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things that have caught our eyes and ears

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

Bespoken

We think you’ll love this! Composer Johnnyrandom creates musical compositions using everyday objects. His debut single, “Bespoken”, explores the full potential of sounds generated from bicycles and their components, transcending the role of traditional instrumentation as the accepted method for creating beautiful and thought-provoking music. The following video gives a glimpse into the creative process behind this unique composition.

Wallpaper EDSM Project

In April we reported that we had been approached by Wallpaper* Magazine (the world’s number one publication championing the best in architecture, interiors, fashion and art) to collaborate with a young up and coming designer, to develop a unique audio system for their yearly ‘Handmade’ exhibition.

Wallpaper* Handmade is the magazine’s groundbreaking exhibition dedicated to the marriage of craftsmanship and design. Each year, Wallpaper* commission select designers, makers and manufacturers to create one-off items and from the 8th to the 13th April these creations are displayed at the Salone del Mobile design show in Milan, Italy. From here they are then displayed at other prestigious design events around the world.

Reaction to EDSM was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that in the future we are considering the possibility of making these devices to order, where customers can customise the finish as they wish. We’ll reveal more about this in the future, but for the time being check out our video showing the construction of EDSM for the Wallpaper* design event.

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