Compatibility • iPhone • iPad • Mac
Learn more: ruarkaudio.com
Available from: www.amazon.com
Ruark Audio is known for its smart, retro radio and stereo systems, and the new MR1 Bluetooth Speaker System doesn’t disappoint. The design is lovely – the MR1s look and feel really polished, and the Soft White flavour is very much in line with Apple’s own products.
Rounded side edges and smart straight edges for the back and front give a clean, minimal look to these speakers that’s mirrored in their functionality. And if you don’t fancy the Soft White lacquer, there’s Soft Black or a Rich Walnut veneer to choose from, with each casing covering a hand-crafted wood enclosure. Considering their light look, the MR1s are reassuringly weighty at 1.5kg each. A clean metal panel fitted to the back adds a professional finish and contrasts perfectly with the lacquer.
Bluetooth connection was easy and worked well. Long-press the control knob to switch from line-out mode to Bluetooth and then the speakers are ready to be paired. You can pair up to eight devices, and just hold down the control knob for five seconds to forget them all. Even better, the MR1s automatically connect to any paired devices in range and AirPlay works exactly the same as the Bluetooth connection. Plus, there’s a line-in jack if you need to use a non-Bluetooth device.
An indicator light switches from orange to blue when you enter Bluetooth mode, which is handy. It blinks intermittently whenever the speakers are in standby and blinks rapidly when you hit the maximum or minimum volumes, which compensates well for the lack of min/max stops on the control knob. The tiny remote feels great, too, fitting snugly in the hand with a simple 2×3 grid of buttons. We lost our signal at 1.5m through furniture during our home tests, so the range isn’t great, but the increments on the volume controls are perfect. As for sound quality, the MR1s blew us away. The soft dome tweeters and neodymium woofers handled everything we threw at it, and there was no discernible loss of quality with Bluetooth streaming because of the built-in aptX audio coding technology.
In all, the MR1s are superior speakers that we’d love to put in our living room. Having said that, the price tag feels pretty steep, despite the design and ease of use these speakers offer. Definitely one for the audiophiles, but if you’re a casual listener then you may need to think about it.