Sangean WFR-39 review update

Some of you know I’ve been working on a review of the Sangean WFR-39 WiFi/Internet radio. I’ve placed that review on hold as I’ve just learned that Sangean is working on updates to address a number of the issues I discovered while evaluating this unit over the past three months.

Besides an overly sluggish CPU, there are distracting audio artifacts present in the audio amplification chain when in Internet radio mode.

I’ll plan to publish a full review once they have updated and tested the new WFR-39 firmware. I think Sangean is an excellent radio manufacturer so I’m happy they’re addressing these issues in what would otherwise be a capable portable WiFi radio.

Stay tuned!

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10 thoughts on “Sangean WFR-39 review update

  1. mangosman

    Mike and others
    Since my comments above about the FCC and the NAB there has been a development.
    Now the NAB are asking the FCC for a second switch over for TV. The first was the analog NTSC to ATSC 1.0 Now the second will be from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0 so that stations can transmit Ultra High Definition TV. https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-business/business-and-law/broadcasters-ask-fcc-to-help-move-nextgen-tv-along. If that is successful, will they repeat the process for radio ie switch over AM/FM to HD Radio. Switchover 2 HD Radio to pure digital using Band 1 Digital Radio Mondiale?.
    This will drastically reduce electricity consumption and a drop in transmission costs.

    Reply
  2. mangosman

    Mike, if you go to the FCC.gov website and look at the background of the Commissioners, they are all lawyers, with a background in 5G telecoms! There are no broadcasters in upper management. If you then look at the Engineering branch organisational chart the top jobs are vacant or acting. https://www.fcc.gov/general/office-engineering-and-technology-oet-organization-chart

    Not being from the USA, I cannot understand how a Government Department can force broadcasters to pay a private company for the use of a legally enforceable transmission standard!

    The National Association of Broadcasters (TV & Radio) claims ‘Innovation
    Whether it’s the new possibilities created by mobile digital television or FM-enabled mobile devices, NAB is helping broadcasters seize opportunities in the digital age. Advances in technology are giving broadcasters opportunities to find better, more innovative ways to deliver the high-quality content and services that local communities expect and deserve.’
    Look at their CEO, another lawyer.
    https://www.nab.org/about/departments/technology.asp look at their bios. You have to go to a Vice president before you get any engineering skills.
    The Chief Diversity Officer is at the same level. Obviously career path diversity is does not include many areas of broadcasting, not only engineering, but other jobs in broadcasting….
    It is not the lawyers I am complaining about but the lack of engineering in the halls of power. So I don’t see any hope for a TV style digital startup and then analog shut down to a pure digital high power non-interfering radio standard. This standard will also drastically reduce the carbon dioxide generation to help keep another Government pledge on climate change.

    Reply
  3. mangosman

    I have been searching the Sangean Global site, EU and USA sites for this radio and it was only google which found the UK manual, the flyer on the US model does not have technical specs.

    The interesting thing is that Sangean SFR series european models contain DAB+/
    FM tuners and Wifi, but the USA models are without AM, FM or HD tuners.
    Their flyer for the USA version says ‘Internet Radio/Internet DAB/HD (Wi-Fi)/AUX/Bluetooth’ in other words If you wish to listen to any radio program you must stream it via WiFi or Bluetooth from your phone.
    The Airmusic app is actually a remote control using your phone.

    Lastly I hope the listener in North America is not within a disaster, as the internet often fails due to blackouts. All the warnings come from radio stations which requires a tuner.

    Reply
  4. mangosman

    Connor,
    file:///C:/Users/AlanHughes/Downloads/WFR-39_en_manual%20(3).pdf shows it is a European model where DAB+ broadcasts are widespread.
    This is a DAB’DAB+ and Wifi radio. It does not use the AirMusic app if you are in an area with DAB+ transmissions. This radio is not on the USA website.
    What is is the WFR32FCC which is a different radio. It does as you say because there are no DAB/DAB+ broadcasts allowed in the USA because the FCC has selected HDRadio® for digital transmissions.

    Since the FCC has banned DAB+ from the USA internet radios can access the streaming output of DAB+ stations which is just compressed audio, For example does the AirSpy app have the web addresses of the Australian DAB+ stations?
    Have you tried a new Wifi modem connected to the internet. and put the radio near but not close to the radio? I want to ensure that the problem is not at your end.

    Reply
    1. Connor Walsh

      Yes the noise over Wi-Fi varies according to which router, irrespective of the distance. Using Wi-Fi extenders is unreliable on it, sometimes working and sometimes giving us no presets etc.
      On the DAB, the Sangean Taiwan website shows two versions, with different body colours between the EU and FCC versions. I have the FCC version (grey as in the photo, with FCC part 15 text on the back). That the AirMusic app dupes it into accessing the DAB functionality is one of the few bonuses of the radio as it stands. I hope the firmware updates give it less audio noise, less distortion, faster startup, useful FM tuning and button functionality, dims the screen enough to work as a clock radio…

      Reply
    2. Mike Bennett

      Thanks for your comment! As you say, the FCC ( in the USA & CRTC, in Canada) has banned DAB+ & DRM, and allowed IBOC HD radio to exist, yet there is no mass movement of radio transmitters nor radios on the market, which can receive the above mentioned signals. So, allow why such archaic, 120 year old analog systems in N. America, when everyone else is moving forward?

      Reply
  5. Connor Walsh

    Very glad to hear this! I got one in December, the FCC spec rather than CE/EU, and the issues with it still big me. Painful startup, painful FM tuning, DAB appearing via the AirMusic app, frequent loss of Wi-Fi and memories, and self-interference at low volumes on some wi-fi networks. I agree, Sangean are so good, it hurts to have such a crummy radio with that brand. Especially since you can get basically the same thing branded Technisat for half the price! Bravo Sangean for addressing the issues!

    Reply

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