The Leader in Scanner and Shortwave Communications

Monitoring Times Reviews

March 2004



Sounds Sweet Speaker –

A Side-By-Side Comparison

 By Bob Grove


            Several listening enthusiasts have asked us our impression of a recent addition to our hobby’s accessories – the Sounds Sweet speaker. No question about it, original-equipment speakers inside the cabinets of our receivers and scanners leave a great deal to be desired!

            At our listening post, we installed a toggle switch between the Sounds Sweet and a typical stereo bookshelf speaker formerly sold by Grove (Grove SPK03: CSI/SPECO DMS-3P) and connected it to an ICOM R8500 wide-frequency-coverage receiver. The Grove is a small bookshelf unit measuring roughly 7 x 4 x 4 inches, while the Sounds Sweet occupies a substantial 12 x 10 x 10 inches.


Let’s Listen


            Tuning in a classical music station, we weren’t surprised that the bass register was better in the much-larger Sounds Sweet, and the sound had more “massiveness.” But the vibrancy of upper-register harmonics of the strings was muffled compared to the Grove unit. But the Sounds Sweet isn’t advertised for high-fidelity FM broadcast reception, it’s intended for shortwave listening and VHF/UHF communications monitoring.

            The Sounds Sweet web site is punctuated by advertising claims; let’s separate the facts from the hype:


            “Dense, solid, tongue and groove construction, tuned port, bass reflex speakers optimized for communications, scanners and shortwave with an EXTREMELY EFFICIENT dual cone driver.” (Emphasis theirs)

            Editorial comment: We do see a tuned port, but no evidence of a bass-reflex port. The 8-inch speaker certainly does sound considerably better than the internal, original-equipment speaker, as does the Grove speaker. The Sounds Sweet does deliver more audio than the Grove at the same volume control setting.


            “Sounds Sweet speakers can be driven LOUD WITH ALL RADIOS, even handheld transceivers and scanners!” (Emphasis theirs)

            Editorial comment: Both speakers can, assuming that the radios themselves don’t deliver distortion at high volume levels.


             “Sounds Sweet communications speakers maximize intelligibility from your transceiver, receiver or portable by reproducing only the communications voice and shortwave music frequencies coming from your SSB, AM or FM communication or shortwave radio.”

            Editorial comment: All of these modes utilize a reduced audio-spectrum bandwidth, typically 300-3000 Hz. Don’t expect bass-thumping lows and tinkling highs.


            “NO HISS! UNCOMPROMISED communication voice and shortwave music speakers with FULL CLEAR CLEAN audio and NO HISS!” (Emphasis theirs)

            Editorial comment: If there’s hiss on the signal, you’re going to hear it on either speaker. That said, the Sounds Sweet rolls off its high frequencies sooner than the Grove, thus proportionately reducing high-frequency hiss much like turning down a treble tone control. But this also reduces the crispness of the sound which can reduce voice intelligibility and compromises the harmonic richness of music.


The Bottom Line


            Since both speakers offer considerable sound improvement over original equipment internal speakers, which is the better buy? That’s a tough call. Each speaker accessory has its own benefits under varying listening conditions.

            For shortwave enthusiasts who prefer the mellowness of reduced treble along with a moderate reduction in high-frequency hiss, and have the room to enjoy somewhat better bass from the larger speaker and cabinet, the big Sounds Sweet is the clear choice.

            For shortwave and scanner hobbyists more interested in retaining voice and music crispness and presence without quite as much bass emphasis, especially listeners experiencing high-frequency hearing loss, we’d recommend the $50-range stereo speaker.

            Sounds Sweet, $99 plus shipping; order from their web site: or write Sounds Sweet, 99 W Shore Dr, Carmel, NY 10512.


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