Best of British Bluetooth speakers

Ruark’s smashing-sounding MRx speakers can be strung together into a multiroom system or paired up for stereo

Ruark MRx, £400
Ruark MRx, £400 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

I am a huge fan of Ruark, the genius audio maker of Southend-on-Sea, and marvel daily at the perfection of its MR1 Mk2 desktop speakers, which I bought after I reviewed them in March 2017. Ruark’s latest creation, the MRx, is an aptX Bluetooth speaker capable of being strung together with a number of brothers and sisters into a multiroom system, or paired up to produce pure stereo. The sound quality from the Ruark MRx’s twin 75mm drivers is among the best and the setup is so simple it’s almost facetious.

We do need to talk about the design. On the plus side it’s extremely clever, in a very British way. Electronic genius apart, Ruark emerged from a cabinetmaking family and I always feel that on some level, the O’Rourkes of Essex remain carpenters at heart. So the MRx comes with a nicely engineered aluminium bracket that can be slotted into either of two sets of holes in its back, allowing the speaker to be raised above the surface it sits on – whether orientated vertically like a conventional bookshelf speaker or horizontally. Effective and simple. 

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For me, the cyclops eye-like volume control and selector switch in the middle of the grille looks slightly clunky, even frumpy. Indeed, the aesthetics of the MRx did the opposite of grow on me. But that’s just my take. It is still a smashing‑sounding speaker, whatever.

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