With most music listening now taking place on the go on mobile apps, it’s easy to forget that, for many of a certain age, falling in love with your favorite tunes and bands first took place on the radio or stereo. Settling down with the Pure Evoke C-F6, which marries modern connectivity options with old-school CD playback, offers the best of both worlds, and is just about the best stereo system you can buy today.
The list of audio sources you can tap into with the Pure Evoke C-F6 is almost overwhelming at first. Top of the feature list for many will be the inclusion of Spotify Connect, letting you control Spotify playback from your device of choice and effortlessly beam the sound direct to the Evoke C-F6. With Bluetooth streaming also supported, the only notable wireless audio omission is Google Cast, which the other two options easily pick up the slack from.
DAB, DAB+ and FM radio options are joined by thousands of Internet Radio stations, with the Evoke C-F6 allowing for a generous 36 saved station presets to save you having to trawl through the wealth of shows available.
If you prefer the more direct approach, you can plug a device in through the Evoke C-F6’s Aux-in port (perfect if you’ve got an Amazon Echo Dot you’d like to hook up, for example), or use the so-often-so-sorely-missed front loading CD slot drive that sits just below the device’s screen. If you’re looking for some privacy, there’s a headphone jack that's somewhat confusingly located on the rear too.
A set-up wizard makes hooking up these myriad options a breeze, right down to programming wake up and sleep timers, meaning you’ll have a world of sound at your fingertips minutes after taking the stereo out of its box.
The Pure Evoke C-F6 has a lot going on (those CDs have to fit in somewhere), so you shouldn’t be surprised to hear it’s got some size to it, measuring in at 380 mm wide x 145 mm high x 223 mm deep and weighing just over 4kg.
It’s very much designed to take pride of place on a living room or bedside table, and with its Alder-style wood finish and white front, it should fit comfortably among most decors.
The stereo has a range of control options, but if you’re not opting to use its mobile app, you’re going to spend time looking at its 2.8” color screen. It’s a TFT display type, which pales in comparison to what you’d get from a modern mobile device. But in a device that’s ostensibly to be listened to rather than looked at we thought the screen didn't negatively impact the overall experience.
Indeed, the TFT display is more than large and clear enough to easily navigate menus, using a combination of a chrome control dial and clicky face buttons.
The most important point of course, is whether or not the thing sounds any good – all the connectivity options in the world are meaningless in a speaker if the resultant playback sounds like a can of nails rattling around in a washing machine.
Thankfully, the Pure Evoke C-F6 sounds incredibly pleasant. With 3-inch stereo speakers and a 20W output, it can crank up to party levels without distorting untowardly.
“Pleasant” shouldn’t be read as faint praise here, either – its digital amplifier provides warm and rich bass levels without overpowering the sound, with an overall clarity to the default mix that feels close to how you’d imagine a studio monitor mix intended it to sound. Either way, if the default sound isn’t to your liking, there are tailored EQ mixes for different genres of music in the settings menu, as well as the option to fine tune your own personalised levels.
Be aware however that, with app-controlled volume levels, you’ll have to keep an eye on the individual volume levels set for each source, or you could get a surprisingly loud shock.
Remote control and Pure Select app
As well as the onboard controls, the Pure Evoke C-F6 ships with a white IR remote control that matches the front plate of the stereo. It (slightly frustratingly) runs off watch batteries, but gives you control over the system when out of arm’s reach.
However, with so many options onboard, you’re really going to still need to see the screen on the radio to do much more than turn it on and control volume levels, making the included remote a little moot.
That’s where the Pure Select App comes in. Available for both iOS and Android devices, it lets you control every function of the speaker from within the app on your mobile screen. And, unlike so many connected speaker apps the wrong side of Sonos, this one actually works. So much so that, on the rare occasion that its connection times out, you’ll very much miss its instant remote control options. It’s easily the most intuitive way to browse the thousands of internet radio stations on offer, and is a must download if you grab the stereo.
It’s hard to find fault with the Pure Evoke C-F6. It’s a fully-equipped all-in-one music machine with practically every bell and whistle you could need from a single-room audio device.
A premium price tag is expected then, and the $425 (£349.99 / AU$ 565) asking price certainly isn’t pocket money. But it’s also very competitively priced against its competition – the comparable Ruark Audio R2 MK3 weighs in at least at $485 (£400 / AU$ 645), depending on retailer, and that hasn’t even got a CD player.
The Pure Evoke C-F6 is a delight then, and comes highly recommended for anyone looking for a complete one-stop audio box.
- For some other options, check out our guide to the best connected speakers.