What would you say you actively do more of: Watch TV or listen to music? We say “actively” because, for the latter, we don’t count running playlists, dinner playlists or any other time when the actual listening part is secondary. We mean sitting and enjoying a piece of music or, better yet, a whole album. With so many distractions in the modern age, you’re probably actively listening and enjoying music far less than you used to.
Is this a bad thing? It depends who you ask, although we know which side of the fence Alan O’Rourke sits on: “I’d forgo my TV any day in favour of the joys a radio or music system can bring.”
But then he would say that, wouldn’t he? As both founder and Managing Director of Ruark Audio, whose business is literally in… you guessed it.
“Don’t misunderstand me, there are some great TV programmes available, but these are generally few and far between. I would encourage any discerning gentleman to occasionally turn off their TV and try listening to the radio or some music instead. This – I guarantee – will expand your mind and encourage conversation.”
And this is why a well-engineered, statement speaker was amongst Gentleman’s Journal list of the 10 things every gentleman should have in his home. Not only can it create the perfect ambience but some can virtually double as a work of art. Choosing the right one, however, especially if you’ve been neglecting your inner music maestro, can be a bit of an overwhelming task, so we asked O’Rourke for some advice.
“Something that looks great and fits where you want it to go is a priority for many but, for real enjoyment, sound quality should always be the top priority,” he tells us. “Good sound is proven to lift our spirit and mood, so I’ve always advised customers to spend as much as they can comfortably afford on a sound system. If the system is cheap, then it’s likely that the sound will be compromised and, like most things in life, you ultimately only get what you pay for.”
If you’re wondering why we sought council from O’Rourke, it’s because his business really is the business. Based on the South East coast of England, Ruark Audio began life as Ruark Acoustics in 1985, set up by Alan and his father Brian, both passionate audio enthusiasts.
And the fact they both come from design engineering backgrounds certainly helped them on their journey from making loudspeakers in Essex to breaking into luxury and specialist markets around the world. Brian trained as a furniture maker, while Alan gained his engineering skills from apprenticeships with Ford Motor Company and Marconi.
“Initially, we designed and built audio systems as a hobby, but then started supplying friends and local Hi-Fi stores. With our entwined love of audio and music, it seemed right we should work together.”
Making sound systems that are music to your ears is a given. If they fall at that first hurdle, something is seriously wrong. Where Ruark Audio also excel is in their design – simple, sleek and sophisticated, they’re far from eyesores and are as easy to use as they are to place in any room of your home.
“As much as product design, we love interior design and know that discerning customers are becoming far more aware about how products will look in their home,” says O’Rourke. “Like a statement ornament or piece of art, our aim is to design products that enhance the environment both with their design and sound.”
Just like The Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowksi, you might just say one of Ruark Audio’s speakers can “really tie the room together.” And the design also plays into the acoustics. “The cabinets of our products are handcrafted from wood based materials as, from our loudspeaker heritage, we know that this has excellent acoustic properties.” That’s why we’ve chosen their new MRX Connected Wireless Speaker to illustrate our point.
MRX Connected Wireless Speaker
Sounds good? You bet it does. If you haven’t already sorted yourself out a decent speaker, the incoming longer nights of autumn/winter are the perfect time to make an investment.
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