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Bristol Sound and Vision 2007 show report

Denon S-52 DAB / wi-fi lifestyle system

Denon S-52 DAB / wi-fi internet radio review

The Denon S-52DAB system dispenses with several boxes to fit DAB, internet radio (with or without a wireless broadband router thanks an Ethernet connection) into a neat and tidy unit.
Denon_s52-dab top view
Top view of Denon S-52 lifetsyle system

There's a dual alarm and a neat clicky scrolling wheel to scan through station lists on both DAB and internet radio. The unit arranges internet stations in many ways, including by favourites and country, whilst the 3-line display is big enough to see which station you've highlighted and which is next.

The Denon has the oh-so-necessary iPod dock; you can of course wake to the dulcet sounds from your 'pod if you wish. Connectivity-wise, there's not much to speak of around the back, with just a mono output for connection to a separate subwoofer, a remote input and individual aerial sockets for AM, FM and - unusually - DAB. I found this a bit measly, considering the price tag.
Denon_s52-dab rear view
What's 'round the back?

Testing the Denon S-52DAB was a non-starter as it didn't have a dedicated aerial attached. Happily, though, the S-52 was set up for a little delve into the internet radio airwaves.

Having so many stations to choose leads to some embarassment, as there's plenty of less-than-wonderful output to listen to. Might as well stick to Radio 1. The streaming bit-rate seemed a bit low, although this might be symptomatic of the bandwidth of the wi-fi connection in the room.
Denon_s52-dab front view
Denon S52-DAB front view

Normally, pure hi-fi listeners would scoff at tone controls, but here they would be very useful addition to reign in the bass a little and give a little more treble sparkle to internet radio stations broadcasting at low bit-rates. As it is, there is no adjustement to the sound so - out of the box - you get what you're given.

Nonetheless, the Denon is incredibly sturdy and well-finished. Clearly going for the Bose market, the Denon comes in just below the price point of the Bose DAB Wave Radio. That it provides internet radio, a CD player and DAB/FM in a single unit is all the more reason to consider it if you're on the lookout for a lifestyle system.

For: Plenty of choices for recieving your favourite station both here and abroad
Against: Few opportunities for connection to a larger system or additional speakers. No tone controls. Expensive.
Verdict: A versatile system that would benefit from tone controls
Price: GBP 399.00

Related links:
Buy Denon's range of DAB lifestyle radios, via this website.

Bristol Sound and Vision 2008 reviews, on this website.
where to buy DAB digital radio, on this website.
more DAB radio receiver, system and tuner reviews, on this website.

Denon S52-DAB front view
Denon S52-DAB
Denon S52-DAB view