Ruark Audio R3 wireless speaker is the newest addition to this Ruark line of speakers, which started a couple of years ago. This model looks a lot like the larger R5 speaker and has the same basic features. At the same time, the lower cost makes Ruark R3 attractive to potential buyers – however, this model has quite a lot of competitors.
The good news is that by combining the company’s existing proprietary features with some new ones, the R3 is able to outperform many similar speakers from other brands. In addition to its range of networking features, the R3 can play CDs and also has a built-in FM tuner. To some, all this may seem anachronistic, but for many, we are sure that the last two functions will be useful. The Ruark R3 also has an optical input and an analog RCA input, further increasing its versatility.
Added to this are the networked music listening capabilities available over both Ethernet and Wi-Fi. In addition to accessing audio files stored on NAS on the same network and Internet radio, Ruark also provides direct access to Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon. The mobile control app can be installed on iOS or Android devices, and overall, the R3 outperforms most competitors of comparable cost in terms of performance.
However, in reality, everything is not so perfect. Ruark supports 24 bit / 96 kHz, but only for AAC files. FLAC and WAV support is limited to 48 kHz, and AIFF is not supported at all. However, for those who still need a CD player to listen to music, the limited support for High resolution is unlikely to be an issue. By the way, Ruark can play both CD-Audio and CD-R discs. As for the application, there are several complaints about it too. Here a lot of space is allocated to the covers of the albums you listen to, while the control buttons and additional information are pushed aside.
Although from the point of view of design and construction of this model, things are much better. The Ruark is quite a classic device in terms of circuitry, and the speaker is equipped with class A / B amplifiers connected to 75mm full-range speakers, and the sound system is controlled by the DSP. The speaker cabinet also has a nice retro look and looks quite in the spirit of the Ruark acoustics – it is especially attractive, in my opinion, in the walnut finish. The build quality is also very good, the speaker looks solid and well thought out. Equally important is the fact that many functions of Ruark R3 can be controlled both from the remote control and from the button block located on the top panel. Overall, this column is very comfortable for daily use.
When Ruark Audio R3 is turned on, Loudness and 3D Audio functions are immediately activated, and although I am usually against these sound modes, in this case I still recommend leaving them on. In particular, the 3D Audio function makes the sound of the speaker quite interesting. With its help, the R3 is able to form a sound picture that is almost very similar to a stereo one. The remastered album The Seeds of Love by the Tears for Fears group sounds spacious, but coherent through the Ruark speaker. There is no feeling that the sound has received an artificially created panorama, but the sound stage extends far beyond the speaker cabinet.
The loudness mode also works very well. It enhances the richness and quality of the R3’s sound without adding the artificiality often found when turned on. If you are not listening to the R3 at high volumes, it is worth using loudness, as it really improves the sound of the speaker. The sound character of the R3 is suitable for listening to music of various genres. By using one full-range speaker per channel, the sound is homogeneous and consistent, with good rhythm and pleasant mids.
And also very useful in the character of Ruark R3, and precisely in the context of its predominant use, is good sounding when listening to audio in Lossy formats. As a result, the sound quality from Spotify is very close to that of Tidal. Since the former can be used with Spotify Connect, bypassing the limitations of the Ruark app, it is a very good option for listening to music. In conclusion, we note for all those interested that the CD-transport in the column works quickly and almost silently.
The more time you spend with Ruark Audio R3, the more you enjoy this speaker. I mostly listen to music online, and the way I listen to music is likely to make me spend a little more on the Naim Mu-So Qb2. Nevertheless, for those who still actively use CDs and only a little – streaming, they will probably prefer the Ruark speaker, and this will be absolutely the right decision. This is a very well thought out wireless speaker, which, although it may benefit from some refinement of the control application, is on the whole absolutely worth our recommendation.