So ever since I've had my laptop, the audio from its so called "speakers" has always underwhelmed me. First off, I could barely make out what people were saying when listening through the speakers, let alone be able to enjoy music. So I came across the NuForce Cube and thought it would be a great solution.
USB from a PC
Stereo mini from a portable device
The speaker of course
3.5mm stereo output for headphones
Well, after 3 weeks with the Cube in my system, I can very safely say that I am very happy to have it in my setup. I can now watch YouTube videos and not have to miss much of the audio. Netflix movies are now more enjoyable and I can have music on in the background when not listening to headphones. I'm amazed how such a little unit (see below) can give such big sound:
The other added bonus, is for poolside listening; all I need now is my iPod Classic and the Nuforce Cube (+ my LOD) and I've got hundreds of albums at my finger tips for playing outside. Now it doesn't sound like my home theater speaker (with 6.5" woofers), but again for the size and portability that this unit offers, its still a worthy option. The bass response is quite good for a unit of this size, but it does roll off at around 80Hz, but again when considering the size of the unit (around 2.3" cube) it is understandable. The mids/treble are quite clear and if you don't have much desk space (like I do) for speakers or want to take a portable speaker outside on a picnic, in the backyard or by the pool, you would be very hard pressed to find something better.
As an added on bonus, the Nuforce Cube also has a headphone out as shown here:
This is a great little DAC/Headphone amp as well. It sounds very clean with deep taught bass, nice and full mids and very well extended treble. The imaging is quite good too. But from memory, I did prefer the Nuforce uDAC-2 when used with headphones/IEMs. The advantage with the Cube is that it's an all in one solution in a very small package. Power wise, it was surprisingly able to drive my HD800s to very loud levels. It did sound better than out of my laptop audio output or my iPhone/iPad directly. Given the multitude of functions that this little unit provides, good sound quality (especially for the size) and with the reasonable asking price of only $119, I think NuForce has a real winner here.