Disclaimer – Upon putting this review online I was informed by B.M.C the price has gone from $4590/€3598 to $5390/€4498.
Strap in and get ready for a bit of a long ride because there is a lot to go through with this machine from Germany!
B.M.C are one of the companies who work on every single part of the audio chain, something that will never be an easy feat, but it usually has pretty good outcomes. Back when I reviewed one of their previous products, the PureDAC, I was gobsmacked as to how much detail Carlos (the owner and brains) put into discussing what I was using as a source for his DAC. You see I have always used an iMac running Audirvana and Josh is a Windows guy preferring JRiver and at that point in time we were completely content using them. Carlos said they were ok as well, but emphasised how much better Linux was, trying to encourage me to dual boot my iMac to also run a basic Linux simply for my music but I was lazy and never got round to it. While Carlos knew how simple it may have been to arrange Linux and probably preached it to a lot of customers, I can only imagine the majority were as motivated as myself to start playing with different software, as pathetic as that sounds from my behalf. I can only imagine Carlos and B.M.C understood what it takes for a better source for audio and all things home entertainment and that people would appreciate the difference, but as with most things, people really want it done for them. Welcome to the B.M.C PureMedia, the everything digital source.
All of Your Media in One Location
The PureMedia is so much more than a music server with some streaming capabilities, far from it in fact. B.M.C have packed its features way beyond what you traditionally expect from an audiophile device. The PureMedia is more a top end all round media device that can become what you want it to, as simple or as exotic as that may be, it really is that capable… to the point I have been watching Sky Sports through it with the picture going to my monitor via HDMI and the audio going to my DAC through USB. I’m not kidding when it comes to usage options. This device is something that you may originally purchase as your own private device but it is just as suited to being a media hub for a whole family!
For me now it is really a case of where do we start and I think no better place than the $4590/€3598 price tag. Why not sterling? I can’t find a British retailer, so dollar/euro will have to do. Just as a forewarning, I think that it makes sense for me to really focus this review on the audio capabilities while touching on the rest of the features more briefly.
The PureMedia is at heart a Linux computer, but stripped down for simplicity so the user interface doesn’t look like a generic computer like a windows or Mac OS. It is only able to perform tasks media related, only recently letting you surf the web but definitely not play Counter Strike for example. For build, they stuck to what we have come to know of the ‘Pure’ line from the German company and as I have said before it is visually striking and will make a lasting impact. It all sits perfectly on your rack with the UltraDAC and PureAmp.
On the side there are quite a few screws that could be lower in profile but being all metal it feels pretty good and solid, although tapping the top gets a small vibration. If you plan on using it for music, and that has been my main use for it, then it will store or stream your music and then output it digitally into a DAC of choice. It is not capable of converting digital to analogue itself and only comes with a range of digital outputs, which is genuinely all I want from this type of product.
With the digital age of audiophile coming into full effect things like streamers and servers are quickly taking over and a lot of iconic brands are showing up with their take on it. But what is this, is it a server or streamer? For the most part it is server but, it has the capabilities to become a streamer. The B.M.C has an ethernet port and also comes with a WiFi adapter (I found it much easier to set up ethernet) to get online but for me the most important abilities it adds is allowing me to use my phone as a remote control(MPDroid), as well as a keyboard/mouse (Yatse/Xmouse). You can push to allow more to happen through connecting to the network, like allow other streamers to access the PureMedia as if it was a Network Attached Storage (it comes stock with 2TB of memory but can be expanded at your expense to up to 24TB HDD or 6TB SSD) and also stream music from say your phone through it, if you wish (this sadly does not go through the B.M.C designed Hi Res player that sounds better). Lastly it does allow the most traditional use of being on your network and that is being online, so you can access YouTube or even internet TV through add-ons you can install at your own convenience. You see the main media centre that boots is Kodi and that allows you to install add on’s. Now which ones you want is totally your call, but there are hundreds! This is a huge positive for the B.M.C though, as it means Tidal streaming (or other services) and YouTube. As I said with the help of a tutorial on YouTube I managed to get live TV through the PureMedia, in HD, including Sky Movies and Sports!!! Also with one of the latest firmware updates making internet browsing an option, which means you can get even more out of your internet connection and this device.
Turn the page for connectivity and control….