Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Armin Sander, who shares a link to the Sangean Europe website where they’ve posted details about the upcoming Sangean ATS-909X2 (click here to read our previous post about this model).
Sangean Europe has announced the price as €329.00 with two color options of “white” and “black.” The “black” model almost appears steel or light charcoal in color based on the product images.
They are taking pre-orders with an expected delivery of December 15, 2020.
They also posted the following product description and list of features::
The Discover 909X is the perfect world band radio to roam the globe with. The world is brought together via radio since a long time; enjoy it with the Discover 909X. Never forget your favorite radio stations because of the alpha-numeric memory system. The built-in 3″ speaker lets you conveniently listen anywhere. You can also listen to the Discover 909X using the 3.5mm headphone jack and the included earbuds. It provides performance and features generally found in the more expensive table top communication receivers into a very compact and stylish package. For the monitoring professional who’s on the go, the Discover 909X is the ideal choice! Featuring wide-band AM/FM coverage from long wave, medium wave, short wave. The DSP comes as standard (Digital Signal Processing) with the unit and includes a number of features which can significantly enhance reception through improved interference rejection. For everyday portable operation, use four “AA” batteries (not included). For operation from your home, choose the supplied AC-AC power adapter.
** 10 New Improved Features **
1. Air band
2. FM Soft mute
3. RDS PTY and RT
4. MENU and INFO setting
5. Auto Bandwidth Control
6. Bigger LCD
7. 3 times the preset quantity
8. Dimmer LCD back light and fade IN/OUT
9. 10Hz tuning step of SSB
10. Smart charger (single battery detection)
Thank you again for the tip, Armin! We’ll continue to post updates as they become available.
Click here to check out the Sangean ATS-909X2 at Sangean Europe.
I purchased this radio from Sangean Europe and I am totally disappointed. I know that my radio is from the first production batch and I really hope that Sangean will address the following issues:
1. When I switch from FM to MW/LW/SW, I lose reception completely on these bands. However, FM works as expected, regardless from which band I switch back to it. To restore reception on the affected bands, I have to turn off the radio for a few seconds.
2. Lots of tones across all the bands, excepting FM. In fact, every receivable station has at least a minor tone. I can’t judge if these tones are interferences coming from internal components, such as the display, or there are oscillators related. If you are interested I can record some audio samples. Video is not possible because I’m visually impaired.
3. The following one is not so important: The upper part of the LW is totally deaf. I can’t receive anything above 300 khz. Tried some non-directional beacons from the nearest airport, but no luck. I also tried to induce some interference from my mobile phone, but I can’t generate any noise. Very interesting…
4. Frequency calibration is off by 2 khz. For example a station on 540 khz sounds centered at 542.
5. I noticed a huge sensitivity drop on MW/LW (SW not tested yet) when the batteries reach the half of their capacity. I suspected that it was bad propagation, but tested this with another radio I have and turns out I was wrong. When batteries are full, the sensitivity is ok. When the batteries are a bit discharged, sensitivity on MW/LW begins to drop. I can admit that the sensitivity is correlated with battery voltage, but on this radio the dropping curve is unusually aggressive.
That’s all for now. This is not a review. These are my first personal observations on the new ATS 909×2. I think I should return the radio for a product exchange and try another unit after a few months or maybe even for a refund, I still have not decided yet.
Sorry for my bad English. Happy New Year!
Thank you for sharing this, Stefan. Please keep us informed as you explore the ATS-909X2 further. It will be interesting to see if models sold in North America exhibit the same issues.
Please share your findings and thank you.
just a small update: I am pretty confident to say that most tones across the bands are not generated by internal components. There are some birdies here and there, especially when I touch the screen, but these are acceptable. I suspect that it is something wrong with signal demodulation. I can get that tone even on strong local stations, while the sensitivity is set to minimum.
Below are two audio samples: one demonstrating that annoying tone on MW (LW, SW and air band are also affected), and another one showing a firmware bug which causes reception to disappear when I switch from FM to other bands, until I restart the radio. Note that first time I had to restart the radio two times to restore reception.
The environment where I made these recordings is very noisy, but I tried the radio outside and, even if reception is much better, that tone on the affected bands is always present.
If you have other questions, ideas for testing, let me know. I informed Sangean Europe about these issues, along with the deafness on LW above 300 KHZ, but no response yet.
Wow. Stefan, thank you for sharing this. I hope that these issues are limited to your radio and you can have it replaced. It would be a shame if these are present in all of the units. The het sound in the AM audio alone would be incredibly annoying. If all units have these issues, Sangean did not do properly test the radio before sending them to production.
Please keep us informed.
Stefan, I hope you don’t mind, but I edited your two sets of comments together as a post so it would be visible to more readers. I also embedded your audio samples. Thanks so much and thanks for continuing to share your updates.
Here’s the post:
Thanks for turning my comments into an useful post! the discussion continues at the link you provided.
In the last week I bought and returned the Sangean ATS-909x, couple of issues bugged me.
No filter adjustment for SSB.
SSB audio via headphones far too quiet making DX listening difficult. Yes I tried other headphones.
AM sound quality poor due to too narrow filter on the wide setting and the narrow filter is ridiculously narrow.
Sounds much better on SSB than the Tecsun DSP radios which in my opinion are a disgrace, they didn’t fix the distortion and poor sound quality on SSB on the 990x.
While the SSB sound quality is fantastic on stronger signals on the Sangean the audio level is just too low via the headphone jack, better via the speaker but still not fantastic.
I returned the 909x to Amazon for a full refund because these issues were bad enough for me and it’s just not worth the money.
330 Euro’s for the 909×2 ? sangean have got to be joking, there’s no way the radio is worth this after a very minor update.
For the money the PL-680 is a really good radio, sounds great on SSB too. In fact my little Degen DE-1103 for the money is a really good radio too but the PL-680 is best of the lot for the money and performance.
Hope they addressed the deafness of the radio when using the whip antenna.
A small update: Sangean just pulled the 909X2 from its shop for Europe and cancelled the pre-orders. The explanation was, that the production was delayed, and that they cannot guarantee the delivery dates.
This note received from their European representative:
The ATS-909X2 is postponed, so we cannot send a product yet. I’m sorry for the inconveniences.
I was just contacted by Sangean once again, and the ATS-909X2 which was scheduled for Q1 2021 is going to be shipped to me today.
Oh wow! Let us know what you think of it!
I got it today (would have come sooner, if I were home to take it from the postman!), and my superficial observations are mostly very positive.
I don’t have the 909X, so I can’t make a direct comparison, but the notches on the tuning wheel don’t seem as annoying as they seem to be described on the 909X.
The X2 has the same signal strength and SNR reports as the Tecsuns, and when comparing the results with the whip antennas between the X2 and the PL-880, they seem more or less the same, when the X2’s RF gain is set to maximum (out of the factory, it’s at 2/10, which results in low sensitivity, so it’s worth taking a look at the left hand side of the radio, if it seems a bit deaf). Therefore, I’d say that the 909X’s deafness has been fixed.
The speaker is louder than on the PL-880, but the 880 is better at low frequencies than the 909X2 (although the 909X2 sounds better on headphones than 880).
The case feels solid and nice, and the antenna also looks to be OK.
The AGC on SSB and telegraphy is OK quite fine.
Here are some of the bad sides I’ve noticed so far:
-the lack of low frequency response compared on the speaker to the PL-880,
-the 5/25 kHz step on the air band (here in Europe, we’ve switched to a more complicated system where we have 8.33 kHz steps, but when talking over the radio, the frequencies are rounded up to the nearest 5 kHz), which could mean that for the EU airband, radio could always be a bit off the exact frequency.
-audio level differences when switching between the SSB and AM. Namely, the SSB button cycles between the LSB, USB, and AM. I don’t see a way to go from USB to LSB. Radio tends to be really quiet on SSB, when there are no signals, which can lead users to increase the volume when listening to the weak signals, however, the static is much more louder on the AM, so if you want to switch from USB to LSB, you’ll be blasted by the very loud audio on the AM, which is in-between.
-Only 100 Hz resolution on the screen in SW, but 10 or 20 Hz step size, so as a result, you don’t know the exact frequency you’re tuned to, since you can’t see it, when using fine tuning.
-ATS isn’t as good as on the Tecsun PL-880.
-No way to permanently enable backlight in battery mode (there’s a 10/20/30 second timeout option)
-If the little stand on the back is deployed, and the radio is pushed, the stand will collapse, and the radio will drop down. There are two rubber feet which prevent the radio from moving when pushed, though.
-You have to use the decimal point when entering FM frequencies, otherwise they’re interpreted as shortwave frequencies.
As you can probably see, the negatives I mentioned are mostly me being nitpicky. I haven’t really seen anything which looks like an actual issue with this radio so far!
I read the frequency displayed differently from the critical crowd. It’s an excellent marketing move to show the radio can go out of the normal broadcast bands. Brilliant actually if people would just take time to think – wihich is rare these days.
Wonder if they got rid of that silly indented tuning knob and went with something smooth.
I love the Sangean 909X, but the tuning wheel on my unit is now unusable because totally erratic. Radiolabs seems unwilling to repair it, so I’d definitely be interested in a new model, presuming the tuning wheel detents have been removed.
This receiver looks far too expensive for an analog portable and as usual Sangean doesn’t offer any new functionality except maybe VHF Airband which is something it should have had years ago. Still no details on IF DSP bandwidth filters – and I have to wonder if this will harm the radios performance given how problematic DSP has been in SW portables.
I think Sangean are indeed behind the times when it comes to SW and digital modes.
Is the Sangean a DSP radio ? DSP really ruined the Tecsun PL-880 and S-8800 and, to a lesser extent, the XHDATA D-808, I’ve seen youtube videos that show the Eton DSP radios with the same issue on SSB.
I had the PL-880 and S-8800 because of both the harshness of the audio and the serious issues on SSB, I decided to get the PL-680 and it’s really a great radio so much better sound and it’s great on SSB.
Here in The Netherlands both the Tecsun S-8800 and the Sangean ATS-909X2 have the same price tag. I spent Euro 329,00 with shipping costs for my Tecsun.
Two things to add to all the excellent observations made here. (1) Note that this radio initially appears to be marketed toward Europe where a more sensitive portable might tend to overload, and (2) The 909X remains in their catalog with a price point 40 euros less than the 909X2. Unless when the receivers are compared the newer model exhibits something more than the few features described, the extra 40 wouldn’t seem to be worth it. It’s an attractively designed radio but already, in my opinion, premium priced. It’s overall performance should notably exceed that of the 909x to make the extra 40 worth the added investment.
Own one of your shortwave listening guides here, very informative and helpful!
Think you’re right, for those few extra features the new iteration may not be worth the extra $$.
Still, the ATS-909X is a beautiful looking receiver and I may take the plunge the next time I see a dip in the price before it disappears entirely after its younger sibling makes an appearance. I think it’s more than probable the asking price for a mint condition second-hand unit could eventually be higher than the current asking price for a brand new one.
I really don’t understand Sangean’s develop team (my doubt can be applied also to Tecsun’s dev team or other companies that are releasing analog receivers). If more and more countries are switching to digital broadcast (in my opinion, the digital broadcast will not last as much as analog, but that is another story), why they release an “upgrade” of a popular device that receives analog broadcasts? I know that Sangean has a lot of devices that are capable of receiving DAB broadcasts, why not an AIO device (analog broadcasts: full-AM+FM+AIR & digital broadcasts: DAB+DRM+HDradio & Internet radios and maybe satellite)?
I own multiple analog radios and an RSP1A and my plan is to sell everything, except my PL-880 (I keep the analog broadcast receiver for a “just-in-case” scenario) and the SDR.
…if so many countries have serious doubts/issues with IBOC, dab, DRM, HD, etc., then perhaps it’s best to accept the tortures of the 100 year old analog transmission and receiver technologies! Don’t forget that digital radio transmit towers are very tall, and the distance coverage is not as far as the older analog system, so must accept the old analog?
Where do you find in my text that many countries have doubts/issues with IBOC, dab, etc? I didn’t mentioned that. I said that digital broadcast radio will not last as long as analog broadcast (like you mentioned 100 years for analog, I estimate more like 20-30 years for digital broadcast, after that, radio broadcasts will be moved to a free-internet available worldwide), but that’s not because the issues existing in digital radio broadcast (there is always room for improvements). There is more likely for the people to give up buying more and more additional devices compared to an AIO device (eg: smartphone) for which they are already changing it at every 2-3 years. On a smartphone, I can listen radio stations from most of the countries and if I don’t like it, I switch to personal music selected on streaming services.
In my country, people starts to unsubscribe from TV broadcast and that is because they are starting to use online/offline streaming services (some of them comes with an unlimited mobile data subscription). For news we have apps on tv where we can watch by a “click” on the remote. 🙂
Like I said previously, I embrace the ideea of a comercial receiver with worldwide reception (analog+digital) for which I am not forced to use a portable computer (like now with RSP1A).
IMHO, some technologies can remain at their actual level. People are starting to use again the old pick-uk decks, R2R tape recorders and many “analog devices” because they realise that digital is not for their taste. For me personally, I like the both sides (analog + digital) and I see only the benefits from both. “Analog torture?” Really? :))))
I don’t understand your last phrase: “Don’t forget that digital radio transmit towers are very tall, and the distance coverage is not as far as the older analog system, so must accept the old analog?”
Do you were sarcastic?
…internet radio is NOT terrestrial radio, and it can be cut off at any time, as eg, natural disasters. Free land based radio (digital, analog) can be free, but need receivers that can receive these transmissions. We don’t want to pay for Internet radio, and sure you can listen to ANY radio station in the world (crystal clear!), but this not terrestrial and free….well, you know what I mean.
Take a close look at the second to last photo, it enlarges nicely. This photo shows two 909X2s in different trim with the LCD screen in good detail.
The bandwidth indicator symbol is just to the right of the battery charge state indicator. I am very interested in what IF filter bandwidths will be chosen for shortwave.* The frequency display for shortwave shows 19740.0 kHz, nice. Delta marks directly over the frequency display indicate tuning steps. A keyboard lock is joined by a preset lock for station memory. This additional lock is next to the word MEMO in the LCD lower left corner. There seems to be more use of green colored shading on the 909X2 LCD. The old shortwave broadcast band frequency table below the LCD was sacrificed for the larger screen. I hope that Sangean includes this table in their instruction book.
Not shown in the photos is the new menu that may be brought up with the INFO or M buttons.
Having taken a sneak peek at a draft copy of the instruction manual for the 909X2 I can see a lot of potential in this new radio. It could become the top choice for portable multiband radios with shortwave. Time will tell.
*I don’t know what SW filter values will be eventually chosen for the 909X2. My ideal choice for five DSP shortwave bandwidth filters would be: 9.0, 8.0, 6.0, 3.0, and 1.0 kHz. The wider bandwidths are very useful for better quality audio from strong shortwave broadcast stations. 6.0 kHz will probably be the most often selected filter for broadcast listening. As I understand it SSB bandwidth for the 909X2 is preset and not selectable.
All these new portables coming out recently and all missing a couple of things that should be pretty standard these days. Ham radio manufactures were late to the game on this too but have finally gotten there:
1. USB connection that allows user updatable firmware
2. USB connection that allows for memory preset management
3. Please, please, please don’t let any of these new portables mute while tuning… looking at you Eton, CCrane and XHData!
4. Allow recording to a MicroSC (TF) card.
I’m sure there are many more but this list would be an excellent start. Many amateur (ham) transceivers make excellent shortwave listening rigs but most lack the portability and convenience of a portable shortwave radio. If Kenwood, Yaesu, etc. can pack this tech into a handy talkie, surely someone can put this into a Tecsun PL-990X / Sangean 909X size chassis.
The new Sangean PR-D12 AM FM Weather Alert Portable has a micro USB connection in the battery compartment labeled “upgrade”. Sangean would most likely have this feature in the new 909X2.
There is no evidence of this connection for the 909X2. There is mention of a possible micro USB “upgrade” connection for the 909X2 dated 2020-2-25 in a May, 2020 specification sheet. However, there is no mention of this feature in draft copy of the 909X2 instruction manual issued later in the summer.
I would rate this rumor as “It’s possible” but “Not proven.” It would be nice to have, as would be an SD card slot for off-air recording and for station memory transfer.
I’m glad Sangean have updated their ATS-909 receiver, they clearly must think there’s a customer base for this model. It’s a mighty fine looking radio and although I don’t own this model I’ve almost taken the plunge on the first iteration a few times, ’cause, well, you can never own too many radios.
The ATS-909’s price seems to fluctuate daily on Amazon, it was $116 for the black model a couple days ago, today it’s listed at $222.57. The lowest price for the black version I’ve seen on Amazon was just under $200.00.
Oops, meant $216.00, not $116.00.
If it had been $116.00, would have snapped one up in an instant.
-For a receiver marketed as a world band radio, it’s odd they display a frequency on the LCD that’s far outside of the established broadcast bands.
-I wonder if the new Sangean has an automatic bandwidth feature? Notice the “AUTO” wording on the LCD beneath a passband or filter bandwidth graphic. If so, I hope this can be defeated to allow the user to choose their own bandwidth selection.
Sangean was founded in 1974. 😉
From what I’ve read the 909X2 offers the choice of auto or manual bandwidth selection. There are different bandwidth selection options for AIR, MW – LW, SW (AM and SSB) and FM.
I would not read too much into the SW frequency shown in the photo. The important point is the frequency display shows six digits. My guess is that the person posing the radio for the photographer isn’t that familiar with shortwave radio.
I would agree that the actual frequency is a moot, but companies that make or market devices with digital readouts usually scrutinize such things closely. I work as a sr. graphic designer for a major US wireless carrier, and we are extremely careful about the details shown on screens of any of our phones or tablets. Especially in this age of social media, people are quick to notice anything “off” or misleading in an advertisement photo or video. The last thing a company needs is an ad of theirs to go viral for the wrong reasons. That’s the worst kind of publicity.
So, all I’m saying is I’m surprised Sangean didn’t review the radio settings first before using the photo in their promotional materials. It’s a minor point, but to SWLs considering the 909X2, the error is noticed right away.
It is a no-win situation. Had the Sangean marketing team selected a frequency in current use by a shortwave broadcaster anywhere in the world they would have been accused of complicity. Just imagine what the teaming masses of astute SWLs would think if the photo showed a frequency for Overcomer Ministry or one that appears later in the month on the yet to be announced VOK B20 schedule?
Have to share the skepticism — UNLESS Sangean has done something to address the deafness when using the whip antenna (I know this is still controversial, but most people agree it is a problem with the old 909x) I would caution against jumping on this new model. Comments by others are also relevant — why Sangean would have waited all these years to come out with an upgraded version and not put in some of those other features is beyond me….could have waited a bit.
I fully agree, Daniel. The different versions of the older 909x I tried so far needed an external antenna for providing good results on shortwave (compared to several other portables). Even better results, when using an external power source. Strange if a portable radio needs to be used like a base receiver for getting the performance expected in this price range. Hopefully they finally changed this.
IF the entire radio is now DSP (the original 909X was only DSP on FM), deafness from the whip is moot — I have a DSP SW receiver that is excellent off the whip because of the DSP chip. Better than others are using a 10 meter wire.
If the new 909X2 is only DSP on FM, and analog IF on the AM/SW circuits, then you have a good point. Weakness off the whip has been an issue with 909’s since the original 909.
> “the original 909X was only DSP on FM”
FWIW (and it doesn’t change your point), the original ATS-909X is ultimately DSP on all bands.
FM goes through little more than a clamping/protection stage before going straight to the FM_IN pin on the Si473x; tuning (i.e. mixing to IF) is done internally. MW & SW go through separate amps each, meet up at the first mixer stage to produce the 55.845kHz first IF (i.e. tuning is done *externally* to the Si473x), filtered and fed to the second mixer stage to produce the 450kHz second IF (bandwidth filtering/switching is done here), then fed to the AM_IN pin of Si473x.
In both cases, the signals are then downconverted to its internal low-IF and digitised internally. Both are then handed to the DSP core to be demodulated mathematically, and the digital result of that is fed to DACs for analogue output.
Your basic point, though, that the original 909x’s odd behaviour – “weakness off the whip”, as you call it – is due to the 909x’s analogue stage and not the DSP is, in my opinion, correct. I’m not convinced it’s “weakness” exactly – I wrote a comment somewhere here about it a few days ago explaining what I thought – but further investigation &/or confirmation will have to wait until I see another one on the bench…
That charcoal [black] looks attractive … it looks more gray than the current black 909X.
However, I have about 17 portables and most aren’t getting enough usage so I’ll pass once the USA version becomes available.
,…how do your Radio shack DX-440/Sangean 803A compare with some other models?..are they as good as modern radios? I recently sold my late uncle’s radio shack do-440 (1991 model), and now regret it!
I like that they include the crappy looking earbuds in the promo photos as if they are a real selling point……
I would buy this, but the hold back is that I would end up wasting money on another receiver which I alredy have which is the 909X. The reason why is because they built it too early, and they did not wait for the latest chip set digital radio technology which we always need during local and distant radio listening sessions such as DAB+ for European and the rest of the world local listeners, and HD Radio for the USA, Mexico, and Canada and the rest of the world. And then comes DRM and DRM+ that is used around the world with LW-MW-SW broadcasts and DRM+ for FM transmissions. And then there is Bluetooth that is a must for accessing online and offline content at home and in the office. I would not waste money on another receiver until these technologies are being added. I am not in to buying another analog portable receiver.