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Pure Sirocco 550

Pure Sirocco 550 music combo

Hi-fi with Wi-Fi

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Remote control for virtualized desktops

Review Pure has pumped out tabletop digital radios and pocket portables for yonks, but largely avoided micro hi-fi. The notable execptions being its DMX and Legato products a few years ago, the inexpensive DAB-equipped Sirocco 150 in 2009, and this new 550 model.

Pure Sirocco 550

Beat combo: Pure's Sirocco 550

Compared to its forerunner, the 550 has a smaller main unit but beefier amplification, an integrated iPod/iPhone dock and, notably, wireless internet. With this you can access more than 18,000 internet radio stations, podcasts, on-demand programmes (including BBC catch-up), an ambient noises library, audio files from shared devices on your network and any songs you’ve bought using Pure’s cloud-based Lounge service.

Given that music on discs is still popular, it also handles CDs – though a slot-loading drive – as well as digital formats from flash memory sticks (not hard disk drives) attached to the front USB port. The only digital files it loads this way are MP3 and WMA. Docking an iPod provides more choices, such as AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV and Audible audiobooks.

For the UPnP-based network media player, Pure provides a free copy of the Twonky media server but you are not obliged to use this if you have a favourite alternative.

I was able to stream MP2, MP3 and AAC music with the media player – including iTunes downloads – but obviously not older DRM-protected iTunes tracks or any of the aforementioned uncompressed or lossless variations, nor the likes of FLAC.

Pure Sirocco 550

If you don't get on with the touch sensitive controls, there's aleways the remote

The Sirocco is controlled through front panel dials, touch sensitive soft keys and standard buttons for quick access to source inputs. Navigating within USB or networked storage took some getting used to, even though I’m familiar with other Flow radios. To get out of a subfolder or playlist you have to scroll to the tracklisting then press Back to access the library. Pressing Back from within a song jumps all the way to the source list (for changing to CD, radio, etc).

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