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Home / Reviews / Audio / Hi-Fi & Streaming / Ruark R410 review: I’m pickin’ up wood vibrations

Ruark R410 review: I’m pickin’ up wood vibrations

Part superb-sounding piece of furniture, part gorgeous-looking speaker system

Ruark R410 review lead

Stuff Verdict

A superb sounding streaming system that puts rivals to shame on the styling front. The Ruark R410 is also overflowing with connectivity options.


  • Beautifully built from premium materials
  • All the connectivity you could want
  • Well-rounded sound


  • Pricey for a two-channel system
  • No companion app


Hi-Fi systems can be like Japanese knotweed; you start with a simple turntable and eventually the entire ground floor of your house is filled with speakers, separates and stacks of vinyl. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Ruark R410 aims to be the Swiss army knife of wireless speakers, packing extensive connectivity, wide streaming service support, and powerful speakers in a single unit.

It’s looking to take on the one-box streaming establishment, most notably the venerable Naim Mu-so 2, and is doing so with an unashamedly retro appearance. The internals might be modern, but Ruark’s design team clearly had one eye on the past when it crafted the R410. Is this mix of old and new a winning combination?

How we test Hi-Fi equipment

Every speaker, amp and Hi-Fi separate reviewed on Stuff is used for a minimum of a week’s worth of daily listening. We use a playlist of test tracks made up of multiple genres to assess sound, and use our years of experience to compare to other models. Manufacturers have no visibility on reviews before they appear online, and we never accept payment to feature products.

Find out more about how we test and rate products.

Design & build: visual tree-t

To these eyes, the Scandi-inspired Ruark R410 wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end furniture collection. My Soft Grey review unit is the more contemporary of the two finishes; the alternative is more retro, being entirely wrapped in a wooden veneer made of recomposed walnut. The wood is recomposed from sustainable trees; that gives a consistent grain pattern, and prevents colour change over time.

Both models have suitably 70s wooden grilles, with vertical slats that are something of a Ruark signature. The off-centre screen provides a nice modern contrast, without spoiling the throwback styling. Build quality was exceptional, and at 9.5kg it’s as hefty as you’d hope from a top-tier streaming system.

The footprint is a modest 560x290mm, so it isn’t so big you’ll struggle to find a space for it – either on an AV rack surrounded by other gadgets, or solo on a sideboard. At 150mm tall it will just about fit under most big-screen TVs, too. The subtle metal feet elevate it slightly from the surface, and help keep speaker vibrations in check.

Features & UI: easy as puck

“Extensive” doesn’t quite go far enough to describe the Ruark R410’s connectivity options. On the wired side you’ve got stereo RCA, a moving magnet phono stage for hooking up a turntable, digital optical audio, a USB-C port, and subwoofer pre-out. There’s also an HDMI eARC, so you can use the system as a TV soundbar if you like. Just keep in mind this is a two-channel system, with no Dolby Atmos or surround sound support.

An Ethernet port is on-board for wired internet, but there’s also dual-band Wi-Fi if you’re not a fan of cables. Once connected you can pick from Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast and UPnP playback from a local media server. I found Airplay and Chromecast connectivity was a little flakey at first, but after a factory reset I could stream from a laptop or Android smartphone almost instantly.

There’s aptX HD Bluetooth for a direct link to your portable gadgets; this is a step behind the newer Adaptive and Lossless codecs, so not quite up to 24-bit/96Hz playback. You’ll want to stream directly from the likes of Amazon Music, Qobuz and Apple Music to make the most of the unit’s 32-bit/192kHz DAC.

Oh, and don’t forget the aerial for FM, DAB+ and internet radio – those are something of a Ruark specialty, after all.

That colourful 4in portrait display? It’s not a touchscreen, so you’ll either be using Ruark’s familiar RotoDial rotary knob and buttons built into the top of the unit, or the hockey puck-shaped remote control to pick what to listen to. These let you crank the volume, skip tracks, navigate through menus and assign quickly accessible favourites.

The bundled remote is an exact duplicate for the on-device controls, and is rechargeable over USB-C. You’ve got to pair it to the system manually, which feels a little unnecessary seeing how it’s included in the box – couldn’t Ruark have done that step in the factory? It worked perfectly during my testing, at least, not needing line of sight with the system and feeling almost as luxurious as the R410 itself. The knurled finish on the dial and brushed metal base are welcome touches of class.

The screen has a high resolution and decent viewing angles, but the text-based UI is a little small; anything further than few feet away and those with poor eyesight might struggle to read it. That’s another reason I think a smartphone companion app might’ve been a sensible addition; as it is, the only way to start a Spotify playlist on the device itself is to have set it as a favourite previously. Otherwise you’ll be reaching for your phone anyway.

Sound quality: floor filler

The R410 is fitted with 120W of Class D amplification, which powers two 20mm silk dome tweeters (borrowed from the fantastic MR1 Mk2 desktop speakers) and two 100mm paper cone mid-bass drivers. There are also two bass reflex ports in the chassis to boost the low-end. This is a potent combination, given the size of the system, and it barely seemed to matter what quality stream or file I threw its way.

It does a fantastic job with virtually all sources, with a consistent tonality across the entire volume range. Naturally Bluetooth and lower bitrate streams can’t match a lossless FLAC, but I never felt obligated to migrate to Tidal or Qobuz instead of my usual Spotify playlists.

The soundstage is satisfyingly wide, despite coming from a single unit, with room for vocalists to shine above the underlying instruments. There’s also a good amount of low-end oomph straight out of the box, but Ruark gives the option to dial some of that back through the menus, in case you prefer are slightly softer presentation.

A superbly tuned treble creates a real sensation of detail at the higher end of the frequency spectrum, but particularly in the upper mids. That means it does great justice to dialogue when the R410 is hooked up to a TV over HDMI; it only accepts a PCM signal, though, so it won’t be replacing a Dolby Atmos-friendly surround system or soundbar. Music never once sounded harsh or discordant, even at higher volumes.

This can’t fill a large space in quite the same way a Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation can, and there’s not the grand sense of dynamism I’ve experienced from more powerful wireless speakers – but I was still impressed with the R410’s overall performance, in both my modest living room and smaller spare bedroom.

Ruark R410 verdict

Ruark R410 review verdict

Judged purely on looks, the Ruark R410 would be an instant five star classic. It’s a fantastic blend of modern tech and retro-inspired design, which should fit in just about anywhere and not command attention like a set of Hi-Fi separates might. The fact it has all the wired and wireless connectivity you could want (and sounds pretty epic too) just cements that score further.

There are louder one-box streaming systems, and the lack of companion app makes using certain music services a little more involved than some rivals. But few can match it in terms of design. It’s worth shortlisting whether your home looks ripped from the pages of an interior design catalogue or not.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5

A superb sounding streaming system that puts rivals to shame on the styling front. The Ruark R410 is also overflowing with connectivity options.


Beautifully built from premium materials

All the connectivity you could want

Well-rounded sound


Pricey for a two-channel system

No companion app

Ruark R410 technical specifications

Drivers2x 20mm tweeter, 2x 100mm bass-mid drivers, dual bass reflex enclosure
Amplification120W (RMS) class D
ConnectivityHDMI (eARC), Stereo RCA, phono input, digital optical, subwoofer output, 1x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Streaming Internet, DAB+, FM radio, Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Bluetooth 5.1, DLNA
Dimensions560x290x150mm. 9.5kg
Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

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