The Sangean WR-12 tabletop stereo radio review

Retro style radio provides quality sound at an affordable price.

Sitting in my kitchen for decades, the great Proton mono AM/FM radio recently started putting out a frightful hiss, along with having a harder and harder time locking in any station. We live in an era where even with digital radio broadcast, most audio product manufacturers concentrate on powered speakers that do Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. So, my search for an affordable quality replacement with a radio receiver was not easy. I looked at what was offered by Bose, Tivoli, and Sony. Finally, I decided to take a chance on a company whose products I had never seen before. As it turns out Sangean, based in Taiwan, has been making different sorts of radios since 1974 and has manufactured shortwave radios for other brands such as Siemens, Panasonic, Braun, Grundig and Roberts.

The Sangean WR-12 stereo FM and AM radio was $139 shipped via Amazon Prime. The current price that I have found for it is $153. It has a real wooden cabinet, which along with the subwoofer helps it create a rich detailed sound, unheard of in devices in this size and at this price. You can hook your other music playing devices, such as phones, to the back with a mini-jack cable, if your device has a headphone jack. The tuning knob feels solid, even heavy, and is fairly precise. The volume control was adjustable with even increase and decrease decibels. The treble and bass controls, which also adjusted smoothly, can be pushed in to recede into the case, for reasons that elude me. Those two needlessly complex controls are likely the weakest links in the design, in terms of longevity. There is no balance control, but in such a small unit that is not a big problem. A knob on the left allows you select between FM, stereo FM, AM and the AUX jack in the back.

As far as reception goes, FM works well with the Antop external antenna that I was using but also works OK with the built in antenna, which lives inside the case. Where I live most of the AM stations have awful reception no matter what you use, especially on the first floor. So, it does not matter. If you like a retro look and want to listen to the radio more than you care to stream music, this radio is a nice choice and a great gift for someone with a new office or dorm room to decorate.