Top positive review
29 people found this helpful
Excellent Portable Radio With Several Useful Features
on 21 November 2009
*** Note Amazon have this player listed twice, once for each colour ! Search on 'Roberts 55' in the 'Electronics' department to see them all. It's worth checking each listing as prices differ....!
The Roberts RD-55 has several very useful features; namely the renowned 'PausePlus' capability, a record-to SD card facility, audio file playback from SD card and USB connectivity.
The aerial is 'meaty' and can be extended to some 67cm, making signal reception less 'dodgy' than some other radios.
I find the 'Pause Plus' live pause/rewind of DAB broadcasts very useful. As the unit apparently has firmware based on that also utilised by the CRD-33 and RD-59 it unfortunately only has a maximum 'memory' of some 8mins. However, it does have that firmware 'family' capability which allows you to record something which has already been broadcast if it is able to be 'rewound' to (this is an undocumented feature which I discovered and Roberts were unaware of !); multiple recordings can be saved to memory card.
The SD card storage capability also allows recordings/MP3 files to be played and there are 'Aux In'/'Line Out'/headphone sockets.
The 'Pause Plus'/file playback facility is quite well-specified, allowing not just pause, but also fast-forward and rewind. The only gripe I have is that the 'winding' function, accessed by turning the tuning knob, is rather slow - meaning it can take quite a few turns of the knob to move only a minute or so... When playing files, the associated music file information (if available) is displayed on the lower line of the LCD. Having said that, you can only search for particular files by 'scrolling' through all the files stored on the card (which can get quite tiresome...) and they don't seem to be stored in any logical order.
A quick note on SD card usage. Each time the card is re-accessed (by pressing record, selecting it as a source or stopping playback) it re-scans the card. This means that if the card has a lot of music files on it there can be a VERY lengthy delay before record starts or playback can be selected; this can be very irritating so you have been warned !
To correct comments in another review, the rubber flap on the top to cover the USB port and SD card slot DOES close with a card inserted; there is a small lug on the end of the flap which locates into a 'notch' inside the recess on the case to hold it closed....
The 2-line LCD is permanently-backlight when the unit is on (a possible negative if using battery power) and allows for DAB broadcast information to be 'scrolled' below the station information, as well as a range of other (selectable) data to be permanently shown, including the date/time (which is also set automatically).
There are 5 memory presets on each radio band, a scrollable station display/selector facility and the FM radio side has RDS.
Despite there being no separate bass/treble controls for the stereo speakers, I think they output sound very well and have a good bass reproduction; there is a selectable 'Music/Speech' tone control but I have found it best to leave it in the 'Music' position regardless....
So, all-in-all an excellent purchase with few competitors of comparable quality and specification; unlike, for example, the RD-49 and MP-30 it is sufficiently small and light to be truly portable and provide the PausePlus/SD card capability those radios also have.
For complete information, you can download the User Guide from the Roberts website.