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Ruark MR1 Bluetooth review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £300
inc VAT

Powerful sound from compact stereo speakers, with the added benefit of aptX Bluetooth streaming

You might think bookshelf speakers are a little old-fashioned, but the Ruark MR1 bookshelf speakers pack in Bluetooth streaming, so you can stream music to them from your tablet or smartphone. They also pack in a surprising amount of power and look the part too, but won’t take up a lot of room in your study or bedroom.

Ruark MR1 Bluetooth

The minimal styling looks gorgeous, either in the contrasting white finish with black speaker grilles seen here, or the alternative black and walnut finish. Each speaker has a 130mm square footprint and together the pair weigh around 3Kg, so they should comfortably sit on a bookshelf or a desk. The four rubberised feet on each speaker are screwed in place, and with no mounting points on the back they’re clearly designed to sit on a desk rather than float above it on mounting brackets. The speakers are connected by a 1.5m cable that terminates in a standard RCA phono connector, so you could swap the cable for a longer one if necessary.

Beyond aptX Bluetooth, which worked flawlessly with smartphones, tablets and laptops throughout our testing, the MR1 also has a 3.5mm audio input for connecting wired devices. A switchable attenuation control lets you switch the line level input between low and high levels.

Ruark MR1 Bluetooth

Power and volume can be controlled using the dial built into the top of the right-hand speaker, but the compact remote control lets you adjust volume, mute all sound or change the inputs from a distance. An automatic standby mode puts the speakers into a low-power sleep if it doesn’t detect a signal after a certain period of timer has elapsed. This worked well when we hooked up the MR1s to a TV, as there’s no need to turn the speakers off when you’re done watching and the sound automatically reactivates when the TV is turned back on. The MR1’s blue activity LED didn’t prove distracting at night either, as it only stays lit when a signal is detected and it isn’t overly bright.

An optional wireless battery pack (£49, can turn the MR1 into a wireless speaker system. According to Ruark it should provide enough power for several hours of music playback, but we haven’t tested it to see how Bluetooth streaming affects battery life.

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Speaker configuration2.0
RMS power output20W
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on14W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsBluetooth (aptX)
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengthsN/A
Cable typereplaceable
Controls locatedright satellite
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsN/A

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