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Russ Andrews RAVE1 USB (amp/spkrs) review

The USB input on this latest laptop amp makes sense, as do the three line-level inputs, but we're not entirely sold on it Tested at £215.00

Our Verdict

Big-boned, detailed sound and has a USB input for your laptop or MP3 player.

Russ Andrews' original RAVE system was something of a Curate's egg: very good in places, but doomed to an average three-star review. After all, it was pretty quiet – and had no digital input, which was strange for something allegedly designed to go with your laptop.

Fast-forward to today and our complaints have, apparently, been addressed in the form of the RAVE 1 USB. It still comprises a compact, portable amplifier and a couple of plastic-bodied loudspeakers, but there have been changes: power is up, and the third of the four amplifier inputs is now a USB.

Easy computer connections
Now that's much more like it: the USB input allows your laptop or MP3 player to connect without fuss, and the more powerful amplification means you don't have to wind up the volume control all that far.

The sound is composed, quite full-figured and enjoys a lively tempo: by laptop/desktop sonic standards, you shouldn't find too much to complain about. The lack of mains or speaker cables is stingy, even if a discount on RA products is meant to sweeten the pill. The one problem is simply this: some rivals sound better for about the same money – hence no fifth star.

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