What’s the Best Retro DAB Radio in 2021?

Want to get the best quality retro DAB radio? This might be a good starting point. We’ve done all the hard work in finding the ones that are worth your time.

We love radio. And we love retro designs. This guide will take you over some of the web’s very best old-school radio sets that are packed with modern goodness.

Get ready for some serious nostalgia and cool DAB tech!

What we look for when comparing DAB radios

  • Authentic Design – There’s a lot of radios that are tagged as retro but are pretty awful to look at and don’t have an authentic 50 / 60s retro look to them. This guide will focus only on the best of class when it comes to design. Style. Class. Quality!
  • Build and component quality – Ever buy something that looks awesome and has great reviews online and then get some cheap, ‘plasticky’ products arrive at your door? Yeah, we have too. We always look at the quality of each product.
  • Sound quality – Often a subjective point but lets get the basics right. Decent volume, no buzzing or hissing, and preferably a nice deep good bass too.
  • Voice and music – Whether you’re into relaxing classics or blaring rock, your new retro DAB radio will need to keep up. We’ll look at how clear and crisp audio is, and how well spoken voices are produced.
  • DAB and DAB Plus – Although there’s no plans as of yet to move over to DAB+ in the UK, you might want to look into getting a DAB+ set to future-proof your new retro radio. We’ll let you know which sets are compatible!

#1 Roberts Revival RD70

Gorgeous retro design

The RD70 is the best retro DAB radio around at the moment, if you ask us! With a 50s-inspired design that hides away a lot of cool tech and features in a beautifully designed cabinet. Everything about the presentation oozes quality and sophistiocation. The design and actual quality of every facet of this radio is highly impressive!

The Roberts Rivival RD70 is part of a family of radios that vary in size, price and features. Find out more on Amazon.

One of the best things about this radio’s design, compared to a lot of the other retro radios, is that it doesn’t have any NON-RETRO stuff on display, like an LCD display, or modern buttons. That’s all sneakily hidden on the top panel.

Top quality

The firs thing you’ll notice when you open your new Roberts retro radio is it’s weighty, quality feel. There’s no cheap components here and the case is a solid wood cabinet that feels good and really benefits the sound quality.

There’s a good selection of colours you can choose from too. Whichever you go for, they’re all the same top quality wood, with a tough leather covering. This cover has been greatly improved since the days of the RD50 and won’t peel or come away.

A secret tech wonder

While the radio looks very old school from just about every angle, the top panel craftily conceals it’s secret tech. Here you’ll find a good sized full colour screen here and all the other inputs and controls. You can do all manner of things with the Roberts RD70, including streaming music from any compatible device, such as your phone.

you’ll likely get a surprise at how different this radio sounds to others on the market.

As for radio, you’ve got both DAB and DAB+, so it’s future-proofed for any move over to this new standard. There’s also an FM tuner to complete the line-up, and 10 presets to fill up with your favourite stations.

Is the sound up to scratch?

So we’ve focused on the quality of this little retro DAB radio, but what’s it sound like? The wooden case combined with a powerful audio driver and pre-amp make for a rich, high quality sound. It’s hard to describe but you’ll likely get a surprise at how different this radio sounds to others on the market.

In short, the sound is rich, deep and resonant – definitely not something that would have come out of a radio this size in the 50s. There’s also a graphic equalizer so you can customize things to get the sound just how you like it.

Is it hard to set up?

There’s nothing about the radio that’s hard to do really. Setup is quick and easy to get the DAB stations tuned in. It does the work for you. There’s a full set of instructions that are well written and answer any queries you have. The 4 AA batteries are easy to install (and last a long time).

Verdict: If you’re in the market for a new retro DAB radio and like the look of the Roberts RD70, you’ll absolutely love what you get here. The quality is seriousl next-level stuff and the sound is thankfully just as luxirious. If you don’t mind foring out the money for this radio, it is, by a long shot, the best retro radio on the market in 2021.

  • Love the weighty, quality feel
  • Fab 50s inspired design
  • Sound quality is rich and deep
  • Packed with modern tech
  • Colour screen is sharp and proves very useful
  • DAB/+ is very well implemented
  • Not the cheapest retro DAB radio
Check Current Amazon UK Price

#2 VQ Hepburn Mark II

Beautiful Emma Bridgewater design

This retro DAB radio has a gorgeous, typical EB design that’s available in a choice of patterns or just plain colours (See the full range on Amazon) to suit any taste. It’s an ideal pressie for a mum, sister, a lucky daughter or your other half. You can pick from the likes of floral patterns, love hearts or retro coloured dots! It’s a lovely bit of kit that will look amazing wherever it stands.

Quick-look Features

  • DAB & DAB+
  • FM
  • Bluetooth streaming
  • USB to charge your phone
  • 20w stereo speakers
  • 3 year manufacturers warranty

How’s the sound?

Aside from an impressive look, the Hepburn retro radio has a really big sound thanks to the 2 x 20w speakers that can either blast out your favourite stations, or play delicate sounds like classical music. The sound is crisp, deep and really high-quality.

Weighty build quality – is that a good thing?

One thing about this old style radio is that it’s got a really nice heavy, weighty and solid feel about it. I say nice, but if you’re looking for something super-portable, it might not be the right on for you. But the radio set is definitely built to last and we think it’s got a great quality weighty feel about it!

Any problems setting up and using?

No messing around here. Straight out of the box and down to business. This retro set is definitely not going to stress anyone out while setting it up. Tuning the DAB stations is completely automatic, and even the buttons have a simplistic design that makes for a very pleasant, easy-to-use experience.

What else do we love about this retro DAB?

Pairing your phone or tablet up with this radio is pretty straight forward. Once it’s done you can play anything you like through the radio and enjoy. Oh, we recommend you get the rechargeable battery with it so you can take it around the house with you!

Verdict: This retro DAB radio is hands down one of the most beautiful radios on the market. Behind it’s attractive exterior, it’s got everything you’d ever want from a good old style DAB. It’s easy to use and the sound quality is up there with he best. A really good quality DAB radio.

  • Choice of stylish retro designs from Emma Bridgewater
  • Great sound with clear bass and top end
  • Easy to set up
  • Bluetooth streaming works a treat
  • Solid, chunky design
  • Brilliant gift for a special lady
  • Bit heavy to be fully portable
  • Definitely not cheap
Check Current Amazon UK Price

#3 Goodmans 1960s Vintage Radio

Classic vintage radio design

Goodmans have nailed the design with this retro DAB radio! It’s available in a choice of colours and you should be able to find one that suits the other items you have. This radio conjures up some seriously nostalgic vibes thanks to it’s old school design and details like the mesh panel at the front. It oozes retro charm.

Quick features

  • DAB / DAB+ / FM
  • Aux in (no Bluetooth)
  • Rotary dial tuning & volume
  • 3 preset buttons
  • Mains or battery operated

Easy to use, simple buttons

All the controls are on the top with this wireless, and they’re all nice chunky old-school buttons. The tuning and volume controls are old-fashioned dials that add to the fun. The DAB is really easy to set up and you’re getting both DAB and DAB plus, so it’s all set for the future too.

Anyone should be up and running in under 10 minutes with the Goodmans Vintage.

What’s the build quality like, considering the cheap price?

Although the casing is plastic, the radio has a good quality feel to it and is extremely well made. Whether you’re buying for your work room, kitchen or plan to move it around the home,. it feels built to last. The carry handle is a nice touch and also very practical when you’re on the move.

The design quality is good and it’s also one of the lighter, more compact portable DAB radios we’ve seen. So if portability is on your list, the Goodmans might be a good choice!

Good budget price

A couple of compromises have been made with this retro DAB, such as the omission of Bluetooth streaming, that’s common with a lot of similar radios. If this is something that you don’t need, then it’s a non-issue! Apart

What we weren’t so keen on

A couple of niggles with this old fashioned style radio.

First up, the choice of 3 preset buttons only is a strange choice. While they work really well and have a nice retro look to them, more would have been appreciated!

There’s also no Bluetooth here, although you can hook up any device through the AUX port, if you splash out a few pounds and get a cable (if you’ve not got one lying around).

Finally, there’s no indicator as to what volume the radio was at when it was turned off, resulting in the odd ‘WOAH!’ when the music blares out occasionally.

Verdict: The Goodmans 60s vintage radio is really attractively designed, has good quality sound for the price. It’s a good radio for a fairly cheap price and the DAB works and sounds first class. No Bluetooth is a bit of a disappointment but not a deal breaker. Well worth a look!

  • Authentic 60s retro design
  • Extremely portable
  • Good quality sound
  • Very easy to use
  • Cheap price
  • Clear, easy-to-read screen
  • No Bluetooth
  • Only 3 presets
  • Doesn’t have volume indicator
Check Current Amazon UK Price

Personal DAB Radios – BUYER’S GUIDE

DAB and DAB+

DAB lets you hop straight to high quality digital radio stations on your lovely new retro DAB radio.

DAB+ is a newer standard broadcast and, while most stations are still in regular ‘old’ DAB, you can get some exclusive DAB+ stations if your radio supports it.

It makes sense, if you’re out to buy an old school radio with DAB to get a PLUS variety so you’re fully future-proofed.

Who’d have thought, a retro radio that’s all set for the future.

There’s more info here on DAB / + if you’re interested!

Top 5 things you’ll want in your new ‘old’ style retro radio!

  1. Bluetooth streaming – think you don’t need this? Wait till you try it. There’s nothing quite like pairing your phone up and then YOU control what’s on the radio. While there’s a HUGE range of DAB stations to pick from, sometimes it’s nice to call the shots yourself.
  2. Colour screen – a colour screen on a retro radio? Are we mad?! Maybe. But a sneakily concealed colour screen, like the Roberts radios have, means you can see exactly what radio station yo’re on, set things like alarms easily, adjust your presets and more.
  3. Headphone out – A good quality headphone connection to your new retro radio is great for listening to your radio when everyone else is trying to get some shut eye. Some of the best stuff is on at bedtime – so make sure you can tune in for some solo sessions after lights out.
  4. A good make – There’s a load of super cheap DAB retro radios around on places like Amazon at the minute. Are they any good? Maybe. But maybe they’re cutting corners somewhere. Don’t gamble. Get a decent brand and do your research.
  5. Look for the digital tick – This means that the retro radio you’re buying has been tested and approved and is both future proof and fit for purpose. It gives you a bit more peach of mind that your radio is the right one to get. Read more about the Digital Tick here.

Nod off without leaving the radio on all night

Relaxing with your retro radio is a great way to unwind at the end of the day that doesn’t involve staring at another screen. If you pick an old style radio with a sleep timer, you can simply set the timer to turn off the radio after a certain time and not worry about leaving your radio playing all night.

Wooden cabinets can make all the difference

There’s a sound. A certain kind of sound. It’s warm, it’s deep. If you can find a good retro DAB radio with a full bodied wooden cabinet, it can make a big different ot the sound quality. They don’t have to be huge either. Radios like the Roberts retro range have these and they sound wonderful.

Warning: These Things will RUIN your retro DAB radio experience!

What do you need to be on the look out for?

  • Tinny sound –
  • Cheap casing –
  • Limited presets –
  • Poor instructions –
  • Difficult setup –
  • Fragile aerial

Thanks for checking out our little guide on the best retro dab radio. If there’s anything you need help on, please get in touch, or use the comments section. We check these regularly and will get back to you ASAP. Good luck picking the best old school DAB and enjoying some classic tunes!

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