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This review first appeared in May 2023 on HifiKnights.com. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby syndicated to reach a broader audience. All images contained in this piece are the property of HifiKnights or the manufacturer- Ed.
Reviewer: Dawid Grzyb
Sources:LampizatOr Pacific (KR Audio T-100 / Living Voice 300B + KR Audio 5U4G Ltd. Ed.), Innuos Statement
Preamplifier: Trilogy 915R, Thöress DFP
Power amplifier: Trilogy 995R, FirstWatt F7, Enleum AMP-23R
Speakers: Boenicke Audio W11 SE+, sound|kaos Vox 3afw all with LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers, Boenicke ComDev
Cables: Boenicke Audio S3 and 3 SE Evo+, LessLoss C-MARC and Entropic Process C-MARC, Boenicke Audio 3 SE Evo+
Network: Fidelizer EtherStream, Linksys WRT160N
Rack:Franc Audio Accesories Wood Block Rack 1+3
Resonance attenuation: 2x Carbide Audio Carbide Bases (under DAC, preamp and speakers), 3x Bindbreakers (under LessLoss power bar)
Retail price of reviewed components in EU (incl. tax): starting at €5'500/pr
Multi-faceted intelligence. Recently founded domestic speaker house Qualio only have one product in their current lineup. However, their first and sanely priced speaker called IQ is most unusual and promising. Whenever a manufacturer who greatly impressed me already is about to send me something new, I get excited. Cube Audio already did so four times without fail so any novelties from them had my instant attention. To recap, successful local Cube Audio specialize in purist widebanders of proprietary design. Head honchos Grzegorz Rulka and Marek Kostrzynski made a number of smart engineering decisions to pursue max linearity and bandwidth over extreme sensitivity. This they achieved via unusual low-loss phenolic spiders, cones with multiple whizzers and strong magnets comprised of tiny neodymium slugs locked inside acrylic retainers. Cube Audio's lineup includes seven models efficient enough to work well with low-power amps thus comply with the general single-driver ethos. More importantly, those I had the pleasure of sampling were highly domesticated shout-free performers for the masses and reasonably compliant with amplifiers which their breed's inherent fussiness generally forbids. Atop fabulous voicing across the board they shared another brilliant virtue. Ask any full-range aficionado about class D and he'll brand you a blasphemer. Ask Grzegorz and Marek with one of their own designs and they'll only grin mischievously. This time around however we detour away from Cube Audio to their second brand Qualio. Strap on your seatbelts, it's going to be quite the ride.
Prior to moving forward, refer to Srajan's review for the brand's full genesis story. To recap, Cube Audio speakers aren't exactly affordable so its founders wanted to follow up with something less wallet-intense upon securing their position in the audio biz. To achieve this they moved away from their own labor-intense wideband drivers and associated niche topology towards off-the-shelf drivers, crossovers and more mainstream means. Their first such effort of a compact 2-way monitor showcased at Munich HighEnd last year. Although it sounded nothing like the usual Cube Audio suspects, the results were promising to say the least. Still, Grzegorz knew they could do better on scale and intensity so scrapped the project. Several months later he asked whether he could drop by to show me something cool. My answer was obvious.
When Grzegorz and Marek near a design which they both feel confident about, they visit friends to field-test it in unfamiliar environs. As for my listening room with its unusually low ceiling, Grzegorz considers it a touch darkish yet my sound quite polished. Several acoustic diffusers and multiple noise-killing products have this effect so I couldn't agree more. In any case, the man had with him a rather large 3-way monitor. Visible point-to-point soldering, basic wooden legs and nude boxes sans veneer or paint implied a working prototype. That mattered naught. Already in its early state those contraptions sounded enjoyably open, raw, snappy and big especially relative to a small footprint. My guest who seemed more than happy with his design explained that it was destined to launch new brand Qualio. Fast forward to late 2022 and our Warsaw show in the fall. Now baptized IQ, Qualio's maiden effort made its official debut in one of the Radisson Blu Sobieski rooms. It had flourished into a proper floorstander and most visitors found it truly spectacular. By April 2023 the opportunity arose to host this newcomer under my own roof.
During his earlier visit, Grzegorz had explained that Cube's street cred meant an easier start for their next venture into more cost-effective designs. They now have the means and know-how to make great-sounding speakers for less. Just so we're clear, though downscaling is a dirty word among obsessed enthusiasts, here that reaction is in error. Qualio aren't Cube's cheaped-out offspring but something else entirely. Both brands incorporate widebanders yet have precious little else in common. Cube Audio are for purists who understand and cherish costly boutique widebanders classically loaded into folded lines inside voluminous enclosures. Qualio use standard drivers then marry vented bass to a dipole mid/tweeter array. Apples and oranges. More importantly, the same skilled engineering team is behind both. Grzegorz and Marek have been around long enough to deserve some credit no matter what they do.
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