Publisher Profile

Lego Icons Retro Radio Review

By: |


I occasionally express my nostalgia in the hobby of audiophilia through acquisition of inoperative or nominally operative audio devices versus vintage stereo equipment. The nostalgia or vintage systems I have built did not have a performance level sufficient to inspire me to listen to them more than a day or two. I have found more gratification collecting and displaying audio paraphernalia. This week, while on vacation, I spied a product that ticked all the right boxes for an impulse purchase, the Lego Icons Retro Radio. It evokes joyful childhood memories of playing with an Erector Set, sports a period color combination of sea foam green and white, has a form vaguely like my first boombox, and can play music, albeit through an inserted smart phone!

Sometimes the acquisition of a symbolic piece of audio equipment is as important as another incremental upgrade to the primary rig. Adding a piece of Lego equipment immediately elevates one’s audio space to the realm of a sanctuary. If Lego Icons Retro Radio is displayed prominently, it may grab more attention than the high-end system you slaved over.

The build quality of this radio is excellent because Lego made it and I built it. The user experience is pleasant because it plays period piece sound bites, or whatever music you wish from your embedded smart phone, at least a phone that is reasonably sized versus a tablet replacement. The pre-recorded snippets of chatter in the included soundbrick are appropriately tinny, as they should be. The soft rubber internal switch for the On/Off dial does not have a satisfying click but is silent as a solenoid. The tuning dial moves jerkily and operates only at certain frequencies. These necessary, quirky design features are endearing.

As a nostalgia toy purchase, I do not care how the Lego Icons Retro Radio sounds, and neither will you, so I don’t know why I am bothering to describe the sound. It is a product that finds its meaning in its assembly and cuteness, versus how it plays. At an MSRP of $99 it suffers sonically from diminishing returns. But the nostalgia returns are sky high compared to a tired 1970’s receiver.

As it has no inputs or outputs, I was momentarily stumped on how to hook it up to the big rig. Curiosity demands that any conceptually compatible device be heard through the primary system. The user-provided smart phone offers a solution. A Bluetooth connection from the captive phone to the system might allow for some fun and games, if the Retro Radio can be faked as if playing through the primary system. I’m not going to put the time into it, but I suspect more enterprising audiophiles can make it happen. Such modifications would add to the approximately 10-hour build time. OK, I’m slow! Give me a break, it’s my first and likely only Lego build!

Since it became available this month, I am currently in an elite group, the owner of one of the most nostalgic and silly audio devices on the planet! If you act now, you can build your own monument to the irrelevance of radio. Having invested heavily in this nostalgia trip, I’ll be pissed off if Lego comes out with a vintage B&O system! Then again, compared to the Retro Radio, it might be an instance of diminishing returns. Only comparison would tell, if there was such a thing as the Lego B&O System.

  • (Page 1 of 1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popups Powered By :