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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref
Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature, Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module), COS Engineering D1 & H1
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, SIT3, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos; Bakoon AMP-13R, Simon Audio AIO; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2: Linear Tube Audio ZOTL Ultralinear integrated [on review]
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence; Fram Midi 120 & 150; Acelec Model One
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000/ZL5000 and 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 redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/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: €22'900/pr
Show photos courtesy of Dawid Grzyb and his report on HifiKnights.com.
The mother of all.
When a sentence starts thus, it usually ends in something truly atrocious like the mother of all wars, bombs, earthquakes or other disasters. But hifi is different.
Had you just seen what Cube Audio of Poland showed inside their Munich 2019 show exhibit, you'd have spotted the daughter of Nenuphar as a new monitor model. Yet to meet the fairy godmother of all widebanders, you had to step out, faaar out, and onto the main floor.
Voilà, the world's first 15-inch widebander with triple whizzers, twin concentric flex seams and massively pleated fabric surround which here loads into a sealed not quarter-wave cabinet.
Wideband wunderkind Grzegorz Rulka explained how the two flex seams—in Dawid's photo, the first shows clearly around the outermost whizzer whilst the second one barely peeks out from behind the inner whizzer—have the driver behave as a triaxial, simply without electrical filters like a Cabasse tri-concentric would have. Not unlike Ted Jordan's original driver then whose center section decoupled from the remainder of the aluminum cone to act like a separate tweeter, Grzegorz's big driver decouples into a mechanical not electrical three-way. With a review unit promised, I left the Cube Audio booth dumbfounded. In a mind freeze, I forgot to inquire about price, even the name. No matter, the mother of all widebanders clearly would have a lot more to say on the subject. Something big was coming.
In the meantime, an AudioAsylum post from a new Nenuphar owner: "At first glance, 92dB may not seem to be high efficiency but I have found these 10" 3-whizzer widebanders flat to 30Hz to be my 4-watt SET dream speakers. I was lucky enough to call Jon Ver Halen at Refined Audio at just the right time to be able to pick up the demos from Axpona. I had a pair of Rethm Trishna and was seriously considering moving up to their Maarga when first Srajan then Peter Breuninger reviewed the Nenuphar. Srajan bought his review pair calling them a benign psychotropic drug and one of the highlights of his reviewing career. Peter said paired with the right amp, they sound as good as anything at any price. Pretty heady superlatives. I became more than interested but 92dB efficiency worried me. I have an Audion 2A3 SET which I love. It runs EML 300B 2.5v and Amprex 6922.
"Then I noticed how Cube themselves showed these speakers at Munich with a 3.5wpc 2A3 SET. I called Jon who assured me that 3.5-4 watts was plenty… My goal for my system has always been 95% of cost no object for what I can afford (WAF). Trishna produced a stunningly beautiful small-scale experience. Quartets and folkies were in the room. Nenuphar is a whole new experience. That same no-crossover immediacy, that same delicacy but now on a live scale and in my small room, with live intensity and power, phenomenal imaging and soundstaging. I was listening to Abraxas with my daughter when she suddenly went "whoa! that was way over there!" It sounds like a 50-foot wide stage. Carlos, SRV, Deacon Gibbons, Billie Holiday, Hilary Hahn, Janos Starker – they're all in the room. I think the Cube Audio Nenuphar are the ultimate SET speaker made today. If I were to win the lottery I'd buy better electronics but I would keep the Nenuphar. Jon at Refined Audio has been a joy to work with."
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