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My Pure i-20 Dock Review

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ashworth_rich's picture
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Joined: 28 May 2008
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Hi all. The product I've been waiting for them to make* arrived a couple of days ago so here is my review of it. (* Digital iPod dock with optional inbuilt DAC for under £100). I didn't write the review for here - just reusing it. System: Audiolab 8000a Amp (classic model) Quad 12L2 Speakers (on Soundstyle stands) IPod Classic 160GB using Apple Lossless Codecs Background: Prior to the Pure i-20 I was using the basic Apple universal dock which of course uses the iPods' internal DAC and line out. The sound from the Universal dock was fine, a little compressed and lifeless but adequate for general background listening. Comparing the iPod's lossless tracks to the original CD via my ARCAM 72T showed that the iPod/Apple dock combo was not as clear. Build: So, back to the product in question. I'm mainly going to focus on the sound quality of the Pure i-20 since this is often the hardest thing to find information on when searching for reviews. But suffice to say that the build quality and overall feel of this product is fantastic and looks like a £200 product not a £75 one! My only gripe is the remote feels a little light and the buttons are hard to press. It's also not as responsive as the Apple remote was, but on the Pure all the functions work such as shuffle and navigating the menus – not the case on the Apple dock. Sound: This review focuses on the analogue outputs from the i-20, i.e. no external DAC was used. The first thing I noticed was that the Pure's output is much louder than the apple dock's, both in a literal sense and also in as much as the sound feels much more active and alive. Even when the volume is turned down, the sound still jumps out at you and it's hard to ignore the music. This isn't necessarily a positive observation; this dock may not suit a laid back listener. On the other hand, the sound is extremely clear and there is lots more detail to all the individual instruments. You really get the feeling that the Pure is really extracting all possible information from the Apple Lossless files. This sound information is presented right in front of the listener with outstanding Stereo imagery, possibly better than the Arcam can manage with the original CD. Vocals appear right in the centre of the soundstage and you can make out any hoarseness in the musicians voice or even slight limitations of the recording microphone. Bass is noticeably much more pronounced, again not necessarily a positive comment, I certainly feel that the bass is a little artificially accentuated. However, the bass is never muddled, slow or distorted and really adds to the music. If your system is a little bass light or you like your music to have fast, clear, weighty bass, then you will like the Pure dock. On the flip-side, I could imagine that in a less than perfect set-up, the pronounced bass might sound a tad messy or overpowering. Treble is clear and dry, with no harshness, aside from the earlier comments about this being a very forward and exciting sounding dock. Overall: Compared to the Apple dock, the Pure is much more alive, excited and has great bass and first class stereo imagery. If you like your tunes subtle and laid back then maybe try something like the Arcam ir-dock which is an analogue dock and supposedly very "musical", or even a Fat Man valve dock. However, in terms of true high fidelity, this dock is a clear 5/5, all the information is carefully gleaned from the source and presented to the listener in a very punchy manner. Add to the above the fact that this is a mid-range product compared to the Arcam dock and Onkyo digital transport (which is twice the price and has no internal DAC) and throw in a fully featured remote and fabulous build and finish and you are left with a stunning product. Well done Pure!

nick1973's picture
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Joined: 9 Dec 2008
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Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review

I'm wondering if I can integrate this pure dock into my set up. I'm a headphone user for music and currently have my iPod connected to my RA1 headphone amp via LOD and then headphones into amp. Would I be able to connect the Pure i20 to my headphone amp and use it that way and would this make a difference to my listening experience? I'm in the process of considering ways to gain improvement without too much outlay and this looks ideal after reading your review.

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Childs1962's picture
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Joined: 3 Jan 2011
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Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review
ashworth_rich:
Add to the above the fact that this is a mid-range product compared to the Arcam dock and Onkyo digital transport (which is twice the price and has no internal DAC) and throw in a fully featured remote and fabulous build and finish and you are left with a stunning product. Well done Pure!


I have had my Pure i20 for about three weeks and I agree with everything you say, it's actually amazing that it only costs £25 or so more than some of the 3.5 to phono leads that make such a little difference due to being reliant on the iPod's internal DAC. 


It is truly a high quality hifi product that will be perhaps overlooked by some because it is so inexpensive, or perhaps better - so good value.


As you say 5/5.


 

ashworth_rich's picture
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Joined: 28 May 2008
Posts: 386
Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review
nick1973:
I'm wondering if I can integrate this pure dock into my set up. I'm a headphone user for music and currently have my iPod connected to my RA1 headphone amp via LOD and then headphones into amp. Would I be able to connect the Pure i20 to my headphone amp and use it that way and would this make a difference to my listening experience? I'm in the process of considering ways to gain improvement without too much outlay and this looks ideal after reading your review.



The Pure has left and right line level phono outs on the back, and presumably your Russ Andrews Headphone amp has phono line in? If not it must have a 3.5mm line in, which case it's easy to convert. So yes, I'd say it'd fit nicely, replacing the lead from your iPod to RA1. You'd benefit from bypassing the iPod's internal amp and the dock's overall sound quality.
ashworth_rich's picture
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Joined: 28 May 2008
Posts: 386
Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review
Childs1962:
ashworth_rich:
Add to the above the fact that this is a mid-range product compared to the Arcam dock and Onkyo digital transport (which is twice the price and has no internal DAC) and throw in a fully featured remote and fabulous build and finish and you are left with a stunning product. Well done Pure!


I have had my Pure i20 for about three weeks and I agree with everything you say, it's actually amazing that it only costs £25 or so more than some of the 3.5 to phono leads that make such a little difference due to being reliant on the iPod's internal DAC. 


It is truly a high quality hifi product that will be perhaps overlooked by some because it is so inexpensive, or perhaps better - so good value.


As you say 5/5.


 



Glad you agree and like yours.

I've just been looking at the dock again and it's unbelievably well made. Totally solid aluminium construction and manages to support the iPod so you can use the buttons without it flexing/moving - much better than the Apple dock.
Childs1962's picture
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Joined: 3 Jan 2011
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Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review

 


Reckon it is plastic not aluminium though is very well made, the solid rubber base is a great feature ensuring that it does not damage what it stands on and does not slide around.


 


 

Childs1962's picture
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Joined: 3 Jan 2011
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Re: My Pure i-20 Dock Review

 


I have been fiddling around with my iPod Nano today playing it via a 3.5mm to phono cable, it really shows what the Pure DAC achieves when you compare the two.


 


 

tonyaxe's picture
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Joined: 10 Jan 2011
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RE: MP3/MP4

Great review! I'm really interested in buying one of these but before I take the plunge I wanted to make sure that this will work with streaming services such as Spotify and TuneIn radio. This may appear to be a daft qustion but when I tried using Spotify through my Marantz CD6003's USB input it wouldn't work and kept "Timing Out". Does anyone have any experience with using Spotify on the i-20?

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Technics SU-a900 MKII Amp, Mission 734i Speakers, Marantz CD6003 CD Player, Pure i-20 Dock, iPod Touch. Sony EX503 32" Telly, Sony BDP-370 Blu Ray.

Joined: 5 Oct 2012
Posts: 1
RE: My Pure i-20 Dock Review

I require a bit of advice:

I wish to connect a Pure i-20 to my Denon UPA F10 amp which has no toslink or 3.5 jack. This means that I will have to use the phono connectors. Will I lose any quality in sound reproduction because of this?