Sangean WR16/WR16SE AM/FM Table radio

The WR-16 and deluxe version WR-16SE continue Sangean’s long-respected line of wooden tabletop radios with upgraded technology. The radios are identical in all regards except the 45th Anniversary Special Edition features enhanced cosmetics so from here on I will refer to them as the WR-16SE since that is the version I have.

Although they tune like analog radios and feature a smooth tuning knob with an attractive analog dial scale they are in fact PLL digitally tuned. Outwardly similar to the WR-11, the WR-16SE offers digital tuning accuracy, Bluetooth connectivity to let you stream audio from your smart phone or other Bluetooth audio source, a USB charging jack to charge an external device, the ability to use internal or external AM and FM antennas, Aux In, Record Out and Headphone jacks and the ability to operate either on AC or 12 volts DC.

Following Sangean’s tradition with this series the WR-16SE features a bass port to augment low frequency response and a robust 6.5 watt amplifier and 3” speaker capable of producing prodigious amounts of audio for such a compact box. In fact, the WR-16SE sounds very similar to the earlier WR-11 but with improved features and tuner characteristics.

Features & Specifications:

AM 520 – 1710 KHz (10 KHz Tuning Steps)

FM 87.5 – 108 MHz (100 MHz Tuning Steps)

Bluetooth Capable

Tuning & Band Indicators

Output Power 6.5 Watts

Aux In/Record Out/Headphones/FM Ext Antenna/AM External Antenna (USA Only)

USB-A Output Jack to charge external devices

DC In: 12V (9-14 Volts at 1 Amp with center pin positive)

AC In: 120 Volt US/230 Volt Europe

Size: 9.45” x 4.69” x 6.61”

Weight 5lb. 3.8 oz.

The radio is supplied with a wire FM antenna which connects to a rear panel F connector…. Sangean also provides an F to PAL (European) antenna connector for greater flexibility. In strong signal areas you can forgo the external FM antenna and just use the  internal FM antenna although you will only be able to receive fairly strong signals this way…in typical situations you will want to use the supplied wire antenna and true FM enthusiasts can also connect a more advanced external FM antenna if desired. There is a standard AM ferrite rod inside the cabinet oriented front to back which provides good AM reception and again, there are terminals for an external AM antenna if needed. These are great amenities not found on all table radios.

Also unusual is that not only can the WR-16SE be powered directly from the AC line with its included AC cord, but there is also a 12 volt DC input jack to allow you to power the radio from an external 12 volt source such as in a car or boat or with a rechargeable battery…very nice.

Left: Large Speaker Magnet – Center: Bass Port – Right: Beefy Ferrite Rod Antenna

The WR-16SE feels solid and well-made and when you first turn it on you are likely to be surprised at the big sound that comes out of it for its size. In addition to the powerful amplifier and bass port there is judicious use of tonal shaping in the electronics which gives the radio a very pleasing sound quality. One limitation is that there are no tone controls so you might want to experiment with positioning…as you move the radio from one spot to the next you will find that its sound may change noticeably.

AM and FM reception are good for a table radio. AM has good sensitivity and is reasonably free of noise from the AC line. I was pleased that even some weaker out of town AM signals were received very well with little intrusion of AC line-borne noise. FM too was quite sensitive to weak signals although not quite as selective as the very best FM radios I compared it with it. But remember…table radios are not meant to be used for chasing down weak DX signals…you buy a table radio for its style and sound quality and the ability to run all day on AC power and in this category the Sangean is excellent.

If I had to cite any quibble it would be the lack of a tone control…that would be a welcome feature. But that one point aside the Sangean WR-16SE is as good or better than any radio in its class. And if you want slightly better reception, tone controls and every digital feature you can think of Sangean offers several upgrade options including their WR-22 and HDR-18 models…you can see them all on Amazon with the links below And you can read my full review on the HDR-16 here.

But at their prices the WR-16/WR-16SE are a real bargain.

See The WR-16SE At Amazon:    $101.27 as of this writing

See The WR-16 At Amazon:    $95.05 as of this writing

WR-22 With Digital Tuning     $140.46 as of this writing

Jay Allen

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