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Ruark Audio R410 review: incredible sound, incredible design

A superb all-in-one music system that will connect with all...

Ruark Audio R410 review: incredible sound, incredible design
Marc Chacksfield
15 February 2024

Sometimes you get a piece of tech in for review that just feels like it has been a part of your life forever. I don’t know whether it’s the ease of use of the Ruark Audio R410, how it seamlessly integrates with my apps and music, or because it’s been designed with design in mind so it fits nicely with my house’s decor.

Its classy, retro-fused wooden slats make this one gorgeous music system that would look just as superb under a TV - it can double as a soundbar - or nestled next to your turntable.

I have been using the Ruark Audio R410 for a number of weeks now - here are five things you need to know.

1 Design is stylish, Scandi-stylish

Ruark Audio R410 review

The Ruark Audio R410 has a look that will delight both retro and Scandi fans, with its slatted wood fascia and refined design.

There are two versions of the R410 to choose from. My review unit was blessed with the fused walnut veneer cabinet and grille, while there’s also a ‘soft grey with walnut grille’ that looks a little more modern.

Personally, I love the retro look of the R410 - it’s not that the unit looks old, but it is certainly holding a dram up and celebrating great audio units of the past.

The R410 has been handcrafted and it shows, with sustainable wood used to make both the grille and the cabinet, so it more than ticks the eco boxes, too.

The unit measures 560 (W) x 290 (D) x 150mm (H), and fits nicely on a shelf. Given you can use it as a soundbar, this measurement should also be fine for TV units. To put it into context, I placed it next to my PS5 and it was around the same height (the PS5 is on its side).

To top the design off, there is a physical rotary dial on the top of the device and a 4-inch non-touchscreen screen on the front.

2 Connectivity is plentiful

Ruark Audio R410 review

To get you connected to your music, there’s aptX Bluetooth, DAB and FM on board (add the aerial on to the back for these to work). There’s also a USB slot, optical input, an HDMI ARC input (for when you want it as a soundbar) RCA and phono. Oh, and an ethernet connection, too. Phew!

Given the look of the device, we were half expecting a CD player but this isn’t on board - you can add one through the USB-C port, though.

Add to this Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, AirPlay and Chromecast support (all built-in) and what you have is a feature-rich music player that should seamlessly fit in whichever way you listen to your music.

3 Setup is simple, plus bonus remote!

Ruark Audio R410 review

I set up the Ruark Audio R410 in mere minutes. Once I plugged the thing in and added my Wi-Fi password (this took a little while as you have to use the rotary dial, but it felt like I was breaking into a vault which was cool), then the device was recognised and I could play music straight away via Spotify Connect. From here, listening to Spotify was a breeze and flicking between my music and the likes of BBC6 Music was simple.

There are a number of menus to wade through via the screen on the front of the R410 but, realistically, I was only using a few and navigating to these was simple enough.

If you are near the device, then you can do this with the rotary dial on the top of the unit but you also get a Bluetooth remote which is a lovely thing to use. It looks like the attached dial but has a rounded base, which fits well in the hand. You do have to sync the remote with the unit but this doesn’t take long.

The remote is a really fun thing to use, but the further away you are from the R410, the harder the small screen is to read.

4 Audio is incredible

Ruark Audio R410 review

Given audio is literally the Ruark Audio R410’s middle name, it’s good that the sounds this thing creates are incredible.

Ruark has always been known for impeccable sound and it has managed to create something special with its 4 x 30W speakers inside the unit, tuning them wonderfully to the cabinet.

Bending Hectic by The Smile tested the speaker and it passed with flying colours. The build up of the track sounded sensational and I had no fear in cranking the volume up, with the R410 able to handle this without any vibration or distortion.

I calmed things down with Sault’s Glory and it sounded beautiful, almost live, thanks to the aural textures the R410 delivered. Also the synths of Say Goodby by the Future Islands were warm and welcoming.

Connecting it up to my TV, there was a vibrancy in the explosive sounds of Fast X, while audio was clear and crisp - it even made sense of Vin Diesel’s mumble.

5 It’s the start of something special

Ruark Audio R410 review

The Ruark Audio R410 is superb as a standalone all-in-one device, but the connectivity does mean that this could well be the centre of your audio entertainment.

The phono is there to connect up a turntable, the addition of HDMI is more than welcomed, turning this machine, surprisingly, into a stylish soundbar.

The lack of CD player may irk some purists, but that USB slot means you can add this, too. And if you are sticking purely to streaming then HiRes audio compatibility is a welcomed addition. There’s a veritable mix’n’match going on here, meaning this is one of the most versatile speaker systems Ruark has made.

Ruark Audio R410 review: Final Verdict

Ruark Audio R410 review

This is one of the best-looking, best-sounding systems ShortList has reviewed. From the Scandi exterior to the audio-precisioned interior, there is so much to like.

Couple this with a simple setup and a remote you can’t help but love playing with and it’s clear that this is a system that has been made with love, and you’ll love having it in your home.

The Ruark Audio R410 is available now, from £1,299 / $1,699. Head to Ruark's official site for more details.