Rockville RDJT6700 by Godhand502
I recently purchased a Rockville RDJT6700 for the audio format transfer rack in my studio (I had been using a Sony STR-DE898 AV receiver amp for its radio capabilities, but it took up over 3 rack units, so I decided to go with something smaller to free up some more rack space). My first impression while unboxing The Rockville unit was that it was incredibly light: I could have thrown it like a frisbee without any difficulty. The RDJT6700 costs only $58 and came with two radio antennas, a power cord, and a remote control.
The two radio antennas were extremely cheap in quality to the point of being almost useless (I don’t think that I’ve ever seen wires of such a thin gauge...seemingly only 5-10 strands each). After installing the antennas, I could pull in less than half of the FM stations in my area and could manually tune in only a single AM station that came in so faint that the AUTO function was unable to lock it in as a channel preset. I grabbed some better quality loop antennas from past Sony and Denon brand receiver amps and substituted them in for the factory Rockville antennas. I was able to get a few more FM stations to lock in and was able to manually tune in a few AM stations, but the unit was still unable to pull them in clear enough to lock in the AM stations as channel presets. Granted, I am using this unit in a recording studio that is heavily insulated and has a complex series of ferrite chokes and clamps along the electrical wires feeding to the power supply, which prevents the unit from using those lines as a quasi antenna. However, the AM reception on this unit is extremely weak. The unit also has a second antenna input for FM, which uses a BNC connection for the input. Oddly, no BNC antenna is included with this unit: you have to buy one separately elsewhere to boost your FM reception. Another main criticism of the unit’s design is that it uses dual bare wire inputs for the main AM and FM antennas instead of coaxial jacks, which would have allowed people to use powered “leaf” style antennas that would’ve exponentially expanded the reception capabilities of this unit. I understand that they probably went with the bare wire inputs in order to cut production costs, but as a customer, I would have no problem with paying an extra $2 to have had coaxial radio inputs, even if it meant that the unit came with no antennas in the box at all. I have ordered an after-market BNC antenna, which should arrive within a week, so I’ll update this review when it arrives.
The power cable is a standard 3-prong interchangeable cable. Nothing to talk about here, one way or the other.
The remote control functions well, but comes without batteries. It requires 2 AAA batteries. The remote is small, but seems well-built for its size. It has all the functionality that one would need for this type of unit.
The instruction booklet is brief, but adequately explains all that you need to know to operate that unit. There is also a warranty card that offers a 1-year warranty from the date of purchase. Nice.
The unit itself, as I’ve mentioned before is very light. Since I installed this unit in a recording studio where it will likely not be moved, this isn’t so much of an issue. But if I was throwing this in a live sound rig that would be constantly loaded and unloaded from the back of a van or truck, I’m not certain how long this unit would last under the wear and tear of those conditions. Also, the LED display on the front seems cheaply made, even though the display does what it is supposed to do. For some reason, you can see all the wires running to the LED screen to the sides of the screen behind the clear plastic window cut, which I haven’t seen on any of the other gear that I own. It’s like the window was cut for a larger LED display for another model, but was repurposed for this model to save money, rather than making the window smaller or the display larger. This doesn’t affect functionality, but just makes the unit look cheap. The buttons On the front are made of rubber and backlit by blue LED lights. The outputs are a single pair of unbalanced RCA jacks. The rack ears are not completely standard for American style racks: it is one of those units where only 2 out of 4 of the holes will line up with a standard rack. However the unit is so light that you only really need 2 screws to secure this unit snuggly. Lastly, the unit includes an externally accessible fuse beneath the power cord receptacle, which uses a 2A 250V Fast 5x20mm generic glass fuse. I tried to substitute a Schurter brand fuse of the same type, but wasn’t able to notice much difference in sound quality (too much radio hiss in the background...when my new FM antenna comes, I will revisit this review and update as to whether a fuse roll does anything for this unit).
In summary, the Rockville RDJT6700 is an entry-level budget version of the industry standard Denon DN-300Z, which offers everything that the Rockville unit does, along with a CD player and Bluetooth compatibility in the same amount of space. However, the Denon unit costs around $400, while the Rockville unit will only set you back $58. For the price the Rockville offers good bang for the buck without hurting your wallet. However, I wish that there was a higher model version possibly in the $80-$100 range that could correct some of the design flaws that I mentioned above. In the future, I might try to find a tech would can mod the unit by adding coaxial jacks in the place of the bare wire inputs, since the AM reception on this unit is abysmal, while the FM reception is just okay without the extra BNC antenna. However radio reception depends on a lot of different variables, so YMMV.