"Your first step to the high end" they call it. This is probably soundgil's loudest claim; to convince committed audiophiles that their small system will satisfy whilst inviting a new generation into the church. Not belonging to this second half of the target audience, my opinion will by necessity be shaped by the first. Here it is important to set up expectation parameters.

The soundgil Cube isn't a soundbar you can put just anywhere like a room corner or at the edge of your bath tub. The Cube won't fill large spaces or entertain a pool party like a single Devialet Phantom. Whilst the latter is in the same price range and disperses a lot of energy, it cannot recreate a true 3D soundstage like the Cube. Yet the Cube isn't really a nearfield monitor. I think its ideal listening distance is at 1.5-2m. Your work desk could put it just a bit too close.

The ideal situation for the Cube is thus a room of up to 20m² like a bedroom, office or dining room. Think a console at the foot of a bed, a shelf in your office or kitchen. Like any high-end system, care of placement is important. It will of course play anywhere simply placed on its tiny soft pads. But to harness its full potential requires a little more effort.

My shipment included small carbon support cylinders terminated in fine velvet. During our first Munich encounter, they'd used plastic cylinders but we thought that the system played more expressive placed directly on the painted wooden stand. At home, I just had to roll various media.

My desk is of rather light wood and the provided decoupling couldn't eliminate certain resonances. So I took out marble slabs for significant gains in clarity, impact and speed particularly obvious on piano pieces. On a low-resonance medium like plywood, the decoupling was more effective. A thin felt layer didn't work.

My best results came from the cylindrical supports provided but arranged not upright but on the side. Three per unit were oriented like a 3-pointed star for smallest contact patches yet the Cube wasn't likely to roll. This raised up the boxes by 4cm but I found the tonal balance very good. The masking of the upper bass vanished and the low band differentiated much better.

The placement of the satellites is important and here I felt that DSP did more than just manage active filtering between central and lateral units. In the nearfield of 80-100cm which I don't really advise, I heard certain phase shifts depending on position. My first intention was to arrange them in a semi circle equidistant to my head. But this destabilized the soundstage and decalibrated the tonal balance in favour of the treble. Placing all three units in line fixed that to underline the very great likelihood that that's how indeed they were designed to work. In a pinch you can cross the satellite axes for a little more definition. But it is impossible to eliminate or hide the center unit without undermining the strength of this concept. This is not a classic 2.1 system like a Bose acoustimass whose sub could be hidden. This is a quasi 3-channel system from a stereo source with complex optimized filtering which targets a very specific layout.

Photos by hardwareluxx.ru

I operated the soundgil Cube mainly with Bluetooth and USB. My first USB trials ended in semi failure. PCM worked well but not high-resolution files and compared to Bluetooth, the sound felt dull, flat, lifeless and shy on sculpted relief. Bluetooth was the complete opposite, shining with a collection of qualities often hard or impossible to find in small or medium systems. First off, the soundstage had true depth and height without flattening virtual images into shadow-play characters. The quality of tone stood a cut above with rich colours and distinctive instrumental timbres to suggest that the resolution and transparency of this tiny system were quite excellent. The sense of rhythm and flow between leisure and rapid acceleration gave complex music unusual energy. Microdynamic gradations were excellent, macrodynamic good but obviously limited by overall power. Finally, the sense of direct contact with musical reality was very high if naturally miniaturized.