The UK was at the forefront of development in radio technology, and British manufacturers have produced several classic models.
Here’s a brief exploration of five of the best British radio manufacturers still around today.
Founded in: 1932
Headquarters: Mexborough, South Yorkshire
Recommended radio: Roberts Radio Stream93i DAB/DAB+/FM RDS and WiFi Internet Radio
Roberts is a British radio manufacturer based in Mexborough, Yorkshire. The company was founded in 1932 by Harry Roberts and Leslie Bidmead, and has produced some classic models over the years.
Roberts Radio is one of the most popular and well respected British radio brands. Harry Roberts got a letter in 1940 telling him that the Queen had bought a Roberts radio, the first of several owned by the family.
Some of Roberts Radio’s classic models include the R200, created in 1956. The radio’s appearance in a Martini advert helped turn it into a design icon and one of the most popular radios of the ‘50s. This classic design is now available with digital radio in the Revival range.
Roberts Radio have shown an impressive ability to adapt to embrace new technology without abandoning its classic designs.
Founded in: 1985
Headquarters: Southend on Sea, Essex
Recommended radio: Ruark Audio R4 MK3 Home Audio System
Ruark Audio was founded by Brian O’Rourke in 1985. O’Rourke was a carpenter who worked on wooden radio cabinets in the ‘50s and ‘60s. O’Rourke became a radio enthusiast, leading him to form Ruark Acoustics with his son Alan. Alan O’Rourke is a keen guitar player who earnt his engineering chops at Ford Motor Company and Marconi.
Ruark Audio remains a family-owned company known for its high-quality engineering and stylish design. The Sunday Telegraph called its R1 model, “the Aston Martin of DAB Radios”. The company’s high-end radios can be found in the suites of prestigious hotels like the Savoy Hotel in London.
Ruark is popular among audiophiles who appreciate the brand’s attention to detail in working to create the perfect sound.
Founded in: 2004
Headquarters: Lanark, Lanarkshire
Recommended Radio: Revo Super Signal Deluxe DAB Table Radio
Revo is a relatively new company, founded in Lanark, Scotland in 2004. Following the principle of “quality in, quality out”, Revo uses the audio industry’s most respected component suppliers for its radios. As a result, its radios are highly praised, top-of-the-line models that have garnered very positive reviews from audio enthusiasts.
Revo has won several awards for its products, including What Hi-Fi?’s “Radio Product of the Year” award in 2011 and 2012 for its AXiS radios.
Founded in: 2009
Headquarters: Alton, Hampshire
Recommended Radio: VQ Retro Mini Digital Radio
VQ (formly View Quest) is a new brand that puts Britishness at the heart of its identity. Design is central to the appeal of VQ’s appeal, and its products are as much fashion items as appliances.
Despite have started during the recession, VQ has seen quick growth, becoming one of the UK’s most popular DAB and DAB+ radio manufacturers. The company’s modern approach has contributed to its success, as the company seems to be more social media and online savvy than more established radio brands.
Founded in: 2002
Headquarters: Kings Langley, Hertfordshire
Recommended Radio: Pure Evoke D2 (Winner of What Hi-Fi? “Best radios under £100” award in 2015)
Based in rural Hertfordshire, Pure is one of Britain’s leading consumer electronics brands. Its DAB radios have won several awards. All products are engineered and designed in the UK by its small team.
Impressively, the company offers a 3-year warranty on its whole range, and also offers repair services and free customer support.
The company have sold over 5 million digital radios since forming in 2002 and its Pure Evoke range is probably the most popular range of DAB radios in the UK.