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Pure Sirocco 550

Pure Sirocco 550 music combo

Hi-fi with Wi-Fi

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It doesn’t use its internet connection to fetch CD artist and track names through the Gracenote database or an equivalent, which is a shame, because net-connected gizmos have been doing this for ages. Pure says it’s something that might be enabled in the future.

Pure Sirocco 550

Built-in Wi-Fi: an Ethernet adapter will cost you extra though

Sirocco is the name of a hot wind from the Sahara, so does its performance live up to this breezy name? The supplied speakers’ build and sound quality isn’t up to pricier but otherwise comparable packages, such as the warm sounding (but not net-connected) Onkyo CS-545UK, however, it’s respectable enough for a mid-priced compact.

Staralfur by Sigur Rós on CD balances the soaring strings, piano and moody vocals effectively and the system does justice to the epic Redwings by Guillemots. A streamed MP3 of Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones doesn’t sound too off colour, however, a piano concerto by Haydn sounded woolly. I swapped the speakers to a similarly sized KEF pair and the results were much more defined, so it’s worth getting the main unit on its own and adding your own choice of speakers.

Using Class D digital amplifiers accounts for the smaller size of this model compared to its predecessor and decent power efficiency. It also has a generous range of sockets, including an F-type terminal that takes a rooftop FM/DAB antenna connection, in case reception needs a boost, though it worked well in my test with the supplied wire aerial. Likewise if you prefer a wired net connection, there’s an optional Ethernet adapter, which will cost about £25.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t dock with earlier (largely pre-2007) iPods that aren’t capable of outputting digital audio. The only option with these and other MP3 players is the front line-in, but it won’t charge or remotely control those gadgets this way.

A special feature of Pure’s internet radios is Flow Songs, which employs Shazam music tagging so you can identify and, if you wish, buy songs through the radio. It costs £2.99 a year for the Shazam facility, though new users get a 90-day trial.

Pure Sirocco 550

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Next page: Flow charts

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