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Densen Beat B-800 review

Do your ears need massaging with some high-quality radio? This Densen Beat is oiled up and ready.

Densen added a tuner to its acclaimed Beat range for a good reason: it seems the followers of the Danish brand reckon radio plays an important part in their listening, and they told the firm they wanted a unit to match their CD players and amplification.

While the mass-market may have moved in the direction of TV-based entertainment, the B-800 acknowledges that there’s still mileage in the kind of pictures you see in your head.

This is an unashamedly no-frills FM-only tuner, albeit one with 99 presets to store favourite stations – and we challenge you to find enough good broadcasts to fill all of them! A hefty power supply is used along with custom capacitors and transistors, while the output stage is a Class A design that uses no feedback in the quest for the greatest signal purity. Signal paths are kept minimal, the circuitboard is made from Teflon for optimal signal transfer, and the solder used is silver.

Control freak

The control software is Densen’s own, and is programmed on a single chip, making future upgrades simple, while for remote control you’ll need Densen’s Gizmo system handset.

Rear-panel switches select IF bandwidth and local/DX reception: the former allows you to ‘zoom’ in on stations with other broadcasts in close proximity, reducing interference, and could be handy if you live somewhere plagued by pirate transmissions. The local/DX setting can increase sensitivity to pull in distant broadcasts, but should be left in the ‘local’ position for the best sound with strong local stations.


Aerial bummer

This tuner needs to be used with a high-quality external aerial, and is ruthlessly revealing of broadcast quality. In simple terms, that means many commercial stations sound horrid, while quality transmissions on Radio 3 or 4, for example, have excellent power, weight and clarity. Listen to a good Radio 3 live concert or BBC recording, and there’s presence and impact you get only from the very best ‘live’ CDs.

This tuner shows radio need not be the poor relation to TV – with the Beat, the pictures inside your head will beat those from a 42in plasma any day. The Densen will give years of pleasure.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5