So with the new Sonos speaker in the kitchen I got for my birthday last year, we have decent music in the house again that is until I finally get my separates system setup in the room we are currently decorating.
Enjoying the Sonos made me think about my office, how to get decent quality sound from the PC without too much cost.
I wanted stereo so another Sonos was not going to cut it, purchasing two would be more then a quality set of active speakers, plus I also wanted to stream from other sources not just using the Sonos app.
Quality wise, CD was good enough, most of media is either vinyl or CD and also sat in my iTunes library at 16 bit at 44 kHz which is CD quality. I do have a few other audio files which are at studio master quality 24 bit and 192 kHz but thats just over kill for a simple budget office system.
I am lucky enough to have an Apple AirPort Express in my office, as well as providing wireless internet I have my large format Epson 3880 printer plugged into one of the ethernet ports. The device also supports Apple Airplay at 16 bit / 44 kHz so it could act as the music source for the speakers.
So first I set a budget, then looked at small desktop active speakers that fitted that budget. By active I mean with built in amplification. Basically it would be a simple setup. Apple Airplay sending my music collection from laptop, or iPhone to the AirPort Express and direct into the speakers. This meant I could keep my current cheap computer speakers and have the computer sounds come from them leaving just the high quality audio of my music streamed to the speakers. Longer term I might upgrade and add a high quality USB DAC into the system, driving that from the USB port in my computer.
So what did I pick, well first job a trip to the website WhatHiFi and look at what they liked, then a web search to find the best prices. After that it was a trip to my local Hi Fi shop who offered to price match. We had a listen, using my iPhone as a source and I picked the Ruark Audio MR1.