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This review first appeared in the December 2008 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end has a link below it to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of or Nubert. - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Source: Fonel Simplicité, Wadia 170i Transport & Apple iPod & Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: pre/power - Myyrad MXA 2150, Fonel Emotion, Funk LAP-2.V2, Martion Mammut – integrated - Accuphase E212, Lua 4040C
Loudspeakers: Spendor S3/5, Quadral Rondo, Sehring S 700 SE, Thiel CS 2.4, Sehring S 703 SE
Cables: low-level - Straight Wire Virtuoso; high-level - HMS Fortissimo, Reson LSC 350
Review component retail: €1.140/pr

It doesn't happen too often. Which means, it occasionally does - being curious but not getting around to it. Nubert is a case in point despite an informative web presence, a lively forum, an apparently sizable and loyal fan club and a rather unpretentiously pragmatic self image projected by a direct-sales format; all points which usually turn my crank. Some make-it-happen impulse lacked though. One doesn't simply stumble over a Nubert box at a dealer or trade show after all. Ah, but things changed at this year's Munch High-End 2008. There Nubert pitched its tent for the first time to launch a new, then still nameless line. For the christening ceremony, Nubert relied on customer feedback and their votes. "Truth" won out, hence nuVero. That line includes two towers, the nuVero 14 and 11, and today's tester, the nuVero 4 monitor.

The nuVero 4 arrived just as she would for you. Arguably trivial, I'll still mention that not only does she arrive safely boxed, repacking (not a given in my experience) doesn't involve head-scratching lego puzzles of styrofoam bits. Should you thus invoke Nubert's one-month return privilege, the repacking and pickup procedure is stress-free, with Nubert issuing a free call tag upon phone request. More interesting of course is whether Nubert's nuVero 4 can extend its 30-day test period and tickle your taste buddies for the long haul. To approach this question, a bit of background.

We might kick off wondering about those protruding edges. Better cosmetics? Nubert's website goes into detail but we'll cover the essentials here. Think bending waves and edge diffraction, then avoidance of reflective interferences. Protruding everywhere and being rounded over by five degrees, Nubert's baffle doesn't so much eliminate these effects as curve them away from the listener. The same rationale is effective with the asymmetrical tweeter location where distance from the baffle edge determines interference frequency. If that distance is dissimilar from side to side and top to bottom, the effects are diluted over multiple frequencies which leads numerous makers (like the just reviewed AudioZ ETA) to similar solutions. Interesting in Nubert's case is that it's not the tweeter assembly per se but the membrane which is placed eccentrically on the mounting plate.

That's economically clever too since left and right speaker enclosures can be identical to minimize production line costs. And, edge-reflection reduction is not merely practiced at the enclosure but also driver mount edges, the latter more exaggerated the less a tweeter is flush-mounted (which leads certain makers like Sehring to avoid it altogether). Nubert's unique off-center solution practices edge-reflection attenuation twice over. But dilution continues with enclosure resonances which with the nuVero 4's box size and internal construction would be active between 300 - 600Hz. Internally mounted (and somewhat hard to photograph), triangle inserts spread out and attenuate resonant spikes by up to 10dB. For drivers, Nubert relies on a custom-modified 26mm Seas cloth dome and a 180mm glass-fiber/cloth Peerless mid/woofer, a first for a company that usually prefers polypropylene, citing that woven materials like glass and carbon fibers suffer partial oscillations. Nubert's chosen constrained-layer sandwich approach is claimed to minimize that behavior and create superior form stiffness under high impact over equivalent polypropylene variants.

This driver array is separated at 2kHz. Nubert is no fan of minimalist 6dB networks. In populist views, those create the best time-domain behavior. In theory. According to Nubert boss Günther Nubert, that theoretical advantage is dramatically mitigated by electrical feedback within the hifi chain. Because speakers don't present a purely resistive load but are more reactive, first-order tweeters most of the time need to actually connect out-of-phase, never mind suffer poorly suppressed high-frequency resonance, narrow vertical dispersion due to broad overlap between drivers and steeply rising treble distortion under high SPLs. Nubert thus relies on steeper filters, in the nuVero 4 at 12dB/octave with a special EMF suppressor circuit and exclusively high-quality MKP capacitors.

Practical matters
Viewed from behind, Nubert's nuVero 4 shows a trio of details: a bass reflex port; easily accessible biwire terminals; and -- most interesting -- the option to experiment with three different switches (prompted by listening, we swapped the stock metal bridges with wire jumpers). In matters of high, middle and low frequencies, the nuVero 4 offers adjustments for personal taste and environments. Tweeter output can be cut or boosted around a ca. 4kHz knee while the midrange adjustment hinges at 2.5kHz and operates over a narrow band to 4kHz in the most critical region of human hearing.

As per Nubert, measured linearity and subjective ideals diverge here since with the nuVero 4, a completely flat on-axis response sounds inferior to a slight depression in that band. Relevant in this instance is that the more the nuVero 4 gets toed in, the less this built-in depression asserts itself. Remaining diffraction effects are also better compensated for by subjectively optimal switch positions. Here the midband 'neutral' position refers to subjective neutrality. Those whose ears disagree or who prefer measured linearity will pick 'prägnant' (pronounced). In the bass, there's no correlation between theoretical and subjective linearity. Neutral is neutral and voluminous voluminous. But Nubert adds that at subdued levels, the latter might seem 'more right', an effect already familiar from loudness contours which, in the high-end, have mostly died out. But Nubert's concept differs from loudness controls in that 'voluminous' doesn't thicken the bass per se. It leans out everything above ca. 90Hz by about 2.5dB (compare the blue and red lines in the lower graph). The bass itself isn't touched at all.

This has two consequences. Immediately obvious is that sensitivity drops, less so that bandwidth expands from 49 - 25,000Hz to 43 - 26,000Hz (both +1/-3dB) because under broadband suppression of output, the relative -3dB down points are delayed. Altogether, nuVero's 4 offers 3 x 2 x 2 = 12 voicings. Audition had me choose stock (i.e. the mids were subjectively optimized).

Sonic impressions
To go right for the jugular, a dainty wall flower this little 'un is not. Right from the get, I was surprised by how the nuVero reacted when confronted by extreme fare à la Mythmaker, the latest album from the Skinny Puppy maple leafs. That's got to be mighty, punchy, dynamic and uncompromised in the bass. And the nuVeros actually deliver a dry, SPL-steady and, for a compact monitor in this price class, surprisingly scaled-up mature presentation. Continuing right along with further left-field sounds (which in my opinion are rather more taxing for speakers than the usual softly-spun audition stuff), I reached for The Residents -- quasi oldies in matters of musical avantgarde and some of my faves -- and their Bunnyboy, a 2008 concept album on rabbits, lost-in-Greece brothers and global conspiracy theories. The dense, trickily edgy and broadband-challenging melodic and rhythmic lines, depending on hifis, tend to risk either rapid stress signals or boredom, both of which the nuVero 4 (if the rest of the chain is apropos) avoids.

Adding to a dry rhythmic demeanor and very grown-up reflexes, these speakers invoke tonal neutrality which isn't just important with this type of music. Bass is tactile as it should be and properly integrated, segueing without seam into vocals and guitars. Midrange central doesn't invoke any tonal irritations - no shortage of warmth or fill, no hyper presence, no pain. And the equally seamless attached treble gains a fetching degree of weightiness to neither sound silkily charming or unduly pronounced with cymbals, hi-hats and sibilants. Nubert's nuVero 4 is, fundamentally, a quite convincing and pleasant, utterly non-diva-esque member of the speaker guild. Which is perfectly alright but doesn't exactly make life easier for a reviewer who aims to believably convey the essential gestalt behind such all-around fitness.

That's when our kind reaches for A/B contrasts. Why not pull out a more expensive speaker like the equally compact Sehring S700SE at €2,000/pr? Differences were easily heard. On "Eskimo Lament" [Coral's Magic and Medicine, 2003], the Sehring revealed the so typical minuscule vibrations on acoustic guitar with more finesse and everything turned more silken, multi-layered and spatially more defined. More brachial sounds like the guitar inferno in Loops' "Afterglow" [A Gilded Eternity, 1990] too came across more relaxed and with more convincing tone colors. Alas, the nuVero 4 had more low-down impact and altogether sounded a bit more potent and larger than its nearly twice-the-price colleague. For more context of music and speakers, enter Tales in Tones Trio's Jazz [Sub Surface, 2004] and some of my personal favorite boxes in this range, Quadral's €1,200/pr Rondo which excel at resolution and sharply honed precision soundstaging.

Percussion brush, rattles, piano and upright bass are the main elements of "Sabari". Compared to the ribbon-touting Quadral, the nuVero 4 wasn't quite as separated on the virtual stage and rendered minutiae as the rattle not quite as microscopically. But compared to the Rondo's sober/factual tendency, the Nubert transducers were warmer. Or, better put, more substantial not, to repeat, due to midbass girth or other cosmetic surgery tricks but because they are tonally balanced and put more emphasis on tonal sustain than the transient-focused Quadral Rondos. That difference was apparent also on the earlier-mentioned "Eskimo Lament". James Skelly's voice over the nuVero 4 was clearly fuller and the accompanying acoustic guitar less dominantly steel string and also endowed with a woodier note as called for.

At this juncture, I tend to reiterate in condensed form what type of listener would gravitate to the specific strengths of the component under review. Nubert's nuVero 4 specifically convinces not with new records in particular disciplines nor by catering to particular listening biases. Likewise, it doesn't risk turning off listeners with idiosyncratic kinks or weaknesses which, in the end, is the most important factor with good audio kit. Nubert's nuVero 4 is an all'rounder par excellence and undoubtedly born to entertain very broad audiences. Rooms up to 30m² won't pose issues and thanks to the voicing options, all manner of more or less damped acoustics will support impressive results. Try these speakers with a 10-20° toe-out. Per tendency, this speaker seems more suitable for powerful fast transistor amps.

Nubert's nuVero 4 is characterized by:

  • A fundamentally seamless, neutral, unadorned perspective.
  • A fetchingly dry rhythmic character which includes the bass.
  • A dynamically involving and, considering its size, clearly grown up and comparably potent sound picture.
  • An absence of hardness to guarantee long-term listening comfort.
  • Good resolution.
  • Sufficient focus with a free-from-the-boxes soundstage.
  • Immaculate fit'n'finish.


  • Concept: 2-way bass reflex
  • Trim: Anthracite or pearl-white baffle with Nextel body
  • Sensitivity: 85dB/1w/1m or 82.5 dB / 1W / 1m contingent on adjustments
  • Nominal impedance: 4 Ohm
  • Dimensions & weight: 40 x 23,4 x 35,5/37 cm HxWxD (with and without grill), 11,5kg/ea.
  • Other: 30-day return privilege, "made in Germany", switches to trim bass, mids and highs
  • Distribution: direct sales exclusively
  • Website
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