Definition of crystal set in US English:

crystal set

(also crystal radio)


  • A simple early form of radio receiver with a crystal touching a metal wire as the rectifier (instead of a tube or transistor), and no amplifier or loudspeaker, necessitating headphones or an earphone.

    • ‘It's like the wireless or the crystal radio you have to jockey around to get the station located.’
    • ‘But I want to make this clear to just the few people left with their crystal sets tuned in.’
    • ‘Consequently, while a high-school student can build a crystal radio set to detect electromagnetic waves, gravitational waves require extraordinarily sensitive equipment to measure them.’
    • ‘When the car radio freed people from the family crystal set it gave birth to pop music.’
    • ‘I remember Pop telling me about listening with a crystal radio receiver, which involved a coil made by wrapping wire around a cylindrical container.’
    • ‘He puts together a simple crystal radio locked on the single station, and arranges to smuggle dozens of them into the Project.’
    • ‘His enquiring mind made itself obvious very early on, when he put together the forerunner to AM stereo radio in a crystal set at home, when he was only 11 years old.’
    • ‘He did a bit of repair to umbrellas, as well, the old crystal radio, popular then, was a speciality for him and he repaired several of them.’
    • ‘There he became interested in radio and constructed his own crystal radio set.’
    • ‘I was once the proud owner of a crystal set wireless on which I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg under my bedsheets.’
    • ‘By the way, I wasn't too happy with the crystal set reception from ABC radio.’
    • ‘It is all very well for members in this Parliament to talk about levies and adjusting the rates of excise duty, etc., but people listening to their crystal sets will want to know what that means in terms of their pocket.’
    • ‘It could be picked up by small crystal sets on a 12 mile radius.’
    • ‘BBC Heritage will present an original BBC crystal radio set to the museum for its collection.’
    • ‘In simplest terms, the broadcast station puts out enough power in the form of a radio signal to be picked up by a crystal set.’
    • ‘In the days when I started, it was a case of crystal sets and headphones, but it caught the imagination of the public at once.’
    • ‘When he was a boy in Vienna he told me a young couple sat him down with a libretto and had him listen to a performance of The Magic Flute on their crystal set.’
    • ‘They had a crystal set and several pairs of earphones.’
    • ‘He learned to build crystal radio sets to listen to the earliest radio broadcasts in the 1920's.’
    • ‘Since crystal radios are only AM receivers, he was telling me that he planned to modify a case so that it housed an FM receiver.’


crystal set

/ˈkristl set//ˈkrɪstl sɛt/