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

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The most interesting feature on the DAB tuner in this mini system is the pause and rewind feature. PURE's DRX-702ES did not have this ability, so the DMX-50 is one of the few ways to listen to live DAB in a non-linear fashion through higher-quality speakers. PURE calls this technology 'ReVu', and it also lets you record radio to a removable SD card placed in the slot on the front of the unit.

Both FM (with RDS) and DAB transmissions can be received on the integrated tuner. Station and programming information is displayed on the DMX-50's screen. This includes RadioText, RDS and standard DAB station information -- this gives you supplementary information about the current broadcast, for example, the name of the artist and a short biography.

You can play back MP3 files on the DMX-50 from both SD cards inserted into the front of the unit, or a standard CD of MP3s placed in the CD tray. Even if you've arranged your MP3s in folders, the system doesn't have a problem playing them.

If you have other stereo equipment -- such as an iPod or Zen Vision:M MP3 player -- you can use the auxiliary phono connectors on the rear of the unit to amplify the sound. You'll need a 3.5mm to stereo phono lead (not bundled) to run between the MP3 player and the rear of the DMX-50.

Firmware updates can be uploaded via the USB port -- these are periodically available from PURE and may be used to tweak the interface on the DMX, correct bugs or add new features. Most users are probably unlikely to ever use this feature, but if a problem is discovered with the software on the DMX, this offers an easy fix without returning the unit to a specialist.

As with all the digital radios we've tested, the PURE Digital DMX-50 can suffer from reception problems in difficult environments. This means it's important to bear the unit's placement in mind when you first set up the radio.

Anyone who lives in London is unlikely to have many problems tuning into a reliable signal, but even in built-up regions, with very strong digital broadcasts, the DAB signal can be lost depending on the listening situation.

Unlike analogue broadcasts, which generate interference patterns in areas of poor reception, digital broadcasts simply stop altogether. This gives DAB an all-or-nothing behaviour. We had no problems whatsoever with DMX-50 in our tests, but you should bear in mind that you may need to run the bundled aerial across the room to get a signal. In our case, we ran it along a bookshelf. This gave crystal-clear reception, and within the limitations of the DAB format, the DMX performed excellently.

Sound from the bundled speakers is very good for such a compact unit. Though PURE has kept to a tight component budget, the results are acoustically very good. You'll improve the sound coming if you place the hi-fi on a solid surface to minimise unwanted vibrations, but even on a bookshelf the DMX-50 does well at producing room-filling sound.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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