When it comes to finding the perfect sound system, some companies are just impossible to ignore.
Here in the UK, we’re lucky to be blessed with a wide variety of fantastic radio companies, ranging from Roberts and Pure, to Ruark.
Ruark is a well-known company in the UK market. Previously “Vita Audio”, this organisation has developed a fantastic reputation over the years for premium sound technology.
While Ruark is unlikely to be the company that appeals most to the frugal and budget-savvy shoppers in the market – the organisation does have an impact on a very specific corner of the market.
If you’re the kind of person who takes audio quality seriously, then you’re sure to love the incredible sound that a Ruark radio can bring.
Today, we’re going to be focusing on the Ruark R4 Mk3.
Buckle your seatbelts and get ready to discover the most elegant solution to 21st-century radio.
Ruark R4 review: Design and build
There seems to be a common trend in the UK.
If your company is going to stand out as one of the primary providers of premium quality radios, then you need to know how to balance form with function.
This is something that we’ve seen with tools like the Roberts Vintage, as well as in countless devices designed by pro.
It seems that Ruark is no exception to the rule either.
The Ruark R4 Mk3 manages to walk the line between being vintage and modern at the same time.
There are elements that speak of futuristic sound systems, as well as aspects that make you remember everything you used to love about radio systems from days gone by.
One of the most impressive design features of the Ruark, is how large it is. The system is brimming with power, and it’s large enough to take up a chunk of your television cabinet.
We wouldn’t recommend choosing this particular radio for your bedside table – as it just won’t fit.
Once you get past the sheer size of the Ruark audio R4, you’re bound to be attracted to the rich walnut-coloured wood of the enclosure. The wood covering is excellent for maintaining depth of sound.
While you can get this unit in white or black lacquered options, we believe that you only really get the true Ruark experience if you go for the wood finish.
Another major design element worth noting for the Ruark R4 audio system, is the rotary dial on top of the machine.
Known as the “RotoDial”, this volume knob makes it easy to control your system without having to worry about multiple different buttons. You can also use the remote controller that comes with the kit to manage your device too.
However, it’s a massive shame that this controller looks so cheap and plastic compared to the rest of the unit.
Ruark R4 review: Features
With an easy-to-read screen included between the two large speakers either side of the Ruark R4 Mk3, you should have no problem figuring out how to use your new audio system. The screen clarifies which track you’re listening to if you’re using a CD.
Alternatively, you can see radio channel and time information instead. That brings us to one notable feature that we noticed during our Ruark R4 Mk3 review. This machine comes with a lot of different options for listening to music.
Want to blow the dust off your old CD collection? No problem, there’s a slot-loaded drive for your CDs, and a 3.5mm input in the front too, if your music collection just happens to be digital.
There’s also a headphone jack included in the system if you want to listen to music privately.
However, we personally think that the Ruark is more of a device that you want to play for as many people as possible.
The back of the system features a pair of phono connectors and an optical and USB port. You can use this system to play WMA, MP3, and AAC files from memory sticks.
There’s also the option to stream content directly from other digital devices using Bluetooth.
For a somewhat eye-watering price of £560, the Ruark R4 radio comes with:
- A multi-format CD player
- USB drive and aux input
- Headphone slot for private listening
- USB connectivity
- Bluetooth streaming
- Class A-B amplifier system
- Connectivity with the latest technologies
- Digital optical input
- DAB, DAB+ and FM tuner
- 3D enhanced stereo sound
Perhaps the only major feature that the Ruark R4 Mk3 is missing here is internet connectivity.
If this radio system also connected to the internet, we could see how it would be the perfect future-proof design for any true audiophile.
Ruark R4 review: Performance
Like many leading Ruark products, such as the Ruark R5, the Ruark R4 is brimming with rich functionality throughout.
However, if you’ve ever taken a risk on a random purchase from eBay before, you’ll know that a long list of features doesn’t necessarily equate to good quality.
Fortunately, the Ruark R4 Mk3 isn’t all smoke and no cigar. This is a system that’s designed primarily to sound good, and that’s exactly what it does.
The electronics inside of the Ruark R4 have been carefully adapted to deliver a combination of excellent simplicity and state-the-art-sound.
The Class A-B amplifier system means that you won’t struggle with volume in any room. You could even use this device for a party.
The 3D enhanced stereo is great for widening your field of sound, giving you incredible depths that you just couldn’t achieve with other radio systems. The bass is warm and comforting, without being overwhelming, and the top end is wonderfully crisp.
Listening to this radio felt like we were hearing certain songs for the first time.
The unique technology within the Ruark R4 Mk3 is sophisticated enough that it can dig out some of the most subtle elements of songs that you’ve heard a million times before.
As you move through a wide array of songs, you’ll find that there’s never too much bass or treble to overwhelm the rest of the sound. Everything is perfectly balanced.
It’s a tough call.
As true audiophiles, we can definitely see why people would fall in love with this machine. It looks amazing, and it’s incredible at delivering subtle details in your favourite music.
However, the price tag is sure to get anyone to take a step back.
The Ruark R4 is an incredibly expensive piece of equipment. Even if you love your radio, you’re going to have a hard time justifying a purchase this big to the wife or hubby.
Perhaps you’ll just have to keep your fingers crossed for a Ruark R4 sale?