Grundig 960 FM Stereo / AM Shortwave Radio Others

Grundig 960 FM Stereo / AM Shortwave Radio Others 


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[May 19, 2003]
Audio Enthusiast


Funky retro appearance. Nice wooden cabinet. Above average sound quality. Builtin antennas (AM & FM) provide good reception. External antenna contacts allow using a more powerful antenna. Controls & dials have nice feel & work well. Optional grounding screw (plug is 2 pronged, so this can be handy for some people). Cloth covering the speakers has a nice 1950s appearance & feel.


Price too steep for the quality of the radio. Difficult to tune in SW transmissions precisely. Can't pick up single side band signals properly. Backlight not sufficient for tuning in a dark room (4 or 5 tiny white LEDs... not bright and not very authentic in appearance). Portable SW antenna doesn't buy you much. No headphone jack. Limited SW frequency range (22Mhz)

I have a vintage RCA Victor 9K console radio from 1935 that I've been refinishing. Most antique radio enthusiasts try to get the original electronics to work again (many say that old tube radios sound better than modern transister models). I, however, don't trust 1935 electrical safety standards and I want to use this radio on a regular care-free basis. So I started looking for a new radio (AM/FM/Shortwave) that i could cannibalize for my antique. I settled on the Grundig Classis 960 replica. It had the right number of controls. Actually what really sold me was the quality of the AM & FM sound while testing it in the store. I suspect true audiophiles will pass on this and hunt down a working original 960. They can be found for roughly the same price as this new replica and probably have a better sound. (Some argue that the zenith of radio design was the mid-50s just before manufacturers stopped designing new receivers using tube technology.) Most people who purchase this model are buying it for the visual retro esthetic. I'm probably the only owner of a 960 replica who plans to throw out the cabinet. So what does this radio offer? Well it provides AM, FM Stereo, and Shortwave (4.5MHz -> 22MHz over 2 selectors: SW1, SW2). It also provides input jacks (RCS) in the back for an AUX connection (presumably a CD player or phonograph). I haven't used the AUX feature and I have a hard time trying to imagine someone who would find this feature useful. I would have preferred a headphone jack. There are actually two versions of this model out there. The newer model has a lighter colour which lets you see the wood grain better, has an improved tuner and a weighted tuning dial to provide a more realistic analogue experience. I think I have the first model, which definitely challenges you to be able to tune in SW transmissions. There are 3 speakers (4W L&R, 8W center) which provides a nice full sound compared to your typical boombox. The AM sound is better than that provided by my home entertainment center's receiver. I have no complaints about the FM sound either. Reception is adequate using the built-in antennas for AM & FM. Receiving SW signals requires you to plug in a portable SW antenna which is provided -- there is not built-in SW antenna. Those portable antennas are, well passable but not great. I strung a 120ft longwire antenna in my backyard, however, and the reception is great in all three modes. No trouble picking up BBC World Service transmissions aimed at Africa, South America & Europe. What is challenging is tuning a shortwave station... takes a patient hand. For a radio of this quality, the price is steep. You're paying for the wooden box. If you are, make sure you get the second version of the radio ... the first version needs a lighter finish. If you're looking for good reception & sound, there are better radios out there at better prices (eg. CCRANE, GE Super III, etc.). Although I wish this radio was better and I am not happy about how expensive it was, it's still a good little radio and I love it.

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