Pure Highway in-car DAB radio
DAB in your motor, without breaking the bank
Review If rumours are to be believed, Ford will soon be fitting DAB as standard on some vehicles. But the retro-fit market still has massive potential and to fill that gap digital radio specialist Pure has come up with a really neat little gadget: the Highway.
It's like all those iPod-oriented FM devices. Highway picks up digital radio transmissions then sends them to your car's radio via an FM signal. The unit is intended to be powered by a car cigarette lighter, although for DAB on the move it also can run on two AA batteries. It comes with its own "easy-to-fit" windscreen aerial.
Pure's Highway: relaying digital radio to FM receivers
The antenna lives up to its description - it really is a straightforward job to stick it onto the inside of the screen. The Highway and its mount are discreet enough not to interfere with the driver's view through the windscreen.
A powerful magnet attaches the Highway to its mount and also makes removal nice and quick. Enough antenna cable is provided to make the fit as close enough to the driver as possible. We put our Highway in a Land Rover Freelander and found plenty of power cord too. Fortunately, the Highway comes with some cable clips to tidy the job up afterwards and avoid to much spaghetti hanging on the dash or around the passenger foot well.
The Highway is complaint with DAB Band III, with ETS 300 401, and can decode all DAB transmission modes (1-4) up to and including 256Kb/s. When you turn it on, an automatic search begins, and our unit picked up 60 stations, a better performance than some DAB radios intended for indoor use.
I want one
The difference between DAB sound quality and FM sound quality is going to be inaudible over traffic noise. FM is only better when you have a good signal, which I often don't. And DAB vs AM is no contest, even if it's 64kbps mono DAB.
I love the fact that it's got ReVu - I often listen to podcasts in the car off a CDRW and I've lost count of the number of times I've gone to rewind because I didn't quite catch something, only to realise I'm actually listening to the radio and it doesn't do that. Now if they only added a memory card slot so that I could record a good track or an interesting programme that came on, or listed to those podcasts with slightly less hassle than doing the CDRW thing, it'd be perfect.
Shame about the please-smash-my-window-in-the-hope-of-finding-my-satnav-in-the-glovebox windscreen sucker though - any alternative mounting options (other than leaving it to rattle around on the dashboard)?
FM and AM are both appauling.
At Home, Radio 4 is constantly intercepted by a cr*p pirate station - so bad I even called the mobile number and told them to shut up (in my best middle class RP voice).
In the car in London Radio 5 is impossible to listen to, and while driving north, around the Midlands there's a section where neither the 909 or 693 frequencies will work.
So I bought a freeview TV for the kitchen, for the same price as a DAB radio, and have TV and all the digital radio I want, and a DAB head unit for the car - the talk and sports reception (Radio 4&5) is reception is excellent and interrupted, and while an audiophile would contest the true quality of the music, they wouldn't have the sunroof open and the the wind in their hair while singing along....
Nice looking device though.
>> Works just fine for me!
Well that's good for you.
Personally, I like to listen to BBC 5Live without interference (as it's only available on AM) and TalkSport (ditto) when I'm in the car (so "online" SIN'T an option.
And I enjoy Planet Rock and BBC 6 and 7....and listening to some classical music on DAB is great coz there's no background noise....!
So, feel free to "put up with" the poorer signal receiving capability of FM and all the "nasties" you get if you live on the fringe for reception - in my neck of the woods, there's not a lot of choice at all on FM.
Personally, I like to have the choice when I'm out and about and to enjoy the benefits....