Sangean WFR-39 Internet Radio

The WFR-39 is the latest WiFi Portable Internet Radio from Sangean and would appear to be an update to their well-known WFR-28 portable. It is much smaller than the WFR-28…about half the size, yet offers improved audio with an advanced technology speaker – sometimes the sound coming from this smallish box is amazing. Of course, Sangean’s deluxe table top WFR-32 offers even better audio and stereo speakers but the WFR-39 offers battery portability along with all the features of an up-to-date WiFi Internet streaming device. People sometimes ask me what the advantage is to using a dedicated internet radio as opposed to just listening on your phone or other smart device. The answer is two-fold – better sound and easier navigation among all the various sources of streaming content. Once you have used a radio like the WFR-39, listening on a phone seems less deluxe.

Features and Specifications:

FM-RBDS / DAB* / HD* Internet Radio

ATS (Auto Tuning System)

Station Presets 349 (99 FM / 250 iRadio)

Spotify Connect for Music Streaming

Cloud Music (Podcasts / Amazon Music / Deezer / Napster / Qobuz / TIDAL)

Media Center Supporting UPnP

Mobile App (AirMusic Control)

Built-In High-Quality Speaker

Scheduled Playing

Sleep Timers

NAP Alarm

Adjustable Dimmer

Weather Information

Smart Local Radio Preference Management

Built-In Rechargeable Battery

Green Charge Indicator/Red Low Battery Indicator

9 EQ Modes – Normal / Flat /Jazz /Rock / Soundtracks / Classical / Pop / News / My EQ (Adjustable Bass & Treble plus Loudness Compensation On/Off)

DC-Input Jack: USB-C Port 5V/2.4A

1/8” Stereo Headphone Jack

Weather/Financial Information Wake Up Mode

Size: Approx 6.5” x 1.5” x  4.24”/ 166 mm x 37 mm x 107 mm

*Note: HD and DAB modes do not exist in FM mode but as with other internet radios you can select from HD and DAB stations from the internet streaming list…in other words it is a sorting feature which allows you to access DAB and HD channels, not part of the FM tuner as in a traditional HD or DAB-capable receiver.

Setup Option Menus Are Easy To Navigate – You can start slow and add more as you please latet

Setting It Up: The WFR-39 comes with a USB Type C cable to be used for charging but the radio does not come with a USB charger, which means you have to provide your own. One note – the Owner’s Manual states that the charger must be capable of providing 2.4 Amps or the charger may be damaged. I’ve got a box full of USB power sources but only a few are rated at 2.4 Amps…most are far less. Therefore, it is important that you obtain a USB charger capable of supplying 2.4 Amps of current. I found two of these among the many chargers I have on hand and I also found a good one at a low price on Amazon:

Charger

The WFR-39 is the fourth Internet Radio I have evaluated and as such I found the initial setup to be similar to the previous units I’ve seen. The Owner’s Manual steps you through all the necessary steps which include setting the Menu Language, logging on to your Network WiFi connection, optionally setting up the AirMusic Control mobile app on your Android or iOS device and the MediaU.net web portal, then goes on to describe the various menus you will use to set up your location and station selections.

As with all such radios you can do as much or as little as you choose…the WFR-39 allows great flexibility to not only listen to Internet Radio stations but also to find Podcasts, sign on to music services such as Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Qobuz or Tidal, use the UPnP Server to browse and play files on any network-connected PC using Windows Media Player as well as other options for Mac and Linux. You can also listen to conventional FM radio. There are too many features to describe here but you can see it all in the WFR-39 Owner’s manual.

In Use: About the only complaint I have with the WFR-39 is its painfully slow boot-up time. After pressing Power On it takes about 30 seconds to emit audio if you were previously in FM mode. In streaming mode, the delay is 50 – 60 seconds which is longer than other Internet radios I have on hand, including Sangean’s own WFR-28 and WFR-32 which take about 30 seconds to play audio from a previously-tuned internet station. Interestingly, if the unit is connected to a USB power source the radio is in Standby mode and will turn on instantly, but if you then disconnect the USB source the radio will turn off and you have to start it again with that 30-60 second boot time.

Other than that, I found no surprises and soon had the WFR-39 playing Internet Stations from my local area, around the country and around the world. There are several ways to sort and choose stations including Location, Genre etc. and you can customize things exactly as you like and save your own list of Favorites for quick recall. It is also easy and intuitive to remotely control the radio using the AirMusic App, and the Mediayou.net website allows you to add custom stations and, in my case, to sync them between my WFR-32 and WFR-39. (The older WFR-28 uses an alternate web portal). I also like the “My EQ” option where, rather than choosing from among several presets such as Rock, Jazz or Classical you can simply use Bass and Treble controls to dial in the precise sound you want and enable or disable the Loudness Compensation. The sound of this compact unit is impressive.

FM Performance is excellent and will rate 4 ½ Stars in the FM Mega shootout. Pitted against several of my Five Star radios the WFR-39 usually ran neck and neck and was certainly as sensitive as any of them – only in a few instances did I find it just a hair less selective but I will say this was extremely subtle and, in most cases, it won’t be noticed. I would rate the FM tuner of the WFR-39 to be superb, as with many of today’s best DSP FM portable tuners. If an FM station is receivable in your location this radio will hear it.

Cool Charge Indicator – Green Indicates Charging – Red Indicates Low Battery

I will say though that manually tuning on FM is excruciatingly slow…this is not a radio you will enjoy manually band scanning with on FM. Luckily there is an easy work-around. Either use the Auto Scan to find stations and assign them to presets or manually set up presets covering the band. After that it is quick and easy to scan for other stations or access your list of Favorites and jump to any one of them instantly. Again, the good news is that you will find the actual reception and sound to be excellent.

Sound Quality is wonderful for such a small package. There are times when the audio pouring out of this little box will surprise you and I was often struck by the immediacy and apparently large size of the sound…there are few devices of this size that sound this good, due in part to a high-quality speaker. It will also reveal the vast differences in audio quality of various sources. Many streaming stations have nice clear full sound but some sound as if they are in a tin can and again, it is the source material that varies. No radio can do anything about this of course…it is the current state of streaming audio although I do note that things have improved markedly over the past several years. But good-sounding stations will sound good on this radio.

Conclusion: Remember that it is important to obtain a USB charger capable of 2.4 Amps output…if you have already have a USB charger its output will be printed on its label. Here is a link to one I bought from Amazon which works well:    Charger                                      

Sangean’s new WFR-39 is a welcome addition to their line of quality radios. As a WiFi Internet radio its feature set is as complete as I have seen and the Airmusic App and MediaU.net make for flexible customization and remote control. The internet features are all there, the FM tuner is excellent as is the sound. There’s a lot to like about the WFR-39.

Recommended!

See It At Amazon:

Jay Allen

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