Roberts Sound 43 review

Roberts Sound 43 is a snazzy little system with great DAB radio and an iPod dock - would make a really good bedside unit Tested at £185.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    Solidly built and reasonably stylish

  • +

    punchy, weighty and direct sound

  • +

    thorough alarm options

  • +

    big display


  • -

    A little bright and sibilant at the very top

  • -

    could sound more spacious and dynamic

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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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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, Reading 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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