Sangean RCR-40 AM/FM RDS Stereo Clock Radio with Bluetooth

The RCR-40 is a stereo clock radio in a wooden case with excellent performance in typical Sangean tradition. There is a long list of features, many of which other clock radios offer, but the RCR-40 is more than a typical clock radio – it is a combination of clock radio and high-performance, compact stereo table radio. As of Summer 2021, it is selling at Amazon for $105.74. Here are the Basic Features:

AM/FM RBDS/RDS Stereo DSP Digital Tuner

Stereo Speakers with bass reflex ports

Bluetooth with NFC

Remote Control

5 AM/ 5 FM presets (or 9 + 9 using the remote)

LCD Display with adjustable backlight (3 brightness levels plus Off)

CDS Sensor for Auto Dimming 

Adjustable Tuning Steps

Auto Seek Tuning

Auto/Manual Date/Time Set

2 Alarms/Sleep Timer/Snooze

Bass/Treble/Loudness Controls

Dual USB Type AA Charging Ports on front panel

Battery Backup for Memories & Clock (Two AA’s)

Aux In jack/Headphone jack

Out Of The Box: The RCR-40 arrives with a multi-voltage AC power supply, remote control and instruction manuals in several languages. You can download these manuals from Sangean US and the English Owner’s Manual for the RCR-40 is here for you.    First time setup is pretty standard but at least initially be sure you have access to the top panel of the radio. I put the radio up on a high shelf where it will reside and with the remote control it is easy to use and control, but for the initial set up you need to access the top panel so be sure to go through that before placing the unit where you can’t get at the top of it easily. This will be no problem if the radio is used on a nightstand.

Sound Quality: My first impressions were similar to several other Sangean table top radios I have tested…full, rich audio by table radio standards. The dual speaker ported design is key in this satisfying sound. I compared it with my Sangean WR-16SE and found that the RCR-40 was able to play louder and its tone controls and switchable loudness let me tailor the sound to my preference.  And of course, being stereo is a plus. The RCR-40 is spec’d at 3.5watts per channel and it did seem to have plenty of power. It could be driven into distortion with lots of bass boost at high volumes but for any reasonable settings the sound was clean and clear. Most table radios incorporate an elevated mid-bass to give a full sounding tonal balance but by having bass and treble controls along with defeatable loudness compensation you can tailor the audio to your liking. The RCR-40 is a very nice sounding radio in this class and seems to be a bargain when compared with some much pricier competitors.

FM Reception was excellent which is not surprising given the RCR-40’s DSP design which generally produces great FM reception. The FM wire antenna provided lots of signal and because the FM tuner is very sensitive and selective its placement was not very critical. I just let it hang down behind the shelf where the radio sits and all my usual FMs came in perfectly. For maximum reception of tougher signals it pays to carefully experiment with the orientation of that wire…sometimes moving it only inches here or there can make some stations come or go. RBDS/RDS functioned well and updated quickly and the Auto Date/Time set function worked as expected. I also tried the Manual Time Set function and by referring to the manual I was able to do it with a minimum of fuss.

AM Reception was good and typical of the best table radios. It won’t compete with serious Five Star AM radios but it is good as I have seen in a table radio. It is worth noting Sangean’s advice to keep the AC power supply wall wart as far from the radio as possible. When you do this, it adds very little noise to the AM reception. Also worth noting is that like the other Sangean table radios I have seen the internal AM antenna runs front to back which means maximum sensitivity to weaker AM signals will be off the sides of the radio rather than front to back. If a particular AM station is important to you, it is worthwhile to experiment with different locations and orientations to see which give the best AM reception.

Bluetooth worked as expected. I paired my Android phone quickly with no issues and it sounded very nice. I did not have an NFC device to test that feature…after reading how to use it I’m not sure it is always easier than the standard Bluetooth pairing method but again I was not able to test it so I may be missing something here.

The Remote Control is a welcome addition…when the radio is out of reach its nice to be able to control it remotely. I also like the dedicated Bass, Treble and Loudness Up/Down buttons on the remote which let me make instant changes without having to navigate any menus. Back in the day most audio components had bass and treble controls…nowadays it is a pleasure to find them so accessible. It should always be this easy!

The many features of the RCR-40 all worked as they should but as always, I recommend you sit down with the radio and the manual to do the initial setup…you may miss some fine points if you don’t.  One cool feature is the two front panel USB charging jacks…perfect to charge two rechargeable USB devices overnight.

Overall the RCR-40 is easy to recommend. It combines good reception and great sound, a full feature set including dual ported stereo speakers and a remote control which is undeniably convenient. The fact that it does so at a much lower price than some competitors makes it a bargain. It has become my new family room radio for its great FM reception and sound and as a clock radio it goes far beyond the others I have seen. It would also make an excellent den or desktop radio.


Jay Allen

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