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DAB is getting more popular by the day and now it seems everyone, whether young or old, is eager to DABble.
I'd been meaning to buy a digital radio for some time. Those adverts on the BBC about all the varied stations you can pick up and reports from people that the reception is so crystal clear you can hear a pin drop, finally twisted my arm. Now my old wireless is history and have catapulted myself straight into the 21st century. Not that I needed much persuading, being a bit of a gadget meister. As yet, je ne regrette rien, I'm pleased to say, in French.
So why the Pure Evoke? After a couple of hours' web searching and researching, a quick trip to Comet to see it in the flesh, put my mind at rest that the Pure Evoke 2 is the best-looking DAB radio on the planet. Purely my taste though. You see, looks matter to me. When I'm splashing out on a new piece of technology I want it to be well designed. That tells me it's also probably well made. Mr Practical - me.
There's the Roberts radios - too plasticky for my liking, the Acoustic Solutions ones ditto, the Bug - goggle eyed and goofy - fine if you're a teenager, and all the rest look silvery and bland and will probably only last you a couple of years. Ooh dear…I'm sounding my age.
The Evoke-2 I bought is encased in maple. Solid maple at that - none of your wood effect or laminated finishes. You can also choose Piano black, if you prefer.
I suspect, being in solid wood, bumped the price up a bit, but you get what you pay for I suppose.
There's a silver metallic handle - very solid and durable which makes you assume that the radio is particularly portable. It isn't. For me this doesn't matter. If I wanted a portable radio, I'd go for a cheaper model that didn't make me conscious all the time about getting it knocked.
The front panel is a combination of silver and light silver coloured plastics which makes the radio all very distinctive and breaks up what could look a bit monotonous otherwise.
Overall it has a retro vibe about it - maybe it's the wood that does it - but when switched on the green illuminated LCD display adds a more modern touch.
The dimensions of the radio in mm are: 185 (h) x 290 (w) x 100 (d)
DISPLAY These are some of the displays you can opt for by pressing and scrolling through the display button:
- Scrolling text - For me this is what makes digital radio great. I know it might be a novelty for some but I think having scrolling text from the radio station you're tuned into adds a whole new exciting dimension to radio. For example if it's Radio 5 Live it might be the latest headlines, a music station - the track currently playing, the one about to come up, or even the email address for competitions.
- The type of content being broadcast by the station - eg, Classical Music
- Date and time
- Frequency, Stereo/Mono and data rate the audio signal is being transmitted (don't know why you need that)
- Signal quality from 0 to 100. This is quite handy as you can simply move the aerial around to increase the quality and see how good it is on the display on a scale of one to a hundred.
The autotune button enables you to perform:
- A local autotune (by pressing the button for a second) to pick up local stations.
- Or a full autotune (by pressing the button for around 2 secs) to scan the full range of digital frequencies. This the guide mentions will take a minute or more. My experience is that it takes about 40 secs.
You only need to do this tuning if you have moved the radio from one room to another or if a new station is being launched. I prefer to do this every now and again just in case there are any new stations.
Alternatively, you can just switch it on and the last station you were listening to will come on.
You can store up to 6 DAB stations and 6 FM stations. Not a lot - I would have preferred 10, but you can't have everything. You can access these by pressing the numbered buttons. You can even choose the order they appear when you scroll through the stations by turning the tune knob, either by:
Alphanumeric Favourite station - denoted by a heart icon
All active stations. The inactive ones will appear at the end of the list with question marks
Trimming the station list to remove inactive stations.
Without boring you with all the technical features of the Evoke let me tell you… OTHER THINGS YOU CAN YOU DO WITH IT…
Remove the aerial and connect an alternative aerial
Connect an external amplifier - a standalone unit or one that is built in to your existing hi-fi.
Connect to an external recorder
Use 6 x C size 1.5 batteries
To help you find the best position for your radio, the tuning aid button has a signal level display which indicates the minimum level needed for a reception. By simply moving the radio around you can see if the signal is good.
DRC Dynamic Range Control enables you to make the quieter sounds in a broadcast more audible.
There is also a Reset button to remove all presets and restore the radio to its defaults.
The Evoke 2 is very similar to the Pure Evoke-1, apart from having twin stereo speakers. This I thought was worth having as quality of sound was one of my main reasons for buying a DAB radio. You can buy a separate speaker to hook up to the Evoke-1 but I think that would look a bit clumsy.
You get a surprisingly rich sound than you would expect from a radio of this size. Not tinny at all but clear and powerful. Increasing the volume the sound is just as good, I found.
In fact, so sharp is the sound you can hear things that an ordinary radio won't pick up - like people in the background talking and intakes of breath from the presenters.
The number of stations you can get will depend on where you live. To give you an idea I'm in the east midlands and can normally receive between 28 to 30 stations:
Before buying, I checked out the coverage at the UK Digital Radio website (sorry not allowed to supply the website address) by entering my postcode. Currently it mentions that I am likely to receive nineteen.
Tuning in on 20/10/05 the active stations I received were: 1xtra, 6Music, Arrow, BBC 5 Live, BBC Asian, BBC World, BBC 7, BBC Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Capital Disney, Choice, Classical, Core, DNN, Galaxy, Heart, Kerrang!, Life, Oneword, PlanetRock, PrimeTime, BBC Radio 1, Real, SagaFM, Smooth, TalkSPORT, and Virgin.
I purchased mine from BE Direct, about 5 months ago. I chose to buy it from them because of the very good reviews they had from customers on the Pricerunner website. I waited a few weeks for it to arrive because it was out of stock. However, the service from the online retailer, I found to be very good overall as they telephone you to confirm your order and let you know the exact day it will arrive, again by phone.
The cost was £115.99 including VAT and free delivery.
WHAT YOU GET
The radio comes with: a mains power adapter. This is a 230v AC to 9V one which although being a pretty hefty, dumpy thing does have the advantage of having a very narrow lead. Handy for slipping unobtrusively down the back of a shelf, I've found.
A removable telescopic aerial.
A 19-page Owner's manual - which following on from the actual radio, is clear and simple with the benefit of having a troubleshooting guide for the technophobe. All in English as well.
A warranty card - for 2 years' free warranty cover.
A great looking radio that is well built and would fit in well in a modern or traditional style home. A clean uncluttered design with no fiddly buttons makes it very easy to use. Accessing the preset stations is easy thanks to buttons conveniently located on the front panel.
The sound is excellent and thanks to the active stations listed in the tuning display you know that there won't be any distortion to disrupt your listening.
A bit pricier than its rivals on the market - but if all the above matters to you, you get what you pay for with the Evoke-2.
NB, PLEASE IGNORE 'ALARM QUALITY'. THIS RADIO DOESN'T ACTUALLY HAVE AN ALARM. I HAD TO ANSWER THIS FIELD TO POST MY REVIEW .
Blimey! Everything I could ever have wanted to know but been afraid to ask! Have an e. I've been thinking about one of these but I think I'd prefer something more portable so I'll wait until Freeplay make one. Fine review and as an alternative, I think this is the one I'd choose. Cheers Sweary.