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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Grundig S350 AM/FM/SW World Receiver Help


Reviews Summary for Grundig S350 AM/FM/SW World Receiver
Grundig S350 AM/FM/SW World Receiver Reviews: 78 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $100.00
Description: Continuous coverage from 2.3 to 27.41 mHz shortwave; medium wave band; FM band
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.grundigradio.com/asp/Product.asp?productname=s350&function=overview
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You can write your own review of the Grundig S350 AM/FM/SW World Receiver.

<— Page 6 of 8 —>

MISTERT Rating: 4/5 Dec 6, 2004 08:21 Send this review to a friend
Great For AM Broadcast Band  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
While definitely not targeted towards serious SWL's, anyone who enjoys occasional broadcast band DXing and doesn't want to spend over $100 will surely appreciate the S350's excellent AM reception and better-than-average audio quality. This user-friendly radio delivers a big bang for the buck, especially for those who live in rural areas or work in larger office buildings where good reception is often difficult. As for the SW bands, well... consider them a bonus. You'll have no problem tuning powerhouse broadcasts (BBC, etc.) but weak international signals are pretty much a lost cause. Several 3rd party filter kits are available for those who want to kick it up a notch and don't mind spending the additional bucks. Before doing so, you might also consider C. Crane's "CC Radio Plus" which sells for around $150. Overall price vs. value rating for the Grundig S350, 4 out of 5 stars!
 
BAD_DAD_ALAN Rating: 4/5 Nov 25, 2004 22:09 Send this review to a friend
Love The Nostalgia of the Knob  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For 100 bucks (and I got Eton's $30 retail Backup Buddy radio for free via a Circuit City promotion when buying the S350) I don't think you can beat this radio for really good AM/DXing and an interesting shortwave reception experience.

Make no mistake, this is not a great SW radio, indeed it is just okay for the casual user. It is however a darned good AM/DXer. Almost as good as the CC.

I live in central Illinois and I easily pulled in at night most major East Coast and Southern AM DX stations. Chicago majors anytime of day are crystal clear with no distortion. The farthest west was Dallas so far. The farthest east was WCBS New York. Toronto stations are strong. KDKA in Pittsburgh was like just next door.

But this radio is really all about that fun tuning knob. The analog tuner with a digital display is a real treat and it harkens back to my youth, when I turned the analog knob of an old HeathKit SW radio and imagined Martians invading Earth via bizarre frequencies.

It is simply so much fun to slowly twirl that knob. To listen through the static, the weird alien sounding buzz, an occasional morse code, the pirate station, the distortion, and then a signal jumps out loud and clear. Just twirl.

Sure you have to keep fiddling with that magic knob to keep from drifting, but that is part of the pleasurable nostalgia of old time radio that this reasonably priced receiver gives. Want more - pay more.

This radio is a serious AM/DXer but for SW it is just for fun.

Oh and by the way, it sounds pretty good with that big speaker, bass and treble controls. FM sounds great through this large audio.

I can't give the radio a 5, but it is a very solid 4 considering the low price.
 
K4VU Rating: 4/5 Jul 24, 2004 09:28 Send this review to a friend
A very nice little rig -- couldn't put it down.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My wife is a nighttime AM broadcast junkie. And every night for the past few months (since moving to VA), she has complained that all she can pick up on her clock radio is baseball and second-rate, right-wing talk shows (personally, I love baseball, so don't know what she was complaining about there). Her birthday was coming up, so rather than watch her suffer, I looked around a bit, and ordered one of these little babies for her.

After reading the reviews here, I expected that it would sound okay, but not have much sensitivity anywhere but AM. Well, maybe I'm just easier to please than most (er...doubt it!), but my expectations were pleasantly exceeded. It comes in a nicely styled case, with a big two-speed, tuning dial (great for sleepy hands), and a nice, big digital readout. The sound coming out of the speaker was the fullest, richest sound I've ever heard come out of a portable receiver before. Pretty soon, I found myself sitting in the chair fiddling around in the shortwave bands. It was quite sensitive, with no birdies or other QRM'ish noise to speak of (folks who experience that with this rig should cut their nearby TV off for a while). Just with the whip antenna, I was picking up all sorts of stuff that I could hear with my Grundig Yacht Boy 400 (circa 1996 model).

AM BCB sensitivity was, just like everyone says, one of the best features of this little rig. And they were right. Very hot -- don't even need to make use of the external antenna jack, unless you are into some serious BCB dx'ing.

The main downside: like most analog gear, it'll drift a little bit when first turned on (5 khz during the first 30 minutes). However, this was like a flashback to my childhood, when I used to work 40m CW (x bound!) as a novice using a DX160 receiver that drifted like crazy. After years of stable PLL circuitry, the experience of drift almost brought me to tears -- and ended with me boring my wife with stories from 'the old days' (and I'm only 40). Anyway, after about half an hour, it settled down to about 1 kHz or so an hour.

Anyway, $100 bought me a great little radio and made my wife very happy (when she finally got to play with her new rig, that is :) ). Sure, you could get something better, but not for under $300.
 
W6CJ Rating: 2/5 Jul 17, 2004 20:52 Send this review to a friend
Adequate Kitchen AM/FM  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Eton Corp and Grundig may wish to listen up:

To anyone looking for a shortwave broadcast receiver, I suggest you look elsewhere and figure on spending US $250 or more for something passable. The SWBC performance in the S-350 is poor. I regard my S-350 as a good battery AM-FM portable that has some SWL "thrown in".

While using the telescoping antenna, and tuning the SWBC bands for the big stations (Deutsch Welle, R. Nederland, etc..) I noticed a lot of images, "phantom" stations on dial frequencies where no SWBC stations should be. Also noticed RTTY and other data signals where they shouldn't be on the dial as well. (Note- this is an AM-only receiver, no SSB/CW/Data). You can hear SWL on it, kind of.

Wire antenna... The S-350 has terminals for an unbalanced wire antenna and ground. I found that on AM (medium wave) or shortwave, the use of the wire NEVER in any case improved reception but made it worse. The S-350 has passable sensitivity, but selectivity is terrible. Connect an outdoor or indoor wire antenna, with or without ground, and the weak signal you were hoping to dig out will be buried even deeper in distortion, intermod and images. I wonder about trying an extremely selective wire antenna tuner or tuned medium-wave loop for these design problems.

That leaves the AM (medium wave) and FM bands.
AM reception, with the internal loopstick antenna in the S-350 is better than many vehicle radios and fancy stereo tuners costing a lot more than US $99.
I understand the S-350 loopstick antenna is larger than in many radios. I find that turning the radio can help bring in a weak station or null out an adjacent AM station that is "splattering" the weak one you are trying to hear. In my S-350 I heard a few heterodynes around the 600-800 kHz area, and an image of a 1580 Khz station "blowing away" a station on 670 kHz I was trying to pull in. From my powerline cursed indoor listening post in Los Angeles, at night I was able to hear AM stations in Window Rock, Pheonix, San Diego, Las Vegas, Utah, Colorado, Central and Northern California.

FM reception (mono with the S-350 internal speaker) seems OK. The audio quality of the speaker is better than many nightstand/kitchen or AM/FM/SWL portables I have seen, including the Sony ICF2010. (Why can't someone put good audio in general coverage or SWL receivers?) There are jacks on the S-350 for line level input to a stereo amplifier, though I haven't tried this. I may try driving a set of amplified computer speakers for fun. I've also found that turning on the stereo switch created some interference in some of the shortwave frequencies.

A little about the controls. The tuning knob has some backlash. The RF gain control seems to be either minimum or maximum- no smooth adjustment. The wide/narrow helps in some situations on the medium- or shortwave bands.

So... anything I like about the S-350? It has an easy-to-see lighted dial, long battery life, OK-to-good AM/FM reception. It's a good radio to have around for power outages or earthquakes. It might be a good radio for an office where AM reception is difficult. As a nightstand radio, it is easy for a half-asleep person to use without knocking the radio over or hitting the wrong control (like my ICF-2010).

Jay, W6CJ
Los Angeles
 
N3KMJ Rating: 2/5 Jun 28, 2004 15:02 Send this review to a friend
Returned the next day  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
When I bought this radio I knew beforehand what I might be getting myself into, but I wanted to experience for myself why it's been getting so many good reviews. I purchased the Grundig s350 at Radio Shack for $99+tax. The reason I did this rather than buying a Tecsun on eBay is I could return it if I didn't like it...and I sure am glad I did. Try returning your Tecsun to China for a full refund.

I wanted a mid-size/large radio just for shortwave BCB listening, SSB and DX performance didn't matter, so the Grundig s350 is about the only affordable unit available that fit this criteria. Single conversion is "OK", since I've used several radios in the past that were adequate for this purpose. A larger speaker with adjustable tone controls would be nice and the s350 has them. However, this radio is HORRIBLE on shortwave. The front end is so wide imaging can be heard throughout it's entire tuning spectrum. I'll give them a point for the narrow filter which is quite effective, but it's an absolute necessity to make reception anywhere near bearable on the shortwave bands. The big tuning knob is nice and sliding through the bands without digital chuffing is a pleaseure we all enjoy, but whomever at Eton engineered the internal tuning mechanism must've been retarded or is doing drugs. It's the most spongy, twichy back-lashing tuner I've ever tried.

Commercial AM reception is quite good. ONLY because stations are spread 10khz apart in the US. If they were any closer it would suffer the same overloading and imaging as shortwave. But I didn't buy it for this purpose, and if I did I would've saved myself $50 and bought a GE SuperRadio. The build quality is adequate for the price and I like the layout and design, it kind of reminds me of radios from the 70's. But it's obvious they're putting garbage in pretty packages these days.

Listen up Grundig/Eton...There's plenty of people like me who would gladly pay $50-100 more for the s350 if the following two items were redesigned.

1. Dual conversion reciever. Or *at least* start over from scratch from the one you're now using and make it useful on shortwave. I have 20 year old single conversion radios that mop the floor with your s350. Heck, I've owned some regenerative receivers that have narrower front ends than yours.

2. Get rid of that terrible inside tuning mechanism, radios with string and slide-rule tuning feel better and are less quirky than the one in the s350. I'm beginning to think half of the reason it drifts so much is because of this.

Fix these two things and you just might have something worth distributing to the masses.

In closing, here's how I'd rate it. If I'd bought the Tecsun for...let's say...$70 shipped I'd give it a 3. But for the Grundig at $99+tax I barely give it a 2. Even for casual shortwave listening this unit is a dissapointment and it's a shame because it has so much potential otherwise. If you've never owned any other receivers before, you may not know any better and think this thing is the cats meow. But myself, having tried it out for several hours, this radio makes me long for the label that says "Made in Japan".
 
W6CJ Rating: 4/5 May 15, 2004 23:17 Send this review to a friend
OK for the price, simple to use.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Reading these, and other reviews, I decided to purchase an S-350. My wife and I needed a simple Medium Wave (AM) and FM portable, with some shortwave AM capability.

First the disappointments (minor):
In the medium-wave (AM) band, I heard some heterodynes which fell on a few stations I wanted to hear. In my radio, the problem occurred in a few places between 540 and 800 Khz. Being a commo dude, I could tell these heterodynes are internal and not an antenna or interference issue. I'd like to hear about any fixes and have also emailed the US distributor for assistance. I also noticed some "mixes" or images of SW signals on SW frequencies they are not really broadcasting on.
What should I expect for USD $100 in a single-conversion radio? Fewer heterodynes or "birdies" maybe.

Finally the good parts:
For our purposes, occasional listening, news and long battery life in emergencies this is a good radio. It is easy for a non-techie to operate. The display is easy to read. The S-350s AM, whether MW or SW, sounded better than a Sony ICF-2010. I hope this radio sparks a new design trend in SWL and GC receivers- good audio quality! (I don't know why the designers of the $500-$2000 button boxes put in crystal filters, IF-DSP, AF-DSP, SAM, bandpass and then feed it through a mediocre audio stage to a tinny speaker) MW reception in the 350 is better than many battery portables, good for digging out weaker MW stations or for reception from indoors.

I'm giving my S-350 radio a "4" only because of the birdies- I like the rest of it (control layout, audio, battery life) and feel it was worth the $100.
 
STARLING Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2004 18:02 Send this review to a friend
Great value and fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
All I can say is Wow! What a great little portable shortwave receiver. Unlike the digitally-tuned Sony 7600, 7600GR and Grundig Satellit 800's I've owned and used extensively, this is one good analog radio that has restored my love of tuning shortwave. The marriage of an analog radio with a frequency-counter for tuning is a master stroke. I know Grundig didn't invent the concept, but the S350 is here now, unlike the old Panasonic. I never did like punching buttons, and I was never impressed with any automatic band scanning I ever tried. It just stops at too many signals that I'm not interested in, and it's slow enough to be frustrating. I also was never a big fan of chuffing through the bands. But I love to spin a dial, and the S350 gives me what I want. It has the Grundig sound, and it's solidly-built too, unlike other Eton/Grundig efforts of latter years. The S350 is now my favourite radio, the perfect marriage of analog and digital. Thank you Grunding! By the way, I almost bought the Tecsun version on ebay because I was afraid of getting a non-upgraded one, but as it turned out, my S350 seems to have the newer power-on switch with defeatable timer. I couldn't be happier with this purchase, and at that price.
 
SLAN77 Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2004 13:49 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I love this radio. I stumbled on this radio on a clearance shelf at a Brookstone Outlet, with no box for $50. Even though I didn't need another radio, I went ahead and bought it anyway, thinking I could always resell it later if I didn't like it. I could spend time retyping everything that the two posters in December 2003 said, but I don't see the need. I've owned a YB400 and currently have a Sangean ats-808a, yet this S350 has become my favorite. The batteries last a long time. Being d cells helps I'm sure. The speaker is much nicer than the vast majority of portables, with better bass and clearer sound. The radio picks up distant stations better, and has options that make it very attractive.

If you don't mind turning a dial, and I definitely don't, and if you don't mind a little bit of drift occasionally, then you'll love this radio.
 
KC8TBY Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2003 09:29 Send this review to a friend
Superb Receiver...for $99.00 bucks!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
OK...I want to weigh in with my opinion of the newest Grundig receiver, the S350 "Field Radio".
I have owned quite a few general coverage receivers down through the years...everything from the smallest portables up to and including the heaviest of "boat anchors", and just about everything in between!
The Grundig S350 is, by far, one of the BEST receivers I have ever owned, bar none!
First off, it is a very nicely designed radio. It is lightweight AND it seems durable as well. The knobs and buttons do feel a bit "light to the touch" but, given the price Grundig is asking for this radio, one cannot expect the same level of craftmanship as one would find on a more pricey model such as their "Millenium 800" model.
Secondly, it seems to be a VERY SENSITIVE receiver. I have listened to a least three Spanish language broadcasts on the tropical bands using only the supplied whip antenna. (I live in the mid-west where reception of any tropical DX with a small portable receiver without the use of any outdoor antenna is difficult at best!
On the MW band this receiver really performs! Unlike my Sangean 818 or my Super Radio III I can listen to WOR radio, the 50,000 watt powerhouse from New York City, on any given night! (Being a transplanted New Yorker I can only say...I like it, I like it!).
Lastly...it is NOT AS DIFFICULT TO TUNE as some other people seem to think!
So it is an analog receiver...so it drifts a little...so what? It is a $99.00 receiver folks!
All to often I think we are too spoiled by all of our high tech digital toys. Once in a while it is fun to tinker with an analog rig like the Grundig S359! Hey...memories, memories, like the singer said! :)
OK...I'm not a real "technical guy" but I do know a fun little radio when I see one AND listen to one.
I like it...my kids like it...and, to be honest...its the type of radio that brings back all of the fun and excitement that many of us remember when we think back to our very first rig.
By the way, did I mention...I LIKE this rig!!
:)
 
JUDAH_SMITH Rating: 5/5 Dec 12, 2003 11:27 Send this review to a friend
TECSUN BCL-2000 IS AMAZING!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I love this radio! LUV IT!!! I wrote my 'real' review under the TECSUN BCL-2000 category...even though it is basically the same radio as the Grundig s350. The sensitivity is off the charts. The audio is so pleasing its a crime. And if you buy a TECSUN off EBAY (as that is the only place you can buy them in the USA) they are generally under 99 dollars. In addition any TECSUN BCL-2000 made after APRIL 2003 is a revised second edition of the radio....THAT FIXES AND NEARLY ELIMINATES THE DRIFT PROBLEM that both the TECSUN and the Grundig S350 had previously. (granted this is an analog tuned radio with a digital readout, so very mild drift is acceptable.) Also the 2nd edition corrects the AUTO OFF after 90 minutes problem. So if you want to leave the radio on forever, you can. Since ebay ussually has them for 20-30 dollars less (with shipping) than Grundigs at stores in the US....and since as far as I know only the Tecsun's have these upgrades....I would go with the Tecsun version. From what I have heard all the sellers carrying them have excellent feedback. BUY THE RADIO....it is a fantastic portable....and read my more extensive review under TECSUN BCL-2000. I have also heard there are some audio hiss issues with some of the Grundig S350's. Which of course effects weak signal performance. I'm not sure if that is true. But my Tecsun has no hiss...and weak station performance is GREAT! Plus it came with a free 110/220v converter so I could plug it directly into an outlet if I wanted. A function the grundig does not provide....you have to buy a wal-wart. I previously had one of the best (price vs performance) portables...the Grundig YB400. At the price this radio (BCL-2000) is selling for and the audio quality, and reception performance....this radio smokes it. And that is saying alot. But of course it is not for the HAM radio listener. No ssb. But that's not what I need anyway. It's designed for broadcast band reception on FM/AM/and SW and it does that exceptionally well.
 
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