Toed in slightly and otherwise in the same general free-space vicinity where most our speakers work best, the resolving power of the Bliss C on the German monos wasn't far off the Codex which had just vacated the same spots. As a four-way, those run an unusual big cone tweeter, a dedicated small midrange and a 2-octave mid-bass coupler before a specialized long-throw woofer takes over inside the box. This work load allocates purpose-designed transducers to specific frequency bands. As our domestic yardstick for attainable resolution, it demonstrates where and how typical 2-ways or even 3-ways are slightly handicapped. Their drivers must multi-task to be less specialized and more general purpose. Following logic, the all-purpose single driver of the Bliss C should have been the most handicapped. In fact, it slotted itself above typical more-ways slightly below the Audio Physic. Obviously on LF bandwidth, the Codex manages subwoofer territory without help. The Cube did not. On ultimate treble reach, the Codex probably eclipses it too but not to my 55-year old ears. If one dined on big symphonica on a daily basis, the Codex would be the superior choice. With less congested less dynamically extreme fare represented by cover art from Uzbek Ethno-Pop queen Yulduz Usmonova to Israeli songstresses Miriam Mesika and Mira Awad—with stopovers at the courtly Ottoman music of Göksel Baktagir, Musa Eroğlu's bağlama folk music, Melihat Güles' sinuous songs and Dhafer Youssef's Arab fusion from one Middle-Eastern playlist session—the unusual all-range driver from not Dublin but Lublin was astonishingly great.


Without interceding crossover components, it couples directly to your amplifier outputs. That's exactly how active not just powered speakers do it whose filters sit before their dedicated driver amps. If the Bliss C had a business card, under job description it'd read Director. Sins committed by preceding components which conventional speakers may not expose could be outed. From a 'super' resolution balanced chain of Wyred4Sound's 10th Anniversary Limited Edition DAC, matching STP SE II actively buffered passive preamp and LinnenberG monos, I heard no sins but maximal exposure. Depending on recording, this could skirt the edge of 'over exposure' unless I was prepared to give 100% attention to the music. In that mood/mode, I didn't feel challenged to process such detail intensity and immediacy. I wasn't mentally multi-tasking. At anything like standard room levels, it otherwise could feel demanding like a small child that's constantly 'on' when its parents really are not.


To make the sound a little less direct and so energetically mellower was... child's play. I just switched back to the fatter more relaxed Riviera amp. This didn't nip or tuck on the tonal balance. It mostly added cream and sugar to the Allegro's double espresso quickening. It stepped down a 20-something's energy state to something more typical of an older man.


In audio, room modes are first-order effects. Changes in digital filters are orders of magnitude lower. Correctly applied corrective DSP solves problems which are far greater than those minor issues it may cause. Associated math would talk of twenty steps forward, one back. In my book of today's case, the very tangible benefits of atypical directness and micro resolution completely overshadowed whatever minor payments were extracted in turn. And one overshadowing aspect I haven't even mentioned yet was instant alertness on the dial. Especially in our ultra-rez hardware context, the Bliss C excelled at pillow talk; very low volumes where conventional speakers are still sleepy eyed to sound distanced, aloof, boring and washed out. The Bliss C came on song well before breakfast.


Next to phenomenal presence and lucidity, the other great strength of this immodest box was quasi holographic soundstaging. This isn't about sorting. That just places individual sounds at precise front/back and left/right coordinates. Many speakers with inert cabinets and quality drivers do that brilliantly. Where these shifted into a higher gear was with contrast aka relief. it's something certain superior low-power SETs running direct-heated bottles like 45 or 50 triodes excel at. That peculiar quality is often described as inside-out illumination. Its effect is heightened dimensional sculpting. This high contrast is something which the Bliss C did as well. That fed back into and informed its enhanced presence. Now thereness isn't just a precise fix of virtual location. Now it's the illusion of embodied sounds with their own fronts, sides and backs all of which are surrounded by space and take up their own space. And unlike front-firing rear horns like Voxativ's original Ampeggio, the Bliss C's folded horn generated a more tangible pressure wave off the floor, giving its bass more pluck and resistance. Though the short 1-metre cab made it counterintuitive and unexpected, its keen quarter wave loading really did manage perfectly satisfying extension.


With just one driver, zero filter parts and that simple rectangular cab with no bowed cheeks, narrow spine, sloping top or other geometric snazz, our blissed-out vitamin C will seem somewhat challenged on perceived value. Elsewhere, €6'000/pr buy a lot more stuff. "Get stuffed then" is how the Bliss C might retort if you can't hear the difference. Which is perfectly fair. This is a non-mainstream proposition. It's not aimed at your typical pound-for-pound guy who equates quantity with quality. The ideal target customer might live in a nice flat whose listening room size really warrants nothing bigger; where neighbourly peace mandates more modest SPL to deliver the full Monty so that headphones mustn't stand in to enjoy music whenever one wants; where accumulated hifi experience recognizes just what makes this Polish choice so special. And such a twice-around-the-block punter appreciates something else. Whilst to him it ultimately doesn't matter how one gets there as long as one does... Cube Audio have squarely arrived with their own driver. This well exceeds DIYers gone commercial who stick a stock Fostex into a box. Cube Audio are rather more resourceful; like Berlin's Voxativ in fact. Which was my opening gambit to begin with. After having heard the Bliss cab with Cube's best Fc8 widebander, that connection felt doubly apt. Alas, Voxativ's Ampeggio already asked for €16'900/pr when I reviewed it; and their prices have steadily gone up since. Not six moons but seven years later, our Polish contender gets €10'000 less. What's more, the 'normalized' bit of its award caption shoehorns the salient fact that it required no unusual playmates to behave itself. It sounded admirably linear and balanced inside a 100% solid-state and 'fast' context. If there was such a thing as a widebander's liberation movement, the Bliss C would be one of its most accomplished ambassadors I've yet heard. Are you ready to join the Single's Lib? It won't interfere with your marriage one bit and could actually enhance it. Sometimes smaller and faster are better...


Postscript. A month after publication, 2017's issue of Poland's annual Warsaw show came and went and with it, announcement that Cube Audio now had a third model called the Magus selling at €2'980/pr and €7'990/pr for the raw drivers and turn-key speakers respectively. "Our new driver has an enhanced even more powerful motor assembly. Additional new coatings for its membrane make the sound even richer and deeper. These Magus driver units are available in black or gold finishes." Clearly our ambitious Poles weren't content to leave really good enough alone...


Cube Audio website