Vita Audio R1 MkII £160
19th Aug 2010 | 09:30
More power and a rechargeable battery bring high-quality DAB to those on the go
Like Monitor Audio's Airstream 10, the Vita Audio radios originate from a loudspeaker manufacturer, though in this case Ruark set up a whole new brand for the purpose.
It's not been around many years but has rapidly built up a fine reputation and we've certainly enjoyed testing the various Vita products that have come our way.
This new version of the original R1 radio has more power, the option of adding a battery pack for portability, a larger display and DAB+ compatibility, so that when DAB+ broadcasts start it will be ready. It also has tone and loudness controls, which we found a mixed blessing.
What it doesn't have is internet access of any kind, which doubtless explains (in part, at least) its lower price compared with the others here. It is available in high-gloss black or white, as well as the wood finish we received.
Overall, we found this the most sonically successful of the bunch. The FM reception is not quite as good as that of the Tivoli, but it's not bad (and the aerial is detachable, meaning that one could pretty easily fit a better one), and via DAB or the line input the sound seems to us to have just the right combination of punch, extension and midrange neutrality.
There's enough gain and power on tap to play satisfyingly loud in a medium-size room, but the crucial thing in the R1's favour is that at any level the sound has detail and a really plausible wholesomeness that just seems to escape many such products. Engaging and very enjoyable.
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