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.
3 months ago, I decided to buy a pair of speakers with decent sound quality for my PC and ended up getting the Swans HiVi D1010MKII 08. I wrote in an earlier post that I found the sound quality to be excellent – I had no complaints at all, especially since I got them at a decent price. But unfortunately, the build quality was a lot less impressive: on one fine Sunday morning, the left speaker refused to produce any sound. I called the retailer and apparently the dealer no longer represents Swans here any more. I found out the hard way that I wasn’t going to get any support for this and was not happy at all.
I couldn’t go back to my old Altec Lansing 221 speakers either – they worked alright – but treble and resolution were completely missing and after a few months of using the Swans, it was unbearable. So I ended up buying another pair of speakers, this time I opted for M-Audio’s AV40.
Right out of the box, I found the speakers’ bass overwhelming even without using the bass boost feature. I put this down to speaker placement as the AV40s have a bass port at the back of the speaker and my limited desktop space means the speakers sit close to the wall. I used some foam to stuff up the port and that really helped.
So how do they compare to the Swans? I would say that I still prefer the Swans which sound slightly better (from recollection) and are less fussy with placement (because it has no ports). The AV40s also look and feel more tacky because of the use of plastic despite costing nearly twice as much. BUT, what’s the use of preferring the Swans if they are so unreliable? On the plus side for the M-Audio is the speaker wires are just normal speaker wires, so they are replaceable and upgradable.
Don’t get me wrong, the M-Audio AV40s are nice and are definitely an upgrade on run-of-the-mill PC speakers which really aren’t cheap these days. And they are keeping me happy too.