Cube Audio Magus loudspeakers

27.10.2021

Introduction

That of the manufacturers of one-way loudspeakers or also called full-range speakers – see description and general characteristics here – it is a club reserved for a few but, at the same time, surprisingly large for a small market like that of Hi-End.

The loudspeaker present in the Cube Audio Magus tested today therefore fits into a cubed market niche, if not of even higher power: Hi-Fi loudspeakers > Hi-End loudspeakers > one-way Full-range loudspeakers > etc…

The big names, the high-sounding ones, are a bit on the lips of all enthusiasts. I propose a small selection, always in respectful alphabetical order: AER, EMS - which took over the burdens and honours of the Fertin, Fostex, Lowther, Supravox, Tang Band, Voxativ.

In short, that of broadband loudspeakers does not seem to be a crowded production but you could change your mind by browsing here in the Spectrum Audio website: go to the broadband section – Breitbandlautsprecher – and you will find practically all of them. The fact is that the broadband loudspeaker is the chimera of the Hi-End, the component made up of different parts – here sections of the diaphragm capable of returning different frequencies – and in the mythological figure a monster made up of the body parts of different animals. After having heard many, even "mythological" ones, and here I am referring to the loudspeakers or loudspeakers implemented with them, today we are going to finally analyse one with a great "sense of reality". My anticipation does not want to be a spoiler… 

 

Design

The Polish Cube Audio is a relatively young company. Its official appearance dates back to 2009, at the Audio Video Show in Warsaw, with a very first loudspeaker project based precisely on its own broadband. From the outset, therefore, the intention was to create its own loudspeaker model, designing it from scratch, redesigning the fundamentals of this type of loudspeaker. To hear the version considered mature for the commercial launch, one must arrive at the beginning of 2017, with the first and flattering reviews of both the Magus loudspeaker and the loudspeaker of the same name. Cube Audio founders are Marek Kostrzyński, audiophile and loudspeaker developer for Pylon Audio, and Grzegorz Rulka, physicist and designer. 

 

Construction

The Cube Audio Magus are TQWT transmission line loaded one-way floorstanding loudspeakers – see more details here – and based on a full range bicone loudspeaker, the F8 Magus, an 8” / 22,2 cm diameter, 14 cm depth and 8 kg in weight. The factory declares 94 dB of sensitivity and 8 ohms of impedance, when the speakers in free air instead drop to 6 ohms of nominal impedance.

 

Cube Audio Magus

 

The cabinet is a slender parallelepiped, in front view, 25 by 100 cm wide by high, with 40 depth. High points with under points in front, low supports on the back, so as to give both the right inclination to the case and the right agreement to the transmission line, placed at the base of the case. Please note: It follows that, under the case itself, at the "mouth" of the accord, carpets or sound-absorbing materials in general should not be placed, on pain of deteriorating the sound of the accord itself: smooth, hard and pure floor, and you are ready to go. The loudspeaker is mounted on a further flange protruding from the rest of the cabinet, to which the protective panel is screwed to be used in case of loudspeaker handling.

 

Cube Audio Magus

 

The beautiful flame work of the Magus veneer, where the finishing wood essence sheets continue from side to side, trying not to interrupt the grain.

As anticipated, the loudspeaker in question is the arrival point of an experimentation, commercial and otherwise, that lasts for a long time and in the number of prototypes tested, always aiming towards the almost artisanal realities of our sector. There is nothing 'already seen' about this speaker, everything is new or done differently, and this fine alchemy is well underlined here in a PDF created from the arguments provided by Cube Audio itself. Why, you ask, contrary to my usual way, I don't go into the technical meanders of the construction, into the original and particular construction details, but rely on a dry PDF, even if exhaustive? But because I can't wait to share my listening impressions with you…

 

Listening

In short, today I'm taking advantage of it: ReMusic is basically a Hi-End webzine dedicated to listening and let's get straight to the point, because the technique here is superfine and practically self-explanatory. 

 

I begin by saying that, to get the best out of Magus, respecting their characteristics of use is essential. To get to the point, they should be placed in an environment between 12 and 25 square meters and in this size range they will NEVER make you regret having a room considered small – rightly or wrongly – or not having a multi-way speaker.

 

They go well against the wall, to get that extension on the bass they can reach, and they sound surprisingly good and linear already "flat", but the house recommends a centralization of the front, a toe-in, of about 5/10 degrees, this not only to increase the focus of the center stage but also to not shoot the mid-highs directly at the ears, which in this type of loudspeaker tend to be a bit "exuberant" in terms of directivity.

 

Sensibilità in dB Cube Audio Magus in ambiente

 

Cube Audio Magus dBs sensibility measured in ambient

 

In doing so, they will be able to return the best that can be asked of a loudspeaker: music without evident limits in the reconstruction of the sound event. And it’s not be underestimated.

 

I immediately congratulate them on their overall quality and premise these recommendations regarding the conditions of use because I tested them well on two occasions, between my two (2) moves this year, which definitely wore me out from all points of view. seen but they have also been the bearers of a decidedly pleasant and tailor-made current life situation. Why do I mention my moves? Because the Magus arrived shortly before my first move and left shortly after the second, the "final" one at least for now. I was therefore able to test them in an ideal situation for their project, according to the builder himself, and in a second "extreme" situation, because it was far beyond their possibilities. In summary, in the first room, my previous listening room, they were positioned as indicated by the designer, even if in a "picturesque" confusion given by the duties of the move itself. They were against the back wall of a room of about 35 square meters in total, therefore even larger than allowed, but with a decidedly lower cubic volume - that's what counts - given that the height to the ceiling was 2.4 m, i.e. lower to the standard one, which brought the test within the recommended parameters. After the second move, still not being able to take advantage of my new listening environment, I tried them in a room perfectly treated from an acoustic point of view, at least 50in square meters in size, with walls of regular height, with the speakers placed at third of the length of the room, therefore well away from the back wall, and the listening point at two thirds of the room, in the classic configuration which differs the arrival of the first reflections from the sweet spot as much as possible. To further radicalize the two listening sessions, in the first case I used only low-current amplifiers and a few watts, in the second case very refined but "current" amplifiers at the same time. What I stated at the beginning of this paragraph dedicated to listening is therefore the result of articulated and well-founded tests, even if always interpreted by me, therefore potentially imperfect and personal. 

In summary, the Magus know just what they have to do. In my opinion they go with everything, they have practically no idiosyncrasies, but they must be driven with a few watts, better if obtained using a few final power devices. I'll elaborate and give an example: better my 300B replica Western Electric 91A of about 5/6 watts and the Maison de l'Audiophile Hiraga Class A of 30 rather than the always valid integrated class A Musical Fidelity A1000, which can also be used as a solo pre or power amp, or the splendid Jeff Rowland Model 7 amplifiers of the second listening location, respectively 50 and 350 watts each.

 

So, did it make sense to use such powerful amps when the manufacturer himself declares the maximum applicable power to be just 40 watts? Yes and no. Yes, because it proved to me to be an inadvisable pairing and no for the same reason. The "muscular" amplifications, those that tend - rightly - to double the watts when the impedance of the load is halved, do not do them justice, they make them "sterile", they drain them, they limit the harmonics. Consider that the same Cube Audio, in the related product page that you can see here,

he even goes so far as to suggest a precise list of amps, integrated or power amps, that work well with these speakers of theirs, stating – and rightly so in my opinion – that 3 watts is already enough to drive the Magus worthily. Obviously, this kind of advice from the manufacturer itself can be a double-edged sword. In doing so, perhaps we focus on what is suggested individually and do not obtain a general course of action. However, I try it, saying that the Magus is a champion of the type of speaker to be "let play", not to be controlled. I also tried it with class D, the type of amplification used as a reference by Cube Audio itself, and the Trends Audio TA-10.2P "wren" gave me further confirmation: the Magus play with little while with too many watts they easily go into compression. This loudspeaker, thanks to the large motor/magnet and the light mobile group, already knows when to start and when to stop, without an amp necessarily confirming it, and the technicians understand and forgive my literary/popular approximations…

 

I would also add that, to achieve all the subtleties these speakers are capable of expressing, unbalanced connections are a must. The balanced ones tend to "polish" the weaker signals and - mind you - it's not me saying it, someone who says Nelson by name and Pass by surname ... Extremely present already at low volume, as normally happens with loudspeakers high-sensitivity broadband one-way, are very expressive and intelligible even with a trifle of potentiometer, also because they tend to be a bit “X-ray” on the middles, but without veering towards the violet, i.e. distorting or altering the tones.

 

If we want to proceed with great approximations, just to give a general final orientation:

  • they are not as "tempery" on amplifications as the Voxativs and they go down even more
  • they are not as "rough" as the Lowthers and they go up even more
  • they are at least as refined as the Supravox but also more authoritative on the bass

Pros

A full range single-channel loudspeaker? Finally, yes, at least when listening, because it is convincing in terms of overall coherence, without gaps or "holes" evident in the frequencies.

 

Cons

The compromise to obtain coherence in the mid-bass at the expense of image depth is the only caveat of the Magus. The power handling, that of studio monitors, they cannot and do not want to exhibit or achieve, but the coherence in listening, the ease with which they make themselves heard, makes them engaging also on the dynamic parameter. If you put them against the wall, they have an excellent presence in the lower registers, but they obviously lose depth in the scene, a parameter in which they unfortunately excel, so much so that they are preferred in this position when the sound message does not require immanence or a thick bass frame.

 

Who knows

As already anticipated in the Atomica Strato test, you can find it here, the comparison with the Cube Audio Magus is paradoxical. I quote myself freely repeating that the Strats are an extraordinary cabinet with two stock speakers inside. The Magus, on the other hand, are a unique loudspeaker in the world surrounded by a rather ordinary cabinet, so much so that – note well – Cube Audio itself supplies here

 

 

the construction plans of your speakers for the DIY audio world. So, forget the cabinet, here the secret is all in the loudspeaker. And, then, what will be the absolute right way? Maybe a mix of the two? In the meantime, we can say that if – and I stress if – the Magus cabinet introduces some “colouring”, they are probably functional to the result, that of the banal “listening enjoyment”, and this is all that is enough for me, at least in daily use and forgetting for a moment some constructive theories. 

 

Quick metaphors and final recap 

The Magus is a speaker that intellectually intrigues and entertains with no apparent listening limits. In the end, like in all self-respecting detective stories, the is a plot-twist and we discover the murderer. On the other hand, I had already scattered some clues here and there in the text of the article, always as in all self-respecting detective stories... 

The key to reading, the revealing sentence, the nodal point of this type of speaker lies in the assumption that you find on the Cube Audio site and which I reiterate here in an absolutely free and personal translation: " We believe that full range loudspeakers can create an illusion of live music that multiway loudspeakers cannot. Stunning soundstage, massive holography, magical mids, open and direct sound that delivers the most emotional image possible of your favourite music. If you've ever heard a good full range speaker implementation, you know exactly what we're talking about."

 

This is. Single loudspeaker and emission perceived as complete. Broadband and punctiform emission. All fundamentals, even if some attenuated, but incredible presence and richness of harmonics. And the illusion is served.

 

They are the kind of loudspeakers with which I could live forever, with peace of mind, if there weren't much more complete, complex, difficult to set up, demanding and, tbh, extremely more expensive projects... Those who have ears to hear, hear it. 

 

Audience

If you are looking for a loudspeaker that you will never want to change, that does not create positioning and interfacing problems - if you respect the requests - and that is paradoxically complete when listening, even if compared to others it will inevitably reveal its tricks and approximations, well, then your search here has two options… You can do it, buying only the speakers and taking advantage of the public projects made available on the Cube Audio site, or you can buy it, coming into possession of a ready-made speaker, because, if I hadn't said it, personally I find the Magus also beautiful in its austere cleanliness of functional forms.

 

Some of the clichés for this type of component, given the results they are able to obtain, is to write that they are products "for those who have already heard everything", "for those with a fine palate", "for those with extensive experience of listening” … You understand, these are precisely empty expressions, which can say everything and the opposite of everything, but which in this case could well be spent trying to approximate that sense of balance in the purchase and satisfaction in listening which makes you forget the desire to change – often compulsively – your speakers. Above all, the search for further "complications" – more loudspeakers, different loudspeakers, more ways with relative crossovers – is virtually avoided here, given the ability to convince-and-captivate listening to these Cube Audio Magus.

 

P.S. A final applause to my friend and professional Attilio Caccamo of Tektron amps – site here – who just recently took over the Cube Audio distribution for Italy.

 

Timbre | frequency extension, ability to faithfully reproduce the instrument and its harmonics

The extension is amazing, but not wanting to exaggerate, let's just call it very convincing. Of course, you have to pinch yourself to convince yourself that only one loudspeaker per channel is working… The harmonics, vibratos, warbles of throats and instruments are the daily bread of a full band and the Magus are ready for this.


Dynamics | micro (detail) and macro (absolute), transient's extension and speed

Very revealing speakers both at low volumes and pianissimo, effortless and very convincing dynamics right up to the physical limits of the driver, which is not designed to create the impact of stadium amplification – fortunately – but which is always capable of surprising for the speed and likelihood of the attacks. Here too, the coherence of the project convinces the listener.


Image | ambience, transparency, scene, sound planes, virtual stage, sense of presence, resolution
Truly "catalogue" image, which you can legitimately expect from a broadband but with a completely unusual materiality. If the breadth of the soundstage is always record-breaking, the depth is somewhat affected by the distance from the back wall and here we have the only real trade-off of the Magus: to have the midbass you need to stay close to the back wall, as planned, to have a depth of the black hole scene in space you need to move away from it. But let's say that, already knowing it, the compromise is easily found.


Tone | general setting of the appliance, if present or characteristic: for example, warm, cold, toned, amber, glossy, matt…
The tone is overall neutral, with a slight tendency to hyper definition, to contouring, to mid-acute. The midbass, on the other hand, is linear if the loudspeakers are placed as required near the back wall, becoming somewhat absent if they are moved away. What however disconcerts in a positive way, in my opinion, is the linearity of the extremes of range, record-breaking bass and treble when compared to a "only" broadband.


Emotion | capacity for emotional involvement, highly dependent on pairings, an absolutely anarchic and personal parameter
As stated in the description of this category and as I wrote above, for me these are loudspeakers with a high emotional rate, which bring you closer to a precise idea of the original event, making you forget any, very possible, limits… Once again you can say that a loudspeaker capable of being coherent automatically puts its physical limits in the background.


Manufacturing and packaging | The first is excellent and of great essentiality, given that a large part is concentrated on the loudspeaker, unique in the world. As for transport, each speaker arrives in a large sturdy wooden box, with the lid secured by six self-threading screws. Once the screws have been removed from the lid, just tilt the case to the side, place it on the side of the lid and remove it by lifting it up. In this way, the loudspeaker will appear, resting well on the internal packaging of the lid and wrapped in a sturdy protective sheet and with an MDF panel held in place by two Allen screws to protect the loudspeakers. It is an operation to be done by two people, but with excellent materials and design. Both packing and unpacking a pair of Magus is child's play, with packaging that's proof of the worst delivery man.


Performance/price ratio | Very high if you consider the degree of intimacy with the music that can be obtained thanks to a full-range single speaker without crossover, the easy interfacing with the amplification and the simple layout in the room.

 

 

Official technical specification

Impedance: 8ohm
Max power: 40W
Efficiency: 92dB
Frequency response: 38Hz÷18kHz 6dB, frequency response may vary and depends on room size and accompanying electronic equipment
Dimensions: 25x100x40cm WxHxD
Weight: 30kg

 

Official distritutors: to Cube Audio website

Official current price: 9,900.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to my system

 

 

RIGHT OF REPLY | MANUFACTURERS FEEDBACK

 

Thank you. It is one of the best reviews that I read. It is very thorough and detailed and You managed to write about exactly what they do and how they sound. Congratulations!


Grzegorz Rulka

29/10/2021

Cube Audio Magus in white livery, catalogue image.
Cube Audio Magus in white livery, catalogue image.
The Cube Audio Magus are also available in black as standard. Wood finishes and RAL colours are on request.
The Cube Audio Magus are also available in black as standard. Wood finishes and RAL colours are on request.
The back of the Cube Audio Magus highlights the cleanliness of the project.
The back of the Cube Audio Magus highlights the cleanliness of the project.
The F8 Magus, an 8” bicone broadband, 14 cm deep and weighing no less than 8 kg: here mounted on the specimens of the tested cases, in wood finish.
The F8 Magus, an 8” bicone broadband, 14 cm deep and weighing no less than 8 kg: here mounted on the specimens of the tested cases, in wood finish.
Giuseppe
Castelli 作家
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