Pure One Classic

October 1st, 2009 Desktop, Gadgets & Hardware, Tech

Price: $249

If you’re a radio listener you’re probably aware digital radio has arrived in Australia with a big splash. UK brand Pure (distributed in Australasia by Pioneer Electronics) has been one of the first cabs off the rank to capitalise on the new technology, and the One Classic is one of the company’s basic models. As you can however see from the price, even the basics aren’t cheap when it comes to a nascent technology, and with more fully-featured models commanding prices of up to a thousand dollars it’s for early adopters only.

If you’re one, you’ll enjoy an unparalleled experience in DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting), one of those advances that relegates the existing system to the history books. The first thing you notice about the soft, user-friendly body of the Pure One Classic is how light it is. Where a traditional radio contains the innards of radio wave detection and transfer, the One Classic only basically contains a receiver and microchip.

As the name suggests, it picks up radio stations transmitted digitally (the same way wireless internet access works as a stream of data) rather than using the old method of broadcasting analogue radio waves.

The results are twofold. First, there’s no more fuzzy static — you can either tune in the data stream and hear the station clearly or you can’t and won’t hear anything at all. Secondly, being digital quality, the sound is crystal clear through the 10-inch long device without having to connect it to an expensive hi-fi system. It’s undoubtedly compressed for transmission so there’ll be some purists only too happy to snort derisively about it sounding like an mp3 file, but for the rest of us it’s still better than you’ve ever heard from a radio before.

The really big deal however is that being digital, the signal can come over the airwaves packed with all kinds of metadata, which explains the little LCD on the front of the body. The name of the show, track listings, competitions and more can be displayed as text while you listen and you can even scroll through them. You can also control the datastream just like you would a show or video on Tivo or YouTube video, pausing, rewinding and replaying to your heart’s content even as you listen in real time.

Most large stations around Australia are already transmitting digitally so you can get digital radio anywhere you can get a traditional signal in most capitals. We’re in the early stages of a new movement much like when DVD players or GPS units were still hundreds of dollars, but one day digital radio will be as common as the PC in your life. Here’s your chance to brag to your friends about how you were there when it started.


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