The Mini Test Of Four Contrasting Premium-Priced DAB Radios (part 1) - Ruark R1, Revo Axis X3

11/18/2013 7:57:27 PM

Four contrasting premium-priced DAB radios are given a thorough work out as Adrian Justin goes radio gaga.

Ruark R1

Price: $287.19


Available in a range of colors, the R1 is faultless in terms of its build quality. Rear rocketry comprises line in, line out, headphones and a USB service port. The attractive fascia is melded from a strong, metallic looking plastic and houses the 3in speaker, which is covered by a stiff grille. Text scrolling is jerky, but the high-contrast OLED display is pleasing on the eye.

Description: Ruark R1

Ruark R1

Fingertip-sized buttons provide access to five station presets, source, alarm, and sleep and menu functions. Navigation is fiddly and accessing the EQ takes several button presses, but you soon get the hang of it.

On the underside is the R1’s not so secret weapon, a bass port, which gives it a real sonic advantage. Choosing the right EQ is essential in order to avoid bloomy vocals and overzealous bass, but choose wisely and it’s possible to enjoy a full, warm, balanced and natural sound, especially at mid to high volume levels. A Haydn piece on Classic FM deftly handles the switch between strings and trumpet. Rock music has terrific verve, Yes’ Owner of a Lonely Heart on Planet Rock, for example, has and enjoyably tight bass with clean treble notes.

Verdict 5/5

Fine looks are matched by peerless performance across all genres. Mostly a pleasure to operate, it’s suitable for use all round the home

Revo Axis X3

Price: $319.10


It may lack battery operation, but the ultra-new Axis X3 is the lightest model here and easily transported. It’s also jam packed with features including DAB, DAB+, FM and internet radios, an iPod Lightning socket, wireless network audio streaming, apt-X Bluetooth and connections for headphones, 3.5mm line in and a stereo phonon output. Despite that, operating the unit is made relatively simple thanks to a 3.5in color TFT touchscreen display, which is complemented by a remote control featuring volume and transport buttons.

Description: Revo Axis X3

Revo Axis X3

The touchscreen might more accurately be called a press-screen and hitting icons, labels and keyboard letters may be a challenge for anyone with larger-sized fingers. Nor is the screen of the highest resolution, but the interface is well organized.

The Axis X3 isn’t the loudest of radios, but the Class D amplifier and mono Balanced Radiator loudspeaker do a good job in terms of detail with high-res audio such as the soft vocals and subtly layered folk instruments in The Unthanks’ Sad February, streamed from an iMac.

With DAB generally, musical performance is accurate and dynamic. The piano at the start of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in E Flat Major skips daintily along before the horns and strings briefly take over. There’s just enough detail to give a satisfying listen for such a small speaker. There is some mid-range distortion at higher volumes, for example from the trumpet, and the dialogue from Classic FM’s presenter.

Verdict 4/5

Great value in terms of its features, reasonably enjoyable to use and has the potential to deliver decent bedroom or kitchen sounds

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