For the last few years, Sarah and I have put pretty much every last penny into surfing and snowboarding. Gone were the dot com days of gadgets for the home and in were the days of wetsuits, bindings, flights and appartments in the sun and snow. So, it came of something of a surprise to spend Â£200 on a new radio last weekend.
We bought the Evoke 3 from Pure. A radio so amazing, I just couldn’t not buy it. This is my first foray into the world of digital radio, something I’ve hestitated to do for a number of reasons. Partly because I am the sort of person who has a radio on in every room in the house, to ensure I don’t miss a second of the Archers or the Today programme, and I knew that the lag of digital radio would be irritating against the analog radios inevitably on in other rooms. Also, I hesitated because the cost of the devices was high, for not much gain. I listen to Radio 4, and I’m happy with the FM sound quality. I rarely tune to other stations. And when I listen to other things, it’s normally CDs (yes, CDs, not MP3s) in the kitchen while washing up and avoiding Home Truths or some other less favoured Radio 4 programme.
The Evoke 3 has won me over though. Partly because the portable stereo I’ve had since I was 17 has finally stopped working, so a new radio is justified, and partly because of the new possiblities offered by the radio. The key feature is the ability to easily record radio programs. Hardly rocket science, but not a widely avaiallbe feature in radios. It does it with an electronic programme guide, so you can set recordings up to a week in advance, based on the EPG, rather than setting times. So now I can record programmes when I’m out, and listen to them when Home Truths is on! Magic! Equally good, with the EPG, is the ability to see what’s on later, find out what the Friday play will actually be about, and see what’s on on other stations without having to tune through them. Also, because it automatically grabs all the stations it can, there’s no faffing about with tuning the radio in, and no need for presets.
That said, it’s not perfectly perfect. It lacks a CD player, which is annoying because I don’t have an MP3 player so the line in is of limited use. That said, I can transfer MP3s to an SD card and that would work. Bizarrely, this and the rise in interesting podcasts are the two things that might push me into joining the iPod generation. The other thing, of course, is the sound lag. It is annoying, without a doubt, to have the kitchen a couple of seconds behind the rest of the flat. We’re going to have to become a bit stricter about switching the radio off when we’re not actually in the kitchen. A shame, but I’ll live with it.
The other thing that I’d love, in the future, is for the radio to predict what I like and record things for me, like a TiVo for radio. I don’t have a TiVo because TV isn’t that important to me, but that feature for radio would be fantastic. I dream of a day when I’ve listened to enough episodes of In Business, and recorded a couple, that it automatically suggests or just records a Peter Day special report. One day, one day.