The Ruark R5 radio is an all-in-one integrated music system that’s sure to blow your mind with incredible features and high-fidelity sound.
Intended to be a flagship addition to an already compelling range of high-quality radios from the Ruark Audio brand, the R5 is a truly fantastic compact unit, replacing the need for vast and bulky sound systems with something sleeker, more attractive, and packed with power.
The R5 might have a smaller footprint than most conventional hi-fi music systems but, as you’ll gather during our complete Ruark R5 high fidelity music system review, great things really can come in a more diminutive package.
Though not the most budget-friendly option on the market, the R5 is a winner when it comes to value, ensuring that you get incredible sound for your money.
Ruark Audio R5: Design
Anyone familiar with the Ruark brand will feel right at home when they set eyes on the Ruark R5 CD. The company is well-known for its sophisticated approach to cabinetry, and the R5 features a beautiful walnut veneer exterior, sure to look amazing in any home. If you don’t like the wood finish, you can choose grey lacquer instead.
Rustic, retro, yet piled high with modern functionality, the Ruark Audio R5 comes with many of the popular features that are common across the Ruark portfolio, including a robust OLED display, and a grey fabric covering across the drivers on the front panel. Overall, the design aesthetic seems to combine practicality with indulgence, with materials that don’t just look good but drive better sound quality too.
This all-in-one hi-fi music system is a little bulkier than some of the options on the market, at 30cm deep by 52cm, but it’s still a lot smaller than many similar all-in-one systems available today.
Ruark Audio R5: Functionality
One thing we noticed during our Ruark Audio R5 review, is that “all-in-one” isn’t just a sales term in Ruark’s case – it’s a valid descriptor. You’ll be able to access music through this device using virtually any format you like, including an in-built Ruark CD player.
When it comes to physical access points, you’ll find a pair of RCA-line level stereo inputs and line-level outputs on the rear, as well as an additional input for a moving magnet turntable – very handy at this price point. There’s also access to a digital optical input and ethernet for extra accessibility, and a USB 2.0 in case you want to add any memory sticks to your collection.
Wi-Fi is also available as part of the integrated music system, which means that you’ll have no problem accessing things like Spotify Connect, Amazon Music, Tidal, and other internet stations. UPnP accessibility is available too so that you can stream common network music also. What’s more, there are DAB+, DAB, and FM connections too.
Ultimately, if you can imagine a connectivity option, then the Ruark R5 probably already has it built-in. Even analogue and digital information broadcast to the radio gets its unique boost thanks to an extra dose of Class AB amplification. There’s also a full-range neodymium driver behind the grill on the unit, which ensures that every note you play on your integrated system sounds crisp and clear.
Ruark Audio R5: Interface and usability
Another important point to note in our Ruark Audio R5 review is how easy it is to set up and use. As with the majority of Ruark devices, you’ll find all the controls you could possibly need on top of the unit, and there’s a dial-within-a-dial feature that helps with your control system. You’ll have no problem adjusting frequencies to your heart’s content.
You’ll also be able to use the LINK app from Ruark on Android or iOS to control the Ruark R5. This app isn’t quite as complex or sophisticated as some of the other options that we’ve seen, but it’s still going to work to help you control your music. The app can crash occasionally, but the same could be said with most connectivity options available through the internet.
Ruark Audio R5: Sound quality
We’re fans of Ruark systems here at Radio Fidelity, and the R5 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to scale and authority. As usual with the Ruark brand, you can expect a delightfully rich and compelling soundscape. However, we do recommend turning the loudness feature off if you want a more natural sound, as this component can make the music aggressively bassy.
Beyond that, the sounds that you can access with the R5 Hifi music system are broad and well-defined – even when you’re playing the music at higher volume levels. The Ruark also continues to deliver exceptional sound quality when you’re listening to more complex arrangement. There’s a sense of balance to the soundstage, from the mid-frequency range up to the highest points in virtually any recording or genre. The broad sound capabilities of the Ruark also make it an excellent option for listening to talk radio shows.
One welcome addition to the Ruark R5 high fidelity package is the addition of an integrated phono stage, meaning vinyl-heads can enjoy a rich dose of warm analogue in an otherwise digital world. This is a nice, vintage touch from Ruark, that complements the brands heritage. While you wouldn’t expect to get the same level of performance when compared to separates, the performance is more than acceptable.
Ruark Audio R5 sound system: Verdict
If you're looking for an incredibly powerful, yet beautifully elegant sound system that will fill your home with style and sound, then this could be the perfect investment. The sleek and retro design of the Ruark R5 proves that big things don't always have to come in big packages.
The unique aesthetic appeal of the R5 means that you're sure to want to make it a focal point within your living room or bedroom – no matter what colour you choose. While it's not the cheapest compact music system on the market, it's fair to say that there's real value in ownership. And it sounds fantastic.
The Ruark R5 probably won't suit those on a budget, and it’s not the type of radio system for every room in the house. If, however, you appreciate audiophile quality, and have a genuine love and appreciation for music, then the R5 has great appeal.