Ruark Solstice Speakers
Excellent with original four cartons
Originally retailed at 4600 GBP
These 114cm tall towers took everything the company had learnt at the time and wrapped it in a sophisticated two-box configuration that split the bass section physically from the enclosure housing the 75mm midrange dome and 19mm tweeter.
The two sections are connected by a short umbilical and physically separated by elastic polymer feet designed to isolate the higher-frequency drivers from any bass-induced vibrations.
The top part has the triwire terminals and a pair of toggle switches to alter the midrange and treble output. The adjustments are fairly subtle, altering the respective levels by a few dB.
Almost two decades on from that original review we thought it would be interesting to see how the Solstice stacked-up. Ruark still has working samples in its listening room and was kind enough to supply a pair.
We ended up with the towers about a metre into the room and well away from any sidewalls. As our original review states, they’re pretty unfussy for high-end speakers and can be placed closer if you need to do so.
The Solstices are pretty easy to drive, too. Their sensitivity is high at 89dB/W/m and the nominal impedance is 8 ohms. These figures suggest that the quality of the partnering amplifier is going to be far more important than its muscularity.
We connect the Solstice to our current reference set-up of naim nds/555ps streamer and Gamut D3i/D200i pre/power and leave them to shake off the cobwebs.
It doesn’t take long to realise that these remain fine speakers. Judged by current standards they’re not flawless but it’s equally obvious they still get all the basics right.
Their combination of agile dynamics, authoritative presentation and expressive midrange impresses as much today as it did back in 1998.
These speakers have no difficulty in getting out of the way and concentrating the listener’s attention on the music being played.
They work well at lower volume levels too – an area where many modern speakers are weak thanks to the requirement for higher listening levels.
Once properly warmed, these Ruarks sound solid, lively and responsive, working well across a wide range of music.
They can thump out Kendrick Lamar’s king kunta without tempering the music’s aggressive attitude yet render Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa with all the refinement and subtlety it deserves.
Stereo imaging is reasonably precise and the soundstage is nicely projected. Most of all, these speakers remain enjoyable to listen to. They kept us coming back for more, even after we had to move onto other products.