Ruark MR1 MK2 speakers review: "Will provide you with a truly brilliant audio experience"

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers Review image showing both speakers next to one another with the remote control leaning against the front of them
(Image: © Future / Duncan Robertson)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Ranked among the best PC speakers on the market, the Ruark MR1 Mk2s will give you a fantastic audio experience, and will look beautiful sitting atop a desk or next to a TV. They're more versatile than expected thanks to their Bluetooth capabilities, and there are options for portability, too. Perhaps the biggest issue with them is the price, even if it's arguably justified in a premium package.

Pros

  • +

    Great sound quality

  • +

    Very stylish design

  • +

    Versatility

  • +

    Handy remote

Cons

  • -

    No USB connectivity

  • -

    Remote range/receiver could be better

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The Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers are up there with the best computer speakers we've come across. Although they're dubbed as a set of wireless speakers, they're fully at home when used like your run-of-the-mill hi-fi or desktop system, so offer great versatility.

Whether you use them for one of the best gaming PCs, a TV, or a laptop, these nifty little speakers will only enhance your current setup. Not only do they produce cracking sound for whatever you're listening to, but they look fantastic while doing so, and will blend right into any snug home or office aesthetic.

Admittedly, there are a few small flaws to mention, and unfortunately they're only available in the UK at time of writing. Are these small issues, and the speakers' £349 price tag enough to stop you? Let's dive in.

Design and Features

For your money, you get two 170mm x 130mm x 135mm (6.7in x 5.1in x 5.3in) speakers that can, in theory, work wirelessly. I say in theory because the right speaker does need to have mains power supplied to it in order to function. There is the option to buy the Backpack 3 variant of one of these Mk2 speakers, which allows one speaker to be used on its own without mains power as an on-the-go Bluetooth model, although this will cost more.

In the box, you'll find a threaded speaker cable to connect the two units together, as well. In terms of finish, the Mk2s are made of hand-crafted, bass-tuned, and dampened wood that's beautifully textured and a grey fabric grille covering up all the innards.

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers review image showing the side of the left speaker and its rich Walnut veneer colour.

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

You can get the MR1 Mk2s in what Ruark calls a "Soft Grey Lacquer", or the "Rich Walnut Veneer" that I got to test. Despite these sounding a bit avant-garde and pretentious, they evoke the exact feeling of class that having these in your home will give you. Even if they don't quite match a bookshelf, desk, or tabletop, the design itself will complement and bring together whatever happens to immediately surround them. 

Connectivity is fairly standard: there's an aux port, optical-in, and a subwoofer connection, too. To be honest, I would have appreciated any sort of USB connectivity as well - this would make them even more at home on PC in 2023.

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers review image showing the rear of the right speaker and the various connection ports

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

Controlling the speakers is easy with an onboard scrolling wheel and button set atop the right speaker, plus a remote control. These let you adjust the volume, turn the speakers on or off, or switch connectivity to or from media sources. As an added bonus, some small, colored LEDs let you see which source is currently working. 

When it comes to audio, Ruark has designed an Adaptive EQ that ensures consistent sound mixes at all volume levels. Each speaker is powered by a 75mm polypropylene woofer and 20mm silk dome tweeter.

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers review image showing scroll wheel atop the right speaker with the remote control sitting next to it

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

Performance

I'm slightly in awe of how great everything sounds through the Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers. Listening to music, grand orchestral soundtracks, playing games, watching a TV show or movie - it all sounds fantastic. With each new genre of audio, I was shocked that I wasn't using a device bespoke for that certain thing. Although I'm sure the addition of a subwoofer would only take this further, I never once felt as though I was missing out on bass or power by not using one.

Speaking of power, the MR1 Mk2 speakers pack a serious punch. I haven't received any noise complaints from neighbours (yet), but I'm sure I've been close enough while testing out the range a few times. The good news is that sound remains as accurate at high volumes as it does at low levels. Details are never lost and, for me, that's one of the calling cards of a truly worthy set of speakers. Sound quality is also consistent regardless of the input source, too. Bluetooth sounds just as good as a line-in.

Moreover, Bluetooth connects in a flash. Without having to consult any manuals or do any googling, I managed to connect my phone by holding down the Bluetooth button on the remote control and going through the familiar pairing menus on my Galaxy S22+. It was nice and easy, and something that some speakers can often overcomplicate.

When it comes to gaming, the Ruark MR1s do a phenomenal job of accurately representing sound design. Although I'd always advocate the use of one of the best gaming headsets for first-person games (especially shooters), I found that for a set of two speakers, even binaural audio in something like HUNT: Showdown was pretty well placed. Elsewhere, in God of War Ragnarok and GTA V, sounds of open spaces, mythical combat, and fully realised worlds wash over you thanks to the vibrancy of Ruark's excellent sound system.

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers review image showing the rear of the left speaker

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

The volume control from both the remote and scroll wheel is accurate, adjusts in reasonable amounts, and works without latency, too.

One small flaw in performance came when I was using the speakers for some ambient background music while I had some friends around. Although the handy remote is great, I found that it has trouble being received consistently from every angle around the room. It's slightly unclear to me if this is due to receiver range, or because things have only been designed to be used from a front-facing angle. Either way, it's not a deal breaker, and depending on how you intend to use them, it may not even be an issue at all. Otherwise, the remote is a great way to control your audio setup, and something I think more PC speakers should include, as a rule.

In addition, I would like to note that these aren't smart speakers, and as such, don't have native support for Wi-Fi, or Smart Assistants out of the box. It would be all too easy to hook up an Alexa or Google Assistant device, though, so you shouldn't rule them out if a Smart Speaker is what you're looking for. Although I'm personally not a fan of Smart Assistants and wouldn't call this a flaw, I can see this being something people wish was present in a set of Bluetooth speakers that, again, have more versatility than your average hi-fi system.

Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers review image showing the front of the left speaker, and its grey mesh grille

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

Should you buy the Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers

These small flaws then, are more a matter of capitalising on some of the best features that the MR1 Mk2 speakers provide. It's easy to criticise the remote for not working from certain angles, but the remote itself is a great feature that genuinely helps to control your audio experience. It'd be easy to criticise the lack of Smart features, but then again, these are things we'd criticise a standalone Bluetooth speaker for. What we have to remember is that these are computer speakers that can do Bluetooth. In other words, they are so much more than a set of PC speakers.

Overall, I'd say the Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers are among some of the best gaming sound systems, and most versatile PC speakers you can buy yourself, no matter how you choose to use them. Whether it's for one of the best gaming laptops or PCs, or to listen to music in your work-from-home space, these speakers will provide you with a truly brilliant audio experience. The great design will ensure Feng Shui is maintained wherever you'd like to integrate them, and if you want to move them around, there are versatile and portable options too.

I can thoroughly recommend the Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers, with one caveat. The £349 price tag sets the MR1 Mk2s up as a rival to the also-excellent Q Acoustic M20 HD speakers, even though these have better connectivity, can be mounted easily, and offer similar performance. So, the argument can be made that £349 is perhaps a little costly in comparison. There are also soundbars that are priced more reasonably - the Razer Leviathan V2 will only set you back £229.99, and the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 is £50 cheaper, as well.

If you can afford them, then Ruark has produced a sound system that's up there with some of the absolute best options on the market. Whether that warrants splashing out during the current cost of living crisis, I'll leave up to you and your coffers.

How we tested the Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers

The Ruark MR1 Mk2 Bluetooth Speakers have been my work and gaming PC speakers for over a month now. I tested them with general usage for that entire time, and as someone who listens to a lot of ambient music and soundtracks as I work, I've definitely put them through their paces. I listened to music of all genres using the speakers, experimenting with the level of detail I could pick up in jazz compared to rock, and orchestral soundtracks. To test the detail at different volumes I'd listen to the same pieces of music at varying levels, paying extra attention to how the speakers handled the extra workload.

I tested the aux connection by connecting the speakers to my Philips Momentum 5000 27M1F5800 monitor, directing all PC sounds through them. I tested the Bluetooth connection by using my phone, and the optical connections through my Samsung 4K TV. 

I also played a mix of shooters and third-person adventure games. HUNT: Showdown is a very audio-focused first-person shooter with hyper-accurate binaural audio, so provided a strong test of the MR1's gaming capabilities. I also did some testing with Apex Legends, GTA V, and God of War Ragnarok to get a better idea of how the system handled busier sound mixes.

You can read more on how we test gaming hardware at GamesRadar+ as well as our more holistic approach to gaming tech in our full Hardware Policy.


Need to keep things quiet around the house? Why not check out the best PS5 headsets, the best wireless gaming headsets, or the best Xbox Series X headsets?

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Duncan Robertson
Hardware Editor

Ever since playing Journey at the age of 15, I’ve been desperate to cover video games for a living. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Journalism, I contributed to the Scottish Games Network and completed an Editorial Internship over at Expert Reviews. Besides that, I’ve been managing my own YouTube channel and Podcast for the last 7 years. It’s been a long road, but all that experience somehow landed me a dream job covering gaming hardware. I’m a self-confessing PlayStation fanboy, but my experience covering the larger business and developer side of the whole industry has given me a strong knowledge of all platforms. When I’m not testing out every peripheral I can get my hands on, I’m probably either playing tennis or dissecting game design for an upcoming video essay. Now, I better stop myself here before I get talking about my favourite games like HUNT: Showdown, Dishonored, and Towerfall Ascension.
Location: UK Remote