All I want is to put Ruark’s radiogram-esque music table beneath my wall-mounted TV

Retro vibes meets hi-res streaming smarts in Ruark’s new radiogram-esque music center and all I want to do is hook it up through its HDMI ARC/eARC connectivity, put it beneath my wall-mounted TV and enjoy. 

I mean, just look at it. This showstopping piece of musical furniture, complete with 4in color TFT display, needs to come home with me now – and not just because it reminds me of my grandparents’ radiogram but with all of the 2023 modernization. 

The R810 is a lot bigger than the company’s August release R410 (which I think is a chief rival for the second-generation Naim Mu-so Qb). And for me, it’s an easy contender for best wireless speaker, up there with the likes of the Sonus Faber Omnia in terms of feature-set and connectivity. 

Did I mention it’s big? Under the stunning exterior (available in either soft gray or walnut finishes, both with a fused walnut grille) you’re getting Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Apple Airplay 2 and Chromecast built-in; hi-res file support up to 32-bit/384kHz; DAB/DAB+/FM & Internet radio; aptX HD Bluetooth connectivity; HDMI with eARC; TOSLINK digital input (24-bit 192kHz); UPnPTM media server compatibility; Stereo RCA phono input; 180W 4.1 channel Class A-B discrete component amplifier; 2 x 30mm Ruark silk dome tweeters; 2x 100mm paper cone woofers; a 200mm Ruark long throw paper cone subwoofer; tuned twin bass reflex satellite enclosures and a sealed subwoofer enclosure. 

Those retro-chic table legs come as standard (no extra purchases required here) and you also get a glorious rechargeable RotoDial Bluetooth remote, which reminds me of the one you get with Moon’s high-end 791 and 761 amplifiers

Opinion: forget soundbars, give me Ruark’s R810. Now.

The left-hand one is actually the remote  (Image credit: Ruark)

This unashamedly imposing piece of hi-fi furniture harks back to a day when music was the centerpiece of a home and meant to be displayed proudly. And I love it. 

In an age of beige, pebble-like smart speakers designed to be dotted around your home and to fade away like air-fresheners, this souped-up sonic table is, I think, to be applauded. 

Imagine the sound that would greet you from all of those talented drivers (and the UK firm has form here – see our glowing Ruark MR1 MkII review for starters) if you slipped this under your wall-mounted TV and sat in the sweet-spot. You can keep even the best soundbars, I’ll have this, thank you. 

Want to switch to DAB+ radio? Simple. Working on a playlist for the Halloween party? Ping it to the R810 from your phone over Bluetooth and listen in aptX HD. And if you still love vinyl and CDs, these can come along by connecting your turntable to the dedicated phono inputs or a CD ROM to the USB-C socket.

When I first started testing such players for sibling publication What Hi-Fi? in 2019, they did so much I wasn’t sure what to call them – speaker streaming system? All-in-one music box? But the R810 is different in that it has a genuine physical presence. It has the stature and prowess of a radiogram and will become a focal point in smaller rooms (like the wonderfully quirky Fennessy Donut i5) but it is ideal for your TV too. 

Pricing? OK but let’s say it quick. The Ruark R810 is available from today (October 30) priced $4,499 / £3,000 (which is around AU$5,800 although official pricing for Australia has yet to be announced). 

So it’s pricey. That doesn’t mean it won’t be one of the best AirPlay speakers we’ve ever tested. And I for one still love its design and feature set. 

 

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