Reader Survey: Comparing the Tecsun PL-680 and PL-660 on medium wave (AM)


[Update: Please note that this survey has been closed, but the audio samples–labeled Radio A and Radio B–will remain to allow others the opportunity to make an evaluation prior to reading the PL-680 review.]

[Update 2: The PL-680 review and readers’ survey results have now been posted! Check it out here.]

The results from the PL-680/PL-660 reader surveys (here and here) have been pouring in! As of this posting, well over 200 readers have participated by listening to and evaluating the two receiver comparison surveys. Thank you!

Yesterday evening, I spent time comparing the Tecsun PL-660 and PL-680 with medium wave reception in mind. I recorded dozens of samples and picked four broadcast recordings I felt best represented receiver performance. Note that this will be my final survey before I post the PL-680 review later this week.

If you’re not familiar with these readers surveys, please read our first post, as it contains all of the vital info and disclaimers.

To participate in this survey, start by simply listening, then fill out the form that follows with your choice of “Best Radio” for each broadcast. All of these medium wave samples were recorded in the evening hours, which I believe is more indicative of receiver sensitivity, selectivity and AGC. Notice that I indicate distance to target station (as the crow flies).

Audio Samples

AM_750_WSB_logo750 AM – WSB Atlanta, Georgia, USA (171 mi/275 km)

Radio A

Radio B

CFZM740 AM – CFZM Toronto, Canada (580 mi/933 km)

Radio A

Radio B

940WMAC940 AM – WMAC Macon, Georgia, USA (204 mi/328 km)

Radio A

Radio B

WLW-Logo700 AM – WLW Cincinnati, OH, USA (271 mi/436 km)

Radio A

Radio B

Submit your response

Click here to use our response form to vote on your favorites, or simply use the form embedded below:

I’ll leave all PL-660/PL-680 comparison surveys open for evaluation until I publish the Tecsun PL-680 review.

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6 thoughts on “Reader Survey: Comparing the Tecsun PL-680 and PL-660 on medium wave (AM)

  1. 13DKA

    I’m sorry if I destroy any illusions and ambitions regarding the AM band on the PL-660/680 but after finding the AM reception on the PL-660 rather poor I compared it with my old Grundig Satellit 400 (not known to be a particularly good AM BC receiver) and my “Becker”-made car radio. Long story short – the results were devastating for the Tecsun.

    I have one fav test station (probably the last AM radio station transmitting from a pirate radio ship, but nowadays transmitting legally from the ship moored in a harbor in The Netherlands) – “Radio Seagull” on 1602 kHz. Comparing reception with the old Satellit 400 turned out that the Satellit made the station clearly audible on an early evening and I could actually enjoy the music played, while the PL-660 did let me notice that something is on that channel but I couldn’t pick up anything intelligible. A later comparison with my car radio on a QRM-/QRN- noise-free spot at the North Sea was even more grossly bad for the Tecsun. While the Becker radio delivered an almost noise-free “hi-fi” signal from that station, the Grundig brought me a still intelligible but noisy signal and the PL-660 picked up… absolutely nothing, no matter how high I held it or in what compass heading I turned it. Now that I got the second example of an AM-deaf PL-660 I repeated the test – with the same result. If you consider that the PL-680 is said to be even worse than the PL-660, I wouldn’t waste a thought on AM on that rig. It will be OK for your local clearchannel station and you can forget it for anything else.

  2. John

    I was hoping that this radio would utilize DSP and one of the Silicon Labs DSP Radio chips. From what I have heard so far, it does not sound like it. Did they at least use the speaker from the PL-880?

    1. Thomas Post author

      Sadly, John, they did not. BUT–the speaker is an improvement over that of the PL-660, in my opinion. It may be the same speaker, but perhaps the case itself lends to better bass tones. I like the PL-680 speaker–just not as good as that of the PL-880 or ATS-909X.


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