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VQ Monty DAB radio review

VQ Monty DAB radio review (July 2019)

VQ Monty DAB radio review
Release Date
2017
Manufacturer
VQ
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The VQ Monty DAB radio is probably the flagship digital radio available from VQ today.

Although VQ has earned a reputation over the years for their phenomenal “Retro Mini” device, there’s so much more that VQ Radio has to offer than most people realise. For instance, the VQ Monty is probably more appealing to design fanatics than its smaller counterpart.

The VQ Monty digital radio comes with an attractive grey cloth speaker grille, a real oak case, and a sensationally smooth white face that gives the whole device a minimalist Scandinavian appearance. There’s something wonderful about this radio, even though it comes at a much lower price point than options from companies like Pure, Roberts Radio, and Ruark.

Are you intrigued by the Monty radio?

Read on for insights from our full VQ Monty radio review.

About VQ radio

VQ radio is one of the younger radio companies in the market today, arriving on the scene during 2011. Previously known as View Quest Radio, the company launched its original retro design in the form of a DAB and DAB+ kit with an available Apple docking station. The original “Retro Radio,” was intended to give people in the radio market more choice when it came to satisfying their craving for nostalgia.

Intended to deliver the perfect blend of stylish appearance and sound quality, the range of radios from VQ are beautiful to behold, and pleasant to listen to. The company has emerged as a hit with not just consumers, but the press too – winning awards from publications like What HiFi.

Today, the VQ brand continues to put choice and functionality at the heart of their design choices. The business wants to make sure that today’s audiophiles don’t have to compromise when they’re trying to find beautiful radio sets and excellent sound quality on a budget. The VQ Monty portable DAB is a surefire sign that VQ Radio has remained true to its values.

VQ Monty DAB radio review

About the VQ Monty digital radio

Now that you know a thing or two about VQ let’s dive a little deeper into what you can accomplish with the VQ Monty portable DAB. This modern DAB/DAB+ radio set comes with Bluetooth speaker functionality and a range of acoustic innovations that are sure to transform your listening experience. Perfect for those who need a premium finish from their sound system, the VQ Monty radio comes with a range of premium finishes to choose from.

A beautifully styled digital radio, the Monty comes with traditional analogue FM reception built in, and the option to save your favourite stations to up to 30 preset options. The Monty is also designed to meet with the Digital Tick standard for an independent guarantee of quality.

The Bluetooth functionality of the VQ Monty digital radio also means that you can stream your musical collections from your smart device or phone. The Monty works well with applications like Spotify and Apple Music. There’s also a classic 3.5mm aux cable if you want to listen through a set of headphones.

VQ Monty portable DAB radio features

At first glance, the VQ Monty radio is a small and attractive audio device. However, when you dive under the surface, there’s more to this machine than you might think. Aside from offering FM analogue reception, the Monty also comes with DAB/DAB+ connectivity too.

If you’re a fan of music streaming apps, or you just want to listen to the channels that you’ve grown up with from the BBC and beyond, VQ Radio has you covered. Don’t let the Monty fool you with its compact appearance. Even if you’re looking for big volume and custom sound, you can accomplish just about anything with things like the MyEQ user interface, and a set of 10W speakers. Features include:

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio connection
  • Bluetooth wireless streaming connectivity
  • Headphone aux in port
  • USB port so you can charge your phone while you listen
  • 10 Watt speakers
  • 3 year manufacturer warranty
  • Dual alarm clock with snooze function
  • Sleep timer
  • 60 preset stations (30 DAB and 30 FM)
  • Portable with VQ Monty battery pack (lithium-ion)
  • Adjustable EQ option with presets

Weight: 1.4 kg

Dimensions: Depth: 10cm, Width: 13cm, Height: 18.6cm

VQ Monty DAB radio review

VQ Monty DAB radio review: Design

Although plenty of vendors claim to design radios in the “Mid-century modern” style, the VQ Monty is one of the only units that gets this look right. It’s not too retro and not too modern, either. The front panel is very up-to-date, but the wooden casing on the radio gives it a timeless appeal that’s sure to appeal to your nostalgia radar.

Because the Monty DAB radio is so affordable, you might assume that the appearance would give way to a somewhat flimsy build. However, the whole machine is solid, reliable, and robust. Not only that, but the VQ Monty radio also comes with more than acceptable sound quality – something we’ll come back to a little later.

Buy Guesswork by Lloyd Cole

Another excellent feature of the VQ Monty design is the built-in battery that charges automatically when you plug your device into the mains. VQ states that this battery can last up to 36 hours – although we wouldn’t recommend relying on that up to the minute, and have achieved considerably less time in real world test.

In terms of appearance, it’s hard to go wrong with the Monty in just about any room of your home. This radio exudes the same visually appealing style whether on your beside table or in your kitchen – depending on what you want to use it for. Plus, there is a range of finishes available, including limed oak, walnut, oak, green grass oak and more.

VQ Monty DAB radio review: Performance

A stunning radio unit is great – but you don’t just want good looks from your new VQ Monty – you want an incredible performance too. When you first lay eyes on the VQ Monty radio, with its real-wood casing and unique faceplate, it’s hard not to fall in love – but of course, you’re going to want to check the sound quality too. Most people would assume that if a unit like this looks great and doesn’t cost a fortune, then you’d have to compromise somewhere – such as on performance.

However, that’s not the case with the VQ Monty digital radio. We’re stuck by just how good this compact radio sounds. Every radio station we tried delivered crystal-clear audio, and there was no sign of any signal dropping or interference either.

Even if you crank the VQ Monty portable radio up to top volume, then you don’t get any distortion to worry about. Instead, you’ll continue to experience a full open-bodied sound in even moderately sized rooms. What’s more, if you want to expand your musical options by linking in your smartphone via Bluetooth, all you need to do is tap the “Mode” button. Pairing is quick and simple, with virtually no connectivity issues.

Of course, it’s not going to deliver earth-thumping bass or party volume levels, but that’s not the reason you’d be buying this set.

VQ Monty DAB radio review: Sound quality

All around, the VQ Monty DAB radio impresses again and again, whether you’re interested in using this set for a portable Bluetooth speaker, an alarm clock, or a kitchen radio. Despite being small and affordable, the VQ Monty comes with high-quality sound delivered by a 10W speaker driver that provides a wonderfully rich profile, complete with reliable bass performance and crisp, clear talk radio audio.

One of the things that we can’t help but mention in this VQ Monty review is the fantastic custom-made audio software that comes from VQ Radio. The company has designed its own proprietary Analogue Sound Processing System to deliver a warmer and smoother quality of sound. Additionally, if you’re very specific about your music settings, then you can adjust pretty much anything through the fully-functional MyEQ system.

The MyEQ Settings feature gives users the option to tinker with treble and bass until you achieve the sound characteristics you’re seeking.

VQ Monty DAB radio review

VQ Monty DAB radio review: Usability

The VQ Monty digital radio doesn’t force you to compromise on usability in exchange for a host of features. Everything is relatively easy to use from the moment you switch your set on. If you’ve used the VQ Retro Mini before, then the Monty will feel very similar – as the interface is almost identical. The only real change is that there is a handy USB charging port built into the VQ Monty radio that you don’t get from smaller sets.

We loved the charging feature, as it means that you don’t need to find extra outlets if you’re using your radio on your bedside table, but you want to charge your phone overnight too. Plus, if you’re using the Monty as a portable speaker with the VQ Monty battery pack, then you can keep your phone charged up at the same time.

The Monty comes with virtually everything you might need from a DAB radio, including Bluetooth connectivity and an LCD that’s clear and easy to read. The only thing missing is a Wi-Fi connection for Internet radio. You can always download playlists and stream them offline from your phone instead, however.

Additionally, one other issue is that changing between channels or broadcasts might take a bit longer than you might like. Unlike other radios, the VQ Monty doesn’t have any preset buttons. You’ll need to scroll through your saved stations instead. And the buttons might be a bit small and fiddly for some.

VQ Monty DAB radio review: Additional information

The VQ Monty digital radio is a simple, stylish, and feature-rich audio solution for people who want aesthetics and sound quality without paying a fortune. With features like USB charge and AUX in to help you connect external devices too, there’s not a lot that you can’t do with this kit. Users can even stream their favourite music as they go to sleep. 

The quality casing delivers more than just good looks too. The fact that the surrounding of the VQ Monty is real wood means that you get high-quality reverb with your tunes. What’s more, wood cabinets are typically less susceptible to distortion. The 10 Watt speaker and amplifier is pretty impressive too.

Finally, the VQ Monty battery pack is also available so that you can transform your radio into a portable SoundStation on demand. Just keep in mind that the manufacturer estimated 36-hour battery life is likely to run out faster if you’re using the radio to charge your phone too.

VQ Monty DAB radio review
VQ Monty digital radio: Verdict
If you're searching for a stylish and compact radio that's easy to use and brimming with features, at this price point, than it's difficult to go wrong with the VQ Monty. This radio set gave us plenty of surprises by offering surprisingly strong performance regardless of its low price point.

What's more, there are no major drawbacks or flaws to speak of. Things like a lack of dedicated preset buttons might be inconvenient, but these issues are easy to overcome. The VQ Monty is amazing for your bedside table, kitchen counter, or music on-the-go.
Sound
95
Design
100
Connectivity
90
Build quality
100
Positives
Amazing high-quality sound
Affordable budget-friendly price point
Stunning design with real-wood casing
Easy to use Bluetooth connectivity
A range of options to link to external devices
Available built-in charging port for your smartphone
Plenty of presets to choose from when looking for your favourite station
Compact and portable with an available VQ Monty battery pack
Negatives
Lack of dedicated preset buttons
Scrolling display is a little distracting
Controls can be fiddly
No sleep or night mode
96
Sweet
Where to buy
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