Roberts RD50 review

Under the skin, all the RD50s are the same: a DAB/FM radio with some old-fashioned rotary controls Tested at £150.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The RD50 comes in finishes from the classic to the macho to the chintzy, but behind all of them is a radio with a classic, retro sound to match the looks


  • +

    Classic style

  • +

    solidly built

  • +

    warm sound


  • -

    A bit too thick and over-ripe at times

  • -

    the range of finishes can be bewildering

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The RD50 is very much the classic Roberts Radio model, with styling harking back to the company's 1950s wirelesses. And since Roberts made the first one, it's come in as many special editions as you could ever possibly want, to celebrate anniversaries, promote radio stations such as Classic FM and as the result of tie-ups with various designers.

The standard one comes in a choice of six colours, from sombre burgundy to green to pink, and then there are specials such as the steel-clad option, at £50 more, or a set of three floral models customised by designer Cath Kidston, also commanding a £50 premium.

Same under the skin
Under the skin, though, all the RD50s are the same: a DAB/FM radio with old-fashioned rotary controls for tuning and volume, a ‘favourite station' preset button – hence that red Classic FM version - and a choice of mains power or loading it up with four LR20 batteries.

It only has mono amplification and a single speaker, but has stereo line and headphone outputs. However, even in mono it sounds broad and enjoyable, though music is slightly warm in the low frequencies, while talk radio reveals a slight thickening of the lower midrange. Very 1950s wireless, in fact...

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