Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sony XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio With Dock

This is a great HD table radio with a built in iPod dock, and perhaps the best iPod accessory I’ve come across yet.

I was looking for a replacement for the iHome iH5 that’s been our kitchen radio for the last couple of years. It still worked fine, but since it didn’t support charging on my 2nd gen Touch, and didn’t have a proper insert for supporting it (I hate it when your iPod is all wimbley-wombley in the dock, I always get a vision of snapping the dock connector off while pressing the iPod’s buttons.), I decided to replace it with a nice table radio.

I had made up my mind to go with a radio sans dock, because I was sick of getting accessories that became obsolete every time I upgraded my iPod. I have a universal dock, and I figured I’d just plug it in when I needed it. Then I saw the Sony XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio with dock, and fell in love.

It’s a great sounding AM, FM, HD radio with an integrated iPod dock that supports the new iPhone 3g, Touch 2nd gen and Nano 4th gen charging requirements (as well as all previous models), and it supports Apple’s universal dock adapters, so it will stick with you through all of them changes.

HD radio is fantastic, and free, and most of the Boston area stations are now streaming multicasts, giving you a plethora of crisp, clean, CD quality listening choices. Check out what’s currently available here. My favorite so far is WZLX’s Radio Mojo Blues Channel, but there are so many choices that for the first time ever I filled all 20 presets, and longed for more. Thank goodness it’s also got a scan feature!

Because digital radio can carry information as well as music, the radio gives you station, artist and song information in the display, and allows you to do iTunes tagging. Tagging is a cool feature that lets you “tag” a song you’re listening to by hitting the tag button on the top of the radio while it’s lit. The next time you dock your iPod, the radio transfers all the stored tags to it. When you sync, iTunes uses the information in the digital tags to retrieve the songs for you. How cool is that? It even comes with a full sized remote, so you can tag from the comfort of your chair.

Besides having all the bells and whistles you could ever want, this radio has excellent sound quality, and the clarity of the HD signal makes it all the better. Plus it’s a real looker, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Bring your iPod into an Apple retailer and plug it in for a test drive.

Note: You’ll probably need to use the supplied FM dipole and AM loop antennas for best reception, but it’s worth it. Although you don’t get static on digital radio, it will drop the link intermittently if you’re below 2 bars on the signal strength meter. Get creative; I have the dipole cleverly woven up the back of the baker’s rack it sits on.

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