Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paolo Viappiani, who shares the following guest post:
ETON Elite Satellit: an expensive flop
by Paolo Viappiani, Italy
After various and sometimes conflicting announcements that have created strong expectations in radio listening enthusiasts, ETON has recently launched on the extra-European market (basically in the United States) what should have been its “top of the range” portable, the Elite Satellit model . Aesthetically (and also functionally) inspired by the previous E1 model, the new portable radio should have been free from the defects of its predecessor, in particular as regards the “sticky” coating of the plastic case but also with respect to other technical drawbacks repeatedly reported by users (display contrast and shading, etc.).
The new Elite Satellit was announced to look practically identical to the E1 model and to use the same cabinet, but with various additions and improvements: RDS, FM-HD reception, Air Band, etc. A frequency resolution of 10 Hz in the shortwave bands, a PBT (Pass-Band Tuning) facility, a large LCD display with the possibility of changing its background color were also provided.
It is therefore obvious that its release was highly anticipated, and the resulting expectation gave rise to numerous pre-orders of the radio in the United States, where the main distributor was (and still is) the well-known Universal Radio company owned by Fred Osterman .
Unfortunately, the initial boom in sales of the ETON Elite Satellit was followed by many return requests due to the poor performances of the radio and the numerous defects encountered by users, also reported in a lot of videos and negative reviews on the Internet .
Fred Osterman himself, disappointed by the performance of a radio that he should have sold as an excellent portable, began to test the individual devices in his own laboratory and to return to ETON all the units that did not meet the declared specs (basically the vast majority of those received for sale) . All this caused great confusion at ETON, which was forced to somehow remedy its errors (mainly due both to a very approximate alignment of the circuits and to an almost non-existent final quality control).
Unfortunately, despite the precautions adopted “hastily” by ETON, most of the “overhauled” devices that were returned to Universal Radio continued not to comply with the specifications, so that Fred Osterman, who is a good technician and a very honest dealer, decided to cancel most of the orders received and to sell the very few radios found to be in good working order within the United States only, (see again note ). I myself placed an order from Universal Radio for an ETON Elite Satellit on August 8, 2022 (Order ID: #8992932, retail price $599.99 plus shipping and import customs duties), but Fred was forced to “drastically cut” the orders received and to cancel mine too, due to the impossibility of satisfying the many customers on this side of the pond. However, my desire to have an example of the ETON Elite Satellit in my hands, in order to be able to see, test and judge the new radio it was really great, and great was also the wish to realize if the many negative impressions circulating on the web were or were not justified and true.
So I decided to look for other ways to buy the “latest cry” of ETON. The opportunity presented itself to me, almost unexpectedly, by visiting the American site of Amazon .
The purchase and the arrival of the radio; my first impressions
I therefore ordered an ETON Elite Satellit portable radio on the Amazon.com website on January 17, 2023 at the price of $698.16 (including shipping and customs duties). I report in Figure 1 the screenshot concerning my order #113-3575479-2262609 which, as it appears, was delivered to me on January 23, 2023, after only five days; this demonstrates the truthfulness of my statements.
The shipment was delivered to me by UPS courier in the usual Amazon packaging in a plastic bag (Figure 2).
Inside the envelope was a cardboard box containing the radio, in understandably less than perfect conditions (Figure 3).
Once the package was opened, the contents of the box looked like in Figure 4: two shock-absorbing spacers held the device in position (inserted in a plastic bag) and its AC power supply (into a white box, and obviously with a 117V input voltage). There was also the “User Guide” in a paper version and a “mini-guide” to listening to short waves; completely absent was the CD that used to be enclosed in the box of the previous E1 version of the radio.
Continuing with the operations, I came across a sort of brown plastic cover intended for the protection of three sides of the radio (front, top and back) which can be held in position by some magnets and is provided with two circular holes in correspondence with the tuning knobs and volume of the radio (Figure 5).
I omit to make comments on this “protection”; I only say that in my opinion it is useless (and ugly too) and I believe that the gentlemen of ETON could have wasted their energies otherwise; but maybe someone likes it too…
Figures 6 and 7 show the front and back of the portable radio as soon as it has been removed from the protective plastic bag. Note the almost identical appearance of the cases of the Elite Satellit and of the previous E1 model.
Luckily enough, the case of the Elite Satellit (incidentally this radio is built in China, while the E1 was built in India instead) does not have that bad feeling of a “sticky” object to the touch that negatively characterized the previous model; however, handling the new radio, the lack of robustness of the case itself is clearly perceived: it seems to be made of cheap “plastic” (not of the high quality previously advertised material). And it’s quick and simple to verify it: just try to extract the fragile rear folding support (an operation that you will certainly try to do with absolute delicacy and as infrequently as possible in order to prevent its breakage).
On the back of the device (Figure 7) the four magnets intended to hold the unusual folding case in position are shown, while Figure 8 shows the upper side of the device, where the whip antenna and the Light and Snooze/Sleep switches are placed.
A careful eye will certainly notice some discrepancies between the radio described in its user manual  and the real device: first of all, it should be noted that while on page 3 of the aforementioned manual the two selectors on the left side are indicated as “HF Antenna Internal/External Switch” (n. 26, top) and “FM Antenna Internal/External Switch” (n. 27, bottom), in the radio itself the upper selector is used to select the battery type (rechargeable Ni-Mh or normal Alkaline) and the lower one selects the internal whip antenna or the external one for all receiving bands (Figure 9).
And, just as we are in there, it should also be noted that the external power socket in the ETON manual is specified as “External 5VDC Power Socket” (page 3, #29), while it is marked as “DC IN 6V” in the actual unit.
The serial number of the radio appears on an adhesive label applied to the outer rear cover of the battery compartment (Figure 10); incidentally, my copy has the serial number 1022005546.
By opening this cover, you can access both the actual battery compartment and an area where there is a potentiometer for adjusting the contrast of the display and a small multi-pole connector (which undoubtedly it is also used to update the software of the radio); no mention is made about it in the manual however. Thus, not being able to view (due to the lack of specific instruction), the firmware version of my unit, I am not given to know whether or not it has been updated to the latest version v1.0.5 .
With regard to the manual, both its incompleteness and the presence of various incorrect or obsolete indications should be noted (just to name one, on Page 17 “Suggested References” the reading of the volume “Passport to World Band Radio” is recommended, but that book is out of print and it hasn’t been published for over a decade). Another “gem” that can be seen is the incorrect indication of the various selectivity positions of the radio, which are not reflected in the use of the same and which once again demonstrates a very small effort by the compilers and correctors.
In any case, reference must also be made to this booklet to know the specifications of the radio (which are also summarized on the receiver box and in the Data Sheet downloadable from the Internet .
In my opinion, another inconsistency of the Elite Satellit is represented by the presence of the “Equil” control (first potentiometer at the top left of the front panel, see Figure 7) which replaces the “Squelch” control of the old E1 radio. It is an almost useless level regulator for “external sources” (I would like to know how many people will use this radio to listen to CDs or to something else… wasn’t it better to use that space by inserting an AGC time-constant selector?).
A little mystery concerning my unit concerns the label applied on one side of the box (Figure 11): upon careful observation it can be seen that it has been superimposed to another one carrying a different numbering. Maybe it’s a radio “refurbished” by the manufacturer after some “return” due to specifications not met? Hmm…
Some comparisons with the previous E1 model
Thanks to the contribution of my friend Gigi Lombardo from Bassano del Grappa (VI), who has the internal photos of the ETON E1-XM, and to the contributions of Noel that appear on the SWLing.com website  I was spared the operations of opening my receivers and I am able to show some comparison photos and some comments anyway.
Figure 12 shows the Elite Satellit split into its front and rear “shells”. The two printed circuits relating to the Display Board and the Control Board are fastened to the front shell, while the actual Main Board is installed on the rear one. On the Display Board please notice the absence of any metal shield on the back of the display, while a shield was instead present in the E1 model (see Figure 13).
Figure 14 shows a comparison of the component side of the Main Boards of the ETON E1 (above photo) and the ETON Elite Satellit (photo below). Note the Murata IF filters used in the E1 model, evidently it was still equipped with conventional (analog) medium-frequency circuits. In the Elite Satellit, on the other hand, selectivity is digitally obtained via DSP circuits.
In the Elite Satellit model there is also an item that I sincerely didn’t expect: a small ferrite antenna for LW and MW fastened to the upper part of the Main Board (Figure 14 below). However, a lack of care can be seen in the impregnation of the two coils, which are also visible in the same Figure.
Figure 15 shows a rather interesting detail instead: an area of the printed circuit of the Main Board of the Elite Satellit almost entirely empty and marked with the writing “Q12 DAB MODULE”. Evidently in the design process it was thought to equip the Elite Satellit also with the possibility of receiving the DAB mode, an intention which was later abandoned. Figure 16 shows a comparison of the “back shells” of the two radios (the photo above shows the old E1, the photo below shows the new Elite Satellit). It should certainly be noted that for building the cabinet of the new radio the mold of the old E1 cabinet was used, even it was slightly modified. It is for this reason that the “small box” visible on the right is also present in the Elite Satellit (in the E1 model it contained the “XM” module, while in the Elite Satellit it is completely unused).
Figure 17 shows both the printed circuit of the Control Board of the old ETON E1 (photo on the left) and the “XM” module of the same (photo on the right). The latter is not used in the Elite Satellit model and only an empty box remains in the new receiver case.
The ETON Elite Satellit in practical use
At this step, having finished the various observations on the item that had just arrived, I tried to turn it on and I started some listening tests. As a matter of fact, I must specify that my tests have no absolute value (in this location I have neither good antennas nor suitable instruments), so that my evaluation of the performances of the radio is based exclusively on my experience and on the results of comparisons with other portables with similar frequency coverage (in particular with the SONY ICF-2001D and with the Tecsun PL-660, both of which I own). The listening tests were carried out using only the whip antennas of the various receivers (excluding comparisons in the Long and Medium Wave bands, since the Elite Satellit is equipped with a very small internal ferrite antenna only, who knows why…).
The various receivers were positioned on a table in an attic with a tiled roof on a wooden structure, in an old country house away from heavy traffic and various noises, and were powered by the AC mains using their original power supplies (the one of the SONY ICF-2001D is of the linear and stabilized type). Just for example, Figure 18 shows the Elite Satellit receiver connected to the AC mains via the power supply supplied with the device (with a 230/117 VAC transformer adapter inserted).
The first impression I got when switching on the radio is that it is a rather “noisy” device even in the absence of signals; probably part of the noise is due to the display microchips that are not adequately shielded on the PCB back and to the lack of a shielding film on the front of the display itself. It would probably have been enough to attach a transparent conductive film connected to ground on it…
The various photos of Figures 19 to 22 show the radio display in the different possible colors during the tests on various bands; in my humble opinion, however, changing the backlight color of the display is a superfluous feature and it would have been preferable for Eton to have adopted a more modern display (perhaps a color LCD or TFT). Moreover, also the visualization of the spectrum in a convenient neighborhood of the received frequency would not have been bad in a radio of these claims and with a rather high cost.
Another very serious drawback of this portable is the “muting” between the various tuning steps, whatever they are. But then, what’s the advantage of having a radio with 10 Hz frequency steps and resolution in Short Wave and also equipped with a Pass-Band Tuning (that in practice is a Fine Tuning Control however) if an annoying phenomenon always hinders the tuning operations?
And don’t tell me that the muting could not technically be eliminated: gentlemen at ETON, I remind you that we are in year 2023!
Figure 23 shows my SONY ICF-2001D laptop during tests carried out “alongside” or “as an alternative to” the ETON Elite Satellit radio. The various performance and listening tests, the results of which I report briefly in the next paragraph, were actually also documented via a number of videos (I do not wish to post them on the web, but I still keep them as a possible proof of my claims).
Synthetic judgment and conclusions
Based on what I have been able to deduce from the numerous tests I have conducted, I can safely conclude that this ETON Elite Satellit is one of the worst portables I have ever tried. This, if on the one hand surprises me, on the other it doesn’t plunder me at all: already in the past (at the time of the E1 model) the ETON designers demonstrated their inability (or their lack of will) to solve the problems of a radio that should have been – like the Elite Satellit today – the top of the top of the portable receivers. In brief, the problems I encountered in the various bands and in general are the following ones:
– FM band: This is the only range in which the Elite Satellit shows acceptable operation: the presence of the RDS, the (almost useless and malfunctioning) FM-HD mode and the demodulation capability of the FM-Stereo make up for the defects in terms of sensitivity on weak signals and S/N ratio (there is definitely room for improvement).
– LW-MW bands: here the lack of a good internal ferrite antenna makes itself felt (the existing one is really bad) and in a certain sense it prevents a correct comparison with the performances of the ICF-2001D and the PL-660; also the recent shutdown of the Italian RAI Medium Wave repeaters certainly does not help.
In any case, it seems to me that I can argue a lower sensitivity than the other two portables and also a worse S/N ratio, with the presence of spurious signals and various noises in the entire extensions of the two bands.
– SW Bands: All the bands, from the lowest to the highest one, are characterized by the presence of a background noise capable of masking the weakest signals, and the selection of different pass-bands values or the use of the Pass-Band Tuning (PBT, that rather seems a Fine Tuning control), are not always effective.
In addition, a lot of spurious signals (due to the synthesizers and internal oscillators) arises at various frequencies.
On AM signals, it is better to spread a pitiful veil on the effectiveness of the synchronous detector of this portable: in general it is preferable to directly choose the USB or LSB mode (notwithstanding the AGC distortion that arises) and to adjust the receiver tuning properly (if there weren’t that cursed “muting” …) .
For SSB signals, the demodulator behaves acceptably, always with the previously exposed limitations; unfortunately in the amateur bands the sensitivity is not excellent and the low S/N ratio (together with a problematic AGC) prevents the reception of weak signals (at least with the built-in stylus, the situation could be different using a good external antenna).
– AIR Band: Really I don’t know why they included this band… The fact is that, in the absence of suitable input filters, the coverage of this band is absolutely useless due to the generalized presence of intermodulations by various signals present in the FM range, which in practice prevent the reception of even rather strong signals.
Yet my location is quite close to an airport (Pisa): please consider that, while from the Elite Satellit it was not possible for me to listen to any useful signal, as soon as the SONY ICF-2001D was turned on and switched to the “air band” (Figure 23 below ), its loudspeaker played excellent signals from various aircrafts.
In conclusion: after having tried this new radio for a long time, I can only judge the Elite Satellit unworthy of the “World Receiver” denomination and of the strong expectation that ETON had created in potential users before the release of this new and expensive product; furthermore, I note with regret that some current misleading advertising can deceive some enthusiasts who, perhaps convinced that they are getting hold of an excellent receiver, throw away their savings.
I therefore agree with what appears in the videos currently present on the web  and I warmly invite ETON to remedy all the various defects reported by users.
In practice, in my humble opinion, the following actions have to be done:
- Suitably shield the display on all sides (including its front by means of a grounded transparent conductive film). This is because I guess it is unthinkable that ETON decides in the last moment to adopt a modern “color” TFT or LCD display, perhaps with a spectrum-scope;
- Definitely deactivate the “muting” which annoys (and sometimes actually prevents) the tuning operations;
- Facilitate the reading and the updating of the device firmware; release technical literature (schematics, Service Manual, etc.) upon request by customers;
- Increase the receiver dynamic range and the AGC characteristics;
- Remove the useless “Equil” control and rather install a selector of various AGC time constants;
- Provide the radio with an effective “Noise-Blanker” and a “Noise-Limiter” (these should be easy tasks);
- If you decide to keep the Air Band available, please insert a “Notch” filter for the FM range inside the radio. It should be capable of eliminating (or at least conveniently attenuating) the intermodulations that are present almost everywhere;
- Improve the internal shielding of the synthesizer circuits and oscillators;
- Improve and standardize the calibration and adjustment operations of the individual radios and introduce a serious quality control before placing them on the market;.
- Review, if possible, the shape and the structure of the cabinet, perhaps also providing it with a handle for carrying the radio and design a real shockproof case that facilitates its portability. In general, I have nothing against “designers“, but they definitely make me angry when they create objects that are anything but ergonomic (just think of the various shapes of the current hair shampoo containers: all are beautiful and convoluted, but in reality very few satisfy the need to remain “standing” with the cap positioned in the lower part!).
And finally, if the aforementioned drawbacks are corrected (at least partly), the ETON Elite Satellit could actually redeem itself and become one of the best portables existing today.
For now, however, I can only strongly advise against its purchase, in order to prevent disappointments and unnecessary waste of money to readers.
Paolo Viappiani, Carrara, Italy
: Look at: https://www.universal-radio.com/ or: www.RFfun.com.
: Look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HDXyZFLVl0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvcRPwf7uQQ, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tNZSFrNIbw, https://www.reddit.com/r/shortwave/comments/xtp86i/any_update_on_or_experiences_with_eton_elite/, etc.
: Look at: https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/portable/0222.html (in the bottom of the page the latest v1.0.5 firmware update is quoted).
: Look at: https://www.amazon.com/
: The Elite Satellit .pdf Quick Guide can be downloaded from the site: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2407/2229/files/220620_Satellit_QuickGuide.pdf?v=1656605033.
: The Elite Satellit Data Sheet can be downloaded from the site: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2407/2229/files/220606_SpecSheet_Elite_Satellit.pdf?v=1656621611
I think most of us in the SWL community saw this disaster coming… Sad…
Eton’s top of the line model is terrible. An unintended consequence is, when in the market to purchase an entry or mid level radio, why would one consider Eton?
When a company can not be trusted to do a big project, why should they be trusted in a small one? It’s frustrating for us to watch Eton make poor choices. Going forward I hope they can do better.
Eton’s credibility is in the toilet. Even if they try to fix things the damage in goodwill is done. If they made no effort to get this radio right the first time why should we trust them a second time ? Shortwave enthusiasts are not fools to be exploited – we have pride in our hobby and expect manufacturers to produce shortwave products that work as intended.
Thank you very much for an honest review. It is a service to the community to force manufacturers to do things right. The old saying, “Do it right the first time” goes unheeded by corporate bureaucrats because by pushing papers around, they think they are doing the world a favor. When an ENGINEER runs a company, things are assessed differently and better products can be produced.
Also, I agree with Paolo, it is well taken from my experience that DSP chips are not like the old superheterodyne receivers. The older technology had shortcomings but was analog and people knew how to get around the problems. By contrast, every portable radio I have tried with DSP has been noisy and generally harsh sounding. Sometimes the extra bandwidths do help, but not with weak signals (mostly Tecsun’s). Synchronous tuning has been a dismal failure, except perhaps the Tecsun PL-660 (isn’t the RF stage in the 660 still analog?? I cannot remember). AGC action has no control and sounds terrible in USB/LSB and associated ECSS. I do not think DSP was designed to do all they are trying to make it do by itself. DSP was originally just for specialty audio applications in a sound studio.
On the other hand, SDR technology implemented right, like in the SDRPlay and AirSpy offerings are a leap forward. Most of my listening is now done on old tech (Lowe HF-150 or Drake SW8/Grundig 800) or on newer SDR’s (SDRPlay and AirSpy). SDR’s are a world of difference compared to just a DSP chip doing everything. There is opportunity for such companies to come out with their own portable and show what the new technology can really do if they can figure out how to cram a small computer and SDR software into a portable size.
Greed. This is what happens when a large corporation doesn’t spend the time and effort to do proper Beta testing and market research. Good companies make bad mistakes…… remember FORD and the Edsel?
Thanks for the excellent review Paolo.
Some $20 radios have a bigger ferrite rod than that. This is definitely not a radio for AM DXers. For AM/FM the compact Sangean D-19/D-18 provides excellent reception on both bands and costs less than $100 USD. This radio sitting on the dash has outperformed the car stereo in vehicles I’ve been in.
To charge SO much (in Australia this radio would cost almost $1000 to import) for so little, it’s almost a scam.
The inclusion of a DAB chip would have been great for people in Europe, Asia and Australia/NZ. However DAB listening is not growing, at least in Australia where coverage is limited and your mobile phone, car sound system or smart speaker provide easier listening (through voice commands) at better sound quality. They do require the internet to listen, but if I was going for a drive and listening to a station that is not available on analogue radio, streaming would be my preferred method as it would provide even greater coverage. So perhaps it’s for those reasons they decided to back out.
This is a case of Paolo reviewed it so you don’t have to. Thanks for taking one for the team and I hope you get your money back.
I lost money on a faulty Sangean 909X2 that neither Sangean USA nor Sangean EU could help with me, except admitting it’s probably a fault with the main board. For that reason I won’t be buying another Sangean that isn’t available with an Australian warranty.
Thank You Paolo for such an honest, thorough analysis and report. It’s just terrible that ETON would ‘pull’ that crap. Maybe there going out of business, I can’t image putting a product on the market this bad if I still wanted to remain in business. The World needs ‘Quality’ !
Thanks again ….
I seriously doubt that Eton has the will or the means to address these issues. They are not a radio manufacturer, they are an importer looking for ways to buy low and sell high. They cut corners on the E1 and learned nothing from that debacle except to double down on the same flawed strategy. Their corporate culture is not suited to producing elaborate, high quality equipment.
Actually, I can confirm that Eton does manufacture this radio. It’s their own design as well. They are actively working to address some of the issues with the Elite Satellit. Eton is a good company with a strong philanthropic arm as well that most don’t know about, but this radio should not have made it into productions with so many flaws and issues. It should have been more thoroughly tested and sorted before hitting retailer shelves.
Thomas, I fully trust you on this and hope Eton is successful in rolling out some major fixes. However, why does this “good company” continue to sell this radio and make money on it – despite the massive flaws they know about – instead of issuing a full recall?
The reason we posted this review is because this model is still being sold. We wouldn’t have published it if it had been pulled from the market and distributors. I want people to know that the existing unit has some serious issues for such a pricey radio. My hope is that if they sort out the issues, there’s something they can do to help the early adopters and other owners.
I wish to comment on the spray about Digital Signal Processing. I assume you mean Software designed receiver technology. Just remember that this technology is used in mobile phones because it is easy to tune a large range of frequencies. It is also used in all digital TVs which allows transmitters in the same coverage area to be on adjacent channels, this was not possible using the superhetrodyne design of analog times.
The standard old radio design is a superhetrodyne where the incoming signal is converted to a lower frequency such as 455 kHz or 450 kHz for high frequency band and below or 10.7 MHz for VHF radios. The problems with this system are;
image frequencies are created for example in 10 kHz step countries try listening to a station on 910 kHz.
the need for good filtering of the adjacent channels to keep their signals out.
This SDR is the same as an old hetrodyne or syncrodyne design, where there is no intermediate frequency amplification. Instead the incoming frequency is converted down to around 12 kHz and then demodulated. This makes the interference from adjacent channels supersonic and inaudible. It also means that the image problem above is non-existent, because it is easy to filter out signals which are double the desired frequency.
The new cheap SDR receivers have no RF filtering.
How to get good performance.
The incoming signal has to be converted to digital so the manufacturers claim that this ADC has a huge dynamic range. Hopefully this will prevent intermodulation distortion which causes the reception of other signals. What is also required is what has been in superhetrodyne receivers is a filter between the antenna , an automatically signal strength controlled RF amplifier and then on deluxe receivers another filter which are both tuned to the wanted signal. This will keep all the interference problems out. This however costs money because the filters cannot be software based, they have to be coils of wire wound around ferrite cores. This also makes the radio physically larger.
The SDR chip is a specialised microprocessor which can not only demodulate and decode the information sent, it can also give waterfall displays etc.
Don’t bag the SDR technology, like many things in life, you get what you pay for!
Excelente y Educadisimo articulo.
Muy agradecido por sus comentarios.
Tengo un Eton E1 comprado en 2003 en Madrid.El display esta averiado.Y en el Taller d Reparaciones,en el cual esta la Radio .. no encuentran 1 display nuevo para sustituirlo.
Pensaba adquirir uno Nuevo ..pero visto lo leido…NO.
Saludos desde La Mancha en España.
Excellent and very educational article.
Thank you very much for your comments.
I have an Eton E1 bought in 2003 in Madrid. The display is damaged. And in the Repair Shop, where the Radio is, they can’t find a new display to replace it.
I was thinking of buying a new one…but having seen what I read…NO.
Greetings from La Mancha in Spain.
For whomever is in charge of Damage Control at ETON its the perfect storm – a highly anticipated, hopelessly underperforming product at an outrageous price. How, on God’s green Earth, did this radio ever make it to market?!
Yes, it’s encouraging, as Daniel notes, that Eton may be working on modifications. That said, how do existing owners update this stinker? I’ve paid a large sum for a long-awaited receiver, and was duly disappointed. I got lucky, I guess, as I got mine from Universal Radio, updated to the latest firmware. But almost all the problems Paolo identifies remain. I suspect that, in the end, all of us who had faith in Eton are stuck.
Thanks for the confirmatory review.
Tibi Gratias as the ancient Romans would have said for your thoughtful comprehensive excellent review.
Like many others I waited expectantly for a decade or more for the release of this radio.
The first sign that something was awry was in 2019 when Universal Radio wouldn’t accept my overseas order.
Then rumours began to spread that the new flagship did not live upto expectations.
Now after various reviews, this disappointment seems to be confirmed.
Though I take heart from Dan Robinson’s comment that Eton are working to remedy at least some of the issues plaguing this device.
One thing that strikes me from the comparison photos of the internal arrangements is how a considerably smaller case and circuit boards could have been used to house the actual Eton Satelit…. when the decision was made to axe DAB reception, that circuit board could have been redesigned and made considerably smaller, or had they already produced the circuit boards?
Even without redesigning the circuit boards they could have been accommodated in a more compact case – though perhaps the sales pitch of the old case is sufficient to justify using the previous case’s outlook.
I regularly use the Tecsun PL990, PL880, PL330 – all DSP radios – and I have good results in a really adverse listening environment from a low rise semi-Faraday cage downtown Hong Kong apartment surrounded on all sides by much higher sky-scrapers. They are on par with or outperform my Sony 2001Ds / 2010s (yes a friend of mine brought 3 of these back to life!) in the same environment…
Does anyone know who “assembled” the Eton Satelit?
Thank you again Paolo for an excellent review – and thank you also for suggesting to Eton how they could improve their radio. When on criticises it’s always important to help the recipient improve….
I can only imagine ECSS and SSB sounding as bad as on the Tecsun DSP radios and all DSP radios, not just Tecsun.
They think sticking in a single DSP chip and you have a radio, stick it in a box with some knobs and buttons and an amplifier and you got an amazing radio because it’s got a modern DSP chip “sure it has to be great” !
I have several DSP receivers that you are criticizing… After reading this review I know my receivers perform significantly better than this overpriced receiver… These receivers allow me to listen to my favorite radio stations, near and far.
I’m afraid that ETON has partly ruined its reputation… The CEO should be inspired by this true story:
Why Lee set fire to over 150,000 mobile phones
Faced with such a disaster, it is indeed wise to start from scratch
Thans for the detailed and honest review. You are right, buying an expensive receiver named after an excellent example of the portable radios of the past, to discover that this is a useless piece of junk, could be devastating.
An excellent review and very conclusive. Along with Dan Robinson’s and yours, it is obvious there is much work to be done. I am not sure Eton can salvage the damage they have done to this model so that those of us excited by its initial announcement have sadly lowered expectations to the point of no return.
Many thanks for your efforts!
Let’s be open: Eton and Sangean are milking the same cow over and over: the former SiLabs now Skyworks Si4735 IC and its family.
Large companies like Icom and Yaesu but also smaller ones like Malahit and Afedri have been providing truly innovative products, that include real time spectrum analysis and color touch screens. Sangean and Eton keep re-using the same technologies. What’s worse: they are charging top dollars for an inferior, cheaper topology that provides noisy demodulation and unacceptable chuffing while tuning.
How I miss the times where we had the german Grundig, Sony, Panasonic Drake and AOR that truly tried to innovate and deliver incremental enhancements.
Your comments about Sangean are right on target. Disclaimer – I am fan of many of their products. But in the last 10 years, for example, they have produced oodles of AM/FM radios whose feature sets are very similar and have few innovations to justify such a broad product line. And with each iteration they may some tantazingly close to a perfect product but then screw up with some ridiculously shortsighted design decision.
It’s not just the Si4xxx chipsets they keep recyling. Example: most of their US-market products still use the very best LCD display technology the 1990’s had to offer. Nowhere is this more obvious than in their HD-radio products for the US market (kudos to them for supporting the format at all, I must admit). So many features to work with – textual tags, album art, signal quality – but none of it gets displayed properly because of the antiquated display technology they choose to use. Only with the more recent WiFi and DAB+ models, where they were forced to reinvent the wheel, do the designs actually start to look modern.
Thank you for this excellent and carefully executed review!
An excellent overview of the problems with the receiver. Eton continues to work on revisions to the Elite Satellit, with input from me and others. It remains to be seen if these changes can salvage the radio.