Sangean hdt-1x - review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-23-2009, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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SANGEAN HDT-1X - REVIEW

For FM, which is all that I use this tuner for, I would give this receiver an excellent rating. I tested it against my Marantz THX home-theater - AM/FM receiver and my old Phillips Dolby Pro-Logic home-theater AM/FM receiver, using the same external FM antenna. The Sangean HDT-1X (with the 0.3 firmware) is significantly more sensitive. I'm pulling in about 35 more stations that the other receiver's don't even see. That surprised me. Sound quality is as good or better. I only have about 5 stations in my area that are currently broadcasting in HD)) and they all sound very good. It really is "near CD" quality with no crackling or hissing whatsoever. And this receiver does a very good job on the analog stations as well.

I looked at the Sony and the Insignia component tuners and this Sangean is far better overall; well worth the extra cost.

It runs very cool; controls are perfectly adequate and are intuitively designed. The signal meter is very helpful; The remote is very nice and works well from 20ft. away through a smoke-glass enclosure.

On HD)) stations, in order to receive an HD)) signal, the strength must be steady at no less than 16 bars (the scale goes up to 18 bars) on the signal meter. If not, the receiver will automatically revert to analog FM. I have several long-distance HD)) stations on which the receiver doesn't even know that they're HD)) stations, but it does do an excellent job at bringing them in, in analog.

The only problem I had with it was that the optical-port was not of the best quality - the door and a small metal bracket broke off on me the first time I tried to plug in the optical cable. All my other components have optical ports and I've never had a door break on me. So, the unit still works, but the optical cable doesn't "lock-in" like it should. I have to be careful when I move the unit or the cabinet; but, as long as it's not moved it works perfectly.

I contacted Sangean via email and they eventually agreed to replace the unit and pay for shipping, but I'll have to be without my unit for a week or so while I wait for them to send me a new unit. Email is probably not the best way to corresspond with Sangean; it takes them 3 - 5 days to respond (each time) and I had to get my issue escalated before I was able to reach a fairly
satisfactory solution...


Great qualities and features:
  1. Excellent FM sensitivity;
  2. Very cool running;
  3. Dimmable LCD display, which turns off when in "standby" mode;
  4. Full-sized, well-designed remote-control with every controllable function included (even setting the time);
  5. Good signal-meter;
  6. Intuitive functionality - presets, etc.;
  7. It keeps it's presets during power-failures - I've had 2 since I purchased mine...;
  8. It has a real "screw-on" F-connector - not a "push-on" connector;
  9. The main display is very good, and has just about everything you need to see, including a stereo indicator, scrolling RDS, and an HD)) indicator;
  10. Many alternate displays are available, with no time-out; including CNR (carrier-to-noise ration in db's), 18-step Signal-strength meter,
  11. HD signal-compression type (MP1, etc...), graphic equalizer, firmware and chipset versions, digital clock, etc...
  12. Internal power-supply;
  13. Forced-analog mode;
  14. Split-audio (digital vs. analog for comparison - left/right speakers, respectively) mode;
Improvements:
  1. The contrast adjustment is kind of strange. It gradually turns the display a pinkish color as it's adjusted higher. So, it's more of a color adjustment than a contrast adjustment. I keep mine at zero, which is full-blue and white color. But, this is a personal preference type of thing.
  2. Of course, the quality of the optical-port should be improved. The cable should almost snap-in and should require some extra strength to pull out (with some resistance - so that it stays put snugly), when the time comes...
  3. Sometimes I have to hit a preset button more than once to go to a certain preset; sometimes not. It's just a little quirky thing...
  4. Some folks may appreciate having a "batterybackup" for the clock, which does not hold accurately during a power-failure. Personally, I don't expect an FM tuner to have a battery-backup on the clock... and none of my other half--dozen FM tuner's even have a clock...
  5. If it had the ability to permanently freeze only the clock display during "standby" mode, I would like to set it up to do that...
  6. It would be useful to me to have double the number of presets; but 20 is not too bad - combined 10 on FM1 and another 10 on FM2.
  7. It would be great to have a dial instead of rocker-switches for manual tuning.


Additional links for more information and technical reviews:
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-26-2009, 12:16 AM
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My HDT-1 has been fine, and highly recommend it. I also recommend the Sony, but the fact that it loses memory as soon as it loses power is more than annoying. Between the two, I'd go with the Sangean, if price were similar. I have never had to reset my Sangean.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-26-2009, 06:04 AM
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I guess I'm fortunate. I've had no problems with either the HDT1 or the HDT-1X Sangean tuners and I received an early release unit. My Sony Tuner is also excellent and while it gets warm it never gets hot.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-26-2009, 12:51 PM
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It sounds like the big advantage the HDT-1X has over the Sony is a strength meter that isn't nearly worthless. 18 bars!

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-27-2009, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti View Post

The HDT-1X does offer a very useful carrier-to-noise ratio display on HD. You can use it to accurately point an antenna. Because it includes the effects of multipath and adjacent-channel interference, it is much better than an ordinary signal-strength display.

See, this is all I want. The Sony is great but that so-called meter is damn misleading. I can have an FM signal at three bars (meaning all of them) and the HD will still be fading in and out with no change on the meter. What are you supposed to do? Adjusting the antenna is hard because it's five seconds before you find out if you've helped or made things worse.

It's just as bad with AM HD. I have Radio Disney at all three bars and the stereo signal fades in and out with no indication on the display that anything bad is happening.

I think the strength meter is ignoring signal quality and just displaying the strength of whatever mess it's receiving like a traditional analog receiver. If you have a crunchy mutlipathed FM signal or powerful interference from your computer on AM, it ignorantly displays that as a "strong" signal.

In my opinion when the HD indicator turns on,. the meter should only measure digital aspects of the signal like packet loss, error correction and so on. That's one of the advantages of a digital signal -- you can measure the quality of the signal with great precision and ignore the strength of whatever interference the receiver might be picking up along with it.

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post #6 of 17 Old 03-27-2009, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti View Post

When I'm having trouble receiving HD, I check each adjacent channel to see what antenna position minimizes interference. Often it's easy to null an adjacent signal. All you need is one free adjacent channel to receive HD.

And if you're not getting adjacent channel interference?

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-30-2009, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Brian,

Thanks for contributing.

I picked the Sangean as an overall best fit for me. I'm not against Sony or anything. Although I don't buy their stereo components any more because they tend to run hot and all the components I've ever owned in that brand have failed after a few years use.

I tend to favor Panasonic over Sony, as a general brand choice. I do have a Trinitron TV that's very dependable and would buy their TV's again if they had the best picture.

I don't own the Sony, but I may pick one up and try it out. It seems like a decent deal, pricewise, if it doesn't burn out prematurely. I've seen just as many side-by-side reviews that state that tuner sensitivity in the Sangean is at least as good or better than the Sony... One put it just under one of the Magnum Dynalab models in a seat-of-the-pants, side-by-side, sensitivity test.

I've got fairly recent 0.3 firmware on mine, and I really haven't noticed any bugs. Like I said the only real defect I've noticed is the quality of the optical port itself. And it's just the physical plastic, the port actually works fine. I've never had to re-boot my unit yet. I've had it for about 3 months and use it most of the day, every day. I've been through a couple of power failures and the unit seems to perform well. Only the clock is lost, which is about the same as my coffee-maker, etc... I did have one very quick power-glitch, where the clock was not lost, that surprised me...

The heat-issues, no force-analog, screen dimming issue, and no optical-out, were some of the deal-breaker's for me on the Sony.

I really like the Carrier-to-noise ratio meter on the Sangean. It's very useful, but appears to only work in HD)) mode on my unit. I think the regular meter is also useful. In a relative way, I use it to compare signal-strength of stations at different times of the day. Both of these have helped me a great deal with determining antenna height, and position.

I went with a center-fire, omni-directional, half-wave dipole; up about 35 feet in the air. I like not having to rotate the antenna, although, less signal than a directional. No pre-amp, 60 +/- ft. of LMR-400-75 coax. I get every significant station within a 40-60 mile radius, which, in my location, is about 60+ stations.

Which 10 db pre-amp are you using?


- DFGY
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-30-2009, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti View Post

You'll be able to receive HD as long as the signal is strong enough (two or more bars on the Sony).

WRONG. My local classical station here displays a solid three bars yet their HD signal fades in and out all day.

The bars clearly measure the analog signal, not the digital signal.

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post #9 of 17 Old 03-30-2009, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti View Post

I've measured both tuners in the lab and I've compared them in controlled A/B tests on the air. For moderately weak but listenable mono signals, the sensitivities are similar, within a dB or two of each other. For very weak mono signals (DXing), the Sony is considerably more sensitive due to its threshold extension. For stereo signals, the Sony is vastly more sensitive (by 15-20 dB) due to its adaptive noise reduction.

I use a homebrew 10-dB FM preamp. Be careful using any more gain, especially with the Sangean, which can severely overload on strong signals.

Brian

Thanks Brian,

Sounds like the Sony is so good on Analog FM that it's worth having both. I like your setup there that you showed on your link above.

It's too bad that someone hasn't come out with "the ultimate" AM/FM/HD radio that would incorporate all the best features of both the Sony and the Sangean. I guess we'll have to wait for that

- DFGY
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-31-2009, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k6sti View Post

I mentioned only the usual reason a strong HD signal fails to decode, which is adjacent-channel interference, something few people check for. There are other, less likely possibilities. If you'd like to consistently receive that station in HD, I'd be happy to discuss the details if you e-mail me. However, you'll have to drop the bold one-liners if you want my help.

Sorry, the bold capitals was unnecessary.

The only thing I hear tuning up and down from the station on the Sony is the station's analog signal (weaker of course) so it's not adjacent channel interference. I thought the Sony had excellent selectivity. Is that not true?

Since I'm in a bad reception area and the analog signal is a solid three bars, I doubt there's anything I can do.

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post #11 of 17 Old 04-01-2009, 11:27 AM
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Nah, it's the building I work in. Nothing I can do about that.

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post #12 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 08:50 AM
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Just powered up a new unit and saw this firmware version. Is there a thread that documents any bug fixes or feature enhancements with this version? Info on this radio is scattered across a bunch of threads.

Thanks!
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hphase View Post

Just powered up a new unit and saw this firmware version. Is there a thread that documents any bug fixes or feature enhancements with this version? Info on this radio is scattered across a bunch of threads.

Thanks!

http://ham-radio.com/k6sti/

This site only mentions up to 0.3, and I can't find any information on the Sangean site about firmware upgrades. I imagine you'll have to write them and ask what's available. No significant mods to the Sangean as far as I'm aware, though there are quite a few for the Sony XDR-F1HD.

Give it a listen for a few days and let us know what you think of it. Wish I knew what the firmware revision involved. Someone needs to bump K6STI since he's done by far the most comprehensive testing and review that I know of.
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-28-2010, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamonWHill View Post

http://ham-radio.com/k6sti/

This site only mentions up to 0.3, and I can't find any information on the Sangean site about firmware upgrades. I imagine you'll have to write them and ask what's available. No significant mods to the Sangean as far as I'm aware, though there are quite a few for the Sony XDR-F1HD.

Give it a listen for a few days and let us know what you think of it. Wish I knew what the firmware revision involved. Someone needs to bump K6STI since he's done by far the most comprehensive testing and review that I know of.

I have firmware v.2 on my original HDT-1x purchased a couple of years ago and wish to get it updated to latest firmware fixes. I too would like to know what is fixed with the latest firmware and if Sangean will allow us to do it our selves or will they do it for free. Anyone know if the latest firmware fixes the AM de-emphasis curve error? Thank You!

Words of wisdom, "The more you know, the more you know that you don't know."
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 08:43 AM
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Defective unit?
I've connected a Sangean 1X to my reciever. It struggles to lock in to an HD signal, then weakens, and goes silent. No analog plays (I've turned the 'analog on' and 'analog off' in the setup, as well as tried to reset.) No luck

Is this a defective unit? I should be able to recieve analog signals as clearly as I do on my reciever using the same Terk in-home antenna, right?
ANy ideas/thoughts appreciated.
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-06-2010, 01:54 PM
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Definitely doesn't sound right... analog reception may be slightly different than other receivers given the nature of analog, but it shouldn't be like one works and one doesn't.

Dumb question-- did you hook up the antenna?
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post #17 of 17 Old 04-06-2010, 03:00 PM
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Yeah, got the antenna, though it did take me an hour to realize the amp that powers my front 3 was not triggered on by this new component (I couldn't figure out why sound was only coming out the surrounds!)
I guess it is defective. Thanks though.
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