That is an impressive leap forwards. Mr. Guttenberg’s closing lines in his review show just how much of a leap this is:

It’s been hailed by the audiophile cognoscenti as possibly one of the very best FM tuners ever built. We agree, and the HD Radio capabilities are a terrific bonus. Toss in its very affordable price, and you have a slam dunk for any radio lover.

Since we finally have some HD content in the New Orleans area, I think this may well end up being the unit I add to my own home system. The clarity of reception on broadcast AM/FM alone is enough of a selling point for me, though. The HD capabilities are merely icing on the cake. Guttenberg’s opinion is not one I take lightly, especially when you take into account the body of work he has amassed writing about audio for Playback, Ultimate AV and Home Entertainment.

If that is not enough for you, then check out Gary Kracow’s three page review for The Street that begins, “You want one of these and you might not realize it yet. Want to know why? Because it just might be the best ever made.”

It is no stretch to surmise that shoppers this season will be hunting for quality and low price in tandem. If the reviews are correct, and considering the sources I find that probable, then this could well be one of the shining gems of the holiday season.

Photo courtesy of Ian Muttoo, used under its Creative Commons license


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