Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sangean DPR-69 Plus DAB+ review

radio.jpgDid a quick run-around of Sydney stores to see who has stock of DAB+ radios. In the end I picked up a Sangean DPR-69 Plus at Harvey Norman for $239.

Mine is running software V3.2.10.22195-23. I wonder if users can upgrade.

It's a reasonably compact radio, easy to get going and operate without reading the instructions (although there are some interesting features that you wouldn't guess).

Amazingly, given that digital radio doesn't launch here in Sydney for another few weeks, the radio found 11 stations: 2CH - Easy 1170, 2GB, 2SM (no audio), 2UE (playing classical music), DAB Plus 1 (the same classical music), ABC dig DAB PLUS, Nova 969, RADAR- Get On It, SBS Digital One, SBS Digital Two, and Vega 95.3.

It's funny that many of the stations have included their FM frequency in their brand, this of course is one of the reasons that digital radio or internet radio is a good idea.

The sound from the radio's speaker is pretty bad, worse than most radios of this size I have around the house. The good news is that headphone audio seems capable of excellent fidelity. The stations vary a great deal but at best it sounds terrific in decent headphones and I'd be inclined to use this radio as an input to an amplified speaker pair.


The radio supports rechargeable batteries and will automatically charge them if you flip a switch in the battery compartment.

One interesting feature is that the radio supports some sort of audio level compression internally that you can adjust through advanced settings.

On FM the sound sounds obviously worse, although I'm a little suspicious that this may be deliberate to help push the technology.

One annoying thing is that the antenna doesn't pop out so you can have it vertical while lying the radio on it's back.

Obviously overpriced but we early adopters expect that. A pity it doesn't include AM.

Welcome DAB+!

I just wonder if we couldn't have a similar receiver that picks up 3G, WiMax or Wifi broadband internet and plays internet radio everywhere.


Listened to the radio on the bus to work today and had pretty good reception along the way - certainly on par with FM. At home reception is marginal, they could do with some more power.

The Advanced info button rolls the display through:

  • Station crawl of info, sometimes ads

  • Genre - I assume, some are pretty funny

  • "Sydney MUX2 9b" whatever that is.

  • Time and date

  • "9B 204.640MHz" - channel and frequency

  • "192kbps / MP2" or "128kbps / AAC"

  • Signal strength (presumably) shown as a bar graph

The set is a bit slow to turn on, at first I thought the button was intermittent.

Battery life is said to be 25 hours on 4 alkaline AA batteries which is very poor for a normal radio. I guess the recharging makes up for that to some extent.


Tony Orwin said...

Welcome to Digital Radio Australia!

There are so many more features that you should be benefiting from in the near future, - Electronic programe guide, Pause, Automatic recording of programs, Visual Augmentatation (Pictures of the Featured Artis, Weather / Road Maps, Web cam of the DJ etc), - the list is very long and very exciting.

FM will soon be behind you - enjoy!
Tony Orwin RadioScape (UK).

Peter Marks said...

Thanks Tony,

Yes, I'm looking forward to more of the possible features. Right now the meta-data being sent is very minimal but, as I mentioned, we haven't quite launched here yet.

None of the receivers I've seen available have much of a display,

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I've just read your review on the Sangean DPR-69! Thanks for the review, I don't think I'll be buying that one for my first digital radio. My Mum and I will probably be going to Harvey Norman tomorrow to purchase a digital radio! I live in Brisbane, so we've had Digital Radio for a week or two now, but I hope Sydney gets it soon! I'd hate the delays myself if I was in Sydney. I'm hoping ot be doing a review of a Digital Radio for my blog when I get my one! I'm excited about it! I was actually looking for reviews on certain radios and your one came up on Google! Keep up the good work!

Peter Marks said...

Hi Bradley,

You have a great blog there too. Let me know what digital radio you get in the end and do review it yourself.

Even though digital radio is not quite launched here there are quite a few stations on already.

I've come to like the DPR-69 despite the poor speaker sound. The battery life is pretty good and the charging system works very nicely.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

Digital radios are hugely overpriced, poorly made and not worth the outlay.

Battery use in portables is very high.

I'll stick with ANALOGUE.

Andrew Paul Wiseman said...

I bought a DPR 69 plus. I cant get more than a couple of hours out of rechargable batteries, which is no use to me. The manual says " should be able to power your radio for between 10 and 20 hours". Is something wrong with the radio, the batteries or is the manual exaggerating?


Peter Marks said...


I probably get about six hours out of mine. As a consequence I charge it regularly.

If you're only getting two I'd suggest getting higher capacity rechargeable batteries for it.


Erstwhile said...

I have been using 1.2volt NiMH 2200 mAh from Dick Smith. Manual specifies "from a quality brand least 2000mAh " Can do better?

Gordon MZ said...

Hi Peter
I've been looking at the DPR-69 and DPR-99 and I just come across your great review of this radio. Has your opinion of it changed after 2yrs of use?
You initially griped about the speaker sound. Does it still sound just as bad or have your ears got used to it? :-D
If you could swap your DPR-69 would you, and if so which model?

Anonymous said...


I'm still using it but it's developed a problem with the power button. Often when I try to turn it off it goes off and then mysteriously comes back on (normally after I've left the room).

Presumably it's switch bounce.

Battery life hasn't improved of course.

Anonymous said...

I too am having the same problem with the power button, often having to use it for up to five times before the rad io turns off. My DPR-69 Plus is just out of warranty, I hate to think what it will cost to have this fault corrected.

Hector said...

I have the same switch bounce problem on a DPR99+.
Before I open it up, does anyone have a schematic or repair bulletin?
(It's OK folks, I am a qualified electronics engineer!)

Anonymous said...

I too have a problem with my DPR-69 switch and wonder if Hector ever got an answer to his schematic or repair bulletin question. The switch on mine is permanently depressed (no, it doesn't need a psychiatrist) and the only way I can turn it on is by activating the lock switch.