Story by Andy Boxall of our partner site Digital Trends
Bluetooth speakers are an essential part of any music fan’s life, providing sound on the move along with plenty of flexibility for use in and around the home. However, the new MR1 Mk2 speaker system from British audio specialists Ruark ($410 SRP) may just be the most versatile set of Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen in a while.
An upgrade to the original MR1 speaker system released in 2013, the revised pair has more features and greater connectivity, plus a new minimalist design. The softly rounded enclosures come in either a walnut veneer or soft gray lacquer finish, with a fixed grill over the drivers that’s covered in a textured fabric. Pumping out sound is a pair of 75mm neodymium woofers and 20mm tweeters, driven by a 20-watt, linear Class AB amp. If you want more bass, there’s also a dedicated subwoofer output.
At their most basic, the MR1 Mk2 speakers connect to your phone or music player using Bluetooth for CD-quality playback using AptX technology. But what if you want to use Chromecast Audio? No problem, there’s an optical input in the back, which can also be used to hook the speakers up to your television, making the MR1 Mk2s an attractive alternative to a soundbar. An auxiliary input gives another option for a source, and are ready for a turntable or similar device to be connected up. There’s also a 3.5mm line-in port for headphones.
What’s a Bluetooth speaker without portability? While the MR1 Mk2s are designed to to be used with mains power, Ruark sells a power pack that attaches to one of the speakers so it can be used anywhere. When the speaker realizes it’s being used on its own, it switches over to mono mode. Clever stuff.
The price for all this is 330 British pounds, or around $410 U.S., which isn’t cheap, but when you consider you may not need any other speakers at all, it’s strong value. Ruark will put the MR1 Mk2 speakers on sale before the end of February.