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Videologic Digital Radio Tuner DRX-601E

Paul Smith
On the back is a pair of analogue phono plugs out and another pair in, for connecting an analogue tuner, which will pass through when the DAB tuner is off

Paul Smith

Price: £299.99

But it has decided to take on the hi-fi big boys with a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) tuner that is remarkable above all for its low price of £300.

DAB is the new format for delivering CD-quality radio to homes and cars. Unfortunately, the cost of receivers has, to date, been so expensive that everyone in the industry is a little bit embarrassed about the whole thing - hence the minimal publicity.

But there is a small revolution going on. There are almost twice as many national radio stations available on DAB as there are on analogue radio and some 40 local stations in London alone, many of which are not available on analogue.

The DRX-601E is a hi-fi component tuner that lets you receive (depending on location) all DAB stations. It comes with a fairly ineffective "shoelace" aerial and I got no coverage in my ground-floor, central London location. But the addition of an indoor aerial and a signal booster did the trick.

The tuner itself is low, black and plain. It comes with a tiny remote that lets you navigate through the channels and store and access up to nine preset stations. The unit itself has a few buttons but the main control is a dial with which you select the channels.

On the back is a pair of analogue phono plugs out and another pair in, for connecting an analogue tuner, which will pass through when the DAB tuner is off. There are also coaxial and optical outputs to either your amp's S/PDif-in or your MD or Dat recorder.

Sound quality is excellent. The only concession to budgetary considerations is the two-line matrix display, but it is a small price to pay.

Videologic hopes to shave another £100 off the price by the end of this year, but it has already got a product that any serious radiophile should consider.

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