August
2018

Country of Origin

Poland

Nenuphar

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO with DHT module,COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; S.A.Lab Blackbird SE; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; LinnenberG Audio Liszt
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver; Titan Audio Eros power cord
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €15'900/pr

From the Medieval Latin nenuphar and Arabic nil?far, meaning lotus. For how botanicals and hifi come together, consider Grzegorz Rulka's triple-whizzer widebander. Because its looks remind him of a waterlily, Nenuphar became its name once it mounts into its custom-adapted quarter-wave cabinet. When sold solo, the driver goes by the more prosaic F10 Neo. Premiered at the alternate Marriott-based HifiDeluxe event in parallel to Munich's HighEnd show in the M.O.C., this photo also shows Cube Audio's uniquely executed phenolic low-loss spider and neodymium 'flower power' motor with 81 magnets for 2.4 Tesla of magnetic field strength in the gap. Like AER, Rethm and Voxativ, our Polish widebander house mints its own drive units. At 10 inches, this is their biggest and most ambitious yet.

By extending the operational bandwidth even lower than Cube's existing 8-inchers, the Polish team had to work harder on creating equivalent reach and transitional dispersion in the HF. Hence the elaborate new triple whizzer. One of its secondaries does canceling duties of certain response wiggles since Cube run their widebanders without compensation/notch filters. That only leaves the mechanical domain to correct response abnormalities. Here critical parameters were whizzer diameters, lengths and profile angles. None of this could be modeled in existing software so the MO had to be old-fashioned trial & error instead. The result is a ~93dB efficient widebander of the same diameter as Zu's customized Eminence platform though without their hard-hung pleated fabric surround from the pro arena. For broadest useful bandwidth, Grzegorz very deliberately didn't pursue extreme sensitivity specs of 100dB which never track into the bass registers. In that regard, the Nenuphar is no more efficient than a modern Wilson or Stenheim. It's with point-source dispersion and zero-filter directness where it re-enters the 'Lowther' stream of the traditional widebander ethos though on bass reach, it's more ambitious than most of the breed without relying on the crutch of gargantuan rear horns à la Arcadian Audio Pnoe.

At HifiDeluxe 2018 with Northern Italian Aqua Hifi digital and Sicilian Tektron valve gain, 8" Magus on insides for reference.

A few weeks after the Munich show, Grzegorz had updates. "Your loaners are being made at the moment. The cabinets will be painted white by the end of this week. Figure on some curing and I believe that in about 3 weeks they should arrive at your place. And yes, there will be three new drivers. At €3'990/pr, we'll have the F10 with a ferrite motor. At €5'990/pr and installed in your loaners is the F10 neo with the neodymium motor. That motor also shows up in our new €4'990/pr F8 neo, the new top-line 8" version with one additional corrective whizzer. Installed in a cabinet, that will go by Nenuphar Mini and sell at €9'900/pr." It was a good time to be a square – er, cube. If you still fail to see why, you probably missed out on my first Cube Audio review.