Formerly known as Vita Audio, Ruark Audio is one of the most prestigious and well-regarded brands in the world for radio sets. With a long heritage starting back in 1985, Ruark has maintained a consistent stream of success, delighting audiophiles worldwide.
One of the most impressive sets in the Ruark portfolio is the Ruark Audio R1 Mk3 – a compelling radio set that combines a compact design with huge performance potential. The Ruark R1 mk3 conveys the incredible attention to detail and nostalgic design standards that go into every Ruark machine. It’s this approach that has helped Ruark to place their designs in hotels and homes across the UK.
Today, critics call the Ruark Audio R1 the “Aston Martin” of the DAB radio scene. That’s a pretty impressive statement. The question is, could this be the ultimate radio for you?
Read through our Ruark R1 Mk3 radio review to find out.
About Ruark Audio
Based on the Southern Coast of England, Ruark Audio is a family-owned business with a passionate team, all devoted to delivering the best in radio engineering and style.
The company aims to design the icons of the future with their radios, linking clean lines and minimalist beauty with state-of-the-art features like the RotoDial control system.
Ruark Audio has a heritage for offering some of the finest radio systems in the market, gaining critical acclaim from reviewers and directories worldwide. Whether you’re looking for stunning aesthetics or an incredible sound, you’ll never have to compromise with Ruark Audio. Find out more about the brand here.
About the Ruark Audio R1 Mk3
The Ruark Audio R1 Mk3 is one of the more recent additions to the company’s audio portfolio. Not only is it beautifully designed, but this machine is also highly affordable for such a luxurious piece of equipment too. Offering FM and DAB/DAB+ streaming – it ensures that you can get the kind of entertainment you need, wherever you are.
The Ruark R1 also comes with access to Bluetooth streaming functionality, and line connectivity to add other audio devices too.
In terms of style, the Ruark R1 shares similar styling to the rest of the Ruark range, which means that you’re going to get the same sleek appearance that you’d expect with anything from this company.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Features
Offering an excellent blend of traditional design and modern performance, the Ruark R1 Mk3 is an incredible piece of kit. You might think that something so small would be limited when it came to sound quality and performance, but the Ruark surpasses expectations, proving that big things really can come in small packages.
DAB/DAB+, and FM tuner with RDS
10 station preset options
USB charge port for your smartphone
9-watt nominal power output
Switchable auxiliary input for other audio devices
Available in a variety of finishes to suit your personal sense of style, the Ruark R1 is a striking piece of equipment, offering simplicity and elegance in one neat package. We loved the way that the handcrafted wooden cabinet looked in our office.
That wood improves reverb and makes your Ruark Audio radio look more compelling at the same time. On the front of the unit, you’ll see a rectangular display with an OLED panel. There are various brightness levels to choose from – including the option to switch your display off if you don’t want the light to bother you while you’re sleeping.
Underneath the display, the drive unit is protected by a black aluminium grill. There’s also an opaque grey material on the speakers which feels super soft to the touch – though we don’t recommend stroking it all day.
On the base of the Ruark R1 Mk3 is a series of four feet, which helps your radio to sit well on virtually any surface, and there’s an extendable aerial next to your USB and line-in audio ports too. Ultimately, there are few things more attractive than the Ruark R1 Mk3 when you’re looking for small, simple, and elegant.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Performance and connectivity
An attractive radio is great – but it doesn’t mean much to you if you’re not going to get the kind of performance that you need too. It’s easy to assume that with something as small as the Ruark Audio R1 Mk3 you’d have to compromise on something like performance or volume. However, the truth is that there are a depth and robustness to this unit that you’ll struggle to find from many bigger radios.
This a unit that’s designed to just work well – with no complexity or confusion built-in. You’ll have no trouble flicking through stations, and setting your alarms is a doddle.
One thing to note is that the size of the Ruark R1 means you’re probably not going to be able to fill a whole house with volume. However, the output managed by this little device is pretty impressive. It’s more than enough for most situations.
When scanning for stations, the Ruark R1 Mk3 locks onto available options quickly, and you can set established stations too if you want to get back to your favourite channels at the touch of a button. Connecting to Bluetooth only takes seconds – which is helpful if you don’t want to be struggling to find a link all day.
Tuning performance is excellent on both the DAB and FM bands, and the Ruark Audio R1 Mk3 can also stream music directly from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. There’s a neat rotary control function that makes selecting your output option incredibly simple. The only downside is that there’s no backlighting on the buttons, so you’ll have to learn what each button does over time if you want to change the channel during the night.
If you’re not a fan of Bluetooth connectivity, the 3.5mm switchable input jack at the back of the radio is a great alternative. You can also find an input button to adjust the information that’s displayed on your OLED screen. This gives you an insight into things like signal strength, station genre, frequency, and more.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Sound quality
Honestly, with so much to offer when it comes to things like design and features, we almost assumed that sound quality would be the area where Ruark Audio had been forced to compromise with the R1. However, it seems like this isn’t the case.
The Ruark R1 Mk3 radio is truly remarkable, given its small footprint, with strong bass and a great timbre. Whether you’re listening to classic music or rock ballads, you’re sure to get an experience unlike anything you’ve heard before from standard computer speakers, or budget-friendly radios. You can even adjust the treble, bass, and volume to suit your preferences.
The Ruark R1 Mk3 sounds phenomenal however you use it – whether you’re looking for a tool to stream music directly from your phone, or you just want to listen to the voices of your favourite talk radio hosts. What’s more, with 10 pre-set stations, there’s plenty of opportunities to find new music to fall in love with.
The Ruark Audio R1 Mk3 radio is sure to become anyone’s trusty companion for daily audio – whether it’s waking you up in the morning, or helping you find your groove again after work.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Usability
Small and simple, the Ruark R1 is designed to fit just about anywhere you might need it – whether that’s in your kitchen or your bedroom. The radio’s shape is very similar to the Pure Evoke D1, although there’s something to be said for the exceptional material quality shown by Ruark.
This is a brand that’s always had a reputation for delivering excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail. That’s why it’s no big surprise the Ruark R1 Mk3 is a true joy to use. This fantastic device gives you an incredible sound and simplicity in one incredible package.
The controls are positioned on the top of the unit, with an attractive circular layout that’s easy to get the hang of. The sleep function is a little fiddly, and the OLED display doesn’t dim automatically in sleep mode, but you’ll get used to it. We enjoyed the 90-minute sleep function for helping us drift off to sleep at night.
One great feature of the Ruark R1 Mk3 is that it comes with a multi-functional alarm. You can set alerts for weekends or weekdays and choose to be roused from your slumber with buzzing, radio stations and more.
A possible downside when it comes to usability is that the Ruark R1 doesn’t give you an option to add a remote control. This seems a little strange at first, particularly since Ruark has a dedicated Bluetooth remote for most Bluetooth speakers. Still, you can always plug your smart speaker into the R1 via your aux input and control it with your voice using something like Alexa or Google Home.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Additional information
Although the Ruark R1 is small and compact, it’s not a portable device. That means you’re going to need to keep it plugged in to use it. On the plus side, there is an option to buy a protective case for the unit separately, which includes a handle for carrying your radio around.
If you do want more portability with your Ruark R1 Mk3, then you can also buy the Ruark Backpack – which is a rechargeable battery pack you can strap onto the rear of the unit. This is a must-have added extra for people who want to take their R1 wherever they go.
The R1 also comes with a USB charging port, which means that if your radio is taking up the only plug socket next to your bed, you can still charge your phone overnight. That’s a feature that we found particularly useful.
Ruark R1 Mk3 review: Verdict
The Ruark R1 Mk3 might be small – but it's certainly mighty too.
This rockin' radio is excellent for anyone who's in the market for incredible audio, and elegant compact design in one exceptional package. Doubling up as a Bluetooth speaker and a terrific bedside alarm – the Ruark R1 is a fantastic addition to any home.
Whether you kit it out with extra accessories so you can take it with you on the move, or you keep it at home, the Ruark Mk3 is one of the best DAB radios on the market today.
Easy to use with an intuitive interface
Multiple options to set alarms through the week
Excellent compact shape to fit anywhere
Additional USB charging port
Audio cable to plug in other devices – such as smart speakers
Rich, detailed sound with adjustable treble and bass
Option to add portability features
Sleep mode and display options
The display doesn't dim automatically on sleep mode
No remote control – although you can use Bluetooth and your smartphone