In fact, Pure pushed yet deeper into the organic, dark-ish and fulsome turf which the original Denafrips Terminator had staked out for itself; this despite (or because?) of being sabre-toothed. So much for hookworms. Mario is a thinking type who pays attention. So he'd fitted my sample with the correct I²S option without ever asking. I'd forgotten to request it then specify a Soundaware pin config. Seeing it installed working perfectly meant even footing for the resident and usurper converters. Both came off the supercap-powered D300Ref acting as elite SD card transport with the same superior transmission protocol. Running parallel lines for data and clock signal means that the latter needn't be extricated from a serial S/PDIF protocol. That's inherently lower jitter. Sporting higher bandwidth means that I²S can come closer to textbook analog square waves. Those represent digital 1s and 0s. They trigger a converter into on/off voltage states which switch at inconceivable speeds (perfect square waves demand infinite bandwidth which doesn't exist). When to exactly switch is digital audio's dilemma. That goes beyond just being bit-perfect.

For more equal footing with the fixed-out Denafrips, I used Mario's fixed outputs. From there the signal hit a Pál Nagy icOn 4Pro autoformer linestage, then his custom 80Hz pure analog 4th-order hi/lo-pass filter. That sent bass-filtered data to a Crayon CFA-1.2 driving sound|kaos Vox3awf monitors. The bass signal saw a Dynaudio S18 sub with dual 9.5" force-cancelling woofers. It sits ~86cm in front of the speakers to compensate for its 2.5ms digital latency. Time alignment in the LF is key to avoid even the most subtle behind-the-beat bass.

Keying right into Pure's core attraction calls out warmth no humidity. In combination with humidity, we'd invoke legacy deep triode. Strong octave doubling from 2nd-harmonic THD plus phase shift from limited bandwidth plus higher noise all compound into a greenhouse effect. It's dense and moist but also cloying so not very transparent or aspirated. Eliminate its moisture—in the tropics it's in the air and soon as sweat on our skin—and instantly warmth telegraphs very different. It's no longer in opposition to transparency. It no longer includes cloying harmonic distortion and its concomitant blur. It no longer feels slower or slightly ponderous. But it's not Death Valley dry heat either where audio lingo invariably associates 'dry' with degrees of desiccation. If you can feel your way into a musical climate that's warm but not rolled off in the treble, neither blurs fine detail nor slows down subjective pace by injecting pure fat… then you've pegged Pure's signature.

Incidentally, so-called Himalayan salt lamps don't come from Nepal, Tibet or India but the Khewra salt mines of Pakistan's Punjab region.

Related aspects of this flavor/voicing are heightened image density or what we might call tonal substance. Hand in hand with that go more saturated blacks. And those suggest more weight than zip, more groundedness than flightiness and speed. Voilà, the quadrants into whose center I placed warmth without humidity. That's the digital mansion Mario CanEver built us with the ZeroUno PureDAC. It sits on three flat felted isolator footers so won't scratch whatever it rests on. Its metallic lacquer is a lovely vacation from the ubiquitous black-anodized aluminium which so often acquires strange whitish marks. Pure is a very solidly made low rider with just a touch of style that doesn't get flashy or ostentatious but includes an uncommon array of practical features. Sonically, the designer's fascination with valve circuits shows. Like at Nagra, his voicing can include small-signal valve gain which then routinely means costlier circuity to avoid related compromises on bandwidth, noise and output impedance. The Pure DAC omits tubes and their embedded expense but still points in the same direction. In my book, that makes it a smart-money choice for such sonics. Translated casually, it becomes all the gain without any of the normal pain. Looking for a reason, tech heads would likely say that Mario's power supply rules. How would this transition to the big system?