Ruark Audio R1 MkIII Radio Review

The Ruark Audio R1 MkIII is the latest in Ruark’s R1 series of classy, high-end radios. Earlier R1 models were known for their quality both in terms of sound and construction, adding to Ruark’s reputation as one of the best British radio brands. Let’s see if the R1 MkIII is up to the same standard…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Dual alarm clock that lets you choose to wake up to a buzzer sound or the radio
  • Alarm fades in rather than starting at full volume
  • Sleep timer that ranges from 15 to 90 minutes in 15-minute intervals
  • Bluetooth
  • USB charging point
  • OLED display
  • Save up to 20 preset stations (10 on DAB/DAB+ and 10 on FM)
  • 5 mm line in

Dimensions: 13 x 13.5 x 17 cm
Weight: 1.8 kg
Power: Mains powered or battery powered with the optional battery pack (not included)

Design and ease of use

The R1 MkIII is a small radio at just 17 cm high, meaning it can easily fit on a kitchen countertop or small table. The radio’s shape is reminiscent of the Pure Evoke D1, but the materials used feel higher quality.

Ruark are known for the craftsmanship and attention to detail shown in their products, and the R1 MkIII is no exception. The model pictured above has a walnut veneer casing, which helps give warmth to the radio’s sound. In addition to walnut, you can also buy this radio in black or white.

The radio’s controls are positioned on the top in an attractive circular layout, and are generally straightforward and easy to use. However, setting the sleep function is slightly fiddly. Furthermore, the OLED display does not dim automatically when in sleep mode, which would have been a good design feature.

Sound quality

The R1 MkIII has an upgraded chipset helping it sound even better than the original R1. Ruark Audio R1 MkIII is one of the most expensive DAB radios on the market, so it’s not surprising that it offers excellent sound quality. You really can hear the difference in audio quality when you compare it to cheaper radios. If most radios leave you feeling disappointed when it comes to sound quality, this radio is for you.

The high-quality construction of the R1 MkIII’s case helps give this radio its rich, warm sound that is perfect for both speech and music. This is one of the best DAB radios for sound quality currently available.

The R1 MkIII is quite a small radio, and its single speaker has limited power. However, it should go loud enough for listening to at home in an average-sized room.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Very good build quality; solid and well made
  • Rich, detailed sound with plenty of bass

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Mono sound (though it sounds exceptionally good)
  • No remote control, though you can control the volume with a smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Display doesn’t dim automatically, and might be too bright if you have it on a bedside table

Verdict

The Ruark Audio R1 MkIII is definitely one of the best DAB radios currently available, and is possibly the number 1 best-sounding small DAB radio on the market. Its bright screen means it’s not ideal for the bedroom, but for using in the living room or kitchen it’s a great radio.

#1 reason to buy: Unrivalled sound quality
#1 reason not to buy: High price

Similar radios

If you’re willing to sacrifice audio quality in return for more radio stations, you should consider the Roberts Radio Stream93i. It’s an internet radio, which means you can listen to over 20,000 stations available online in addition to regular FM and DAB/DAB+ stations. While the sound quality isn’t as detailed or as rich as that of the Ruark R1 MkIII, it’s a Roberts radio which means you can expect better than average sound.

Ruark produce several other great radios in their R range, including the R2 Mk III, which is another internet radio with stereo sound and the same superb sound and build quality as the R1 MkIII.

For more top-of-the-range radios, take a look at our roundup of the best high-end radios.

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