Ever wanted a tiny tuner for your hi-fi? The Majority Robinson 2DAB might just fit the bill. The Robinson 2DAB we have here costs £89.99 and is a tiny tuner that also includes a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver, optical digital and RCA line outputs and an infrared remote handset.
Under the hood is a tuner with BestTune technology. BestTune combines all available FM and DAB stations into a single list. Where a station offers both FM and DAB broadcasts, the tuner will automatically select the band with the best reception. It’s similar to the tech found in many automotive DAB tuners, implemented to provide uninterrupted radio listening when you’re traveling across boundaries where DAB broadcasts may be unavailable or require a rescan to pick them up.
It is useful in a home environment too, however. There are a lot of devices in the modern home that emit radio frequency interference, and though many of them (wifi routers, smart home devices etc) operate in the range between 2.4 and 60gHz, they remain the enemy of the DAB signal. This is because many contain switching class D amplifiers, and switch-mode power supplies which operate in the frequency range of DAB and FM broadcasts. Having a tuner that can automatically pick the best signal for you might save you having to re-tune the radio when a smart home device unexpectedly decides starts beaming your personal data over the network to a Fortune 500 corporation, or your washing machine starts sending notifications to your phone.
The Robinson 2DAB is tiny and stands upright, the display tilted at a slight angle for easier viewing and aesthetic appeal. Sadly the only control on the unit itself is the standby button. You don’t get so much as a mode button or station navigation, so you’ll need the remote to control every function. Really, how much extra would a few buttons have added to the cost?
The remote is a nice one though. It doesn’t have the clicky buttons of other handsets from Majority, but it’s comfortable in the hand, has a decent range and isn’t fussy about the angle of attack. Also in the box you get a power adapter and FM wire antenna. The Robinson 2DAB uses a standard satellite F connector, so you can connect up an external aerial or a better indoor antenna if you wish. I’d recommend you do for the best reception, though the tuner is so good it does a great job even with the included length of wire.
The Robinson 2DAB has the typical functions of a majority radio. If you don’t want to use BestTune you can turn it off, reverting to discrete FM and DAB modes with automatic and manual tuning available for both. You get RDS data display on FM, and the ability to display all possible DAB station information including the DLS text broadcasts. It has a clock, either set manually or in sync with a DAB station, alarm and sleep timer functions, and an equaliser.
It would be nice if you could disable the volume control and equaliser as they’re not necessary on a product like this which will be connected to an external amplifier. The alarm functions are also unnecessary unless you plan to leave your amplifier permanently powered up, which in today’s energy-conscious world probably isn’t the case. The alarm and sleep timer functions might make sense if the unit had a 12V triggering facility, but it doesn’t. The clock displays when the unit is in standby. You get four clock styles in three levels of brightness, or you can disable the standby display altogether.
The tuner itself is highly sensitive in FM and DAB modes. Even with the included wire antenna it’s sensitive enough to pick up local small-scale multiplexes on DAB, and tune weaker distant stations on FM. BestTune does away with duplicates in the station list so it’s likely you’ll see only a few FM stations, as most larger FM stations also broadcast on DAB. It picked up all of the small community FM stations in my area, including the ones that many tuners can’t manage. Tuning performance is on a par with my Cambridge Audio 651T, probably one of the best DAB tuners ever made, which is a pleasant surprise.
Sound quality is as you would expect. Much like digital television, broadcasters favour quantity over quality. Audio bitrate is therefore reduced to cram as many stations into each multiplex as possible, with the assumption that most radio listeners are listening either in a car or on a portable radio where sound quality doesn’t matter. Nevertheless the Robinson 2DAB is able to get the best from the lower quality broadcasts, and sounds excellent when receiving a broadcast that at a higher bitrate such as local BBC stations and radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4 and 4 Extra.
Lastly the Bluetooth receiver. This is a receiver only, so it cannot transmit to Bluetooth speakers or headphones. It is a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver, though no mention is made of codec support so it’s not clear whether AptX or AptX HD are on offer. Still pairing works first time and sound quality is excellent. It’s clear and crisp with no dropouts. It supports AVRCP device control too, so you can skip tracks and play / pause using the remote control.
The Robinson 2DAB is a tiny tuner and Bluetooth receiver that offers excellent performance. It’s a shame it has no physical controls on the unit itself, and is solely reliant on the remote control for all of its functions. It has a fine tuner though, with excellent reception and the clever BestTune feature which works very well indeed. Full-size hi-fi tuners are few and far between on the market these days, with only a small handful that I know of from Tibo, Tangent and Majority themselves (see the Fitzwilliam 2 review). But the Robinson 2DAB is a top flight tuner in a package no bigger than a digital clock. Highly recommended.
You can purchase the Robinson 2DAB from Majority by Clicking Here, or from Amazon by Clicking Here. If you purchase via the Amazon link we’re paid a small commission on your purchase at no extra cost to you.