PURE Digital DMX-50 review: PURE Digital DMX-50

The Good Clear and bright LCD; good tuning; solid tone and definition.

The Bad The low bit rates of current UK DAB broadcasts.

The Bottom Line PURE has dealt up one of the smartest DAB hi-fis we've seen so far. Rich, clear tone and a credible CD player will please any DAB listener. If you're a radio fan this is by far the best way to listen to DAB. The currently low bit rates of digital broadcast mean anything more is overkill, and anything less won't sound quite as good

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8.3 Overall

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PURE Digital has established itself as one of the leading brands of digital radio. We've previously been impressed by the company's kitchen-radio designs and also by its hi-fi separates unit, the PURE DRX-702ES.

The DMX-50 is effectively an amalgamation of these two types of system. It calls on PURE's expertise both in small speaker-cabinet design, and in higher-end digital-to-analogue conversion circuitry. The DMX-50 also represents a new direction for PURE because it integrates a CD player and a 40W RMS amplifier.

We've previously levelled criticism at DAB broadcasts because of their inherently low bit rate, and this remains the case. So, how does the DMX-50 fare as an all-purpose mini system, and can it offset the deficiencies of UK DAB broadcasts?

Despite appearances, the PURE Digital DMX-50 is not a micro separates system. The chassis is designed to give the appearance that the tuner, CD and amplifier chassis are physically discrete, but in fact they're a single inseparable unit. This saves on interconnecting wiring and makes the DMX-50 perfect for casual listening in a living room or bedroom.

The speaker units either side of the main chassis are exactly the same height as the central unit and sit perfectly flush against the sides of the hi-fi. PURE has bundled long speaker cables that allow you to position the speakers several metres away from each other. If you have special wiring requirements, the bindings on the speakers and the main unit are the clip type, making it easy to use your own wires.

We would have preferred the more sturdy screw-type bindings for the speaker wire, but these are increasingly rare on entry-level mini systems. In most cases, you'll be using low-gauge wire and only setting up the system once, so the clip bindings more than suffice.

The front of the unit is attractively styled and could easily be mistaken for a much more expensive system. Clever cost savings from the integration of all three components in the hi-fi mean that PURE has been able to use a high-quality finish on the DMX-50. This won't look out of place on the bookcase of an MP or trainee litigation lawyer.

Steering clear of the love it/hate it aesthetic of The Bug, PURE has opted for a more refined, traditional approach to the DMX-50. The fascia adopts the basic layout of all hi-fi systems. A large volume knob dominates the front panel, and a smaller tuning control sits in the top right-hand corner.

The display on the DMX-50 is its greatest triumph. It's clear and bright, and highly legible in both sunshine and pitch darkness. There'll be no midnight tumbles into the bookcase when the DMX is on lighthouse duty.

If you've used a DAB before, you'll have few problems with the tuning system on the PURE Digital DMX-50. It's an automatic tuner that activates itself when the radio is first switched on. Provided the external aerial is properly attached, the DMX-50 will automatically seek out all available DAB broadcasts and list them on the LCD. The tuning speed was snappy and first-time users will have little problem getting the radio to a stage where it can play.

The DAB aerial on the DMX-50 is a T type. This is not ideal in areas of low reception, but you can easily replace it with a more powerful aerial, or route the existing one across the room in an arrangement that improves signal strength.

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