According to Ruark, the benchmark for the new R5 was the top-of-the-line R7. And the inspiration is clear when you consider their aesthetic and feature similarities.
Design-wise, the R5 is more or less a smaller, legless R7, with its curvaceous, oblong and appropriately damped chassis, clothed façade and OLED display.
That very familiar look is completed with Ruark’s very familiar RotoDial (fancy speak for a volume dial), which makes selecting sources, browsing music and changing volume by hand effortless. We’ve always liked it as an on-unit alternative to the supplied remote control and Ruark LINK app (iOS, Android), so we're pleased to see its return.
What’s even more appealing, though, is the R5’s exhaustive connectivity, which spans – deep breath – a built-in CD player, aptX HD Bluetooth, DAB/FM and internet radio, and wi-fi for streaming networked files and streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Music.
There are also RCA, USB and optical connections and, last but in no means least, a phono input for a turntable hook-up. Everything but the kitchen sink? Pretty much - but then we’re used to fruitfully-featured systems from Ruark.
Newly developed Class A-B amplifiers drive 80 watts to each of the R5’s built-in speakers, which see a neodymium magnet system coupled with a lightweight cone/coil assembly to create Ruark's signature sound.
Its latest processing works to create a stereo image akin to that produced by separate stereo speakers, too, and the down-firing, long-throw subwoofer underneath the chassis aims to bring apt brunt to the presentation.
From a brief demo at the Ruark R5's launch event, it sounded very, well, Ruark - which can only be a good thing considering the brand's success. It's crisply clear yet not without likeable warmth, and insightfully engaging. We can't wait to get it in for a proper listen...
The Ruark R5 (£999) will be available in spring in a choice of walnut and grey lacquer finishes.