Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: 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, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref SD transport & USB bridge; Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos; Headphone amp: Kinki Studio; Headphones: Final D8000; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía 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
Second system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model One w. Franck Tchang magnesium 360° super tweeters, Zu Submission subwoofer, LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers; Power delivery: Puritan Audio Lab PSM-156; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headphone amp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Audeze LCD-XC; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Headphones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos, Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: TBA
The other 15. Attentive readers know. Poland's Cube Audio are working on a massive 15-inch widebander. And, they're working also on a new 15cm driver. Wrote Grzegorz on September 15th—there was a definite number's game afoot—"I'm still working on the 15" but for the last three months did very little with it. We had multiple production process enhancements and more but I needed a break from R&D. I will revisit the project by probably next week. We already developed a new motor with a 2" voice coil and 5kg of neodymium magnets. This motor has 2.2 Tesla of flux in a very wide gap that allows us to use a very thick Faraday ring. The driver arrives linearly at 20kHz (!) but I'm still not too happy with the overall sonic balance in that reasonably sized cabinet I want. More experiments are needed."
"However, Marek has actively worked on a new 15cm driver which is nearly ready. We'll have this for autumn and plan to use it in a small monitor, in a floorstander and a floorstander with extra 20cm/7.8" woofer. The sound from that little driver is astonishingly rich. It has an amazing amount of volume and depth of bass. We'll certainly send you one for review when we're ready."
When in the 13th century the Knights Templars settled in western Poland, they built things like the Saint Stanislaus chapel in the village of Chwarszczany. "According to at least one local legend, it's here that the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the last supper and which later held his blood, could still be hidden." At least so said a CNN Travel article on the subject. Local archeologists suspect a hidden tunnel into this structure. There's thus still hope for the legend.
In the annals of speaker builders, one holy grail has always been the point-source single driver which covers the entire audible bandwidth. Cube's big 15" is still searching for it, just not in Chwarszczany but in Poznán and not out in the fields with the lilies but in building #2 on Kopanina street. Their new 15cm/6" would have to use quarter-wave loading or separate woofer augmentation and for bass not pursue the very ends of the earth. In their willingness to keep engineering new and different drivers, Cube's Grzegorz and Marek go well beyond Zu Audio who to this day use the very same 10.3" unit for all of their speakers. In Berlin meanwhile, Voxativ parallel the Cubevolution with their own widebanders that are smaller than the standard 8-inch diameter. But in Poland, it's Cube Audio who still labor over the undying myth of a widebander that's sufficiently broad of bandwidth to serve modern music. Whatever the next grail cup they'll fashion looks like—plain like the Indiana Jones version, gilded like those of romantic Arthurian authors—given their track record, it should invite cheers either way.
… to be continued…
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