Ruark has enjoyed great success with its wireless speakers (MR1 Mk2) and powered network systems (R2 Mk3), so combining those to produce a connected, wireless, multi-room speaker seems like a logical step.
The result is the MRx, and it's as good as any other product amalgamation (such as phone-charging bracelets, bottle-opening cufflinks, chair tents) we've seen so far.
As well as offline connectivity – including aptX Bluetooth, USB socket, and a combined 3.5mm optical and analogue input for connecting a Google Chromecast Audio or Amazon Alexa – there is also networked access to internet radio, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, via wi-fi or the MRx’s ethernet port. Ruark says Amazon Music is coming soon, too.
The control app is half the experience of using a wireless multi-room speaker, and the MRx is accompanied by a dedicated iOS and Android app called ‘Link’. This allows pairing in a multi-room or stereo configuration, and grouping of two or more MRxs. It also acts as a control hub for the brand’s R2 Mk3 and R7 Mk3 products.
Ruark has worked on the technological side as well as the software, developing new full-range speaker units based on the driver technology from its MR1s.
Mounted as a stereo pair and powered by a Class A/B amplifer, the drivers feature a new lightweight cone and coil assembly, coupled with a neodymium magnet system, and are subject to Ruark’s latest sound processing technology.
The real wood and textured fabric combo, which was first seen on the company’s MR1 MK2 speaker, appears to be Ruark’s new design statement. There is also an on-unit control dial, located in the centre of the grille, which can be used to switch volume and source.
On paper, the MRx ticks a lot of boxes in terms of design, specs and ease of use. And if the performance is consistent with Ruark’s usual standards, it should sound fully competitive.
The MRx will be available from May, priced £400.