The Ruark R3 is what the British audio company calls an “all-in-one audio system”, packing tons of services and features into a smaller frame than its predecessor, the Ruark R5.
- Read our hands-on Ruark R5 review
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- Hi-Res Audio: everything you need to know
Like the R5, the new music streamer looks very stylish; with a woven fabric grille, a gently curved cabinet, and cantilevered legs that point the speaker upwards, it evokes mid-century furniture. There’s also a “high-contrast” OLED panel that displays the time on the front of the system.
The top of the music system features a ‘Rotodial’ controller, which allows you to control playback. It also features an infrared remote control, so you can control your music without having to get out of your seat.
All the music sources
In spite of its retro design, the R3 is packing plenty of modern specs, including Spotify Connect Wi-Fi streaming, support for Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon Music, aptX Bluetooth connectivity and a ‘SmartRadio tuner’, which gives you access to Internet, FM, and DAB radio stations.
According to Ruark Audio, the R3 can “also be used as part of your TV and smart home setup”, thanks to switchable auxiliary digital and analogue inputs so you can hook up your TV, Amazon Echo Dot, or Google Home Mini.
There are no smart features built in, however, though a Ruark spokesperson told us that the company has seen little demand for its products to come with voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. Still, we can’t help but wonder how powerful the R3 would be if it could double up as a standalone smart speaker to rival the Sonos One and the Apple HomePod.
Feeling old school? There’s a CD player built into the Ruark R3, too (at this stage, all it’s missing is a record player).
In terms of audio quality, the R3 should sound pretty impressive, thanks to two-channel Class A-B amplifiers, which use a neodymium magnet system, allowing for powerful drivers that displace a large volume of air when they vibrate.
As you may have guessed, all those audiophile-friendly features don’t come cheap; the Ruark R3 costs £629, which works out at around $790 / AU$1130.
That’s pretty expensive for any piece of audio kit, but it’s worth considering that you’re getting a CD player, wireless speaker, and radio in one package with the R3, with the potential for it to be used in place of a soundbar or alongside a smaller smart speaker to control your smart home devices. That’s an awful lot of bang for your buck.