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Reviewer: Edgar Kramer
Financial Interests: Click here
Source: AMR CD-77.1 CD player, MacBook with BitPerfect player and AIFF files
Preamplifier: Supratek Sauvignon with NOS RCA and Bendix tubes; NuForce P9, NuForce P20, Musical Fidelity kW Hybrid
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 18 monoblocks; Cymer Audio Southern Star SE-35 monoblocks; Ancient Audio Single Six monoblocks; Musical Fidelity kW750 2-box power amplifier
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia
Cables - digital: Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; NuForce digital cables; analog interconnects: Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; DanA Digital Reference Silver; Eichmann eXpress 6 Series 2; ETI Quiessence Reference; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink Silver; MIT Giant Killer MPC; NuForce IC-700; PSC Audio Monolith AG; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon; speaker cables: Cerious Technologies; ETI Quiessence Reference; MIT Giant Killer GK-1 loudspeaker cables; NuForce SC-700, power cords: Cerious Technologies AC; Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; PSC Gold Power MKII; Shunyata Research Diamondback
Stands: SGR Signature Hi-Fi racks
Acoustic treatment: Fonic Designer panels
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3 and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions, Shakti On Lines; Densen & IsoTek CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment
Room size: 6.4m wide by 7.1m long with high ceiling and narrow cavity behind speakers. Room has been professionally measured and found to be extraordinarily flat and neutral
Review component retail: Control preamplifier $9.500, Reference monoblocks $15.500/pr

The purest thoughts can lead to genius. Distill a complex concept down to its most undiluted purest core, to its nucleus or its heart, and indeed there may lie genius - and beauty. Technically and aesthetically these notions may have been strongly in mind when the engineers at audio specialist newcomer Pure Audio were gestating and conceptualizing their debut products here for review, the Control preamplifier and Reference monoblocks (a separate half-sized phono stage is also available).

Okay, so Pure Audio from our neighboring New Zealand did hit the market with unusually styled amplification products, the Reference denomination promising equal flair in the sonic department. These may be the company’s first offerings but their derived lineage is the product of high-end heavy hitters Gary Morrison and Ross Stevens, both ex Plinius Audio. Morrison was head designer and co-owner at Plinius Audio globally famous for its Class-A designs whilst Stevens comes from an industrial design background with companies such as Philippe Starck, Bowers & Wilkins, Perreaux and again Plinius Audio. Credentials are thus solid. I asked Gary Morrison how Pure Audio came about and whether there were still ties with Plinius at play.

"I was one of the original owners of Plinius Audio along with Peter Thomson who formed the company. Ross Stevens became involved as an industrial designer around 2000. As Ross and I worked together on Plinius amplifier designs, we became close friends and developed an easy working relationship. In late 2004 Plinius brought in a new owner with some much needed additional finance. The new company held great promise as we looked toward expanding our international reach. However things turned sour quite quickly. There was general disagreement of direction between the original Plinius people and the new owner. This resulted in the departure of Peter Thomson, myself, Ross Stevens and a couple of other key staff."

"Finding ourselves out in the world with many unrealised product ideas, Ross and I formed Pure Audio and set about creating a new range of products. The chance to begin afresh was a good one. It made it possible to move on from the designs we had been working on at Plinius. Pure Audio was focused on the implementation of specific design principles: good industrial design sympathetic to the requirements of the product; and electronic design intended to both serve the music and simplify the user interface. Our touchstone in all decisions is the word pure."