Ruark MR1 : Awesome Speakers

Last week, I walked past an audio shop in Wanchai Computer Centre and heard an amazing pair of active speakers – the Ruark Audio MR1 Bluetooth Speakers. Another fellow and I auditioned the Ruark MR1 and Focal XS Book in the shop with some hi rez audio files and standard redbook FLACs. To my ears, the Ruark has a more expansive soundstage and more sparkling highs; the Focal sounder warmer but the bass wasn’t exactly tight and the treble didn’t sound as refined. Both of us ended purchasing the Ruark in walnut finish.

Back at home, I’ve connected the Ruark to my PC, playing FLACs and 320 MP3s via Foobar through  the FiiO E10. Likely, when I re-rip all my CDs into FLACs, I may consider getting a better DAC :)

The Ruark is a definite upgrade from my M-Audio AV40, especially when listening to jazz, blues and classical. The speakers are well built and packs some very neat features. I really like the high quality feel of the volume knob and it is miles better than the plasticy AV40s.

I’m really happy with these. The M-Audio AV40s are good and I enjoyed them, but the Ruark is a step up and since I listen to music mostly at most desk these days, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Ruark MR1

Cream 2005 Re-Union Concert Too Timid

Finally got my hands on a copy of Cream’s re-union concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2005. Overall, I felt disappointed. The performances are timid and a far cry from the wild energy of the seminal power trio‘s peak in the late 1960s. Age plays a part in this – Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker are no longer young and don’t play with the carefree abandon they once did. The musicianship is alright I suppose, but Clapton isn’t busy enough and without Baker’s frantic drumming, the music lacks the manic and mesmerizing quality it once did. This is particular felt on songs like Crossroads. On the upside, the sound quality is good.

As re-union’s go, I enjoyed Eric Clapton’s 2008 double bill with Steve Winwood at the Madison Square Garden better.

Royal Albert Hall

Highway Star : awesome version by Chickenfoot

I wasn’t aware that Joe Satriani was once invited to join Deep Purple as the replacement guitarist for Ritchie Blackmore until the recent release of a tribute album to Deep Purple. The album received quite a lot of coverage, and my favourite track is supergroup Chickenfoot‘s blazing rendition of Highway Star. I especially like Satriani’s tribute to Jon Lord’s organ solo – very nice.

Big Long Slidin’ Thing

Back when I was in the States, I used to listen to NPR radio stations playing jazz and blues. The great thing about listening to these radio channels is one gets to hear rare recordings. One night the DJ played this hilariously sexy tune by Dinah Washington. And the great things about the web, is now I can listen to the very same radio channels via the Internet on the other side of the planet. Lovely.