Radio's Back on the Table

After years of neglect, the once-lowly table radio is experiencing a rebirth. You'll find a nice variety of models that aspire to do more than provide low-fi background music or a quick news fix, and those that have built-in CD players - like two of the three reviewed here - can even serve as complete compact music systems.

Besides assessing sound quality, features, and ease of use for the Boston Acoustics Recepter ($159), Cambridge SoundWorks CD 740 ($400), and Teac SR-L50 ($249), I've attempted to draw some conclusions about their reception ability based on how many stations they picked up cleanly in my home, about 25 miles from midtown Manhattan. I used their internal or supplied AM and FM antennas as well as an attic-mounted directional FM antenna aimed at the city, with a high-quality component FM tuner as a reference in the latter case.

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