The PURE Digital Legato II is a mini hi-fi system with a DAB radio that can pause and rewind live radio. The Legato II improves over its award-winning predecessor with more powerful speakers and an SD card slot for even more digital fun. At £350, however, it may be too expensive for those merely looking for a digital radio.
The front of the main system is finished with an elegant brushed-metal effect and has a large backlit LCD display. There are three softkeys on each side of the display that correspond to options on the LCD. This works well and reduces the overall number of controls needed on the system.
The rear of the unit hosts a number of standard audio connections, including a coaxial aerial socket, twin auxiliary inputs, an optical digital output and twin speaker connections.
The Legato II has a CD player, digital DAB radio, a backup FM tuner, an SD card slot, a USB port, a digital optical output and several analogue auxiliary inputs. It's about as digitally versatile as it could be without integrating Internet connectivity.
PURE has stacked the radio full of features to make DAB as convenient as possible. Recording radio to an SD card is delightfully simple, with files saved in MP2 format, which works out at 1MB per minute of radio. Total recording time is only limited by the capacity of the SD card you use.
The seven-day electronic programme guide allows you to schedule any show for recording to the SD card, which is simple to use. If you want to catch Edith Bowman's lunchtime show on Radio 1, just click on it in the EPG and choose the SD card record option. When you return home you'll find her entire show as an audio file on the SD card. The same function can also output recordings through the digital optical out if you prefer to record on an external device.
Pausing and rewinding live radio is incredibly simple. You can pause using the built-in memory for about 30 minutes (the actual recording time depends on the bit rate of the DAB broadcast: a fairly standard 128kbps broadcast allows you 26 minutes 20 seconds recording time). If you're listening to buffered radio, you can rewind to the start of the song and record it to the SD card -- live pause and SD recording can work side-by-side.
Along with adding new features to the system in the future, the USB connection also allows you to transfer recorded radio shows to your PC, or put MP3s directly on to the SD card, which sits in the reader on the front of the system, alongside a third auxiliary input.
MP3s aren't sorted by album or artist automatically. Instead, you need to organise them into different folders yourself on the PC. But the good news is that it can read ID3 tags, so at least you know what's playing and it will play albums in the right order. It also supports M3U playlists, allowing for good old-fashioned manual playlist creation, though this can only be achieved using a computer.
Other notable features include support for MP3 CDs, several clock alarms, up to 20 DAB recording schedules, 99 DAB and 24 FM presets and full bass and treble control for customised listening preferences.
The Legato II does a pretty good job of reproducing a wide range of audio, from the melodic strumming of folk rock, through to the complexities of modern progressive metal. Using a lossless file through the auxiliary input, KT Tunstall's Black Horse and The Cherry Tree bit through the speakers and into our ears with excellent clarity and definition. This track demonstrated the Legato II's strength at mid- and high-range frequency reproduction.
Moving on to Dream Theater's Peruvian Skies, we heard a great ability to drive a complex but well-mixed blend of guitars, a unique range of keyboard effects, powerful drums and complex bass patterns. While performance with this type of music could be improved upon in terms of overall definition, we were very content with the Legato II's general audio performance.
Using the Legato II's independent bass and treble controls really makes a difference and adds significant warmth and body to any audio played on the system. Rock music in particular sounds improved by using these tweaks and bass-driven dance anthems sound much more powerful, too.
The Legato II is an all-round great performer and the DAB recording and EPG features are superb. The only downside is that it's a little on the expensive side, but if you're planning on using all of the features it boasts, it's worth paying the extra.
Additional editing by Nick Hide