* Prices may differ from that shown
To anyone who still just listens to local radio or Radio 1 in the car or at home, then the world of digital radio must seem quite a mystery. So many stations that you hear about, but no way to hear them.
You might listen on a cable TV service, but who wants to sit in front of the tv to listen to radio?
I would definately recommend looking to digital as it will almost certainly have so much more content to suit you. The 5 FM BBC radio stations are fine, but have a very general outlook, and have to appeal to a vast number of people. The specialised digital radio stations are great. I would say the cost of this Pure Digial radio is well worth it just to be able to listen to BBC Radio 6Music. Great presenters, who all know their stuff, playing great quality music.
The radio itself is great - very easy to set up and no 'tuning' in the traditional sense, you just switch between stations.
Good quality sound too.
The Pure Evoke 2XT was our first venture into the world of digital radio. I want to say we've had it about two years, but I suspect that means about four years in real time! And over those 2-4 years our Pure Evoke radio has been in almost constant use. Most of the time it sits happily in the kitchen and makes washing up/cleaning the kitchen a much happier experience. But it's easily portable so gets moved around our flat, particularly when other chores/decorating are going on.
The look and feel:
Before you even switch the thing on, you have to admire the look and feel of the Pure Evoke 2XT. With it's wood/silver finish it manages to look both modern and retro and very stylish! It feels reassuringly solid and well put-together.
It can be powered by mains, chargepak or battery - and keeps going for several hours on either of the latter power supplies. You wouldn't want to be carrying this for miles as the handle is built for style rather than comfort and it would be a bit heavy, but it's absolutely fine for moving around your home and garden.
Great! The sound is very clear and fills the room. We get no problems with any sound or receiption and this was a revelation to me after a lifetime of somewhat crackly FM! For a portable system the speaker quality is excellent.
Controls/ease of use:
The controls are very very simple to use. There are three dials for volume, tone and tuning the different stations. As you scroll through the stations using the tuning dial the station name appears at the bottom of the small display screen, and you just press the dial to tune to the station you want when you get to it. You can have up to 6 stations preset using the buttons below. The other 4 control buttons are for menu, on/standby, timer, and DAB/FM/AUX. To be honest, the only one of these 4 buttons I ever use is the on/standby as our radio is permanently on DAB and we don't bother to use any alarm functions etc.
As well as scrolling the radio stations when you're tuning, the display screen shows the station you're listening too, battery levels, clock and strength of signal. A scrolling display along the bottom tells you what you're listening to.
Sooo, is there anything not to like? Well, not really! As it's a few years old now I think there are more sophisticated models on the market now (just looking Pure Evoke 3 models have functionality to record radio and to rewind live radio) - but frankly, this model does everything I need!
I have owned this radio a couple of years now and wouldn't be without it. Despite newer models coming on the market, I also wouldn't consider updating it as I think it does everything you need a radio to do, and now at a lower price than some newer models!
Being in University, I move around a lot and take my radio with me and find that it picks up signal easily wherever. I have even lived in the Netherlands and received a good range of stations there! The radio and display is also very easy to use as well as being aesthetically pleasing. It is possible to pre-set up to 6 stations at the press of a button, and scrolling through available stations couldn't be simpler. Additional extras include an alarm (which is very reliable and easy to set!), a timer and auxiliary output so the radio can be used as speakers.
If you are considering buying a DAB digital radio, I would definitely recommend the PURE evoke series and this model cannot be beaten on price and quality for being a couple year older now. Save your money and go for this one!
This is perhaps rather an unusual review as I'm writing it as an almost non-user of the radio. Perhaps I'd better explain ...
I bought one of these radios for my husband a couple of years ago. Price was a bit off-putting, but I did all my research and everyone seemed to rate it highly so I went ahead. He has been delighted with the sound quality - I don't listen enough to comment, but would have heard all about it if there had been any issues with it!!!
Where my comments really come in are on the 'ease of use' category - I did the initial setting up which I found simple, but I was also delighted to discover in the recent snow (when I needed to find the local station in a hurry to find out if my kids' schools were closed or not!) that I could find the correct station quickly and easily, despite not having touched the controls (well, except for the 'off' button maybe!) in well over a year. If that's not intuitive and straightforward I don't know what is! Therefore, I would HIGHLY recommend this for anyone who likes things to work in an obvious way!
Also, it feels sturdy, is well-made and looks great!
I have been the owner of this dab radio for a couple of years now and I have been delighted with it. The sound is crisp and clear as you would expect from Pure and there is very little distortion even at higher volume levels. The layout on the front of the radio is foolproof and straightforward. It features the display which gives the usual information,(station name and scrolling information such as now playing and playing next). Below the display are 3 knobs to adjust the volume and the tone and the third one which scrolls through the available stations until you find the one you want. A simple push of the button then tunes that station in. Below these knobs are 6 preset buttons for your favourite stations. Then you have the autotune button which allows an automatic scan of all available stations, a display button which changes the information which scrolls on the display and a setup button which when used in conjunction with the tune knob, allows you to adjust station order etc. There is then a power button an a dab/fm selector button. The back of the unit simply features a headphone jack, a stereo out jack and a digital out jack for use with an optical lead,(none of the above leads are supplied). There is a slot on the back for 6 c cell batteries. I cannot comment on the battery life as I always use mine with the supplied ac adaptor. All round I consider this to be one of the best dab radios available although it is quite expensive compared to some out there.
My parents have a radio in their bedroom, a radio in a study; a radio in a craft room; a radio in the kitchen and even our bathroom has a small water proof radio. But this latest venture meant that what we really wanted was a new style of radio, DAB radio to be more precise - the search was on to find a suitable device which could eliminate hiss and noise - and blend into the living room alongside our micro Hifi system. We are, you could say, totally Radio Ga Ga! ** This is a long review! **
** Availability of DAB for Consumers **
DAB radio, or Digital Audio Broadcasting as it is logically known as, has been available in the UK for some time now, not just from its infancy in 1995. It was the BBC Corporation who founded the idea of DAB and as such the BBC was one of the first radio stations where DAB could be used to identify and locate the station.
It seems that this type of radio format is highly sought after by radio fans up and down the country and no longer can you now buy just a radio which is equipped with DAB, although many are now available at a cheap price. Micro hi fi's, personal music devices and in car entertainment systems are now becoming DAB equipped making the availability of such concepts universally and on a mass level, far more attainable. There is even at present a DECT phone which will also use DAB technology, which means that eventually it may even make an appearance in mobile phones too.
** What Does DAB Do? **
DAB effectively erases hiss and fade from standard radio wavelengths, zoning in on radio stations available and allow sound production of the station found to contain no other additional sound other than the broadcast itself. DAB also contain micro processors which filter out interference and strengthen signal errors. As such it also means that this radio remains unaffected by a change in weather, unlike standard radio receivers.
** Nars Quick Skip Review Spec **
Evoke Pure -2XT model
5 RMS watts per speaker (10 watts total), stereo speakers
Station presets (12 available; 6 per wavelength)
Removable telescopic aerial & several very helpful features
Full LCD display with additional features.
Price £149-00 from John Lewis in 2006. Now cheaper!
Kitchen count down timer
Wake up alarm
White on Blue LCD panel with scrollable details features.
Can use removable Pure batteries & standard batteries for power options.
Tone controls and stereo/mono mode.
Permanent set curved brushed steel handle.
Line in and out options, handy for PC compatibility and digital recording.
Size (H) 18.5cm, (W) 29cm, (D) 10cm.
** Other Stockists **
John Lewis Price: £119-00.
Argos Price: £119-97 cat number 5005268
Comet Price: £119-99
Currys Price: £110-97 online, £119-99 in store price.
** Finding the Right Radio **
Being avid fans of radio stations (we all have our preferences) and with previous technology of preset saving buttons, we were looking for a radio which didn't necessarily sparkle and whistle with all the latest additions. However, what I did find out initially after looking through so many models was the simple fact that the Evoke radios from Pure seem to have gained quite a status amongst the general consumers who have bought products from this company. Friends have also recommended this company as offering radios which at best have the clearest LCD displays on offer.
Not all DAB radios are the same though, and I found that there was a great difference in terms of quality design and features where the price was concerned. An example which springs to mind is Alba, who have not always made the best audio equipment in years - their radios were really cheap to consider but the lack of design thought into the tiniest dials and controls meant that from the offset, most of their products were not particularly appealing. Whilst it looks classy, I'd imagine that I'd have to look on the top of the radio to scan a station and wipe away dust which is often a bad attribute to a flat top design. If you have a radio like this which sits on a shelf permanently, you'll know where I'm coming from when it comes to dust.
** Other Aspects of DAB Radios **
One of the many advantages of DAB radios these days isn't just the clarity of signal and pure crystal like clearness of sound, but also the fact that some DAB devices have LCD screens which are big enough to cope with details about the radio station and at times, what the listener is listening to on that desired choice of radio station. At times it is possible to get songs with an artist's title to appear, which of course is a brand new addition to DAB radio as standard radio has never been able to offer such a great contact with individual users. Of course, standard radios on hifi devices sometimes have the same digital screen where details of the radio station's analogue channel number appear, but certainly not the name of the programme that the radio has honed in on, or the title of a song which is currently playing.
I also wanted to find a radio where possible which had an Auxiliary point at the back so that there is the option of putting the radio through a Hifi or another similar amplifier device. Additional cords would have to be bought for this task but at the cost of £1-99 for an Auxiliary cord with 2 Midi coloured pins, I am not the first to complain about additional costs if it benefits use positively. The Pure Evoke 2XT is about the only device currently on the market which has auxiliary and future software compatibility which is surely a bonus for anyone in the market looking to use the radio for many different uses.
** Setting Up **
When its first set up or taken out of the box you will find that the radio comes with its own mains power adaptor. The unit also has the option of using batteries - either C type batteries which will give almost 25 hours playback or an additional "Charge" pack which allows owners to use Pure's own branded item and can give up to 15 hours on playback. This pack does NOT come with the radio, but rather it is available to buy optionally at a further cost of £29-99. In effect this means that the battery pack from Pure will charge whilst the radio is plugged into a mains cord - and can be used thereafter when the mains cord is not needed - handy for instant travels to the garden or elsewhere, such as in transit outdoors. With the choice of using such power options our Evoke has not moved from its position from day one in the living room, although if needed we can optionally take out the mains cord and use the radio straight away from the charged batteries - a very neat and considerate design point - and remember, if you don't have the charge pack, you can use standard batteries anyway! It's a bit stingy of Pure not to enclose the Charge pack with the radio though...
~~ Design of Pure Evoke's 2XT model ~~
Only in the last year Roberts and other brands are now beginning to launch radios which are stylish to the eye, blend into décor generally and don't appear to be outlandish. I have never liked Pure's original design of a square box swathed in real wood and put a curved permanently fitted handle on the top.
However I am starting to like the look of this model, even though if the front of it uses an abundance of silver paint. There aren't any LED lights on this model either, so it is handy that it does have a very clear lit blue LCD panel where white decals and words appear on its background. The brightness of this LCD screen is also available to change, from low to medium and high. Clarity of words and titles whilst also scrolling for menu options are very clear to read and spot.
** Choice of Finish **
The wood colour surrounding the whole radio is actually available in two strands; Maple Cherry which was the radio colour that I wanted, but could not find and had to make do with the lighter Pine coloured wood. The radio feels okay to hold despite that curved handle which can trap little hands and fingers, but all in all it is a classy looking box, although half of its trouble may be that quite literally it is a rectangular box - and it does have sharp corners. Weight wise the unit is heavy although not as heavy as old Robertss radios. I'd say that it's just near a kg but luckily the radio will sit permanently flat on a flat level surface and has no indications of being able to topple over easily.
** Controls & Power **
Moving onto the design of this model, as mentioned already we chose this model because at best it has the clearest detail of controls and they are all located together right bang in the middle of the squarish fascia at the front of the machine.
Six preset station buttons are displayed in a calculator/telephone key pad type style, oval in shape, silver in colour and feel relatively good; one slight touch is all it takes to allow these buttons to function. And, as with micro systems and audio devices in general which have station presets, the procedure to store radio stations is pretty much the same. Allow the radio to auto scan a station and once it has honed in, press any 1 of the 6 presets and hold down until the LCD screen offers up its saving functions. All in all, the first time I did this I must have saved up to 8 stations in a matter of seconds. Once the radio is switched off, but goes into standby (where effectively mains power is still switched on and connected) the radio will not lose the stations kept in memory.
In addition, you have 6 preset stations you can save in DAB mode and a further 6 saveable stations in FM mode. It is a radio after all - it may not offer other wave bands but it does offer DAB stations as well as regular FM which shows up the difference immediately.
Located above the main preset controls are three large twist controls. One acts for the volume, the other acts as the scanning/tuning control, which I often use to find my favourite stations and the one dial in the middle acts as a tone level control. Whilst the Pure has an auto scan function, it is a touch slow but there are reasons for this;
** DAB Only Works In Areas Possible to Receive DAB **
That's right. Because DAB has not been fully integrated in the UK, there are certain geographical areas where DAB signals will not work. Unfortunately then, that is one of the least appealing factors of any DAB radio, let alone the Pure Evoke. If you can't get a signal in your area, this system isn't going to search and locate; simple as that - no matter how expensive or cheap the radio is. The BBC website has a handy guide to find out what areas in the UK can receive DAB and who cannot.
However in Scotland, we've had no problems securing most of the radio stations available and the difference aurally between old and new is very much an exciting prospect. Remember that DAB isn't always available with FM only stations so it's handy to be able to save between the two options where available. The auto scan dial allows the user to scroll through and then press the dial to select radio stations and menu options. Pressing the dial for example shows the signal strength and once again shows how to change the method of tuning for FM only stations. Once you have located the station you want either with DAB or FM, press a preset, hold it down for a matter of seconds and the station is saved.
Of the 6 preset buttons, there are further similar looking buttons with small writing underneath so you know what they are for. But as with my father, who has poor eyesight, once you push a button, the display is made larger on the LCD screen anyway and cancelling the operation is easy if you find that you make a mistake. The DAB/FM/AUX button is the button to push if you want to change from the format as well as putting the radio into Auxiliary mode.
Currently we have access to a wide range of BBC radio stations including BBC World Service, BBC radio stations 1 to 6, BBC 7, BBC Xtra, BBC Asian and another DAB station simply called "Music 6."
~~~ Sound Quality ~~~
I am absolutely amazed at the sound quality of the Pure Evoke radio. I wasn't expecting much when I looked at the specs and features at the time and I wasn't sure whether I would buy this model over a similarly priced but better featured Blaupunkt hifi system with DAB radio. But I have been pleasantly surprised! Even when this unit has been hooked up to my micro hifi which hasn't got the best speakers in the world, but more power can be added to it, the Pure Evoke actually outperforms the sound quality on my Hifi, even when the bass on my Hifi is individually selectable, and ultimately more powerful. Watts per speaker is 5 watts which doubled gives 10 watts of sound performance.
The keyword here, particularly with DAB stations is instant warmth which comes across from the Evoke's speakers. Maybe it's the signal, maybe it's the technology of DAB, but the warmth and crystal clear sound of the stations are very different once the DAB is relaying its input through the speakers on my Hifi.
Having said that, there is a clear difference between the speakers of two devices here, and the speakers on their own do a very good job of producing a very clear tone, audible bass and 100% clarity of the DAB signalled stations. Raise the volume and you soon begin to realise that the radio's volume is slightly limitless. This is because this model has a feature which is called "DRC." DRC means Dynamic Range Control and, as the name suggests whenever the volume is set low, the quieter sounds in a radio broadcast are identified and amped up, which makes it easier to listen to, particularly in a busy or noisy room. If you want more bass, you have to lower the tone control unfortunately, so it means that you really need to balance out the control to get both.
One of the most appealing factors is the fact that there is no hiss or shadowing. Shadowing occurs a lot on standard FM radio receivers where the signal can be found but sounds as if the station is fading in and fading out. On the Pure Evoke, there is nothing like this. It's almost like switching on your digital television and hit a button to select your channel. I wonder how many other people remember like I do, the televisions you could buy which had a tuning control just like a radio, and similarly scowl at the noise between channels? Well the Evoke just finds a radio station seamlessly and for once, there is no surface noise behind. Just Pure sound!
** Other Gizmos **
The Pure Evoke 2XT is currently Pure's flagship retro styled stereo radio at the moment although there is a more modern radio by the same company which has the unappealing top shelf controls! Here however, beside the preset station controls, there is an Info button which changes the text on the DAB radio station selected. This means that you can either get the name of the radio station and its channel number, or the programme or as I referred to at the start of the review, the title of a song and its corresponding artist. It also displays the quality of signal (which is also supplemented by a tiny signal bar icon similar to the battery and signal of strength on mobile phones) and the quantity of signal in kps.
The Menu button allows a quick access to menu options and to select them you use the auto scan control, push the control dial in and the menu options selected can be saved.
One other aspect which I think is great is Auxiliary mode. There are actually two points at the back of the radio which allow you to either put the radio through an amplifier as I have done already, or to use the Radio in mute mode. This in effect means that you can use an Ipod, MP3 player or another device such as a CD player through the radio/Auxiliary In using the power of the Pure Evoke's external speakers to produce music and sound from your chosen device.
Other points at the back of the Pure Evoke consist of a USB socket for future software updates which also allows you to plug your Evoke into your PC. An S/PDIF Optical digital out jack for existing DAB affiliated devices, 9v mains jack and lastly, a 32mm headphone jack which allows full stereo feedback.
There are two further features which I feel deserve to be mentioned. Firstly, the Pure Evoke 2XT has an alarm clock. Whilst the normal clock gets feedback online from DAB stations for the closest and most precise time, you can actually wake up to the sound of the radio or select an alarm tone. There is also another additional clock based function, the "Kitchen Countdown Timer," which in effect means you can dial in as much or less time you wish the radio to stay on until it counts down the time left and switches itself off to standby. Both the alarm and kitchen timer is something we have not yet used, although I'm sure given time, it is a feature that is worthwhile having.
¥¥ Signal Strength ¥¥
Depending on the availability of DAB radio stations, we are currently picking up a quality of between 95 to 98% which is very surprising given that the room the radio is positioned in has had problems before securing signals with standard radios including radios which had their aerials fully extended. As with all radios, the Pure Evoke's radio aerial, it is fully telescopic, has a 360° radius and can be hidden away at a moment's notice. However I do find that moving the aerial from side to side just by a slight notch shows that the reception and signal strength determined by the rating shown on the LCD screen is highly sensitive to the aerial's movements.
~~ ** CONCLUSIONS ** ~~
For the price I would like to see Pure raise their watts per speaker. But all in all, this is one classy little radio which has loads of features, some of which we probably won't use such as the dual alarm and kitchen timer. Good design and portability seem to be two of it's most desired design qualities as well as offering good thought in controls, function and easy to locate features. The Charge pack batteries are a wonderful idea even though they must be bought optionally. This is a radio for radio fans, particularly for consumers who cannot live without their radio device!
Tie in the fact that this model has endless connections located at the rear for future upgrades available online; connectivity to MP3 players; Hifi's and your PC, and you begin to see that this radio has been designed for consumers of the Millennium and farther. This is a fab dab radio! Sorry this review is so long but this gadget has produced startling results even after a years purchase and every day use. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007
PS I can't believe Dooyoo can't make my musical note icons appear!!