Steepletone Stirling Portable Music System Review

Summary:
This product has several serious flaws, so it generally isn’t recommend.

Buy it online:
£69.99 on Amazon.co.uk

The Steepletone Stirling is a 1950’s-style portable radio with a CD player with an attractive retro design. It has three radio bands (LW, MW and FM) and also lets you play MP3s from a USB drive.

Steepletone are a British company who are best known for their record players, though they also produce several radios and CD players like the Stirling reviewed here.

The Steepletone Stirling is available in cream or grey, and looks great if you like 1950s designs. Does its performance match its looks? Let’s find out…

Features

  • Vertical-loading CD player with repeat, random, memory and mute
  • FM/MW/LW radio
  • Stereo speakers
  • LCD display with blue backlight
  • Vinyl carrying handle
  • Telescopic aerial
  • 5 mm headphone jack
  • Mains or battery powered (6 x C batteries required – not included)
  • USB port that takes memory sticks up to 16GB

Dimensions: 35 cm wide x 20 cm high x 13 cm deep

Performance and use

While the Steepletone Stirling has a nice retro design that looks great in the kitchen, its performance is disappointing. The CD player is quite temperamental and unreliable, and in general the product feels quite poorly made. The power cable doesn’t attach very securely, and can easily become disconnected.

While the Stirling does have stereo speakers, the sound quality is mediocre and lacks bass. The radio reception is also disappointing, and it’s difficult to get a clear signal without buzzing and crackling.

One of the best things about this music system is that you can play MP3 files on both the CD player and from a flash drive using the USB port. However, some buyers have complained that they could only use the USB port for charging devices, not for playing MP3s.

Pros

  • Remembers your position in CDs—good for audio books
  • Can play MP3 files
  • Offers LW and MW radio unlike many radios these days that only offer FM/DAB
  • Attractive retro design that would look good in a cream kitchen
  • Portable and can be used with either mains power or batteries

Cons

  • CD player can be temperamental
  • No digital radio
  • Lead sometimes comes out of the socket
  • Lacks bass
  • Poor radio reception with a substantial amount of crackle
  • Expensive given its features

Verdict

Apart from its looks, the Steepletone Stirling doesn’t have much going for it. This is a shame because the design itself is very aesthetically pleasing. As you can see from the long list of ‘cons’, this product has several serious flaws, so we’d generally recommend you go for a different radio/CD player.

Similar Radio/CD Players

If you don’t mind getting a more modern-looking radio, you should consider the Roberts CD9959 Swallow. It has more of a 1990s-style design rather than 1950s, but it is much more reliable and better made than the Steepletone Stirling. Like the Stirling, the Roberts Swallow has LW, MW and FM radio bands plus a CD player.

One retro radio/CD player with a very similar design to the Steepletone Stirling is the Auna RCD-70, which features a front-loading MP3 CD player, a USB port for playing MP3 files and an FM radio. Unlike the Steepletone Stirling, it doesn’t offer LW/MW radio.

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