Caskeid technology gives you free rein to stream, but do the speakers cut the mustard?
Pure’s Jongo system is similar to Samsung’s Shape in that it features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the latter is restricted to single-speaker streaming by Samsung, whereas Pure’s so-called Caskeid Bluetooth can help create a multiroom wireless network. Caskeid is not aptX standard but Pure claims that it does offer the lowest latency of any multiroom system. Arguably of more importance is that without Bluetooth you wouldn’t be able to stream from subscription services such as Spotify, Deezer and Google Play. You would, of course, be able to access Pure’s own online subscription service called Pure Connect, plus music stored on the playback device (tablet or smartphone)and DLNA-connected devices.
Pure Connect has three membership tiers. Basic (free of charge) lets you play your own music stored on your phone or tablet and access countless radio stations and podcasts; for a fiver a month you can access Pure’s archive of 15million or so tracks, and another £5 allows you to access those songs when offline.
Caskeid Bluetooth also brings into play music libraries (or subscription services) stored on desktop and laptop computers, and (if your browser supports it) the web-based version of Pure’s Connect service. Pure doesn’t have a desktop app but its iOS and Android app is streets ahead of the opposition in terms of its DLNA integration, displaying all folder view options. By chance I found that it could access and playback my iMac’s iTunes library via the Bose desktop app, which was listed as a DLNA source. Sadly, Jongo teases you by recognising hi-res files and manfully trying to play them before admitting defeat.
There are three mains-powered speakers in the Jongo range (the 20W T2X, 50W T4X and 100W T6X), plus – uniquely for a multiroom system – the rather useful T3X, a portable 20W speaker than can run off battery power. Aesthetically, Jongo speakers are neat rather than exciting or classy but they're made from sturdy plastic with a removable cloth-covered grille for which multiple colour options are available. An on/off button with glowing status LEDs is located on one side, with volume controls nearby. At the rear are a bass port and 3.5mm inputs plus a USB service port. Each speaker can be wall-mounted, and can be orientated horizontally or vertically, but you must change the settings in the app, where you can also create stereo pairs and groupings.
Wi-Fi is mandatory for setup, with the speaker temporarily generating its own wireless network, which you then instruct to use your own router. Nice and simple. If Caskeid is switched on, the speaker in question will receive its audio by Bluetooth and stream it around the house using Wi-Fi. The volume can be controlled on a speaker-by-speaker basis, as can the bass and treble.
Having Bluetooth is certainly better than not having it, but you do have to go through the faff of reconnecting from within your device’s settings menu every time you return to using it. And, of course, the way that Sonos integrates Spotify within its own app is preferable in my book.
When listening to Lorde’s Royals via the Pure Connect online service the Jongo T6X is hamstrung by the low bit-rate, with a lack of high-frequency detail all too evident. Vocals are a bit thin and bass is over-emphasized, so that when played loudly there’s an excess of reverberation. A higher-quality AAC version improves matters with the higher frequencies, but low-end bloom is still an issue. Less extreme content, such as the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, is much more enjoyable.
The trumpet is lively and energetic and when the strings kick in the whole piece feels nicely balanced. Likewise, Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game is finely rendered. It's a fair all-round effort.
Pure Jongo T6X
Highs: No hub required; Caskeid Bluetooth compatible with Spotify, etc; simple setup; powerful sound
Lows: Low bit-rate of Pure Connect service; switching apps can be a faff
Drivers: 2 x full-range 5in drivers
Onboard power: 2 x 50W
Dimensions: 190(h) x 370(w) x 175(d)mm
Weight: Not specified
Features: Wi-Fi and Caskeid Bluetooth; 3.5mm aux input; Pure Connect app and subscription streaming service (with 15million tracks); no bridge/hub required; horizontal/vertical orientation; removable cloth grilles (different colour options available)
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