Ruark Audio kit always has style to spare and its new wireless, multi-room speaker, the MRx, is no exception.
The ¬£399.99 Bluetooth aptX and Wi-Fi speaker from the British brand goes on sale in May. There's a choice of two models - 'rich walnut veneer' wood and 'soft grey lacquer' - together with a textured, fabric front that has an old school volume/source dial bang in the middle of the grille. Just lovely.
The MRx has its own Link app (iOS and Android) for playback controls and managing the multi-room groups - you can connect this one to Ruark's R2 Mk3 and R7 Mk3 speakers - or another MRx obviously.
It plays nice with Spotify Connect, Deezer, Tidal and digital radio stations over Wi-Fi with Amazon Music coming soon. You can also connect to local media servers over your broadband and there's both an Ethernet port and a USB port which doubles as a charging point for your gadgets. It's worth noting that there's no mention of AirPlay support.
Inside the audio tech is based on Ruark's MR1 speaker with 75mm full-range drivers powered by a Class A/B amplifier and some tweaked sound processing tech.
Now, we would have liked to see Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls built in, as is the trend in even high end hi-fi brands for 2018. But Ruark does point out in its release that you turn it into an Alexa controlled speaker via the 3.5mm optical and analogue input. (Just hook up an Echo Dot or 2nd gen Echo).
For Google powered homes, Ruark points to the Chromecast Audio add-on though if you want to do things over Bluetooth you no longer need the accessory to bring it into a Cast/Assistant system after Google's latest update.