Ruark R7 MK III
The Ruark R7 does such a convincing impression of a console table that within hours of arriving in my home, it had acquired surface debris including a pot plant, a Lego spacecraft and a half-drunk glass of milk.
The idea is that it’s halfway between furniture and hi-fi. So in the Venn diagram of my wife’s and my interests, it is, in theory, perhaps the only thing we might agree on (barring the obvious stuff like Sainsbury’s shiraz).
While the Ruark has a faint whiff of those kitschy Fifties-style radios, it’s actually a stealth device
It harks back to the radiogram boom of the post-war years, when it was worthwhile getting a ‘proper’ furniture designer to create gorgeous wood cabinets for radios, as they’d last for years.
But while the Ruark has a faint whiff of those kitschy Fifties-style radios, it’s actually a stealth device, a Trojan horse built to sneak an alarming amount of hi-fi technology into even the most design-conscious home. It worked in mine.
There’s a CD player, wi-fi, high-quality Bluetooth Apt-X, Spotify Connect, DAB, FM (and you can even connect a record player if you desire, as there’s a built-in phono pre-amp). The new Mark III is a near-complete overhaul, and the look has been tweaked so the hi-fi elements are even more discreet, with a smaller front panel and a slightly more sci-fi look. In the flesh, it’s gorgeous.
Steve Jobs famously said that the way you can tell a gadget is truly desirable is that ‘you want to lick it’. The R7 looks pretty fuzzy, but I’d still give it a go.
The sound has also been completely revamped. I was able to compare the new R7 directly with the old one, and they really have pulled off some serious witchcraft in there. For an all-in-one hi-fi, it sounds sensational.
Inside is an all-new analogue amplifier, built from scratch, plus an absolutely massive subwoofer booming out of the bottom. You might be able to put a cup of tea on top, but it doesn’t sound remotely polite at high volumes.
You can also stream music from the R7 – so you could (for instance) pipe vinyl records through to your kitchen radio (as long as you dutifully buy everything from Ruark, of course). It is, without question, the best-sounding table you’ll ever hear. And that’s a promise.