Remember those classic radio/cd players you used to have in your room during the 90s and early 2000s? They were bulky, orb-shaped things that came with a carry handle so you could take your machine with you around the house when you were listening to your favourite tunes.
They didn’t fit in your mom’s TV cabinet, and they were a little too big to balance on your bedside table properly – but they were reliable as heck!
If you’re feeling nostalgic, and you want to take a trip back to the good ol’ days then we’ve got you covered. The Roberts Skylark CD9960 is a retro dream-come-true, designed to give you all the listening flexibility you could ask for.
Roberts Skylark CD9960 review: Design and build
The Roberts Skylark CD9960 is a blast from the (recent) past. Offering a compact way to listen to everything from FM, MW, and LW radio, to cassettes and CDs, the Skylark is perfect if, like us, you’re not quite ready to let go of the past yet.
A portable machine with a bold bubble shape, the Skylark might not have the same vintage wood panelling of the Roberts Stream 94i, or the retro leather of the Revival, but it’s got a charm that’s all its own. There’s a CD player built into the top of the device, with plenty of easy-to-use bulky buttons that you can find in a hurry. There’s also a cassette player on the front of the machine, for all those boxes full of music and mix-tapes that you haven’t converted into digital format (and probably never will).
The huge inlaid speakers on either side of the Skylark deliver plenty of deep and powerful sound, ideal for when you want to recreate your boombox days – without the hefty boombox.
Roberts Skylark CD9960 review: Features
If you ever had a CD/cassette analogue radio during the nineties and noughties, then you’ll be pretty familiar with the functionality of the Skylark. As a compact radio, it comes with a handle that you can use to carry your device, or you can simply slot the handle away into the body of the machine when you’re not using it.
The radio has FM, medium-wave and long-wave wavebands, to help you find the perfect frequency for your favourite tunes. What’s more, there’s plenty of room for sound customisation, with deep bass boosting buttons, and a selection of playback modes. Simply hit the repeat button if you want to repeat an entire CD or a single track. Other features include:
CD and cassette player built-in
Analogue radio connectivity
20 track programmable CD
CD synchro start
Battery or mains operated
On-device control and dial tuning system
Deep bass boost
Roberts Skylark CD9960 review: Radio performance
If you’re looking for the most advanced CD/cassette analogue radio that money can buy, then the Roberts Skylark probably isn’t it. It’s a relatively simple radio, and even with the bass boost functionality included, it’s probably not going to blow your mind sound-wise.
You do get the same high-quality audio that you would expect from Roberts, but it’s closer to the kind of sound you’d expect from the Roberts Sports than the sound quality available from some of the more expensive Roberts products.
On the plus side, you’ll have the option to listen to your music privately, which is always nice when you’re buying a larger radio like this one. Additionally, there’s the unique functionality that comes with having a cassette player built into your radio. Simply finding something that can play cassettes in this ever-more-modern landscape is easier said than done.
When it comes to radio performance, you get quite a good signal with just about any Roberts product, and that fact remains true with the Roberts Skylark CD9960. Although it’s a little disappointing that there’s no DAB or DAB+ waveband included for future-proofing purposes.
Roberts Skylark CD9960 review: Verdict
Honestly, like any piece of equipment from Roberts, you're going to get a competent device from Roberts. This is a company that's always committed to giving its customers an incredible experience, whether they're buying a basic retro radio, or something unique, like a CD/cassette analogue player.
However, in this particular case, we would say that the Skylark is really only a great choice for you if you're specifically looking for something that plays cassettes. There are better CD players slash FM radios out there to choose from if you don't need the cassette functionality. In fact, you can find a host of great quality player/radio devices from Roberts Radio themselves.
However, if you do find yourself with a box of old mixtapes that you just can't bear to get rid of, and you want to break them out for your next house party, then the Skylark might just be a good investment for you.