Written by Cheryl Tan
My old desktop speakers started crackling and having a bit of static a few weeks back, and it got on my nerves enough that when I managed to get the Ruark Audio MR1 speakers to test, I was overjoyed. Even just taking the speakers out of the box is an experience.
Coming in the walnut veneer variant, the speakers are absolutely beautiful. The wood outer is smooth to the touch and the seams aren’t rough, and the front is covered with a discrete gray fabric. You get a bit of branding at the bottom with metal plates, but that’s about it.
Everything plugs into the right speaker, and that’s where the active electronics are. At the back, you get the AC plug, a port to plug in the provided cable to connect the left speaker to the right, an optical as well as an aux port.
Now, the MR1 doesn’t come with a subwoofer, but if you already have one lying around, there’s a sub out port that will allow you to connect the speakers together. Honestly, if you have a subwoofer, I highly recommend you use it. More on that later.
Each speaker has a long-throw 75mm neodymium woofer and a 25mm dome neodymium tweeter, and the right speaker has a dial on top that acts as both volume control and toggles between the optical, aux and Bluetooth input modes when pressed.
We connected it to our phones first for a quick music test and found that it sounds best when you’re sitting right in front of them, similar to how you would sit if they were used as computer speakers.
The soundstage was incredibly airy though, with a detailed, musical sound that almost tips into lushness. The mid-range is very nicely rendered while vocals are clear and have plenty of energy. The speakers sound bigger than they actually are, and there’s little distortion even at higher volume levels.
Unfortunately, the bass was a bit lacking, and that’s where the subwoofer comes in. If you’re using this as speakers for a TV, a subwoofer is absolutely essential. Otherwise, you might be able to forgo it.
I tested it with my desktop and found that it performed relatively well. While pinpointing footsteps and such in games will never be as accurate as headphones, the speakers managed to convey a decent sense of positioning. Gunshots, explosions and more sounded impactful and I found myself getting lost in the audio as I wandered around the game.
At S$699, the Ruark Audio MR1 isn’t the cheapest set of stereo speakers out there. But for the audio quality that’s packed into these compact packages and the beautifully crafted cabinets, I think it’s a worthwhile price.
More information about the Ruark Audio MR1 can be found at Ruark Audio’s website.