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back to article Pure Highway 300Di in-car digital radio kit

CES 2012 Week Since 2008 Pure has offered its relatively cheap first-generation DIY upgrade kit to add DAB radio and more besides when motoring. Now comes the second generation Highway, with an improved aerial and two-part combo of a main ‘interface’ unit, which is fitted under the dashboard near the car’s existing radio, and …

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Hmm, this could be the product I am looking for.

Really want to listen to DAB in the car, but the choice of DAB radios is VERY limited. And before this thread gets invaded by the "DAB is worse than FM lot", they clearly have no fucking clue, it's not about quality of transmission, it's about quality of music. There isn't a single FM station broadcasting the music I want to listen to. But there IS on DAB (Planet Rock).
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There is no such thing as a station that doesn't play songs that annoy you. I like rock music, but there's a lot of stuff that gets played on Planet Rock that gets right on my tits. I can only listen to any station for a limited time before something comes on to make me switch. So by and large I don't listen to radio and have a case of CDs in the boot.

I rely on RDS to give me traffic news and news if I so desire, beyond that the radio in my car is unused.

DAB is a dead end technology. If DAB didn't exist now it wouldn't be invented. If the industry was working towards a replacement for FM now they would be looking at the internet as a delivery mechanism for radio.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio has two things CDs don't:

1) Intelligent, or humourous, or informative, presenters and conversation (dependent upon the stations listened to of course).

2) They will play music I DON'T own, but like. I enjoy that variety, which is something you never get from your own CD collection.

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Go

You're not a fan of DAB, then, Grease Monkey?

I had the previous version of the Highway, and I rather liked it. With just regular radio, I tended to build up a massive pile of CDs in the car, but DAB offered choice beyond just irritating pop crap and Radio 4. Planet Rock, mostly, if I'm honest.

Don't use it any more though, as all the trailing wiring was a bit of a nightmare, it was a bugger to retune whilst driving, and a bit of a pain to plug in each time I got in the car. Didn't help that the windscreen mount melted in the sun, and I lost the aerial when I sold the car. All in, this new version looks like a good improvement (not that I'd want some spotty oik from Halfords, tinkering around in my car).

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FAIL

Bluetooth Handfree?

Why oh why is there no bluetooth handfree option? DAB i'm not that bothered about on it's own, but bundle the ability to connect my phone to make calls and stream music and i'm on my way to placing an order
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only 75%

It does everything that you could expect, perhaps bar Bluetooth, and it only gets 75%?
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Add £25 to the price

From the Halfords website - "Free fitting applied to Pure Highway 300Di products purchased up to and including 24.12.2011" I tried Pure Portable DAB plugged into Aux, it was awful - sound dropped out so much. Even tried a 5mtr extension cable looped around the car (not kidding). This might be a better option!
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pure PocketDAB 1500...

... Clamped into the Sat Nav claw, audio cable for antenna tucked into base of windscreen, plugged into aux.

Works well on M4 and mainline rail from Bridgend to Newport.

Losses apparent on train from Rhoose to Llantwit Major. (no O 2 signal either).

My favourite stations are Absolute 80's and Radio 4 Extra.

Enjoy.

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I'm a bit further north

and its a struggle to get DAB :(

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got DAB in my car

Really not worth all the hassle as radio stations are limited outside london. and what is there is full of adverts during the day. planet rock was the only reason i got it but soon found that having it pumped at me all day soon got repetitive I wouldnt pay for a gadget that works occasionally due to signal dropouts and as for the ghastly aerial and extra widgets and boxes to be fitted im surprised 75% more like 50% at best
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There doesn't

...appear to have been any actual testing done; the article lists the specs and functions which is all very nice and all, but there's no word as to how well it actually works?
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Ooops...

Three and a half lines on the first page; I guess that counts.
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Right on the first page I discuss how the reception held up on a 350-mile journey, and later I mention how well the display and USB playback modes work too. There wasn't space to go into a huge amount of depth once the overall set-up had been explained (and as a so-far unique product, there's lots of background info for this item). Also, as mentioned, the sound quality will depend heavily on your own car's system, and even reception may vary according to where you are. But generally in my experience it does work very efficiently; and had I encountered any major performance issues, I would have detailed them.
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agreed

Add bluetooth streaming and it would be a killer. Very happy with the stock ford smax titanium kit this would have been great to put in our older focus that doesnt have the same connectivity but bluetooth is a must.
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Seeing as the free fitting offer has expired and my car already has mp3 playback from USB and ipod control. Is this item worth £205 just to add DAB radio, I really like listening to 6 Music and it would be nice to have sports extra for the cricket and 5 live in decent quality. What I'd really like is a DAB radio that connects via bluetooth and allows changing the stations using track forward reverse.
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£200 for a radio? Kin ell.
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No, 200 quid for a "professionally" (I use the term loosely if Halfords are involved, having seen the quality of their work fitting a similar Dension setup) fitted DAB receiver, iPod adapter, USB adapter and line-in adapter. Ignoring the DAB receiver, the rest of that list would set you back at least 100 quid, so whilst 200 quid *would* be expensive if you only want to add DAB capabilities to your existing head unit, if you're also interested in adding the other stuff too then the price starts to look quite a bit more reasonable.

If I wasn't considering changing cars at some point in the next few months, I'd be seriously considering getting one of these fitted right now, because a) I'd love to have DAB reception on the move and b) I'd quite like to ditch the FM transmitter I'm currently using with my iPod (my car doesn't have anything fancy like a line-in input, and annoyingly the previous owner specced it to have both a CD changer AND a CD headunit, so I can't use the cassette adapter that worked so well on my last two cars).

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"I'd quite like to ditch the FM transmitter I'm currently using with my iPod (my car doesn't have anything fancy like a line-in input"

In which case you are missing the point. If your current setup does not have line in then you will still be using FM transmission with this unit. FM retransmission has its problems with interference. I tried it for a while with an iPod and found that the transmitter had three frequencies to choose from and I suspect that many similar units had the same frequency range since in heavy traffic I would often have signal problems. I suspect this as down to other road users in the same jam with FM retransmission.

The best form of retransmission is one that Harman Kardon used to do (don't know if it's still available) that actually inserted itself between the antenna and the head unit. When the unit was in use the signal from the antenna was cut and when the unit was off the signal from the antenna was allowed through and the signal from the unit cut. This got rid of the interference problems. AFAIR this only worked with the Harman Kardon iDrive adaptor.

Oh and the £25 fitting is a bit misleading. Apparently it works on the basis of £25 being the minimum. If it takes extra work you'll pay more you will also have to pay for any additional adaptor cables and the like. Have you seen how much Halfords charge for things like audio adaptor cables?

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From the top of page 2:

"Failing that it can be hard-wired into a radio’s aerial socket with the Highway’s output carried on a specific (customisable) FM frequency. The Highway locks out that frequency to avoid external interference"

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"£200 for a radio? Kin ell."

Kin ell indeed. It isn't even a radio it's just a receiver that relies on you current setup for amplification. Given that you can spend less than this on a complete unit with DAB, USB, line in and all the rest for less than this I am at a loss to understand who would want it.

The only potential market I can see are those who have a car where the radio which is integrated into the other systems within the car. You know the sort of thing where the stereo, satnav and half the cars controls are all in one. Many of these systems have an aux input so you would be able to run them with a seperate head unit and there are those who make fitting kits to allow you to do this. So surely it would be better and cheaper just to buy a DAB capable complete unit in the first place rather than an add on.

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Anonymous Coward

Never going to happen.

I've spent a small fortune on my car audio.. don't want to taint it with the "solution that is looking for a problem" / audio disaster that is DAB. DAB was too little, too late. Can't find good content on FM? Download it!

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Joke

Driving along

with a laptop on the dash, are you?

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One of the things I like about FM in the car is local traffic news. The problem with DAB in cars is that you often don't get that. It's not a shortcoming of the technology, but the way it's been deployed in this country. Local stations don't get the coverage they should.

Take West Yorkshire as an example. By far the most reliable traffic news in on BBC Leeds, which is supposed to be the BBC station for the whole county. Indeed on FM you get coverage of that station over the whole county. When I'm driving locally I have TA set only to BBC Leeds.

On DAB however the coverage of BBC Leeds does not extend far beyond Leeds itself. The result is a lack of reliable local traffic news. This pattern repeats across much of the country. This is as much a pain for distance driving as for locals. If I'm driving to another area I have the RDS TA set to receive local stations so I'm not picking up irrelevant news, but getting the stuff from strong stations.

The problem with national traffic news is that it doesn't tell you about the holdups away from major routes that you might need to know about. It's good to know about a hold up on the M1 at junction 40 if you are heading through west Yorkshire, but what the national news doesn't tell you is that the traffic avoiding that has clogged up the A637 towards Huddersfield. That is important to you if you are heading for Huddersfield. Rely on DAB for your traffic news and you won't hear about it.

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Read the sales guff on this and you'll find things like "Picnic Mode" mentioned as selling points. Apparently if you take the keys out of the ignition and leave the doors open the unit will allow you to listen to music. They actually make a big deal out of the idea that you would want to do this at some peaceful beauty spot, without seeming to notice the irony in suggesting you crank up your tunes in a peaceful beauty spot.

As a selling point this is somewhat strange. If your car's current stereo will work with the keys out then you already have this facility. If your stereo won't work with the keys out then the Highway will not add the facility. IOW it is not adding anything to your current setup, they are trying to sell you something that either you already have or that they can't actually sell you in the first place.

Then there is the fact that they try to sell you the facility to listen to your MP3 player with line in. Of course they don't mention that this unit either requires that your current setup has line in or works by the rather flaky method of FM retransmission. If you want to listen to your MP3 player and your current setup doesn't have line in then you can be an FM transmitter for an awful lot less than £200. Again they are quoting something as a major selling point in somewhat misleading terms.

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