Similar to the Pure Highway we reviewed in the 2008 RLG, the S1000 from Sonichi is an add-on DAB unit for the car, caravan, or even boat.
Features and Performance
The unit is exclusive to Halfords. It comes with a cradle, magnetic external aerial, 12V cigarette lighter power lead, and a lead to connect an MP3 player or other device. It will only run from the cigarette lighter socket, and unlike Pure’s Highway, doesn’t take batteries. This means you cannot use it as a personal DAB, something you could do with the Highway. The line-in socket enables an MP3 player (or other device such as a mobile phone) to be connected, and the unit has a line-out too. The cradle has a jointed arm which lets you adjust the position of the unit. This attaches to the windscreen via a suction cup. For a more permanent fitting there is also a mounting plate with a self-adhesive patch, which can be stuck to the dashboard. The unit itself is easy to install, but fitting the external aerial in a safe and tidy manner could prove a tricky affair for all but the experienced amateur. Halfords offer a free fitting service for the unit, if required. Power comes from a 12V cigarette lighter socket, which is fine, but does of-course mean you have a trailing lead down the dashboard, never a perfect solution, but again not dissimilar to other in-car peripherals. Once up-and-running the unit picks up DAB signals and then outputs audio over an FM transmitter, which can then be picked up by the cars standard radio. This worked fine in our rural area, but in urban environments more of the FM spectrum is occupied (some illegally) and tuning to the car radio can be more tricky. There is a signal boost to help combat interference, with 4 FM transmission frequency presets. These can automatically change when the signal degrades as long as the car radio is compatible (requires RDS or AF feature). The 36 station presets are straightforward to set and recall when stationary, But not as easy to use on the move as they could be (I found it easier to scroll through all stations one-by-one). I was impressed with the units DAB sensitivity, picking up most of the stations available in our weak signal area. The unit performed very well, the selected station never dropped out or burbled even on my rural commute through known signal weak spots.
A reasonably inexpensive way to add DAB to you car, with good DAB reception, and some nice features.