£2300 / ruarkaudio.com
Hang about. I seem to be holding a copy of the Habitat catalogue. Don’t panic, gadget fan. Until 2017, when DFS will include the Autonomous Bum-Grinding MechaSofa in its autumn collection, we have nothing to fear from furniture. And furniture is precisely what Ruark has created with its lovely new R7: furniture that also happens to do a very good job of playing music.
Ha! It’s a… a thing! A music thing! Yes, it is a sound system. It’ll play pretty much anything from any source — it’ll stream your music wirelessly over Bluetooth (aptX), use its built-in Wi-Fi to tap into the music collection living on your NAS, play CDs, stream internet radio, and it has inputs for a turntable or iDevice. And it should play well, thanks to a class A-B amplifier that feeds 30W each to a pair of 5in drivers with integrated tweeters. Oh, and a further 100W to an 8in subwoofer.
Sounds like a gadget to me.
And to us; close your eyes and its audio expertise is unmissable. Open them, and it’s a hand-finished piece of walnut furniture . High-end hi-fi often takes up a lot of space and looks as if it was designed by someone for whom a Land Rover Defender is the acme of subtle style. The Ruark not only looks incredibly swish, it actually contributes surface space. So, no need to visit Habitat after all.