Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 £329
It’s two in a row for Ruark here as the excellent MR1 Mk2s retain their Award. And so they should; these are wonderfully musical speakers, delivering rich detail and fluid dynamics in a way that you wouldn’t expect from such diminutive boxes.
There’s plenty of space between instruments in the airy soundstage, which means that music takes on an expansive feel that makes most of the MR1 Mk2s’ competition sound congested in comparison.
The dominant bassline in SBTRKT’S Wildfire is taut and packs a punch. The MR1S have no trouble in rendering its deep, squelchy texture. They time well too; the magnificent pomp of David Bowie’s Magic
Dance blares through the Ruarks with terrific verve and sparkle.
Hi-fi level of insight
Thanks to an expressive midrange, voices sound lovely. Bella Hardy’s The
Driving of the Deer is delivered with the kind of effortless drive and insight we’d expect from decent hi-fi speakers. There’s a pleasing solidity underpinning the rich, warm midrange, and the elegance with which her lilting, nimble vocals are delivered is simply gorgeous.
The MR1 Mk2s are lovely to listen to, but their stylish retro looks are a huge part of the charm too – though the rotary control dial on the top adds a contemporary touch.
Another modern feature is the optical input that can support hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192khz. It joins a 3.5mm aux input and a subwoofer out at the back of the right speaker, which houses all amplification and connections.
These Mk2 Ruarks are delightful to use and listen to. In our view, no other powered speaker like this sounds better.
“There’s a pleasing solidity underpinning the rich, warm midrange, and the elegance with which her lilting, nimble vocals are delivered is simply gorgeous.”