Sound quality bluetooth

My setup is Macbook air M1 and active Ruark M1 mkII Bluetooth speakers, The question is, is it better to connect the Mac with cable to the speakers or stay with bluetooth connection. What will give me the best sound quality, and if connection with cable, how to do. Do I need an USB DAC, or can I connect the Mac from the mini jack output?
Please help. Thanks

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

From the Qualcomm aptX website:

Different specifications

Parameter Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Qualcomm aptX HD Qualcomm aptX Low Latency Qualcomm aptX
Word Depth 24-bit 24-bit 16-bit 16-bit
Bit Rate Adjustable from 276 – 420 kbps 570kbps 352kbps 384kbps @ 48kHz sampling frequency 325 @ 44.1kHz sampling frequency
Variable bit-rate Yes No No No
THD+N @1kHz -100dB @ 420kbps
-90db @ 276kbps -90dB -85dB -85dB
SNR @1kHz 130dB @ 276kbps
135dB @ 420kbps 129dB 93dB 93dB
Frequency response over Bluetooth 20Hz – 22.7kHz 20Hz – 22.7Khz 20Hz – 22.7kHz 20Hz – 22.7kHz

From the spec sheet of the M1 mkII… It looks like the digital TOSLINK will get you the best signal quality depending on the aptX quality… You will need to contact Ruark about the aptX quality level…


Bluetooth V4.0, A2DP, aptX, SBC, AAC
Aux input 3.5mm stereo jack (2.5Vrms max)
Digital input 24-bit 192-kHz optical TOSLINK
Subwoofer output RCA phono (700mVrms)

Thank you very much for your reply. I don’t understand what type of cable I need to connect my computer to the TOSLINK of the speakers, or do I need a DAC in between?

I don’t believe toslink is on any of the new MacBook M1 series. Maybe @bitracer can clarify this for certain.

You’re correct. It’s been dumped long time ago.

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I would first off try a 3.5 patch cable to get a direct wired path to your speakers. Low cost and pretty effective overall.

Those are nice little speakers, What HI-FI gave them a good :+1:t2:

You could get a inexpensive usb to optical out adapter I suppose but I’m not sure it will really be a notable improvement, but this hobby is all about experimenting. Have fun with it!

Thank you very much, I will try the 3.5 path, its cheap, and I suppose a better solution than bluetooth for sound quality.

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:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:@alengeln @OffRode
I have one of their little analog headphone amps and they are really good high-quality designs… This USB to TOSLINK adapter will do the job for sure…

I have a pair of the Ruark MR1 mkII speakers. They are excellent, and I still find it difficult to believe that it is possible to buy such a good pair of powered speakers for such a price…
I bought mine for use as a kitchen/dining room hi-fi about a year and a half ago, with music streaming (Qobuz and some Spotify) via Bluetooth from an iPad.
This works very well indeed (Qobuz better than Spotify, of course, but both are perfectly acceptable).

The power amp blew on my main system some time after I bought the Ruarks, so I started also using them in my living room, with a PC laptop running Audirvana 3.5 via a USB DAC (Audioquest Dragonfly Red) into the Ruarks’ 3.5mm minijack input.
I also feed TV sound sometimes into the Ruarks via the Toslink optical digital input.
All of this also works very well indeed.

However, I personally find that i get the best sound from the Ruarks when feeding them from the PC via DAC to the 3.5mm minijack analogue input.
I suspect that the primary reason for this is that both Bluetooth and Toslink feeds use the Ruarks’ built-in DAC, which is not as good as the Audioquest Dragonfly one (not surprising given the cost difference, after all!).
However, the difference (while definitely audible) is not a massive night-and-day one, which suggests that the Ruarks’ built-in DAC is good and very well suited to the speakers.

I doubt that the analogue output from your MAC will be as good as any of these, since the MAC’s built-in DAC will be very cheap (though usable).

You have two options easily available to you:

  1. Bluetooth (free, since you already have all you need) - I suspect that you will be perfectly happy with this.
  2. Direct analogue output from the MAC to the minijack input on the Ruarks (all you need to try this is a cheap stereo minijack-to-minijack cable). Frankly, while this would work just fine I suspect that Bluetooth would sound rather better (maybe not a lot, but you would at least be using the Ruarks’ DAC instead of the MAC’s one - and Bluetooth on the Ruarks is very good).

Best sound quality from my own experience would be by using an external USB DAC. However, this would be by far the most expensive option (I already had mine, so it did not involve additional cost), and even if you research, audition and spend a significant amount of money you could be disappointed at the minimal improvement you get for your money.
Or, of course, you might just be impressed at how good the Ruarks can sound exactly as they are. :grin:

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:@alengeln @OffRode @bitracer @Sionyn
…The MacBook Pro headphone DAC is limited to 96kHz… I going out on a limb and presuming this is the same for the MacBook Air M1…

From the Apple Support Community:

The 3.5 mm headphone jack on the MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021), MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021), and Mac Studio features DC load detection and adaptive voltage output. Your Mac can detect the impedance of the connected device and will adapt its output for low- and high-impedance headphones, as well as for line-level audio devices.

When you connect headphones with an impedance of less than 150 ohms, the headphone jack provides up to 1.25 volts RMS. For headphones with an impedance of 150 to 1k ohms, the headphone jack delivers 3 volts RMS. This may remove the need for an external headphone amplifier.

With impedance detection, adaptive voltage output, and a built-in digital-to-analog converter that supports sample rates of up to 96 kHz, you can enjoy high-fidelity, full-resolution audio directly from the headphone jack on your Mac.

Published Date: March 23, 2022

So, @alengeln , if you are seeking the highest resolution from the Rurark mkII system, the TOSLINK input is your best choice to get 192kHz playback without adding an outboard DAC and a good quality 3.5mm interconnect… Otherwise, @Sionyn 's system suggestion of an outboard DAC configuration will give you access to the highest resolution PCMxxx and DSDxxx file playback, depending on the capabilities of the chosen DAC design.

Thank you very much for your answer. I have to try the different options. Bluetooth or Toslink are good solutions because they let the 3.5 input free for my Rega Planar 1 Pus turntable.

Thank you Agolnear. Can you tell me if it can work wit an Macbook air M1 2021, and if so, what type of cable do I need. I am sorry, but I am a complet dummy in those for me new tech.

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

A USB-C to USB Micro cable will do the job to connect the TOSLINK adapter… Purchase the shortest cable for your requirement… You can find a wide selection on Amazon… Get a good TOSLINK cable… they are not all created equal. Do your homework… glass-core or composite glass/polymer-core would be your best choice here.

Depending on your budget requirements you can find standalone DAC/pre-amps that have inputs for your turntable… Many use Wi-Fi connection to receive high-resolution PCMxxx and DSDxxx signals for playback.

You’re overthinking it a bit. It’s a small Bluetooth speaker, a good one, but still… You’ll be fine with just Bluetooth.

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I’m going with this, cmon a bit of K.I.S.S. apply’s here. Only 96 kHz :joy: geez, 75 mm woofer @ 20 watts, Keep things in balance, fancy cables, outboard DAC’s with preamp……….geez

Now these things could be the foundation for a growing system down the line so I can get behind that. Your near field / limited db output current speakers don’t need any more than a 3.5 cable imho

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:@OffRode @bitracer
Think about how many albums have been mixed on Auratones…
“Size” defines one contextually subjective quality of sound… Yes, there is a point of diminishing returns in this context… However, to get unfettered higher resolution 24/192kHz audio playback with these speakers, the TOSLINK configuration is the only way and the least expensive… No need to get carried-away with the TOSLINK cable… There is audible differences between 24/96kHz and 24/192kHz playback on just about any high-quality system and speaker array.

Oh! I think you are right, when I installed the Audirvana studio software for streaming music, the difference was sooo great that I thought I could go even father changing connectivity and so on. I think I lost myself in overthinking that good small Hifi system, and will stay with bluetooth for streaming…
Anyway thanks to all of you for the help, and to Audirvana for that beautiful sound quality.


Is it a really remarkable difference in your system for instance? I would like to see a blind test of audiophile types and see what transpires. Now your system is obviously very sensitive and resolves details deeply. I looked at the amplifier brand you recommended (DOUK) but not sure what model you are using and with what headphones are compatible. More details please, perhaps others are interested as well. Thanks @Agoldnear in advance.

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:@alengeln
Given this is your perspective on this system… Then going with the 3.5mm cable as @OffRode suggested is simple and will most likely give you better performance than the BT aptX signals, when your Mac is close to the system…

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:@OffRode
I use the Douk Audio U3 Hi-Fi analog headphone amp as a remote volume control for a second listener, on a six-foot pair of decent-quality RCA cables, from the headphone-out of my DAC… My DAC has the capability of sending signals to both the headphone-out and the balanced output simultaneously when configured this way… I listen to playback on my primary HPA via the balanced outs of the DAC… I do this when I have company and sharing music with them… I carefully set the DAC headphone output voltage to @ -10dBv