What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 22 Jul 2010, 10:00am

Roberts Sound 43

Tested at £185
80100
4

It’s not audio perfection, but for a product of this type the Roberts is a very decent option

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For

  • Solidly built and reasonably stylish
  • punchy, weighty and direct sound
  • thorough alarm options
  • big display

Against

  • A little bright and sibilant at the very top
  • could sound more spacious and dynamic

Where other companies have gone for out-of-the-box thinking with their micros, this Roberts is an altogether more traditionally shaped proposition.

The Sound 43 (aka the MP-43) feels a solid product, and with its glossy finish and touch panel controls, is a rather classy unit to operate.

The two speakers produce a rather paltry-sounding 7W each, but Roberts claims that the acoustically tuned cabinet, bass ports and internal bracing result in ‘optimal sound reproduction'.

Detailed, rhythmic delivery
And that's not too far off the mark. Play Bonnie Prince Billy's ultra stripped-down Wolf Among Wolves from the Master and Everyone CD and the Sound 43 responds with a detailed and rhythmic delivery.

There's impressive precision to the beginning and end of notes, and the frequency range is generally very balanced, with weighty bass a clear vocals.

We say ‘generally' because although most of the treble integrates nicely, there's some unpleasant brightness at the very top.

This continues to be a niggle when you feed in Flobots' Handlebars from an iPod Touch. The sibilance sticks out and proves a tad fatiguing over time.

Still, all-in-all this is a very decent listen, and the detailed, punchy delivery proves enjoyable.

A great radio alarm clock too
This is a great DAB performer, too. It seems to work much better than most in weak-signal environments, even managing to chuck-out Radio 6 Music from the depths of our listening rooms.

The large display reaps rewards here, too, as it allows for two lines of text with station and track info, while retaining the large clock.

Talking of the clock, this will make a great bedside unit, thanks to options that allow you to specify daily, weekday or weekend alarms, and wake up to iPod, CD or radio.

It's also got a snooze function, activated by the bleary stab any button except standby, which stops it entirely.

When it comes to the DAB tuner, it's much as the iPod and CD performance would suggest. Voices on 5 Live are clear, direct and natural but for that occasional sibilance, while Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb proves punchy and weighty.

So if it's a compact, all-in-one music system you're after, the Roberts is sonically superior and more practical than rivals at this price point.

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