MP3 Radio with speaker function

This mp3 radio could be purchase really cheap at Ebay.

It comes in colorful retail box. One of the sides has the device specifications printed out.

The front has stereo speakers and LCD display. The cabinet is made out of MDF, which is basically compressed paper, covered with film. The film is dark brown, and has bubbles on the edges, as it wasn’t applied with enough care. Anyway, such wooden box is much better acoustically than a plastic case.
The upper side has the controls, which somewhat resemble an iPod, but these are not touch sensitive, of cause. Also here are USB port and SD card slot and a retractable antenna.
The back has the line in connector. Unfortunately, the device doesn’t have a line out or a phone out. Also here are the power slider and a 5 volt DC in connector.
The radio is bundled with this strange power cable. It has a USB plug on one side, and a round one of the other.
The problem is the round connector is too long and doesn’t allow to put the device close to a wall. However, the power switch on the back doesn’t allow to do that either.
A power adapter is not included, but you may use any USB wall charger, like for a smartphone or a tablet. You may also charge the device from a PC or a laptop USB port, which brings the question once again: why did they use this strange cable, while a standard minuUSB cable will be far more logical?
Anyway, the device also has an infrared remote, which is called
“Mini Acoustics”. Powered by a 3 volt coin battery. The digit buttons do
nothing, but on the whole, the remote completely doubles all the controls on the device itself, which is a good thing. However, there’s is a catch. If you turn off the device by pressing the power button on the remote, it will say “Good bye” and that’s it. There’s no way you can turn it back on from the remote. You have to flip the power switch on the radio off and then back on. By the way, turning off like this is the only way to force the device to store the saved radio stations, so it would remember them after the power is back on.

The LCD display has contrast problems. They should give more contrast or reduce the brightness.
The main menu offers to set up the clock, the backlight timeout and choose the language from quite an impressive list. It lacks Russian, though. Here you also can specify a timed turn off in 10, 30 or 60 minutes, set up alarm clock and select a radio station for the alarm sound. It also specifies the firmware version, however, I don’t know where you can get updates.

The first function is the active speaker option. Connect a phone, player or computer to the line in – and the device immediately starts to amplify the sound. On one hand, it is convenient, since the device turns this mode on as soon as you plug in a cable. On the other hand, it’s not so convenient, since you have to unplug the cable to use other functions like the FM radio or built-in player.
To adjust volume you have to press one button, and then use another two buttons to adjust the slider left or right. Not very convenient.

The next mode – FM radio.
It has everything you need: manual search, save up to 20 presets, presets switch and auto-scan with storing every found radio station. The only missing feature is the RDS, but that one is not exactly crucial.
Sometimes when the signal is not strong enough or the station is too cheap to get a decent transmitter, after approximately an hour of listening to one radio station the sound gets noticeable static. To get rid of, adjust the frequency manually or just switch to another preset and then back to the original station.

Let’s try out the mp3 player. Insert a USB thumb with files. The drive must be FAT32 formated. The device has no problem recognizing high capacity drives. Plug in in, and the device starts to play the stored files right away.
During playback, you may adjust equalizer settings, the best of which seems to be the SRS WOW function. You can also repeat a part of the track, which is useful when studying languages.
The display scrolls id3 information like artist and title, if it is present. You may also view the file listing. It doesn’t support Cyrillic characters, but of you select Chinese language, Russian files are displayed in the file list, but the tags are in Chinese. Converting to Unicode doesn’t help.

Another interesting feature is a built-in lithium battery. The capacity is enough to get the radio running for about 8 hours, which is great. However, when you charge the battery and it is full, the device doesn’t turn off the charging like it should. Instead, it starts to produce knocking sound over you music. I.e., your music is interrupted in bits by such cracking. Not a big deal, but that means you can’t connect the speakers to your PC and forget. You’ll have to control the device charge to avoid that noise.

Sound quality is incredible for such a tiny device. Don’t know if it is caused by the so called wooden cabinet, or the SRS WOW function, but the sound is very clear.

If you connect a USB cable to the USB port while the device is on, it will start charging. But if you connect it while the device is off, it will turn on USB-storage mode. The same mode is used to flash the device.

USB VID_10D6 PID_1101

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