Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Grundig Mini 300

Well, curiosity got the better of me and I
bought that ubiquitous Grundig mini 300 radio.
It tested well in a Radio Shack parking lot,
so what the hey..

I love the manual tuning with digital readout.
The speed is much better than digital, and the
noise is lower than it would be as a cheap PLL.

True stereo comes out the headphone jack...great!

I tried a mini 300 3-4 yrs ago and was not impressed
at all. But this is a different beast.

FM: high sensitivity, but there is overloading and
worse sensitivity from 88-90 MHz. Pushing the
antenna down clobbers things. Pushing it partway
down and pointing it around works wonders.
The tuning is a little touchy. The fidelity is very
good, but oddly crunchy sometimes. It seems
the bass causes intermod. distortions when it's
heavy. Not too bad though. This is a great rural
FM radio, and a good suburban or urban, if you
diddle the antenna about. Think horizontal.

AM: Very good sensitivity at long range, very
nice sound, selectivity a bit wide, but tuning
feels nice and smooth for this band. Note:
for low-power daytime AM, lift the whip:
it is used, and really fills in those weak ones
nearby! Good nulling at night, but remember
to tuck the whip antenna down.
Hooking up a 12 ft wire antenna washed in a lot
of shortwave image noise. Don't bother with that
for AM. Would be great with a tuned loop, of course.
Anything with quick tuning would.

Shortwave: This is where the tuning spread, the
squared-off selectivity, and a resistance to swamping
really make for a wonderful tuning experience, a lot
like the pocket 9-band Sony I had once. Really awesome.
Clipping on a 12-ft indoor wire helped a lot above
10 MHz. No swamping. Some swamping with a 50ft
outdoor antenna, but it will depend on the night.
Extraordinary compared to its grungy performance
3 yrs ago. Fairly amazing for the price.

--It has a clock, and wake-to-music alarm.
Since the controls are as solid and simple
as the S350, I would trust and enjoy this
for travel alarm use. The speaker has no
bass, obviously, but it very loud and clear.
Gramps would have no problem listening
to the ball game. The earbuds that come
with it are not much on the low end,
but are smooth and have an easy high-end
rolloff....very low-fatigue, especially for
AM and SW.

Overall, this is a sweet radio for $30, and
very solid. The AM is very nice and sensitive,
The FM is mashed and touchy but curable
at the low end, the FM fidelity is good and stereo,
and the shortwave is super for a pocket radio.
Gotta love that quick tuning and low noise.

Thumbs up!

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