My Pure i-20 Dock Review
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!