Sony has decided to have a crack at the DAB market with five new products to ensure that whether you’re at home, in the car or loitering on the street corner you can always be tuned into high quality digital radio. Pure have been enjoying an on-going dominance in this area and with good reason, but Sony could prove to be a bit of healthy competition. First up there’s the XDR-M1 DAB FM WALKMAN and as you can see from the pic its design isn’t really something to write home about, especially in comparison to the recently announced Pure PocketDAB 2000 which is sure to be a direct rival. But the XDR-M1 has all the necessary attributes: 40 station presets, integrated FM tuner and 10 hours of battery life. Neither Sony’s nor Pure’s portable offerings have been priced yet so I guess that’s what it will boil down to.
Compare Sony XDR-M1 UK prices
The XDR-S1 is an intriguing device; it is described as portable and the pic shows that it is small with a nice silvery-white finish but the bulky integrated speaker doesn’t give me the impression that it is suited to being carried around. It also has an alarm function suggesting that it might be best employed as a radio alarm clock, but then it is able to decode both UK (Band III) and European (L Band) signals. I’m a bit confused, but details are still pretty scant so we’ll have to just wait and see.
For the car, Sony offers us the CDX-DAB6650 head unit; I think there are generally too few in-car DABs available so it is nice to see Sony putting its oar in. Best of all, not only does it play DAB, FM and AM radio, it is also a CD player compatible with CD-R and CD-RW plus MP3 and ATRAC3Plus formats, which nicely covers all the bases.
At home for the serious Hi-Fi enthusiast there’s the ST-SDB900 DAB tuner, a competitor to Pure’s DRX-701ES. Unlike it however, Sony’s model also includes an FM/AM tuner, which seems a little pointless given that you aren’t really going to be wandering in and out of DAB coverage with it and if you can’t receive DAB why would you buy it? The same applies to the CMT-GPX9DAB mîcro HiFi system, but at least I can imagine this being moved around a little more. It also looks smart and Sony has included the handy CD-R/RW support and given it a pair of bass reflex two-way speakers, incorporating a 12cm woofer and 4cm tweeter, which are able to generate healthy 2x35W power output.
Sony hasn’t release much info beyond these details and the success of these products will very likely depend on how it chooses to set the prices. Availability also remains unknown, but several of these products have begun to pop up on commercial websites so you can bet it will be fairly soon.