things that have caught our eyes and ears

What Do Tree Rings Sound Like?

Below you will see one of our previous blog entries about a turntable which was beautifully crafted from the wood of a tree. This is indeed a fantastic design and looks great but surely this goes one better?


This fantastic piece of kit is not a turntable made of a tree but a turntable which can actually play the rings of a tree. Bartholomäus Traubeck has created equipment that translates tree rings into music by playing them on a turntable. It works not with a needle like a traditional turntable but with sensors which gather information about the wood’s colour and texture. Then using a complex algorithm the equipment translates the variations into piano notes. The variation between one tree and another results in an individualised tune. Bartholomäus has released an album, titled “Years,” which features spruce, ash, oak, maple, alder, walnut, and beech trees.

This is an impressive idea and we would definitely love to hear this running through one of our award winning systems!

Orphe Smart Shoes

Here at Ruark we love all things design and tech. We are always on the lookout for innovative ideas in the world of both technology and design. Which is why we’re shining the light on Orphe’s latest design.

Orphe Smart Shoe

I think you will agree that this latest concept the Orphe Smart Shoe is indeed an intriguing one. Built in to the sole of the shoe are advanced motion sensors, over 100 full-colour, serially-controlled LEDs, and a wireless module. This technology allows users to intuitively express themselves in new and interesting ways by enabling them to freely map interactions between their movements and light and sound.

You’ll see from the video below that this makes for a beautiful visual spectacle and we can really see this idea being used in the world of dance and performing arts.

Real Wood Turntables

We seem to have been on a turntable theme recently with our blog, but we think that there’s nothing wrong with that given the recent resurgence in vinyl and also the fact that all our systems from R2 upwards can accommodate a turntable by using the auxiliary inputs and a suitable phono gain stage. The sound produced by a quality turntable still outguns many modern playback systems, with a natural warmth, but we were particularly taken with this Kickstarter project where a Father and Son are making turntables by using sections of tree trunks. The result makes each unit totally unique and something that looks as beautiful as it probably sounds.

Custom handmade turntable made by Silvan Audio Workshop

Build Your Own Turntable

With the resurging interest in vinyl records, we are often asked if it is possible to connect turntables to our models and we’re pleased to report that you can through the switchable line inputs. In this digital age many people would consider that vinyl is a technology of the past, but like making a cup of tea, the process of putting a record on a turntable and then lining up the arm to play your favourite album or track has a comforting feel about it and more often than not we guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how good vinyl still sounds.

On this matter, we were intrigued when we discovered this video from a chap who has built a record player out of Lego! We’re not suggesting that our customers should go to such extremes to play their vinyl collections as there are some affordable and great sounding turntables already out there, but we think you’ll agree that this chap deserves 10/10 for his clever design and patience in putting it all together…

Smells like Team Spirit

The Ruark team at Basildon Sports Centre’s climbing wall

Now I thought we had a brilliant team here at Ruark and I’m sure most of us thought so too. However, Richard our Sales Director, ex Man City goalie, also a keen cyclist, having taken part in Le Tour l’etape for the past two years and has ‘Super-fit’ as his middle name, decided that what we all needed was a bit of ‘Team Building!’ Well, we all thought that a gentle game of ten pin bowling might be what he had in mind – but no – what Richard had in mind was rock climbing!! Now for those of you who know Essex will know that there aren’t any cliff faces made of rock…ours are made of sand where a bucket and spade might be of more use. Our cliff face was to be found in Basildon Sports Centre in the form of a climbing wall – and a very big one at that! So having donned our very finest sports gear (including some rather nifty cycle shorts in Terry’s case) we made our way, if somewhat hesitantly, to Basildon all in the name of ‘Team Spirit!’

The age of our team here at Ruark ranges from 24 to 66 with varying shapes and sizes. I have a feeling that the lure of a meal at Pizza Express after was too good an offer to refuse and that some of us thought ‘let’s just get this over and done with!’ before we started. However, it soon became apparent that we were all having a brilliant time. Everyone was a key part of the evening, whether they were the climber or the person holding the rope. Some of us were nervous of heights whilst others (Alan especially) were natural climbers and should, in fact have been scaling Everest years ago rather than designing radios! Moreover, the support given, no matter what the ability was simply amazing and there wasn’t the merest whisper of a giggle at the numerous Bridget Jones moments and if there were they were well and truly hidden! At the end of the evening an award was given to the most improved climber and that person was Mark in our Service Department. He had never climbed before and would be the first to admit that he doesn’t have the physique for the sport – but he reached the top and lost a toenail in the process - only discovered upon removal of his shoe when he got home later that evening! However, he did win a family size tin of Quality Street and as Mark is a chocoholic this more than made up for the loss of said nail.

The meal at Pizza Express was fantastic and everyone agreed ‘Team Spirit’ had been found in abundance and we can’t wait for the next evening.

Three weeks later Mark’s big toenail is growing back nicely, Jim has stopped limping, scars are healing, Alan is joining Sir Ranulf Fiennes on this next expedition and Rich has a slightly worrying glint in his eye as he plans our next team building escapade! Watch this space…

The Ruark team at Basildon Sports Centre’s climbing wall

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