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REVIEW: UFi UCubes - compact, portable USB powered speakers that actually sound good - Page 2

post #16 of 32

Actually the DTA-1 uses a less powerful TA2024 in which case a cheaper TA2020 would always be a better buy but yes by the time you can spend $40+ and if in USA i would look at receivers/avr in craiglist beerchug.gif If space is issue rather than throw $150 away just stick to cans and a USB DAC IMO

post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trog View Post

Actually the DTA-1 uses a less powerful TA2024 in which case a cheaper TA2020 would always be a better buy but yes by the time you can spend $40+ and if in USA i would look at receivers/avr in craiglist beerchug.gif If space is issue rather than throw $150 away just stick to cans and a USB DAC IMO


It's not a better buy if it dies on you within a few months though. Not to mention the aesthetic issue, which I admit some people can happily overlook.

 

In any case, the UCubes fill a certain niche. They work very well within that niche, and they don't have a ton of competition there either. Am I saying they are the absolute best sound you can ever achieve for $150? No. But they do sound surprisingly good when used in the proper context (near-field), and they have a lot of other factors going for them as well. That's certainly enough to justify their existence on the market. 

 

post #18 of 32

Well, I wound up purchasing the UCubes for the office.  I could not be more pleased.  Really small footprint and sweet sound.  Crazy-good for something that is USB powered. FWIW, the IC that connects the speakers to each other looks different than those in the review (not a transparent  look), but I do not think it is a big deal.  Now I wish I got a bigger SSD on my MBA.  What a terrific travel set-up.

 

I also got the Soundmatters Foxl 2.2. (non BT). Wow!  For its small size -- and it is even smaller than I imagined -- it sounds very, very good.  And it is "bigger" and deeper sounding than I expected.  Not cheap, but totally unique.  Runs off battery for 5 hours or AC.  This will definitely be a travel staple for me, too.

 

Now, if UCubes comes up with a powered speaker system, I will jump on that too.

post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Mostro View Post

Well, I wound up purchasing the UCubes for the office.  I could not be more pleased.  Really small footprint and sweet sound.  Crazy-good for something that is USB powered. FWIW, the IC that connects the speakers to each other looks different than those in the review (not a transparent  look), but I do not think it is a big deal.  Now I wish I got a bigger SSD on my MBA.  What a terrific travel set-up.

 

 

That pretty much sums it up. I think a lot of people will overlook these things as a toy, which is indeed kind of what they look like in the pictures. But they really do have a lot to offer. Not the last word in overall frequency response, but what product is at this size and price? Like you, I'm enjoying mine quite a bit. 

post #20 of 32

 

Really liked the in-depth review of the Ucubes.

 

One correction, the BMR drivers are not 3 inch but much smaller drivers.

 

I listen to mostly the music you mention that sounds good on these speakers and they would really make for good travel speakers?

 

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post



I haven't heard the A2 so I can't compare. But they clearly go for different markets so it's not like they are direct competitors anyway.

 

As for your PartsExpress system.... I'm not sure I'd mess with that amp. The speakers are probably decent but not for nearfield listening on a small desktop. That's just my opinion of course. 

 

 

Thank you for the review, very informative. Attractive looking speaker no doubt.

 

I'm wondering though about your comment about the AE/UFi products not sharing a similar end user. Both are small desktop speakers that were really aimed at Apple users whether it is the iPod (AE) initially or the Macs (UFi) now.

 

The UFi are USB powered though which makes them attractive as a transportable option but I wonder how they compare to the A2 sound wise.  If they can perform closely then AE might have something to worry about as both offerings will be sold at Apple stores and I think some people will choose the UFi based on aesthetics alone, especially with iMac users. 

 

Smart business move though to aim them towards the Apple crowd, make them attractive and price them $50 cheaper.

 

Competition is always good for the consumer in the end.

 

Interested to hear some more impressions on the uCubes.

 

 


 

 

post #22 of 32

Funny/cheesy marketing video though ... what's with the creeper at the swimming pool and the old guy at the jungle gym? Surely they could of found some better spots to shoot at.

 

post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsl100 View Post

 

Really liked the in-depth review of the Ucubes.

 

One correction, the BMR drivers are not 3 inch but much smaller drivers.

 

I listen to mostly the music you mention that sounds good on these speakers and they would really make for good travel speakers?

 



I do think they are three inch drivers. Tyll at InnerFidelity took his a part, and you can see the picture in the review I linked to. The view is from the rear, but it appears that the driver goes nearly from edge to edge. The entire thing is over three inches, so the driver should be roughly three. Of course, when you see speakers claiming 5 or 6 inch drivers, those aren't always exact either, but close enough.

 

Yes, thes are great for travel, as long as you can keep from scratching up the pretty finish. 



Quote:
Originally Posted by mtkversion View Post

 

Thank you for the review, very informative. Attractive looking speaker no doubt.

 

I'm wondering though about your comment about the AE/UFi products not sharing a similar end user. Both are small desktop speakers that were really aimed at Apple users whether it is the iPod (AE) initially or the Macs (UFi) now.

 

The UFi are USB powered though which makes them attractive as a transportable option but I wonder how they compare to the A2 sound wise.  If they can perform closely then AE might have something to worry about as both offerings will be sold at Apple stores and I think some people will choose the UFi based on aesthetics alone, especially with iMac users. 

 

Smart business move though to aim them towards the Apple crowd, make them attractive and price them $50 cheaper.

 

Competition is always good for the consumer in the end.

 

Interested to hear some more impressions on the uCubes.

 

 


 

 


Thanks! I guess I meant that the USB only aspect of the cubes mean that they don't compete for the exact same customer. Both being small inexpensive speakers, they are somewhat competing no matter what. 

 

 

post #24 of 32

Ipod Classic (lossless) + HRT iStreamer + Yamaha MSP5 Studio

 

You can't get a better sounding and more compact system that that for less that $1,000.

post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

Ipod Classic (lossless) + HRT iStreamer + Yamaha MSP5 Studio

 

You can't get a better sounding and more compact system that that for less that $1,000.



That's arguable, but what does it have to do with these $150 compact USB powered speakers? 

post #26 of 32

Nothing, I think.  Come to think of it, I must have written that comment in the wrong thread.  Sorry.

post #27 of 32

What an interesting and useful review -- thank you!  Encouraged by this assessment, I just ordered a set of these speakers from B&H ($150, including shipping). They should be here tomorrow, and I'm hoping for the best.

 

A bit of back story:

 

I took delivery of the new (late 2012) 27" iMac a couple of days ago, and was incredibly disappointed by the speakers.  Zero base, tinny treble, and lackluster mid-range.  How some reviewers described them as amazing is quite beyond me. 

 

It didn't help that the 2010 iMac it replaced had a very decent sound system.  I felt like I was going backwards, at least in the audio department.  I knew I would never get used to the total lack of performance, which is what started me on a search for alternatives.

So I may post a review of my own, either here or on the B&H site.  I'm keeping expectations moderated, and will be happy with any significant improvement over the status quo.

post #28 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartpursuer View Post

What an interesting and useful review -- thank you!  Encouraged by this assessment, I just ordered a set of these speakers from B&H ($150, including shipping). They should be here tomorrow, and I'm hoping for the best.

 

A bit of back story:

 

I took delivery of the new (late 2012) 27" iMac a couple of days ago, and was incredibly disappointed by the speakers.  Zero base, tinny treble, and lackluster mid-range.  How some reviewers described them as amazing is quite beyond me. 

 

It didn't help that the 2010 iMac it replaced had a very decent sound system.  I felt like I was going backwards, at least in the audio department.  I knew I would never get used to the total lack of performance, which is what started me on a search for alternatives.

So I may post a review of my own, either here or on the B&H site.  I'm keeping expectations moderated, and will be happy with any significant improvement over the status quo.

 

Thanks - good first post. Welcome to HeadFi.

 

I know what you mean about the decline in speaker quality - not with iMac specifically, but in my case I noticed it with TVs. A few years back, many of the larger LCD and plasma displays had halfway decent speakers. Not amazing, but decent. In the quest for ever-thinner and ever-more-stylish designs, speakers have gotten worse and worse. I don't expect great music or anything, but some of the new models can't even reliably handle dialog because they sound so thin and tinny. 

 

Hopefully the uCubes satisfy you. As long as you keep your expectations in check regarding low end kick, I imagine you'll like them. Speaking of low frequencies - they recently released a matching subwoofer. It's $220 and is really tiny. Claimed output is down to the mid 40Hz range which should be plenty satisfying. The only problem is that point you've spent $370 which brings it in line with some tough competition. 

post #29 of 32
Hi. The uCubes have 63mm BMR speakers. For a subwoofer, try out the newly launched $150 FoxLO from soundmatters. I have written a review on Amazon. The bass is extremely good and clean. Its got a 3" woofer with two passive radiators in a 6.5 x 2.5 x 4.5" body. The only issue i found was that the level knob is fiddly and you got to adjust it to avoid clipping.
post #30 of 32

Appreciate the heads-up on the sub-woofer. It's tempting to consider, but the lack of desktop real estate is severe, as is the limitation of my available funds for such things.  Truth is, I struggled a bit to rationalize going from earbuds to the cubes, especially since the performance of my $12 buds was significantly better than the iMac.  What finally did it was my realization that I didn't want to be tethered to my computer -- especially by a cord that was just a bit too short.

 

I couldn't tell from the description:  does the sub-woofer connect to the earphone jack?  And I wonder how much I'd lose if I had to stick it under the desk, at my feet, or perhaps directly in back of the iMac.

The cubes definitely give more balance than iMac's built-ins, but frustratingly, the cubes actually miss some of the important instrumentation on the high end and mid-range which the iMac manages to provide, albeit marginally.
 

I think I need to stop chasing better audio at this point and be satisfied.  I just wish Apple had left well enough alone.

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