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Pure Evoke-2S Deals
Note: In November 2014, the Pure Evoke 2S was superceded by the Pure Evoke D6, which has built-in Bluetooth, to allow easy connection of an Ipod or mobile phone for music streaming.
This review takes the Pure Evoke-2S DAB radio through its paces and compare it to the Pure One, which is Pure's budget DAB radio, to see whether the Evoke-2S is worth the significantly higher price tag.
Now superceded by the Pure Evoke D6 (which has Bluetooth), the Evoke 2S delivers high quality stereo sound, assisted by Pure's "Clear Sound audio technology". This combines two high quality 15W RMS Class D amplifiers, with digital audio shaping, to improve sound quality and reduce power consumption.
To further optimise performance, the Evoke 2S has two mid-range 3 inch drivers and two separate 3/4 inch dome tweeters, which benefit high frequency rendition. The cabinet also has a bass reflex port on the underside to improve bass extension.
Even after a brief audition, it's clear that the Pure Evoke 2S delivers a punchy sound with impressive volume and no sign of distortion, even when played very loud. The separate tweeters add detail and clarity to the sound, making the radio a pleasure to listen to.
Separate bass and treble controls, (accessed via the front panel "Tone" button), allow further optimisation of the sound, to suit personal preferences.
Bass extension is limited by the size of the drive units, but low frequency output is still good for a portable radio, thanks to the cabinet's tuned reflex port. Placing the radio in a corner alcove or close to a wall further improves bass output.
Overall, you can expect the sound to be roughly similar to a micro Hi-Fi system.
DAB reception is excellent on the Pure Evoke 2S. At our test location (nr. Newbury, Berkshire) all multiplexes from Hannington (only 7 miles away), plus NOW Wiltshire were receivable.
More surprisingly, near perfect reception of London DAB stations was possible from Guildford (some 35 miles away), using just the radio's telescopic aerial.
Admittedly, careful positioning of the Evoke 2S was necessary and reliable London DAB reception was restricted to a few upstairs locations of our house. DAB reception could also be improved by reducing the length of the telescopic aerial slightly, from full extension.
During the weak signal test, all 3 London DAB multiplexes were receivable, although the London 1 multiplex had poor signal quality. For a station list see our page on London DAB stations, or visit Radio Now. By comparison, the Pure One fared less well on DAB sensitivity - it would only receive the London 2 multiplex.
Whilst FM sensitivity and sound quality was good, FM reception was ruined by constant interference from the radio's microprocessor driven scrolling RDS text display.
This manifests itself as an irritating 'ticking' noise, which is clearly audible on quiet music or speech. Stopping the scrolling RDS text by pushing the 'Tune' button solved the problem.
The ticking interference was noticeably worse on weak FM stations, so listeners close to a high power transmitter may not be affected. This is, without doubt, a bad design fault with this radio!
Pure released a new V1.5EU firmware version which claims to fix the clicking noise on FM, in February 2015. Download it here. To upgrade the firmware you will need a mini USB cable and a PC running a 32 bit Windows Operating System. I used Windows 7.
Unfortunately, this firmware didn't seem to fix the interference on FM reception for me. However, pressing the 'Tune' button still halts the scrolling text data. This seems to be a useful workaround to stop the interference.
In addition, the Evoke 2S's telescopic aerial doesn't seem very efficient on FM (88-108MHz). By contrast, the Pure One (Pure's budget DAB radio) performed as well and at a fraction of the price - albeit without the ability to connect an external aerial. For serious FM listening on the Evoke an external directional FM Aerial is recommended. This made a big difference to reception at the test location, practically eliminating interference and noise.
When comparing the performance of a radio, FM selectivity is another important factor. Selectivity is the radio's ability to achieve good reception of a weak FM station, close to a strong local station. In this regard the Evoke 2S scored well. The radio would receive London's Absolute Radio (105.8MHz), which is only 200KHz away from our local radio station in Newbury - The Breeze (105.6MHz).
New firmware is applied via the Evoke 2S rear panel USB connector direct from your PC. The latest firmware for the Evoke 2S is V1.5EU (25th February 2015). Instructions for upgrading the software on your Pure Radio are provided on the Pure download page.
Bug Fixes: V1.4 firmware had a bug which caused the radio to continually crash and re-boot, especially after channel changing. V1.5 seems to fix this issue.
The Pure Evoke-2S isn't cheap, but the sound quality and build is impressive and the DAB performance is exceptional. If DAB reception is poor or unavialble in your area then the Evoke-2S will have far less appeal as an FM-only radio and we'd advise you buy an alternative unit with better FM performance like the Roberts 93i, especially if you intend using the telescopic aerial.
I for one argue that the ChargePAK should be included for the price instead of it being a chargeable option.
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