Roberts CD9959

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Roberts CD9959

Radio Devices, Radio Recorders - Stereo - with Digital Tuner - with CD Player - without Cassette Player

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Review of "Roberts CD9959"

published 03/08/2016 | Nar2
Member since : 26/05/2011
Reviews : 1345
Members who trust : 177
About me :
Ty for all r/r/c's, kind words & E's where applicable & Ty for my Diamond. Finally got to Gold.
Pro Compact, easy to use, reasonable sound quality, good controls, good price.
Cons Short FM radio aerial, a bit plasticky in parts.
Alarm Quality
Radio Quality
Clock Quality
Sound & Volume
Range of Features

"Wallow With The Roberts Swallow For A Squat Size, Sound & Price!"

Roberts CD9959 - Size differences with the Sony CFDS50.

Roberts CD9959 - Size differences with the Sony CFDS50.

Whenever I work in my kitchen for a long period of time, I like to listen to music or the radio. My 2012 Sony CFDS50 player has a CD player built in and a radio but the sound quality and power of sound are both weak. Trying to program the digital radio tuner when it has been switched off for a period of time can also be frustrating as I find the Sony player doesn’t save any of my favourite radio stations unless the unit is always plugged in and left in standby.

It shouldn’t be this difficult to find a quality brand that offers a non-DAB radio with a CD player added and external speakers. Yet for all that the UK seems to be out of a recession, compact CD radio players seem to be rare unless I consider buying a bigger ghetto blaster - a design, which seems to be coming back. At one time portable stereos were all the rage and they were cost effective. I required a smaller unit for my kitchen – out of the way and compact as possible with reasonable sound quality.

I have had my eye on a Roberts CD9959 Swallow CD radio player for some time. We have one in the kitchen at work and I was largely impressed with the features. At cost, the little stereo unit costs on average £35 to £42 online though mine cost £41 from an independent store. A number of sellers online offer the following prices (including VAT): £38-83 (product code B0009JNKGI ) £44-99 (product code 925/381 ) £39-99 (product code 136467 ) £44-00.

The general product promise released by Roberts conveys:

The Swallow (CD9959) is a compact CD radio player, powered by both mains supply and batteries making it truly portable.

The three band radio has LW/MW and FM stereo wavebands, adjust the deep bass boost to suite your personal taste.


The Roberts Swallow CD9959 unit is a slightly familiar design to me given the plethora of cheap budget branded stereo, tape CD players I have used in some schools that have been bought, just to act as a CD player-only in the classroom. The units only last a couple of years before the CD lid or a push button control malfunctions from over use or rough handling. This is one aspect that I don’t like about the Roberts Swallow CD9959 as I noticed in an instance that the CD lid on top is very thin and fragile to the touch. The lid also gets in the way if the carry handle has been raised. It seems to me that the Roberts Swallow CD9959 is more or less a stationery stereo unit.

The general size measures approximately 24.5cm width by 13.5cm height and 2.49cm diameter. From the small and squat, elevated design to the shiny matt silver finishes and major controls being presented on the front with small, medium and large round buttons, it is clear to me Roberts have designed this unit with user-centric simplicity in mind!

Different tactile buttons that control different functions are also pleasing to see – the volume control is pointed upwards like a little hat, but also ribbed for grippy adjustment. The radio-tuning dial is also similarly ribbed whilst other buttons have flat tough plastic feel with smooth and flush touch presses. All the major buttons that I'm likely to use for the majority of the time are metallic blue in colour versus other buttons in silver. These are the much appreciated design elements that seem to go missing on far more modern units in my opinion. The power cable with bonded fitted plug is also grey in colour, so it matches the overall dark grey and light silver finish of this unit. The cable also measures approximately 165cm so you get a touch more length here compared to others.

I do appreciate that Roberts has given their attention to making all of the buttons clearly visible and well spaced out. Even the fragile CD lid is frosted, so you can keep an eye on the spinning CD as well as the On red LED light and CD program lights also being located to the furthest edge that the CD lid pours over like a lip. A front window displays the CD track in pleasing green LED’s.

The biggest surprise is that the Roberts Swallow CD9959 features no tape cassette player. Instead you get a CD player with basic functions like memory play (1 track or all tracks to a maximum of 20) as well as a few surprising extras like being able to program the Roberts Swallow CD9959 to playback 20 of your preferred tracks in the order that you want.

The design overall is lightweight too coming in at just 1.6kg whilst the carry handle is chunky to my eye but slightly thin if I require to carry the Roberts CD9959 in transit. Batteries can be used in lieu of mains power but you’re looking at using six LR14/C style batteriesalone.


The Roberts CD9959 is a beautifully small, compact CD player unit that I really appreciate in my kitchen. It seems to take up very little space due to its very small footprint and appears to be half the size than my outgoing Sony CFDS50 stereo.

It is a pity though that whilst the FM radio aerial slides in and out of the unit at the top, the fully extended length of its telescopic design is quite short. I wasn’t hopeful of being able to tune into my favourite stations until I actually tried the aerial and I was surprised to find that the 360° 28.5cm height aerial provides a good tuning aspect despite it being shorter.

Thankfully unlike my Sony CD player, Roberts have provided a flush ribbed bright blue control dial right at the front of the stereo below the three band radio wave band window. I find I can tune the stations finely without missing a station completely.

Function sliders for the CD/radio and off are also located as well as the radio band selections with a separate notched slider. No faffing about for me this time! The radio stations are easy to find in a jiffy. There is also a beat switch which also acts as mono/stereo choice. The switch alone is good to see as I have had radios in the past that lack this.

The CD player manages to play my mp3 copied discs as well as standard CD discs.


The sound quality is never going to be powerful at just 1.5 watts per speaker though. The surprising sound factor is that the Roberts CD9959 can impart a loudness factor that may require turning down if there are too many people around in the same room for normal conversation to occur. A good sound quality to my ears without being overly tinny can be provided by the Roberts CD9959 but it is never annoying to me. This is helped by the optional bass boost button on board which adds natural bass without being too boomy and vibrations though the speakers seems to be kept to a minimum. There is no hiss when the volume is either set at a low level or high level. However this little stereo unit can only deliver so much on its own.

When the sound cable is hooked up via the 3.5mm small headphone socket also located on the top of this player, and added to my Creative T15 speakers, all can be forgiven! The Roberts CD9959 has quite the power to suddenly open up, more of course pointing to the far more powerful, bolstering quality that Creative T15 speakers generally impart – but the sound quality is rich and powerful compared to when I hooked up my outgoing Sony CDFS05!

Due to its size and small output though, the Roberts CD9959 CD radio player can never replace a fuller, bigger stereo system, let alone a sound bar alone that offers more than 20 watts in my experience. But then I didn’t buy this unit thinking I was going to get a compact powerhouse in terms of a CD Radio player.


Roberts also offer the Zoombox2 portable stereo unit. It sees a much more modern front with digital radio and DAB radio waves with additional USB/SD card input. The company claim that this product has a “deep bass” but looking at the specs reveals the speakers have 2 watts in total with both speakers. Clearly compensating the power of sound has been achieved by offering additional DAV radio and USB/SD input. It also has power back up for the radio presets should there be a power cut.

I am so pleased with my little Roberts CD9559 Swallow CD Radio. It ticks the boxes for what I require and it can play my CD’s or radio play without taking half an hour to program. With prices just below £44, there’s a quality bargain to be had, here and in this day and age, I really don’t miss having a tape player. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2016.

PS Please ignore clock and alarm as this unit doesn’t feature it.

Photo A shows main look versus Sony unit.
Photo B shows the Roberts being nearly half the size.

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Comments on this review

  • NeelamSapphire published 15/08/2016
    Very Well. Great Review
  • danielclark691 published 13/08/2016
    well reviewed
  • jb0077 published 07/08/2016
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Product Information : Roberts CD9959

Manufacturer's product description

Radio Devices, Radio Recorders - Stereo - with Digital Tuner - with CD Player - without Cassette Player

Product Details

EAN: 5038301999599, 5055379935212

Manufacturer: Roberts

MP3 Playback: No

CD-R/RW Playback: No

Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB): without DAB

CD Player: with CD Player

MP3 Encoding: No

USB Interface: No

Cassette Player: without Cassette Player

PMP Docking: No

MP3 Recording: No

Digital Tuner: with Digital Tuner

MD Player / Recorder: No

Sound System: Stereo


Listed on Ciao since: 07/12/2005