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Taz777

Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers with iMac over Bluetooth AptX

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Having almost given up on getting decent sound from my iMac, I rolled the dice one last time and now have a pair of Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers. These are primarily Bluetooth TV and computer speakers. They are tiny but with a big sound. I connected them up using the 3.5mm headphone jack on my iMac to the 3.5mm line input on the right speaker (which has the controls on it). Only the right speaker is powered directly. It sends the left-channel audio to the left speaker via a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable which is supplied with the speakers. The speakers come with a small remote control that was actually quite useful. They also have a sleep mode which is nice. In addition, they have a configurable high/low gain on some of the inputs. The inputs are Bluetooth, 3.5mm line in and optical.

 

At first my heart sank as I heard some hum when I paused the music player on my iMac (I tested with iTunes and Amarra 4). I thought I was back to square one. Then I had an idea - what if I tried Bluetooth? I very rarely use Bluetooth as the audio is often poor via SBC. This was very frustrating as these speakers, in soft grey, look perfect on my desk beside my iMac. The sound itself is quite eerily magical, but I'm very sensitive to hum and static noise as I do a lot of listening late at night when my hearing is a lot more sensitive and there's a lot less ambient noise around so I notice interference sounds coming from the speakers very easily. Pairing took less than a minute and the sound was just about bearable. Given the price of the Ruark speakers, I was really disappointed.

 

I then did some digging around and found that AptX provides near CD-like quality over Bluetooth, and tried to enable AptX on my iMac via Terminal and it worked - there's a couple of commands that need to be run to enable AptX - easy to Google and find on YouTube. I realised it wasn't enabled by default as the Bluetooth connection between the iMac and the speakers was SBC initially. After running the commands, disconnecting and reconnecting the Ruark speakers, I had an AptX Bluetooth connection established. The sound was stunning! It also meant I have one less cable (3.5mm from iMac headphone output to 3.5mm input on the right speaker could now be eliminated). Best of all, my elusive search to eliminate hum, some two DACs, a dozen cables and two weeks of sleepless nights, was finally over. No hum. Just musical and enjoyable sound.

 

If anyone has a Mac and is interested in using Bluetooth AptX with Bluetooth speakers for better sound quality (compared to Bluetooth SBC) then I'm happy to share more details. The Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers are incredibly good as desktop speakers and don't take up much room. They can also be wall mounted. The build quality and looks are top-notch.

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