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Radio-Now at Bristol Sound and Vision 2004 : Pure Legato review

Sound and Vision logo 2004 - The Bristol Show

Pure Legato DAB digital radio/FM/CD micro system review

DAB digital radio logo

Pure Digital seem to be flying the flag for DAB digital radio products at the moment. Their success at doing so can be measured by the number of rooms filled with their products at the Bristol Sound and Vision event. Last year, they had just one room; this year they moved next door, giving them space to display the whole range of their DAB handhelds, portables and hi-fi separates.
Pure Legato DAB system

The highlight of the show was undoubtedly Pure Digital's new Legato DAB/FM/CD micro system. Finely finished in a cherry wood veneer, the curvaceous speakers sit astride an all-in-one central unit. At the heart of the unit sits the horizontal-load CD tray, whilst underneath a large central dial control takes care of volume and the easy task of scrolling through stations: press once to access the station list, rotate the dial and push again to select. The dial otherwise acts simply as a volume control.
Pure Legato view of controls

Sitting either side of the bright, legible blue display are six context-sensitive buttons for operating the CD player or selecting preset stations from DAB or FM. Rather than having a fascia laden with buttons, most functions can be packed away onto the comprehensive remote control.

...the ice cream in the cone, with 99 DAB presets...

The DAB tuner is the ice cream in the cone, with 99 DAB presets. Pure Digital are working on the firmware that will handle the display for the Legato - the pre-production model on-show at Bristol Sound and Vision quite happily displayed trial DAB text over 3 lines, but there will no doubt be further options for it to scroll across the display. The 6 softkeys either side will also allow the listener to pick and choose station ordering options.

But the system goes further than this. A great feature of the Legato is the ability for it to store DAB programmes so that you can step back to hear the top-of-the-hour news again or the episode of the Archers you just missed because you walked in part-way through. It's a feature trademarked "ReVu" (review). The Legato's built-in 32MB flash memory (which sadly can't be expanded) allows you to "rewind" up to about twenty minutes worth of radio - more than enough to catch the start of a song or the name of the artist if that is all you need.

...the Legato has other features up its sleeve...

The Lagato employs DPAC-II technology (that's Digital Psycho-Acoustic Compensation-II to those in the know) to tweak the output from DAB stations so that it sounds more natural and convincing. It certainly helps; the same technology is present in Pure Digital's other hi-fi separates tuners and listening through headphones does prove its worth.

The FM section (with 99 presets here, too) has other features up its sleeve. You can now organise FM stations just as you would DAB stations - alphabetically or by most-played. The RDS tuner not only displays the name of the station you are listening to - as you would expect - but also lets you change it after it has been stored as a preset. So, Heaven FM becomes Cack Radio. Perhaps something even more puerile if you so choose.

...pop a CD-R or CR-RW into the tray and the Legato obligingly reads it...

Pop a CD-R or CR-RW into the tray and the Legato obligingly reads it and begins playing. The player also reads MP3 files stored on CD and also recognises M3U playlists created from software such as WinAmp.
Legato view of reverse

Around the back, the Legato is fully fitted-out with RCA phono outputs for connection to a tape deck, for example. An optical digital out lets you connect it up to a MiniDisc or CD recorder for committing your favourite sounds to memory, in the form of a disc. When you want to connect another separates device to the Legato, a spare auxiliary input provides the means. It's a shame the Legato doesn't have proper binding posts for connecting up speakers; Pure Digital have instead opted for the cheaper, spring terminals. Sadly.

Support for firmware upgrades are handled through a USB connector between the Legato and your PC. Oh, and there's a 3.5mm headphone socket on the front. Plus, you can wake up to the sound of DAB digital radio and drift off to sleep with your favourite station or CD playing.

...appreciably deep speakers...

Sound-wise, the Legato benefits from having really deep speakers and two drive units per speaker. In fact, you may have trouble sitting these on a bookshelf due to their depth. Put them on a nice sturdy shelf, though, and you won't be disappointed with the sound. Whilst not setting the world alight in terms of amplification - the preliminary spec suggests around 22W RMS per channel - the dual full-range drive units cope very well with both speech and music digital radio stations. Add to that "virtual subwoofer" technology that adjusts as you crank the volume, the subtle trim and boost allowed by the tone controls and DPAC-II technology to squeeze the best out of DAB radio, the Legato produces very pleasing results.

...will no doubt wipe the floor with many of its rivals...

In fact, although this is essentially a micro system, the name "micro system" suggests it may sound tinny or weedy, or just not up to the job. Far from it. Jazz music is bright (but not overly so), detailed and involving; speech stations authoritative without becoming tiring. The bass afforded by the "virtual sub" means that the Legato pushes out a big sound at odds with its compact speakers.

...grilles keep errant fingers a safe distance away...

The speakers, though, aren't to be hidden away - with their metallic dressed cones and white drive unit covers they increase the visual appeal of the system. Nicely-designed grilles keep errant fingers a safe distance away. This is one hi-fi system you won't mind having on display.
Pure Legato view close-up front

The Pure Digital Legato will no doubt wipe the floor with many of its rivals when it reaches the shops in summer, priced at GBP349.00 with speakers. It is surely a very competitive price, when you consider that Pure have yet again plumped for that expensive-looking cherry wood veneer. Better start saving?

We'll let you know when this DAB micro system hits the shelves through our online shopping guide.

For: Fantastic brushed aluminium and cherrywood finish. Easy-to-read white-on-blue backlit display. DAB radio rewind feature. CD supports CD-R(W) and MP3 files. Digital optical out.
Against: Doesn't have proper binding posts for speaker cable. Timer recording functions would be a bonus, but these could easily come with a firmware upgrade.


Legato Tech Spec (subject to change)


22W RMS per channel power output (into 4 Ohms)
15 Hz to 35 kHz frequency response
Dynamic Virtual Sub Technology(tm) provides a variable bass boost relative to volume
Bass and treble tone control
CD player
CD-R and CD-RW compatible
Support for CD Text and 99 track audio CD playlist
Multiple playback modes (repeat, shuffle etc.)
MP3 playback, including support for ID3 tags and M3U playlists


Full Band III (174 - 240 MHz) reception. Fully compliant with ETS 300 401 and capable of decoding all DAB transmission modes 1-4
Fast autotune feature
ReVu to allow pause and rewind of live DAB digital radio
DPAC II provides a more natural sound from DAB transmissions
FM tuner

Supports RDS and RadioText
Tune by RDS station name
87.5 -108 MHz frequency range


6 Ohms (nominal) impedance
30W RMS power handling
Twin 3" custom designed full range drive units
Neodymium magnets
Phase correction plugs
Bass reflex ported


3.5 mm headphone output
RF F-connector 75 Ohms for DAB aerial connection
Dual phono for external line level audio input
Dual phono for stereo analogue audio output
Optical Toslink connector for digital S/PDIF output (IEC958 @ 48 kHz)
USB connector for future software upgrades


Fully featured remote control
CE marked. Compliant with the EMC and Low Voltage Directives (89/336/EEC and 73/23/EEC)
Main unit dimensions (excluding controls) 210 (w) x 155 (h) x 215 mm (d)
Speaker dimensions 105 (w) x 215 (h) x 215 mm (d)
2 x 3m speaker cable supplied
Mains cable supplied
DAB 'T' indoor aerial supplied

Related links:
Buy Pure Digital's range of DAB products, via this website.

guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
where to buy DAB digital radio, on this website.
what to buy - a guide to DAB digital radio products, on this website. promo banner