What pushes the Avanti beyond being a good product to being a very good product is that it does all of this with a sound quality that many a more expensive unit would envy. The machine’s two full-range 3in drive units and 5.25in down-firing sub-woofer - the quoted audio output is 75W RMS total from the 20W speakers and the 35W sub - are supported by Pure’s Avanti Clearsound technology. This is described as - take another deep breath - "a digital end-to-end audio sub-system using high-quality Class D amplifiers, digital audio shaping technology and custom-tuned speakers to provide clear dynamic audio, higher volume levels and low power consumption". Technology chest beating aside, the excellent sound quality is undeniable.
Excellent sound quality, wherever you put it
We tried China Groove from The Doobie Brothers through an iPod Nano on the dock and the sound was punchy, fast and full ranged. Switching to DAB, talk radio was delivered in a very clear and rich sound, without any of the tinny, thin feeling that you often get with talk radio. TalkSport’s Saturday football round up came over with real excitement, taking in all the reporters had to say, but delivering plenty of atmosphere as well by way of the background noise of fans and ground announcements.
We then switched to a DAB music channel, and the unit’s ability to deliver bass and mid-range with genuine quality shines through. Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun broadcast by the BBC’s 6 Music station soared out of the speakers. A nice touch is that the amount of bass delivered by the sub-woofer can be adjusted to the appropriate level depending on what is being listened to.
Links up to The Lounge
Bit rates can be an issue, but the Avanti presented internet radio in perhaps the best quality we've yet heard from this type of unit.
The Avanti's price - £280 - could be a little keener. However, after spending some time with this likeable, powerful little unit, and taking into account its versatility and sound quality, we do think it's worth the money. The Avanti can deliver everything from your morning radio fix of the Today Programme, through the wide world of internet radio, right up to a full scale rock-out from your portable or computer-stored music collection. ®
Pure Digital Avanti Flow internet radio and iPod speaker
Internet radio vs DAB quality
After writing 2 paragraphs describing the audio quality on DAB, how come Internet radio only received this measly, rather sneering sentence?:
"Bit rates can be an issue, but the Avanti presented internet radio in perhaps the best quality we've yet heard from this type of unit."
I take it you're not aware that around 95 UK commercial radio stations (i.e. ones on DAB and/or FM), including most of the biggest commercial stations, are using 128 kbps WMA or MP3 for their Internet radio streams, and the BBC has recently launched 96 kbps WMA streams for its national stations that are specifically for Wi-Fi connected devices? Both 96 WMA and 128 kbps WMA or MP3 provide significantly (96k WMA) or far (128k) higher audio quality than 128 kbps DAB due to DAB's use of the 1980s-designed MP2 audio codec? There's also over 4,000 Internet radio stations on Shoutcast that use bit rates of 128 kbps or above with the MP3 or AAC+ audio codecs.
Also, in a previous review of a DAB radio that could also playback MP3 files via SD card, you claimed that DAB sounded better than MP3. Considering that MP3 is a far better audio codec than MP2, could you explain how DAB could sound better than MP3? If DAB really did sound better than MP3 files, your MP3 files must sound absolutely dire, in which case, I suggest you start encoding your MP3 files using the Lame MP3 encoder rather than whichever 1990s-vintage MP3 encoder you seem to be using at the moment, or use a bit rate higher than about 80 kbps, which is the MP3 bit rate that provides approx equivalent audio quality to 128 kbps MP2 used for DAB stations - i.e. at the bit rates that people typically use MP3 at (128 to 192 is typical, but a lot of people use higher than that today) to encode their own files, MP3 absolutely murders DAB in terms of audio quality.
"The Logik IR100 which I have, works great, but after 15 feet it loses the will to chat to my broadband router. Any review for Roberts 201/202 or the Pure Evoke Flow fail to say whats how far removed from the router will the Wi-Fi reception work."
I can vouch for the Pure Evoke Flow and Roberts WM201 and WM202 all working about 20 feet or so from my wireless router, and the signal has to travel through at least 2 walls to get to the Wi-Fi radio.
The Roberts WM201 is probably going to be the best in terms of range, because it uses an external Wi-Fi antenna, whereas the others, including the Pure Avanti no doubt, use an internal antenna.
I wonder how hard this was actually tested?
I bought one of these just before Christmas and my experience was very poor. The DAB radio reception was awful, and if I put a Pure Bug or Pure One next to it, it was obviously not right as they were clear as crystal and the Avanti Flow burbled horribly.
There is no manual in the box, and the enclosed setup guide fails to mention that the password for your router is case sensitive. When it fails authentication, it doesn't say that, it just switches to saying axquiring IP address, which, of course, it can't get. So that times out. The fixed IP address option simply doesn't work as you can't change the settings (the menu is broken).
It refused to talk to any of 3 uPNP servers I offered it, so the wireless streaming didn't work and then to cap it all off, my The Lounge account couldn't be activated because it didn't send me an e-mail. If you don't get that e-mail then you can't do anything. So you can't edit the account (if the entered e-mail address was wrong say? And without that e-mail you can't download the PC streaming software so all in, it just didn't work for me as a digital music device at all.
And downloading the manual didn't help either. So it went back to the place I got it from, and hopefully they will refund me. Pure support were next to useless, and they blamed a backlog of complaints over Christmas for why they failed to respond to any e-mails from teh shop that sold me the unit. That suggests to me I wasn't the only unhappy customer who bought a Pure unit over Christmas.
0/10 from me.
A lot better than the LG FA163 DAB?
Lewis, you also reviewed the LG FA163DAB. Is the sound produced by the Pure Digital Avanti Flow far better than the LG, as in worth the extra £100?
Lack of presets
It it's anything like our Pure DMX hi-fi, the deficit of presets on FM is no big deal. The device scans for FM and DAB stations when initially set up, so it's dead easy to select them with the jog wheel or whatever - and UI behaviour is identical whether DAB or FM from then on. Presets are only really shortcuts to favourites, and it's really not been worth our while setting them up.