"Great sound, high-quality clock-radio"4.5 starson by jimmy4vb
Pros: Easy to set up, deep rich bass. Quick digital tuner. High-quality construction. Solid feel. Combined AM/FM presets.
Cons: Preset order is not under user control. Use of mode knob is confusing.
Summary: I have been in the market for a bathroom clock/radio to replace a unit we have used for over 10 years. My wife and children all listen to different stations, so a digital tuner is a must. I like a rich, full sound, so many of the clock/radios on the market don't measure up.
Many reviews claimed the Sony ICF-S79 to be what I wanted, but that unit has absolutely no low-end and we quickly returned it.
I have only had the Solo for a week, so I cannot report on its long-term operation. Upon receiving the unit, I was surprised by the weight (very solid) and size (a bit larger than expected). But once I turned it on, I was immediately impressed by its sound reproduction.
The radio is very easy to set up, although establishing the presets is non-intuitive and requires a quick scan of the user manual. Once understood, I had it programmed and running in less than two minutes. An unexpected plus is the ability to include both AM and FM presets in the same set (there is only ONE set of presets). A bit of an oddity is that the presets get assigned by the radio, not by you, and go in the order that they are saved. If you want your presets in a specific order and miss a station, adding it later will put it at the end. The only way to fix this is to remove All presets and start over. Since setting presets is relatively easy, this is not a show-stopper.
The unit includes a bass and treble control (+/-5) as well as brightness (0-20), which can be manually adjusted to an almost off condition. The flat tone settings are quite acceptable, especially in a room the size of a bathroom. However, experimenting with the bass control proved this unit can provide a powerful low end which gives it a richer sound than some Wave radios I have heard.
I'll admit to continued difficulty with the "mode" control among family members. The unit has three knobs that are twisted left or right and pushed to select. The largest is the on/off volume and its use is obvious. The tuning knob is also easy to use and understand. The mode knob continually causes my family to switch from "preset" mode to "AM" or "FM" manual tuning mode. When the unit is on, simply twisting the mode knob will spring it into action, moving through Presets, FM, AM, and configuration settings. I have found it too easy to accidentally change from "preset mode" to "manual FM tuning mode" without the user being aware of what they have done. This will likely disappear once the family becomes more familiar with it and stops touching that knob.
I am very impressed with the speed at which the radio changes stations when using the tuning knob in preset mode. I have 16 presets, and spinning the tuning knob quickly through them allows for a very rapid scan of what's playing on all stations.
The radio has a sleep mode and dual-alarm function, but since we use it in the bathroom, I cannot report on the those functions.
As you can probably tell, I am an early fan of this radio. It appears very well constructed and its rich audio would be suited to most any room in the house. If it provides the longevity I expect from a Boston Acoustic product, this radio is a sure winner.