Tuner group test - Pure DRX 702ES

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A complex machine featuring a multitude of functions, the black anodised aluminium front panel is nicely laid out. The backlit LCD display, while clear and informative close up, is not the best at a distance or at angles, which was disappointing. To the left of the display are three LEDs for Remote, Secondary and Stereo, then a headphone socket and Power On/Off switch.


Inside there is a separate board for the headphone output and a main PCB containing a Frontier Silicon Chorus FS1010 third generation DAB chip, either side of which is an optional balanced output board and the standard Panasonic FM module, and there’s a small toroid transformer. The Pure uses a Wolfson 24/192 Delta Sigma DAC for the DAB and its digital outputs. At the rear there are separate connectors for FM (male coaxial socket), AM and DAB (F-Type screw-in socket) meaning you have to connect three aerials for DAB, AM and FM. Then a USB socket, electrical/optical digital out socket, RDI optical, input phono sockets for loop through connection saving an input from amplifier, output phono sockets, optional Neutrik balanced sockets and IEC mains input socket. The balanced option DRX-702ES costs £399 or £100 for a factory fit to standard £330 DRX-702ES. The aluminium bodied Pure comes in black or silver and measures 430x65x 270mm.



With Radio Two FM, the Pure Digital’s sound quality was neutral, with speech also being well handled. Music had controlled bass which was tight and dynamic but not as extended or as fully tuneful as some of the others, thus the Pure Digital came across a little thin and undynamic compared to the vibrant Cambridge 640T or full bodied Arcam DT91 for instance.


On Radio Three FM, violins had a nice tonality with good texture and expression – revealing some nice timing ability enabling the Pure to keep a grip on some of the more challenging orchestral swings. On Radio Two DAB 128 Kbps, there was slight sibilance to the speech but the music didn’t suffer untowardly because DAB compression was less noticeable on the Pure Digital than say the audible trace amounts evident on the Arcam DT91 - which can be described as a slight muddying and loss of absolute clarity. Radio Three DAB 192kbps, was a little disappointing however, because the music wasn’t as expressive as the other tuners on digital or DAB. Midband had a slight grain to it. Timing remained very good though, and notably better than the newer Arcam DT91.


A nicely built and finished tuner with excellent flexibility and generous preset allotment, but its sound lacks body and weight. This superbly engineered tuner has a professional feel and appropriately analytical sonics, and when specified with the balanced XLRs would be an excellent broadcast monitor – but domestic buyers might prefer the superior sonics and value of the Cambridge Audio.



The DRX-702 is a little unusual in its smoothly rolling response that adds a little boost to both ends of the audio spectrum to add a little zing to sound quality. This affects DAB as well; in fact it is there for DAB. The digital output measured flat, when fed to a digital analyser direct; the e.q. affects analogue output only. There is no pilot tone removal and both pilot at 19kHz and subcarrier at 38kHz were high, giving rise to intermodulation distortion against the pilot. Harmonic distortion levels showed why: linearity wasn’t so hot generally, with 1% distortion - 2nd harmonic luckily – on a sum signal (centre image) in stereo.


Hiss was on the high side at –66dB (IEC A) and may just be audible at times, during Radio 3/4 silences. With full quieting measuring 530uV and stereo sensitivity 34uV the DRX-702ES is normal enough in these areas. It signal strength meter worked well too, usefully showing maximum at 425uV. Results were identical via the balanced output, into a balanced analyser, except it gave much higher output, no less than 2.3V.


The DRX-702ES vhf/fm section will give fair results, but it doesn’t set standards. NK


Frequency response  6Hz-15.5kHz

Stereo separation 33dB

Distortion (50% mod.) 0.3%

Hiss (CCIR) -66dB

Signal for minimum hiss 0.53mV

Output 1.28V


mono  6µV

stereo 34µV

signal strength meter: reads up to 425uV






verdict 3

Pure Digital

+44 (0)1923 277 488



- well built, finished

- timing



-  so-so sound



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