RADIO has never gone out of fashion, it’s still all around us, evolving and adapting to market needs. Ruark Audio’s compact R1 radio, when launched 14 years ago (under the Vita Audio brand), was for those needing a portable set to tune in to FM and DAB stations… when “streaming” wasn’t yet a word.
Now, the fourth iteration of R1 has just been launched, and it’s good to see that the fundamental concept of this little box remains, with some enhancement to accommodate current requirements. No, it will not do Internet streaming, but the Bluetooth feature will let you stream music from your phone or computer to the R1.
As the company tell us, “The R1 MK4 sets new standards for sound and features… a linear amplifier along with our NS+ driver and adaptive equalisation produce an eminently pleasing sound at all volume levels. Other highlights include a quality Bluetooth receiver, USB-C charge and playback port, switchable auxiliary input and headphone output.
“Our trademark RotoDial control system makes R1 easy to use and for those seeking distant operation, there is a compact remote control available as an optional extra.”
Ruark says the while previous versions of the R1 have been evolutions, the R1 MK4 is more progressive both in design and performance.
“Using a precision moulding process has allowed us to gently profile the enclosure providing a fresh new look. Enhancing the design further is a beautiful hand-crafted slatted wood grille. This brings added sophistication and creates a timeless vibe, but overall, the design is still unique and distinctly Ruark.”
The R1 MK4 is “ideal for the kitchen, perfect in the office and simply delightful to wake up to in the bedroom… the new R1 brings style to any room and with a quality Bluetooth receiver built in, you can wirelessly stream to R1 from your phone or computer.”
Apart from Bluetooth for external sources, the R1 MK4 still features an FM/DAB/DAB+ tuner for good old-fashioned radio broadcasts.
Sound quality, of course, is of primary importance, says Ruark.
“Our previous R1 models were critically acclaimed for their sound, but with R1 MK4, we have further raised the bar. Our latest neodymium NS+ driver, as used in our R3 and R5 models, provides a smooth and extended frequency response and in R1 MK4’s tuned enclosure, delivers an impressive bass performance.
“Driving the system is a punchy Class A/B linear amplifier for exceptional dynamics and with adaptive equalisation, an eminently listenable sound is provided at all volume levels.”
The unit is available in Light Cream and Expresso lacquer finishes. While you can plug it into a wall point, the optional Backpack II allows more portability with up to 12 hours of listening.
The R1 MK4 retails at £229.99, with the Backpack II costing £59.99.