New Ruark Mr1 Mk2 speakers - rpi 3 or 4

Hi All,

I have some new speakers on order (Ruark MR1 Mk2) for my kitchen endpoint and they are replacing a Sonos Play 1, which will be moving to the bedroom. The Ruark’s only have two possible connections, via analogue aux in (3.5inch jack) or digital optical in via toslink. I have been looking at using a HiFiBerry Digi+Pro HAT probably using the toslink connection into the speakers.

Up to this point I have used a couple of Allo products as my endpoints (Digione and USBridge). I would like to put together a streamer running RoPieee, however I am unsure if I should go rpi 3b+ or 4. What is the general consensus as to which is better, the 3 or 4? I have heard arguments for both.

And finally, if anyone has any thoughts about Toslink vs aux in and which is best, then that would be helpful.



If you need to use optical IMHO there’s no difference between the Pi 3 or 4.
The Pi 4 is only a better alternative if you want to use USB.



I agree; however, you should be aware that the RPi4 runs much hotter than the RPi3, so you may have a challenge keeping it cool with a DAC HAT on top of it because of the reduced airflow.

I imagine that the DAC in the HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro is better than the DAC in the Ruark speakers, so I would probably go with a kit like this for your application:
Just add a standard pair of RCA cables to make the connection.

Thanks for the quick replies.

So this suggests a rpi 3 might be sufficient for my needs.

And this adds some weight to that. The streamer would be tucked away under a kitchen cupboard so there is not much airflow, so again, the rpi 3 looks a better bet.

In respect of the connection to the speakers @David_Snyder, I assume you have suggested that DAC and that I would connect to the speakers with a RCA to Aux cable (2 into 1)?

Yes. Looking closer at the back of the speaker…

It looks like there’s a 3.5mm TRS analog input. So, a cable like this should do the trick:

Just select whatever length you need.

So, to summarise, I was after a streamer but the suggestion is to go with the DAC on a rpi 3b. I did look at a few options yesterday but I also realised it might be worth trying a currently redundant Chromecast Audio. I can probably try both the optical and aux in input as well.

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Good idea. The Chromecast does not support Roon’s RAAT protocol, but it will be fine for background music.

Will be really interested to hear your feedback - I’ve been eyeing up those speakers for a while and was wondering how, say, an IQAudio DAC HAT would compare to the internal DAC (which presumably may or may not have been optimised for the speakers).

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No problem, I will feedback when I have done some testing!


A quick update. The speakers are here and they look pretty good in the kitchen, plus its nice to have two rather than the previous single sonos 1 (which is removed to the bedroom as planned). I have not yet got around to ordering the rpi so I am using the Chromecast as said. So far so good. If I use the aux in, the sound is perhaps a little more indistinct but perhaps a little fuller. If I use the optical in, the sound is less full but perhaps more detailed. This is only my initial impressions, but pleased with them overall. I do still want to get the rpi so I can connect across my Ethernet network rather than wirelessly.

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Just re-read this. I am not sure the speakers actually have a DAC in them?? I haven’t found mention of one in the specs, am I missing something?

Surely they must for the optical and other digital inputs or am I missing something?

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I have been looking as it does make sense that they should, I have found one reference to them containing a Cirrus 24 bit DAC, but it is just a quote from a user nothing mentioned in any reviews.

If the speakers have an optical input, they must have a DAC.

I did go to Ruark, and this is their response.

"Optical can take 24bit 192kHz input.

Analogue is never digitised (i.e. it’s pure analogue) so it depends on the external DAC"

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Thanks for clarifying…given support for 24/192, I’d be interested to hear any comparisons between something like a HiFiBerry Digi+ and a DAC HAT - I suspect in reality they’d sound very similar though!

Actually, given it has been established elsewhere that the CCA optical gives excellent performance for 16/44 I guess it more comes down to whether you preferred that sound (in which case go for an optical HAT for RAAT) or would like something different, in which case you’re likely looking at DAC HATs.

I am trying to decide what route to go. Ultimately I don’t want to stream via the Chromecast audio but I can use for comparison. I am looking at audiophonics hat and have been reading some reviews at

I’m not familiar with that product, but as long as the solution you select uses RAAT, I think you’ll be happy with the results.

Thanks! I think I could run ropieee so hopefully fine.

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