Richard’s initial impressions of the Sony XDR-S41D FM/DAB receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who recently attended a conference in Paris and picked up a Sony XDR-S41D. Richard writes:

The workshop closed around noon on Friday so I spent part of the afternoon walking around the nearby Darty consumer electronics and appliance store.

I wanted to buy a DAB/DAB+ portable receiver just to see what Europe was doing with digital radio. I bought a recently introduced Sony XDR-S41D DAB/DAB+/FM(with RDS) receiver for 79€ (about 11€ off list price).

I can use it in North America to listen to FM and take it with me when I visit Europe for DAB/DAB+ as well as FM.

It has reasonable sound from its 8-cm speaker and pretty good stereo sound on headphones. It has an automatic search mode on both DAB/DAB+ and FM and creates a list of available stations.

In my hotel room in the 13th arrondisement, I could receive 46 DAB+ stations. One of the stations is World Radio Paris (WRP) and they provide English language programming 24 hours per day from BBC World Service, Public Radio International, Radio France International, and Radio Canada International, among others as well as their own programming.

Another available station was Medi 1, which just dropped its shortwave transmissions. I recorded some of the WRP programming:

Audio Clip 1 (MP3)

Audio Clip 2 (MP3)

There is no line output from the receiver but I was able to use the earphone output and crank the volume to maximum to get an acceptable recording level without noticeable distortion.

Happy with my purchase and can’t wait to go back to Europe again, say to England, to try out DAB+ there.

I also spotted three receivers with SW capability on the shelves at the Darty store:

  • Panasonic RF-3500 for 45€
  • Brandt BR200D for 45€
  • Brandt BR120A for 15€

You don’t see SW receivers in North American consumer electronics stores anymore and I’ve not spotted any in airport duty free stores lately either.

I’ve been listening to the XDR-S41D at home and it sounds pretty good on FM, too, and does a good job of displaying the RDS information although a character or two is sometimes cut off the end of the data but that could be the fault of the station. Need to investigate that some more.

By the way, the radio doesn’t come with a case but I found (just before I was going to toss it) that it just fits in the magnetic-clasp case of one of those Air Canada amenities kits that they give you in business class (see photo below).

That’s the second Air Canada item I have recycled. They used to use full-ear headphones with disposable foam covers. They were a perfect fit for the deteriorating covers on my old Sony noise-cancelling headphones. I’ve since upgraded to Bose. 😉

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Richard! The Sony XDR-S41D sounds like a keeper for sure and is certainly compact enough to easily accompany you on travels to Europe. I was not aware of World Radio Paris either–I see they’re available via TuneIn, so I’ll add them to my WiFi radio station favorites!

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3 thoughts on “Richard’s initial impressions of the Sony XDR-S41D FM/DAB receiver

  1. Bill Lee

    See the other Muse brand analogues at the bottom of the Amazon.FR page

    such as: Muse M-05DS Radio Portable Multibandes 24 Euros

    And the Darty site mentioned above
    La force de ce modèle de radio nomade, c’est bien évidement son look unique et vintage qui lui donne subtilement un coté rétro tout en vous proposant le meilleur de la technologie actuelle. Pouvant capter facilement de nombreuses gammes d’ondes, elle vous permettra de profiter de vos stations radio préférées dans toutes les situations.
    Très portative, elle ne demande en effet que quelques piles pour fonctionner où vous le souhaitez.
    Parce que la réception radio n’est pas toujours fiable, sa large molette vous permet de régler manuellement la station, tandis qu’une plus petite vous permet d’augmenter la précision des ondes. Ainsi, vous bénéficiez d’une très bonne qualité d’écoute quel que soit le réseau.
    Et pour ceux qui souhaitent écouter leur musique, une entrée jack vous permet également de vous en servir comme d’une enceinte, en connectant un baladeur MP3 ou un smartphone.
    Un design épuré et inoubliable, et une qualité de son très intéressante, le tout embarqué dans un format tout mini, qui vous permet de l’emmener partout avec vous : aucun doute, la Muse M-068R est l’une des meilleures références de radio portative existant sur le marché.
    Jolie et pratique, elle vous fera renouer avec la joie simple d’écouter la radio “comme avant”.

    Coloris: Noir
    Type d’alimentation: Piles et Secteur
    Détail alimentation: 4 piles 1,5V de type D/R20/UM1.
    Type de son: Stéréo.
    Puissance:, 6 Watts
    Réception Tuner: Analogique
    Sélection Tuner: Analogique
    Gamme d’ondes: FM / PO / GO / OC
    Connectique: Prise AUX
    Prise casque: Oui
    Dimensions (L x H x P): 26,9cm x 15,3cm x 8,2cm
    Poids: 0,84 kg

    And everyone’s favourite culture store, FNAC

  2. Chris Wyatt

    It looks similar to the XDR-P1DBP. It’s a nice little radio, but unfortunately the sensitivity is poor. If Sony have improved the sensitivity in their more recent sets, I might be tempted to buy another Sony, but I ended up getting another Pure Move 2500, as the sensitivity is far superior.

    That issue with radio text being truncated is interesting. I had the same problem with the XDR-S1. I wonder if they have re-used the same buggy code?

    The XDR-P1DBP scrolling text functionality is a bit crap as well: it immediately jumps back to the start of the text when it reaches the end, giving you very little time to read the last word. Also, I have a feeling it might chop off the last letters as well, but I think this is due to variable length letters, so it’s probably a different bug to the XDR-S1. Sony seem to be a bit rubbish at writing scrolling text algorithms, but it’s a feature I’m not particularly fussed about, but still… it’s sloppy.

  3. Marc


    A visit to the Boulanger shop (not a bakery, but electronics store!) could be interesting too.

    They have this radio, which seems to use a chip for tuning, and you can hear the click when tuning from eg 197 to 198 khz … It is very sensitive for FM and AM, SW is of course difficult tuning …


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