The Tecsun ICR-110 packs AM/FM and digital recording/playback

Photo: BigBargainsOnline from eBay

In a comment, SWLing Post reader Owl mentions:

“Tecsun has just released ICR-110 which is as BIG as the PL-880 and seems to have the same speaker too.”

The ICR-110 can be found on eBay–click here to search. At $46.00 US shipped, I’m very tempted to purchase it. Though it lacks shortwave, it appears that it can record AM (MW) and FM broadcast stations in either MP3 or WAV formats. While I’ve yet to find a radio that can make a digital recording with acceptable fidelity (the CC Witness Plus being a notable exception) I would like to think the engineers at Tecsun have nailed it.

I have a friend who has recently purchased the ICR-110, and am looking forward to his review! (hint, hint)

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8 thoughts on “The Tecsun ICR-110 packs AM/FM and digital recording/playback

  1. z4vdBt

    I have a Tecsun ICR-100 and the passive radiator speaker sound is unbelievable. The new PL-880 also has these passive radiator speakers.

  2. Ante

    I think the problem with this radio is that you can only record the shows as you listen to them; in another words, you cannot pre-program radio recording. i wish I am wrong, because it’s a great looking radio.

    1. The Professor

      I think you can be pretty confident that this radio can only record shows as you tune them in, and it probably doesn’t have a recording timer. And while it’s certainly related to the ICR-100, the form factor is much different. It has more controlling buttons. And it has AM radio, which can be much more problematic to record with on board digital recording circuitry because that type of technology generally emits stray RF noise (a problem for DX reception) which requires some shielding that you probably won’t find on a device at this price.

      If you look at some Chinese websites you’ll see that there is a whole new generation of radios coming out in China now. And some of them include these new features:

      1. The orange on black digital display (you see it on the the new Eton sets).
      2. The dual speaker setup (better bass response) we first heard on the Meloson radios.
      3. An SDHC card slot of MP3 playback (and for occasionally recording as well).
      4. And most now use non-standard lithium rechargeable batteries like the 18650 or flat cell phone batteries (which are charged via USB)

      Tecsun, for example, has a small boombox like this, the A9. And there’s a new Tecsun mini, the A2, which also doubles as a flashlight. I imagine Kaito or Eton or C Crane will import some of these with English labeled controls. Right now there’s a lot of Chinese on these sets.

      What’s interesting to me is that the ICR-110 and 100 (and others) seem to have a laptop type DAC on board (Realtek AC97 Audio) which can be used as an soundcard with your PC. As I don’t read Chinese, I’m not sure what the full ramifications of this might be, except that they seem to indicate you can use these radios as computer speakers (via USB I believe).

      One other thing, the eBay auction page for the ICR-110 has what appears to be a real photo of the radio with the new orange on black display lit up. And perhaps it’s a bad picture, but it looks rather dull compared to the dynamic “illustrations” of the revamped radios offered by Eton. I do wonder if it might have people longing for the old black print on orange background displays Tecsun has been offering for the last few years on their radios. We’ll see.

      1. BSR

        Interesting observations. I was much more interested in this radio until I read this. I hadn’t even considered that you couldn’t schedule recordings! I was anticipating being able to record programs that are on while I’m sleeping or at work. YMMV, but if I need to BE there to push a button, I probably don’t need the recording capability.

        One other thought that occurred as I read your reply is that if more radios are coming with SD-card slots or USB ports, these could be used to upgrade firmware. With the kerfuffle over the PL-880 firmware recently it would be really cool if Tecsun or others could put a firmware update up that users could download and update their radio without having to send it somewhere. My Uniden HomePatrol scanner already does this, and I’m sure there are others.

        I do like the use of 18650 batteries — I already have/use those for flashlights and love the capacity. Those are fairly easy to find (although some are junk) so choose brands carefully. I’ve had good luck with AW.

        So I’ll wait for braver souls to actually buy/review the ICR-110 before I decide.

        1. The Professor

          If you want something that will record radio programs via a timer, then you might want to invest in a CC Witness. I have one and it works well. You won’t have much luck DXing with it, but it will record radio from any local station on whatever schedule you provide.

          If you only need to make unattended recordings of only one radio station at a time you might want to check out the Sangean PR-D8. Or you could run a patch cord from a radio tuned to your chosen radio station and plug it into something like a Sangean DAR-101, or into a computer running a program like Cybercorder.2000.

          And I agree with you that Tecsun oughtta implement firmware update capability via USB. That’s how my Sansa MP3 players operate, and I was somewhat saddened to learn that the PL-880 firmware update had to be done by removing the faceplate and using some hidden proprietary port.

          It’s my hope that eventually people will develop open source firmware for these Silicon Labs chips (like the Rockbox OS for MP3 players or the CDHK firmware project for Canon cameras).

          And why oh why hasn’t some enterprising engineer developed a dongle containing one of those magical Silicon Labs chips to create an inexpensive SDR? I’ve been wanting one since I first heard of those things.

          1. BSR

            I’ll check out the CC Witness & Sangean, thanks.

            A Rockbox-like environment for radios. Very cool! Combined with all the SDR software that’s being developed, that would open up a lot of possibilities. I hope to see it.

  3. The Professor

    I believe this radio only records MP3 files at 128kbps (probably only stereo unfortunately). The size is somewhere between the PL-310 and the PL-880. It also uses the same 18650 battery as the 880, and you need some room for that thing.

    And although the eBay page for this radio says it has a “tuning wheel,” I don’t see one in any of the photographs. A lot of the text on the face of the radio is in Chinese. I assume two of the buttons on the front of the radio will move you through the frequencies.


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