DAB+ adapter: 8 devices in the test

Selected products in tabular overview

test winner

EUR 85.00

1.4 (very good)


Value for money

Value for money

EUR 59.95

1.8 (good)

71.94 euros

1.9 (good)

74.99 EUR

2.2 (good)

204.99 EUR

2.4 (good)

118.68 euros

2.6 (satisfactory)

49.99 EUR

3.0 (satisfactory)

39.99 EUR

3.7 (sufficient)

DAB+ offers radio listeners many advantages: Compared to the FM standard, there is better sound, a greater variety of programs and less interference. Sooner or later, DAB+ will completely replace FM radio and become the new standard, but there is still no official switch-off date in Germany. Nevertheless, DAB+ reception has been mandatory in new cars since the end of 2020. But drivers of older cars don’t have to do without the advantages of digital radio either. DAB+ can be easily retrofitted – with DAB+ adapters. These are available in stores from as little as 40 euros. AUTO BILD tested eight copies.

Winner of the AUTO BILD DAB+ adapter test: Albrecht DR 56 C

DAB+ adapter Albrecht DR 56 C

DR 56C
  • Good speakerphone
  • Music playing possible
  • good sound

Price €85.00

Full marks in terms of service! And the Albrecht DR 56 C is also convincing in other respects across the board. There are only deductions for minor weaknesses such as the missing traffic information function. But you can cope with the overall very good range of functions. The price of around 79 euros is absolutely fair for this performance. In the test, the Albrecht DR 56 C scored 95 out of 105 points and received a grade of 1.4 (very good).

Price-performance winner Pure Highway 400

DAB+ adapter Pure Highway 400

highway 400
  • special optics
  • great additional functions
  • very cheap price
  • no bluetooth handsfree

Price €49.95

The Pure Highway 400 stands out from the crowd of DAB+ adapters thanks to its special appearance, the absence of an additional power cable and great additional functions thanks to the app. If you can overlook the lack of a Bluetooth hands-free kit, here’s a top product at a bargain price. In the test, the Pure Highway 400 achieved 95 out of 105 points and received a grade of 1.8 (good).

How AUTO BILD tested it

The adapters were individually installed and set up. The important thing was: Are there any difficulties during installation? Are the necessary accessories available and also functional? Is setup and operation intuitive, or do you need instructions? After the device was ready to go, it was time to hit the slopes – for city, intercity and motorway driving. Digital radio and BT music playback via FM transmitters and clinker plugs were tested. The hands-free function was also checked. Since radio reception is strongly influenced by external factors (e.g. weather), only very significant failures were rated here. Like the Geosta device, for example, which kept losing DAB+ reception.
DAB+ installation

The antenna is glued in, the grounding magnet must be connected to the body for optimal reception.

The devices all work according to the same principle: there is an antenna to stick on and a control panel that is attached to a bracket in the cockpit. the ÜThe DAB+ signal is transmitted to the car radio either via an FM transmitter or a jack plug. Basically, the use of the clinker plug is more advisable, since the FM transmitter transfers the signal to a free VHF frequency and other signals can be superimposed. The result: the frequency has to be changed. But the sound is also flawless with an FM transmitter. In any case, there was little to complain about in our test when it came to the sound. From time to time there were problems with some adapters with a slight background noise or whistling in the background. However, at no time was it so serious or disruptive that it led to a devaluation.

The test results at a glance

On the other hand, there were significantly larger differences between the products elsewhere: in terms of operation. Most DAB+ adapters make it easy for their users with different buttons that are assigned different shortcuts by short or long presses. For example, you don’t have to click through menus to change the FM frequency. The Pioneer device makes it a bit more difficult for the user: what only one or two targeted clicks are necessary with other DAB+ adapters, here you first have to scroll through the menu and look for the right menu item. On the other hand, the Pioneer adapter offers practical buttons to which certain radio stations can be assigned as favorites. Only the most expensive test candidate, the Tiny Audio C5, offers this.
DAB+ adapter Albrecht Audio test winner

The test winner was the Albrecht DR 56 C – a revised version of the DR 56+, which was the test winner in 2019.

By the way: The DAB+ adapters not only offer radio reception, but also allow you to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows music from streaming services to be played as an alternative. There is also a hands-free function, which almost all products also offer. However, here the perfomance leaves a lot to be desired with many devices: the sound of the call is quiet and muffled. And it is not uncommon for the caller to hear himself. The best results were achieved here by the Albrecht DR 56 C, the Auvisio FMX-640 and the adapter from FirstE: The sound can be improved here too, but you don’t have to struggle with background noise. Anyone who relies on hands-free calling should therefore choose one of these alternatives. If you place more value on connectivity, you’re on the right track with the price-performance winner Pure Highway 400. It doesn’t have a hands-free facility, but the cell phone’s language assistant can be used at the push of a button. Spotify is also implemented so that the playlists can be browsed directly on the control panel.

Conclusion on the DAB+ adapter test

DAB+ retrofitting using an adapter is inexpensive and works in almost every vehicle model. And that’s not all: Additional functions such as hands-free calling offer a further advantage in addition to a large variety of stations and interference-free reception of your favorite stations.

What is DAB+?

DAB+ is the radio standard of tomorrow and the revised version of the digital radio DAB, short for “Digital Audio Broadcasting”. In contrast to DAB, the audio compression has been improved in the Plus version, so that DAB+ enables even better sound quality. Of course, every DAB+ adapter is backwards compatible and can receive DAB. Conversely, this is only possible with a firmware update. In contrast to VHF, the signal is not sent via interference-prone radio waves, but digitally encrypted. The advantages of DAB+ compared to FM are also the significantly better sound, a greater variety of programs (because the frequency blocks can be used several times) and the possibility of sending additional information (e.g. image or text). In the future, traffic information via DAB+ could be shown in text form on the vehicle display.

DAB+ adapter test: 2019 results

AUTO BILD tested DAB+ adapters for cars as early as 2019. The test winner at the time was the Albrecht DR 56+. For less than 90 euros you get a reliable DAB+ receiver and Bluetooth adapter that is easy to use. The “Pure Highway 600” came with a particularly extensive range of additional functions: Spotify can be selected and operated directly on the control panel using a smartphone app. If you can do without the Bluetooth frills, you are on the right track with the “Pure Highway 200” – at a price of 60 euros, it was the cheapest candidate in the test in 2019. The cheapest DAB+ adapter with Bluetooth – the “Technisat Digicar 1” – only came second to last. The reason was a point deduction for the defective AUX output (pre-series model). Otherwise it is actually a clever device with a battery and a great mounting concept (car plug with charging contacts).

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