Sangean WR-12BT Analog AM/FM Stereo Bluetooth Radio
The WR-12-BT has been around since 2012 but just recently came to my attention (in 2020) thanks to a reader who asked what I thought of it. In fact, I was unaware that Sangean still has a range of ten analog radios in their catalog with the WR-12-BT being an interesting model with FM stereo, three channels of amplification (left, right and woofer) along with Bluetooth technology to let the radio act as a great sounding stereo speaker for your BT audio sources. Sangean also offers the WR-12 which is the same but without Bluetooth.
Lighted Analog Tuning Dial with adjustable brightness and 3 sliding station markers
LED Tuning Indicator
FM Stereo Indicator
Three Speakers (Left, Right & Woofer)
Bass & Treble Controls
Acoustically Tuned Wooden Cabinet/Ported
Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
FM Internal Antenna or External Connector with supplied wire antenna
AM Internal Antenna with External Antenna Connections (Screw Terminals)
Size: 11.61″ W x 4.96″ H x 7.99″ D
Weight: 9lb. 4.2 oz
Unpacking and setting up the radio was straight-forward. Plug the AC line cord into the rear panel and either set the FM Ant switch to Internal or switch it to External and use the supplied wire antenna or another external FM antenna. There is a Power Switch on the rear panel which I chose to leave on all the time so I could control the radio with its front panel Power switch. I don’t know why there is a redundant power switch on the back panel other than to disable the radio for some reason but most users will leave it on as I did so the radio will operate normally with the usual front panel power button. There is a small rotary control shaft on the back which adjusts the dial lighting from full on to off.
Tuning on both AM and FM were “refreshingly analog” meaning the radio tunes smoothly with no increments or hopping from one frequency to the next. Fine Tuning was easy and natural. If I could wish for anything it would be for the Tuning Knob to be a little easier to turn…it’s a bit on the stiff side.
The Bass and Treble controls can be recessed into the front panel once set to keep them out of the way…push to release them for adjustment. I tended to leave the Treble all the way up with the Bass approximately centered or a little higher…this radio has a decidedly warm sound to it and these settings were the most natural sounding to me. But quibbles like this aside, this is one fine sounding table radio. I have always found Sangean’s wooden table radios to have pleasing audio but the WR-12BT is more powerful and room-filling than the slightly smaller mono table radios I have compared it with – it actually employs a third channel of amplification to drive its ported woofer which is unusual in a one-piece table radio. The W12-BT can pump out lots of sound without strain compared with most other radios…if sound quality and the ability to play fairly loudly in a larger space are important to you, I predict that you are going to love this radio. And if it happens to be sitting right in front of you, such as on a desk, the stereo effect is real and switching between Stereo and Mono FM will reveal how enjoyable the stereo effect is. By the way it is nice to have a Mono FM setting to help when FM reception is noisy…this is a feature missing on many of today’s radios. Of course, the WR-12BT is one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers I have heard…pair it with your phone or tablet and you have a great jukebox with enough guts to rock you. And its Auxiliary Audio Input makes it even more flexible.
Conclusion: It’s great to be reviewing a fully analog radio here in 2020…tuning is smooth and natural and overall operation is simple. AM and FM reception are typical of most tabletop radios – your usual stations will come in just fine and sound great, but this is not a radio to grab for DXing hard to receive distant stations. But even there it offers external antenna inputs for both AM and FM so you can expand its receiving capabilities if you want to. There are some radios that can pull in more distant AM and FM stations and can separate crowded FM stations better, but none sound as good as the WR-12BT. Mine is in my den/office and it works well there.
See It At Amazon ($160.22 as of this writing)
WR-12 (Same but without Bluetooth) ($150.91 as of this writing)