Sound and Vision 2013 - The Bristol Show logo
Ruark MR1 photos and quick review at The Bristol Show 2013

Summary


Simple connectivity, custom drivers, British design and excellent build quality all count in the MR1's favour.

Our rating


four stars out of five

Careful positioning will get the best out of these portable marvels.

Where to buy


You can buy the MR1s soon for around £300.




Ruark MR1s - speakers with bite

Ruark have just unveiled their first Bluetooth active speaker - the MR1. Sporting matt black, white and real walnut finishes, the speakers cleverly use the same portable rechargeable backpack battery as the company's R1 DAB and FM radio.

The aim of the MR1s is to provide greatly improved sound than that through the minuscule speaker found in your smartphone or tablet.

With this in mind, the speakers are compatible with the newer Bluetooth apt-X profile, giving even higher quality wireless audio between a Bluetooth audio device sporting the apt-X audio codec (such as the Galaxy S3 smartphone) and the MR1s, though they'll work without issue with older Bluetooth-enabled 'phones.

A simple rotary dial on top activates Bluetooth pairing and turns the speakers on and off. A steady blue light lets you know you've paired (connected) your smartphone or tablet. The benefits of individual units for the left and right channel become clear the moment you move them apart; it comes as no surprise that the MR1s do a great job of stereo separation.

The MR1s even ship with a natty supermini remote control, to save you leaving the sofa while listening.

Ported at the rear, place the speakers away from a wall slightly to get the best balance of bass from these small wonders. There's a socket to link the MR1s up to a subwoofer, too. The finish, especially with the distinctive grain of the warm walnut, is impeccable. Custom built drivers and dome tweeters can be hidden away behind an acoustic grille for prying fingers' sake, but you'll surely want these little boxes on show.

The clever matt black finish hides fingerprints; alternatively the clean, understated white finish blends in with your room decor.


Walnut finish of the Ruark MR1 active speakers

If you're looking for the portability and the chance to break free of single-box speakers, the MR1s should be given serious consideration. British-designed, build quality is up to the usual Ruark high standards. A pair of MR1s are priced at £299 and will be available shortly - keep checking back here and we'll let you know where to get a set.
Active speakers in black finish
Rear view
Ruark MR1 in white