Sound quality is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a radio. While there are lots of good budget radios on the market, their sound quality can be disappointing.
It’s common for cheaper radios to sound tinny, not have enough bass or lack clarity and depth.
Once you invest in a radio, you’re likely to own it for several years, so you want to make sure you choose one with excellent sound quality.
Here are a few principles that will help you choose a good radio for sound quality:
- The more you spend, the better the sound quality. This isn’t always true, but in general the best-sounding DAB radios are also some of the most expensive. While spending more is generally a good idea, you should be aware that some radios have an inflated price due to a flashy design rather than the sound quality.
- Look for brands that have a reputation for good sound quality. The best brands for sound quality at the moment are arguably Revo and Ruark, though Pure and Roberts make some great-sounding radios too.
Read on for our recommendations of particular brands and radios to consider.
Ruark make what are probably the best-sounding DAB radios on the market in the UK.
As well as sounding great, their radios are also incredibly stylish and will enhance the look of any room in the house.
Ruark are a family-run brand based in Southend on Sea.
Their products are numbered from R1 to R7, with the R7 being the most expensive.
Let’s take a look at a few of them…
The R1 Mk3 is the cheapest and simplest radio in Ruark’s lineup. However, this doesn’t mean it’s cheap and basic!
Despite just having one speaker (making it a mono radio), the R1 Mk3 has excellent sound quality.
The R1 Mk3 sounds crisp and clear at both low and high volumes.
It features a Bluetooth receiver, allowing you to play music from your phone or laptop through the R1’s high-quality speaker.
This radio is very compact (17 x 13.5 x 13 cm), which makes the sound it produces even more impressive.
You can make this radio portable if you buy the optional ‘BackPack’ battery pack.
Despite the high price, the R1 Mk3 doesn’t have a very long list of features. As well as Bluetooth, it has a dual alarm clock and a useful sleep timer.
This radio is pricey, but it has great sound quality and a very stylish design.
The Ruark R4 Mk3 is one of the best-sounding DAB radios available in the UK.
It offers 80 watts of power output through its stereo speakers.
In addition to FM and DAB/DAB+ radio, the Ruark R4 also has a CD player, a USB port for playing MP3s and Bluetooth, making it an all-in-one sound system rather than just a radio.
The radio is available in a range of beautiful finishes: walnut veneer, black lacquer and white lacquer.
According to Ruark’s website, the radio is built from materials chosen specially for their acoustic properties.
This radio has very detailed sound and can be turned up very loud. You can also adjust the bass and treble levels, and there’s also a ‘3D Sound’ mode.
R5 High Fidelity Music System
The R5 High Fidelity Music System is an internet radio with FM, DAB, Bluetooth, a CD player and stereo speakers.
It’s an all-in-one music system with room-filling sound thanks to the 90-watt speaker output.
You can use the internet radio functionality to stream thousands of radio stations, or connect to streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
This radio also has a USB port which you can use to listen to MP3s stored on a USB stick.
The R5 can be connected to a TV, allowing you to use it as a sound system.
You can use the Ruark Link App to turn your phone into a remote control.
The Ruark R5 has an adjustable EQ allowing you to manually change the bass and treble levels.
R7 High Fidelity Radiogram
The Ruark R7 is the most expensive radio in Ruark’s range and probably the most expensive radio on the market overall.
If you want the highest possible sound and build quality, it’s a great choice.
The design of this product is inspired by antique radiograms. It has four legs, like a table, and is not just a radio, but also a piece of furniture.
The R7 has pretty much all the features you could ask for in a radio/music system:
- FM/DAB/DAB+/Internet radio
- CD player
- Remote control
- Dual alarm clock
- USB charging and playback port
- Saves 30 preset stations
Like the R5, the R7 has an internet tuner, so you can listen to thousands of stations from around the world using WiFi.
You can mount a TV on top of the R7 using Ruark’s Audio Visual Mount, turning your TV into a home cinema system with amazing sound quality.
The R7 is a large radio which would make a great centrepiece in the living room.
It’s expensive, but could be an investment if you want something beautiful and versatile with amazing sound quality.
Revo are based in the Scottish market town of Lanark,
Like Ruark, Revo produce a range of radios and home music systems with very good sound quality.
They are based in the Scottish market town of Lanark, and have won several awards for the performance and design of their products since having been founded in 2004.
Most of their current products include ‘Super’ in the name (SuperCD, SuperConnect, SuperSystem etc.)
Let’s look at a few of them.
The SuperSignal is one of the most affordable products in Revo’s line-up.
It’s quite similar to the Ruark R1 Mk3 in terms of size, design and price.
This radio has a single speaker, so it only offers mono output, but the sound quality is still great. The bass might seem a bit heavy at first, but you can adjust it to your liking with the EQ settings.
The SuperSignal’s compact size would make it a good choice for a kitchen countertop or bedside table.
This product has FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, Bluetooth, a remote control, a dual alarm clock and a sleep timer.
The Revo SuperSystem is an award-winning DAB/internet radio.
It’s one of the main rivals to the Ruark R4 MkIII with a somewhat similar design.
Like the R4, it provides 80 watts of power output through its two speakers.
The SuperSystem offers FM and DAB/DAB+ radio as well as internet radio, so you’ll be able to listen to thousands of stations from across the world.
It also offers Bluetooth and is compatible with Spotify Connect, making it a very versatile sound system.
This radio’s walnut wooden cabinet helps contribute to its excellent sound quality.
The sound is very clear and balanced, and the speakers have plenty of power.
The Revo SuperCD is a versatile music system with FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, internet radio, Bluetooth and a CD player.
Additional functions include a dual alarm clock and a USB port for charging devices.
It’s also compatible with Spotify Connect so you can play millions of songs and podcasts from Spotify (requires Spotify Premium membership).
You can also use it with the free UNDOK app to use your phone as a remote control for finding internet radio stations.
The SuperCD has two 3.5” speakers offering a total output of 40 watts.
Roberts are one of the most recognised radio manufacturers, with a history of making quality products.
Some consumers believe that the quality of Roberts products has declined in recent years, but the brand still produces several high-end models with excellent sound quality.
Revival iStream 3
The Revival iStream 3 is a compact radio (11 x 16 x 25.5 cm) with a beautiful retro design and great sound quality.
It’s a good choice if you want something small, stylish and portable that sounds detailed and warm.
The sound can be adjusted to your taste using the 6-position equaliser with separate bass and treble options.
This radio has a lot of features. It offers FM/DAB/DAB+ radio as well as an internet tuner for listening to radio stations via WiFi.
There’s also a Bluetooth receiver so you can stream music from your phone or tablet, and a dual alarm clock.
The iStream 3’s sound quality isn’t as good as bigger music systems with stereo speakers, but for something of this size it’s superb.
If you want something bigger and more substantial than the iStream 3, the Blutune 200 could be a good choice.
Unlike the iStream 3, this product doesn’t have internet radio, but it does have FM/DAB/DAB+ radio, Bluetooth and a CD player.
One great thing about this radio is that it has a recording function, allowing you to record from the radio to a USB drive or SD card.
Other features include an alarm clock, a headphone jack and a remote control.
As you can see, there are lots of very high-quality DAB radios on the market that offer excellent sound quality.
It’s important to think about which features you need before investing in one of these products.
If you just want a straightforward radio with good sound quality and Bluetooth, the Ruark R1 Mk3 and Revo SuperSignal are good choices.
If you want more of a complete music system, we’d recommend either the Ruark R5 or Revo SuperCD, both of which offer regular and internet radio, a CD player and Bluetooth, and can be connected to a TV to provide sound for your home cinema system.