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Hands-on with PURE Digital's Evoke-1S DAB radio

We're all about DAB today as we get our hands on PURE Digital's new Evoke-1S portable digital radio. It's well priced and a bit of a looker, but can a single-speaker system cut it these days?

PURE Digital, like Ron Burgundy, is kind of a big deal, keeping the digital radio market punchy with its stylish and easy-to-use equipment. We loved the Legato II and the chunky Oasis and now we're elbow-deep in reviewing the lovely Evoke-1S -- a simple and functional kitchen radio encased in an attractive maple enclosure.

The new Evoke builds on the design and feature set of the Editor's Choice 2006-winning Evoke-3, though this incarnation features only a single speaker. An additional speaker can be purchased separately and jacked into the main unit to provide a stereo output offering. We'd rather have stereo as standard, of course, but as many talk-radio stations broadcast in mono, this may not be a deal-breaker for too many people.

Sound quality is surprisingly good for just a single 76mm (3-inch) speaker driver, though DAB's use of MP2 encoding limits the audio quality before it even reaches a receiver. An option to lower or disable DRC (dynamic range compression) helps negate some of the excessive volume that some broadcasters add to their transmissions. Bass is partly assisted by a small reflex port to the rear, while the driver itself is covered by a metallic mesh.

A boat-load of other features such as multiple recurring alarms, 30 FM and DAB station presets, and stereo auxiliary inputs and outputs go towards making this a very capable offering. For £99, it's well priced.

Expect our review of the Evoke-1S very soon. In the meantime, take a moment to check out a charity auction PURE is backing. The company has persuaded some big names in the rock world, such as Mark Knopfler and the Manic Street Preachers, to sign special Marshall-branded Evoke-1XT systems. All proceeds are going to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity. Rock on! -Nate Lanxon

Update: A full review of PURE Digital's Evoke-1S is now available.