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Sony XDR-S16 review

Cheerfully retro sound, hefty and attacking sound Tested at £80

Our Verdict

Could do with more outright clarity, but the Sony is an uncomplicatedly chunky listen

For

  • Cheerfully retro looks and a nice finish
  • sounds hefty and attacking

Against

  • Cramped display
  • jagged top end and so-so frequency range integration

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Could do with more outright clarity, but the Sony is an uncomplicatedly chunky listen

Pros

  • + Cheerfully retro looks and a nice finish
  • + sounds hefty and attacking

Cons

  • - Cramped display
  • - jagged top end and so-so frequency range integration

The push towards a retro-radio aesthetic is helped along by Sony in the shape of the XDR-S16.

Just because the S16 packs DAB and DAB+ reception alongside FM, that doesn’t mean it can’t have the looks or the real-wood feel of a transistor radio from the ’50s.

It includes a headphone socket and, tiny two-line display aside, is simple to use. And, when supplied with a broadcast of acceptable quality (BBC Radio 3, for instance), the Sony serves up a solidly weighty stereo sound.

It’s a driving listen, loaded with momentum, and the more attacking and dynamic the source material the happier the XDR-S16 becomes. It’s punchy at the bottom end and agreeably detailed in the midrange.

Spiky treble frequencies are a trade-off, and the Sony doesn’t quite tie the frequency range together as smoothly as some rivals, but it’s an appealing device nonetheless.

See all our DAB/FM radio reviews

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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