Cambridge Soundworks Radio 705


Cambridge SoundWorks Radio 705

Sound Buys Product review By Don Lindich

Over the past few years Cambridge SoundWorks has been responsible for putting a lot of reader mail in my email inbox. Though worded differently in each email, the gist of them all is “Some time ago you wrote about a table radio with a CD player that sounds better than the Bose but is a lot less expensive. What is it, how much and where do I get it?” The answer is the Cambridge SoundWorks Radio CD 740, it is $349, and you can order it at I’ve recommended it for years and readers purchasing it have been universally pleased, prasing the good looks and good sound. I was pleased to learn that Cambridge SoundWorks is expanding their radio line, starting with the subject of this review, the Cambridge SoundWorks Radio 705, selling for $119.99.

The Radio 705 is a simple, monoaural table radio with high sensitivity AM and FM tuners. And by simple, I mean simple… there is no clock, no alarm, no built-in CD player. It has a port for connecting an iPod or other external player, but remember it won’t play in stereo so playback won’t be as satisfying as it would be with other playback devices such as computer speakers. A sleep timer is provided as well.

The housing is available in white or black and is finished flawlessly in extremely sturdy high-impact plastic. A large, smooth-turning analog tuning dial is on the right, along with controls for volume, an AM/FM/AUX selector, and a simple tone control. The speaker is on the left front of the unit and is hidden behind a non-removable grill. The rear of the unit sports a headphone port, the auxilary input, a connector for an external FM antenna, and the socket for the removable AC cord.

The Radio 705 was very satisfying in use. The analog tuning dial has a smooth, silky feel and allows more precise adjustment than a digital tuner. Directional indicator lights are provided to help you hone in on the signal, and a pie piece-shaped backlight illuminates the portion of the deal near the tuning hash mark. Tuning the radio has a satisfying, pleasingly retro feel to it.

Sound quality was excellent with human voices, projecting clearly and strongly as if the person speaking was in the room with you. Given the primary reason most people will buy this radio, talk radio, sports and news, it makes it a winner for that reason alone. Music sounded great despite the monaural nature of the radio- the speaker Cambridge SoundWorks is using in the unit is obviously a good one. Still, it would be nice to see an accessory external speaker be available as an option for stereo listening.

The radio reception was a bit of a mixed bag. It is definitely high sensitivity as claimed. At night, when AM station signals carry farther because they bounce off of the upper atmosphere, from my Western Pennsylvnia home I was able to easily pull in AM stations from as far away as Chicago, Illinois and Providence, Rhode Island. I imagine with an external antenna or a better location (I am in a poor area for radio reception) I could have pulled in stations that were even more distant, and pulled them in more clearly. The downside was the hiss and distortion I received along with the distant radio stations, and the tuner had to be fine tuned frequently to keep them locked in. It is to be expected given the touch-and-go nature of listening to faraway radio stations, but still, a provision for an external AM antenna would be welcomed for those interested in exploring the distant airwaves.

Listening to local stations was exemplary. Stations tuned effortlessly and the sound was clean and crystal clear, again that great speaker projecting voices with a very full, satisfying sound.

All things considered, the Radio 705 does exactly what it is designed to do: provide a great listening experience with talk radio, sports, and news- exactly what lots of people want in a radio, no more, no less. For those wanting more, the Radio CD 740 is still available, and new HD Radios will soon be available from Cambridge Soundworks as well.

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