The new world band receiver that will fascinate you!
Today we are bringing you a review of a radio coming from the ranks of world-famous radio designer Sangean. The Sangean ATS-909x is the newest addition to the prestigious line of the Taiwan island-based company. But does it hold up to the standards set by its predecessors? Today we will answer that question.
Sangean ATS-909X, new and improved
The ATS-909X is the next step in Sangean’s development of the best portable radio possible. This new design improves upon the critically acclaimed ATS-909X. This small radio is meant for personal use, its portable size allowing the user to carry it anywhere. So how does it hold up compared to its predecessor? Continue reading to find out!
Why do we like the ATS-909X2
This radio is pretty small, which makes it easy to carry around. On top of that, we have loved the great sound quality which this radio produces. If you have ever had any troubles with tuning your radios in the past, you surely won’t experience that type of problem ever again, since the precise tuning of this radio will help you out. There are many other things which we love about this radio, you will soon find out those.
What we love about this receiver
- Its small size which makes it easy to carry.
- Precise tuning.
- Display backlight and time display.
- The metal speaker.
- Low battery usage.
It’s a nice little radio with a soul of a big one. Why we think so you will find out in more depth in the following text.
ATS-909X2, the first impression
The design and features of the radio
While taking the delivered device out of the box the first thing you will need to do is to take the radio out of the case that is included with the radio. While it is not made out of leather or any such material it makes the light and portable radio even more convenient to carry, and also offers a small layer of protection in case you should drop your radio. The customer will notice is its slick and modern design, with some elements of traditional radio design thrown in and great ergonomics. The keys are well designed too with a great tactile response and easy to press even for people with big fingers, a backlight can be enabled and disabled for the display and it also tells time as well!
As we have already mentioned the radio is portable, which makes it really convenient for carrying around and use in places where larger radios would only be an inconvenience. It also comes with 406 memory preset stations. This makes it ideal for travelers and for people that usually listen to more mainstream music, no search for radio stations is required!
Tuning is easy and precise, the tuning wheel has a step of 40 kHz which makes it easy to find the best frequency to listen to any station. There are even five different tuning methods you could use: Direct Frequency Tuning, Auto Scan Tuning, Manual Tuning, Memory Recall Tuning, Rotary Tuning.
On the left side of the radio you can find a line out, here you can connect external hardware and use it to record any songs that come up and you enjoy. The radio unfortunately does not have its own recording function, just like the previous model.
It covers a frequency from 87.5 MHz to 137 MHz. When it comes to some additional features, this receiver has many. Three alarm clocks and a human wake system are something most users find very convenient.
The tuning wheel can be quite clunky and hard to turn, your fingers can get tired after a while. Not a major problem but should be noted nonetheless. The audio quality on SW can be quite poor. There is no 6 kHz MW bandwidth available on shortwave, the widest is 4 kHz, which many consider too narrow. A low noise can be heard from the microprocessor when using the whip antenna during very low SW frequencies.
Generally, this is a good quality radio that can be used on various occasions. One of the best things about it is that you can actually connect it to an outside speaker, or to headphones since it contains an external headphone jack. That way, you will be enhancing the quality of the sound, and also receiving a private listening session if that is something you want.
Of course, to every pros, there are a few cons. Luckily, this receiver doesn’t have many cons. Here are some of them.
SBB modes have only one bandwidth available for some reason. This can be an issue for some users, but some also do not care much about it. The second issue is that there is no external antenna jack for FM or Air bands.
Sangean continues to update the firmware of their designs after release as long as it is needed. The ATS-909X2 is no different. There are currently two updates available as of the writing of this article, one from July (2353 KB) and one from December (1554 KB) of last year. These updates can be downloaded for free here.
- 406 Station Presets with three Individual Memory Banks
- A brand new airband mode (extending from 118 to approximately 137MHz)
- A convenient Auto Tuning System (ATS) on LW/MW/SW/FM
- There are five tuning methods: Direct Frequency Tuning, Auto Scanning, Manual Tuning, Memory Recall and Rotary Tuning
- The fine-tuning and quick shift tuning controls
- Three alarm timers with Radio or Humane Wake System (HWS) Buzzer
- 42 Time Zones with DST Settings and two editable city names
- Manual and Automatic Bandwidth Control, use which one you prefer
- Information indicators for RDS, PS, PTY, RT, SNR, RSSI, and memory bank
- Single Sideband (SBB): USB/LSB 10 or 20Hz/Fine Tuning Step
- There is a squelch function that can be used to adjust the receiving threshold to remove static and other interferences
- Dual conversions for SW, LW, MW, and air bands
- An advanced battery charger with a feature for faulty detection
- Indicator for battery and signal strength
- An individual headphone amplifier
- A soft mute for FM
- It has a small size with a weight of around 1.6 lbs (around 0.725 kg)
- A Multi-functional menu
- Larger LCD screen with a LED backlight (this was already mentioned)
- Editable station display by up to 10 Characters
- Tone control (Music, Normal or News)
- Adjustable sleep timer
Where to buy it?
On Amazon, you can also read questions by customers and answers by Sangean employees.
You could also search up these stores if you happen to live from any of these countries to see if you can find a cheaper price (click here).
The current price ranges that we could find go from 449 to 470 USD. This does include shipping, so your prices might vary based on location.
While a user manual is provided with the product you can also download and read it on their site before you make the purchase or while waiting for the product to arrive.
Our take of the Sangean ATS-909X review
Now that you know the finer details we can dive more deeply into our opinion.
Is this radio any good?
To give you the short answer, it is. While some issues still plague the design, which was common in earlier models Sangean has shown time and time again that they are a reliable company that is always willing to fix their mistakes, even if it does take some time. Most of the problems can be worked around rather simply anyway. It is not the cheapest piece of radio equipment out there but considering all the neat functions it contains we will say it is definitely worth the price.
Who is meant to use this radio? Should you buy it?
That is the neat part, everyone can use it and find it to sound enjoyable. You can listen to it in your home, while driving, when out on a picnic. Everywhere, as long as you keep the radio dry and in good condition, it should always be able to fulfill your musical needs. The reception will vary from place to place, the reception in a wooded area will never be as good as that on an open plain or meadow, but it will be satisfactory. It can be a good starter radio for an amateur or your child. While it is complicated at first glance learning with the help of a more experienced person should be a piece of cake.
There is no definitive answer to “Should you buy it?” it all depends on you. If you have some money to spare and are interested in this new piece of Sangean tech feel free to buy it. If you are unsure try one of your friends if they have bought this model or come into contact with a radio enthusiast like yourself, with an ATS-909X, and try it out yourself.
Are there any alternatives?
The first radio that caught our eye while we were searching was the Eton Elite, the classic version. This radio comes out cheaper than Sangeans radio as of the writing of this article. It has mostly similar features as the ATS-909X, it lacks a recording function like its younger counterpart but makes up for it with its rotary antenna. It is quite heavier than Sangeans radio, weighing in at an impressive 16 pounds (around 7.25 kg) it could be a difficulty to carry it around. On the bright side, you will gain some grip and arm strength.
The Sangean ATS-909X might not be the best radio out there, but it certainly is among them. We can with a certainty recommend this radio to those that are familiar with these kinds of technologies. Newbies should not be afraid to try it either, just make sure to have someone more experienced with you while trying it out for the first time since the manual is a little bit lackluster.
How does the Sangean ATS-909X compare to Tecsun PL 880?
The Tecsun PL 880 can be considered superior to the Sangean when it comes to medium and shortwave. It is also a lot more affordable. You can check it out here.
Can the ATS-909X cover the entire room?
It should be able to do just that, many users have reported their housemates complaining over the sound.
Does the radio have a treble/bass tone control? Does it need it?
No, this radio does not have treble or bass tone control. However, it doesn’t really need it since the audio quality is already at the highest level possible, and it won’t let the user down surely.
Is the battery life of this receiver any good?
Yes, the battery life of this radio is quite amazing. It is able to last for hours before needing another recharge. This means that the user can easily enjoy listening to their favorite tunes for hours before the battery runs out of power.