Posted on Fri, 10 Mar, 2017
Posted by Bob

Ruark prove small is beautiful with the MR1 Mk2 Active Speakers

Whilst we may all dream of and idolize full-size ‘big-box’ Hi-Fi, domestic realities can often demand something rather more modest. Thankfully, small size doesn’t have to mean small on features or small on sound quality, as Ruark prove with the Ruark MR1 Mk2 Active Speakers.

Smaller in size than a traditional ‘bookshelf’ speaker – Ruark refer to the MR1 Mk2 Speakers as Desktop Speakers. Available in what Ruark refer to as soft grey and rich walnut finishes these pint-size wonders are able to fit unobtrusively into any situation. At just 170cm high – about the same as a modern smartphone, and weighing just 3.5kg each, the MR1 Mk2 speakers are both compact and highly portable (more on that later).

MR1 big


Each speaker of the pair is powered by a Class AB linear power amplifier, kicking out a very reasonable 20 watts per speaker. At a time when many designers are adopting Class D, non linear power amplifiers, in an effort to reduce size and weight, it’s nice to see Ruark stick with traditional, linear, analogue amplification.
Whilst the audio quality of Class D designs improves year on year, many enthusiasts will argue – with solid justification, that a linear power amplifiers deliver a smoother, more natural, less fatiguing sound than Class D amplification.

mr1 top


Bluetooth connectivity is provided – with Qualcomm’s aptX codec supported, for CD quality audio. The Right Hand Speaker, houses all the physical connections; these include an optical digital input, and a stereo analogue input on a 3.5mm type socket, plus the speaker connection to the Left Hand speaker using the incoroporated 2m braided speaker interconnect cable as standard.  Finally, there is an output provided for an external active sub-woofer, if your tastes desire – and space allows for more low-end.

A remote control is provided to control switching of inputs and volume control. Thankfully, these can also be controlled  via a neat multi-function control positioned on top of the Right Hand speaker – which also indicates power and selected functions.


Ruark have equipped the MR1 Mk2 speakers with a quality, multi-component crossover network, just like any other full-size hi-fi Loudspeaker. This is then coupled to a pair of neodymium magnet drive units – ensuring light weight yet great performance. A single 75mm, long-throw woofer is coupled to a 20mm treated textile dome tweeter. These are then loaded into the tuned and damped bass-reflex enclosures.

If you’ve read so far – you might already be thinking, “Those would make a great pair of portable speakers”. Well, Ruark are WAY ahead of you on that one!
Offering what they call the ‘Backpack‘ – Ruark offer a Li-ion rechargeable battery pack, which affixes to the rear of the Right Hand Speaker, and can power the pair of speakers for up to 12 hours. Even better than that, the ‘Backpack‘ can be left in place, and will charge automatically when the speakers are plugged back into a mains outlet.

If carrying around a pair of these dinky wonders is still too much to carry around, the MR1 Mk2 can function as a single, self contained, powered speaker.
Ideal perhaps for throwing in a backpack, cycling to the park to meet some friends for a picnic, or for last minute meetings and presentations.


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