Tuning into nostalgia: Your guide to the best retro DAB radio
Here at Radio Fidelity, we know first-hand just how diverse and versatile radio design can be.
From the VQ Monty with its unique vintage appeal, to the Roberts Solar DAB that makes portable listening more eco-friendly, there’s something for everyone.
So, what if you want a radio that brings two distinct ideas together?
For instance, maybe you want a DAB radio with modern features like Bluetooth streaming and superb sound quality, but you also want to tap into an attractive retro design?
Have no fear, nostalgia lovers. We’ve got just the list of products for you.
Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the top retro DAB radios on the market. These are the products that appeal to your desire for a unique and vintage style from the 50s and 60s.
However, at the same time, the features built into these devices aren’t nearly as dated as you’d think.
Many of the best retro digital radios we’ll be covering below are also equipped with next-gen features, to help you future-proof your investment.
Ready to start shopping? Let’s get started.
1. Roberts Revival Uno retro style radio
Roberts is probably one of the best-known brands in the radio world. Not only does this company deliver sensational sound quality and performance, but they have a knack for delivering beautiful retro designs too.
The Roberts Revival range is particularly well-suited to stylish audiophiles, offering the perfect blend of tactile dials, imitation leather, and more.
One of the most impressive retro digital radios available from the Roberts Revival range, is the “Uno”, a state-of-the-art system that offers portable listening and amazing style.
This fantastic radio combines a large centre grille for the speaker, with a leather carry handle and bulky tuning knobs – sure to take you back to the fifties and 60s.
What’s more, the device comes packed with useful modern features, from an aux-input socket to DAB and DAB+ signals.
Although the Roberts Revival Uno isn’t the least expensive retro style radio on the market, it is one of the most attractive in our opinion.
Just like the other products in the Revival line, the Uno is sure to capture the attention of anyone that you welcome into your home and give you a fantastic point of focus for your living room or bedroom.
Additionally, the Uno comes packed with Roberts’ signature high-quality audio, as well as strong radio signals – though there is no Bluetooth streaming available.
Three charging options to choose from, including solar power
The Revo SuperConnect is a very different style of retro digital radio to the other options that we’ve looked at so far.
Depending on your style preferences, you might consider this product to be more “vintage” than it is retro. However, we think that it fits well into both camps.
Designed for people who aren’t willing to compromise on their search for the best DAB radio, the SuperConnect is a high-end product for audiophiles.
Available in a range of colours to suit your preferences, the Revo SuperConnect is easy to access and use, and it comes with fantastic style, amazing audio, and a range of modern features.
Although the style of this product may come from decades ago, you can still tap into next-generation capabilities, like the ability to hook your system up to Wi-Fi and link it to other devices around your home.
However, you will need to pay a little more for this device.
While the Majority Shelford describes itself as a vintage style radio, we actually think that’s much more retro in its appearance, with its bold front panel, large speaker, and matt finish.
Both mains powered and portable, you can take this product with you wherever you go, whether you’re listening to music in the kitchen, or you’re searching for the ultimate bedside radio and alarm.
Aside from offering access to DAB and DAB+ radio, along with FM, the Majority Shelford II also comes with dual alarm clock functionality, snooze features, and more.
This product also supports Bluetooth streaming, so you can wirelessly send your favourite content to your radio in seconds.
For a little less than £40, you’ll get features like:
Compelling retro design
Mains or battery-powered
Digital radio DAB or DAB+
Green tick approved
Dual alarm functionality
Not only is the Majority Shelford II a lot more affordable than some of the other best retro DAB radio options on the market today – but it also comes with a warranty for peace of mind. Majority will give you full technical support for your radio, lasting up to 36 months.
However, you do have to register your warranty first.
On the downside, the sound quality of the Majority Shelford is limited compared to what you would expect from a high-end market leader like Pure, Ruark or Retro.
However, you’ll get more than enough volume and quality for most circumstances.
With a price tag of just under £50, the Goodmans is a very affordable product, offering features like:
DAB, FM, and DAB+ radio
60s style with leather handle
Rotary tuning and volume knobs
Up to six stations presets
Mains or battery power
This isn’t the most powerful or futuristic radio on the market today. It doesn’t come with Bluetooth or internet connectivity, and the volume is somewhat limited, as it can have distortion at high volumes.
However, for less than £50, this is a device that’s going to give you a fantastic range of listening options, and a portable system to work with too.
One major downside for us was the fact that you could only save 3 presets to DAB and 3 to FM. Many of the best retro DAB radios come with a lot more preset options than this.
We’re heading back to Roberts for this next retro style radio and this time we won’t be looking at the Revival series.
Instead, let’s take a look at the Roberts Rambler, a unique digital radio that combines sensational sound with an impressive aesthetic appeal.
Available in a range of different colours, the Rambler takes a different approach to retro style than the Revival series. However, it’s still sure to lead to feelings of nostalgia.
As well as excellent high-quality radio signals for DAB and FM wavebands, the Rambler also comes with easy Bluetooth streaming so that you can play your own content. There’s also an auxiliary input included if you prefer that.
You can also use this product as a bedside radio, with dual alarms and a snooze button.
For just under £90, features include:
DAB, DAB+ and FM radio
Up to 20 preset options
Snooze and sleep timer
Dual alarm functionality
Just like the products in the Roberts Revival lineup, we think that the Rambler from Roberts is an excellent choice for anyone with a passion or retro.
The compact and lightweight design of this product makes it great as a portable system, particularly since there’s a robust carry handle included.
Also, despite the small size, you can expect excellent sound quality too.
You’ll be able to power your Rambler either by batteries or mains power, and the battery life is actually a lot better than we expected.
However, the volume of this product can be a little low for some people.
There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to choosing the perfect radio.
That’s particularly true when you’re looking for something that will appeal to your own personal sense of style.
To find the ultimate retro DAB radio, you’ll need to think about what kind of features appeal to your idea of “retro.” Some people will want a 60s appeal, whereas others will be looking for something closer to the 50s.
A few points to consider include:
Sound quality: Just because you want retro style doesn’t mean that you want outdated sound quality. The best retro digital radio for you will be one that combines style with performance. Make sure that you get the sound and volume that you deserve.
Brand reputation: Companies like Roberts and Revo have an excellent reputation for providing high-quality design and performance. On the other hand, Majority is a lesser-known brand, but it can sometimes offer better bargain prices.
Extra features: Aside from a retro design, what more do you want from your radio? Do you want digital and internet radio as well as DAB signals? Is it important for you to have a headphone jack so you can listen to your music privately?
Bluetooth or aux-in: Many modern customers like to use their radios to stream their own music and content, as well as radio channels. If you want this functionality, then you’ll need to pick a retro radio that comes with Bluetooth streaming or an aux-in cable.
Functionality: If you’re planning on using your retro radio as a bedside alarm clock, then make sure that it comes with alarm functions and sleep timers. You might also want a snooze button for five minutes of extra sleep.
In our opinion, the ultimate retro DAB radio has to be the Roberts Revival Uno. There’s nothing quite like the Roberts Revival signature style on the market when it comes to enticing and delighting your sense of nostalgia.
However, if you’re looking for something more affordable, with the same retro appeal, then you could consider the Majority Little Shelford instead.
What do you consider to be the best retro DAB radio on the market in 2020? Let us know in the comments below and remember to check out our other guides for more radio buying tips.
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