Cube Audio Nenuphar Single Driver Speaker (10 inch) TQWT Enclosure


Cube Audio (Poland) designs single drivers and single driver speakers. 

Principals are Grzegorz Rulka and Marek Kostrzyński.

Link to the Cube Audio Nenuphar (with F10 Neo driver) speaker page: 

https://www.cubeaudio.eu/cube-audio-nenuphar

Link to 6Moons review by Srajan Ebaen (August 2018):

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/cubeaudio2/

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Parameters (from Cube Audio):

Power: 40 W

Efficiency: 92 dB

Frequency response: 30Hz - 18kHz ( 6db)*

Dimensions: 30 x 50 x 105 cm

Weight: 40 Kg


* Frequency response may vary and depends on room size and accompanying electronic equipment.
Ag insider logo xs@2xdavid_ten
I took delivery in late February of the Cube Audio Nenuphars in the White Piano Finish.

My system is 100 percent computer audio for source.

Tidal / Qobuz via Roon

Small Green Computer Server > Sonore Signature Rendu SE.

Major components are:

Denafrips Terminator DAC > Grandinote Genesi Preamp > Found-Music 2A3 monoblock Amps > Nenuphar Speakers
I'll be auditioning them with my 45 amp in a week or two and will report back.
Art Dudley seems to have liked them at the Montreal show in March.
@ david_ten

Congratulations on your new Nenuphars!

I recently bought a small pair of full range drivers to hear for myself their attributes and I'm quite impressed with the sound quality and now see the beauty of eliminating crossovers/multi-drivers.

Wig
@david_ten How would you describe the different sound signatures of the Cube Audio Nenuphar vs the Tekton Double Impact SE?
Steakster good question...
@wig Thank You!

I’d love to hear your take and impressions of your new single full-range driver speakers.
@steakster @jayctoy

I’m breaking in a pair of Emission Labs 2A3 Solid Plates. Once I have around 100 hours on them, I’ll report back.

I will bring the SEs back into rotation at that time.
@ david_ten

I retrofitted a pair of 4 Inch Audio Nirvana Classic Full range drivers into my Energy Connoisseur C1 Cabinets which specs out around 53Hz-23Khz; 5 Inch Driver/1 Inch Dome tweeter. Not hearing any perceived roll-off in relation to the previous dome tweeter but the AN is just more vibrant and expressive.

No comparison! Right out of the box you will notice more transparency, clarity and a purity that is just phenomenal and talk about a disappearing act...I can hear unbelievable detail 50+ feet away on the other side of the house. The stock drivers were muddy and congested in comparison.

If this is what you get in eliminating crossovers/multi-drivers, I now see a change for me in the full range driver route. These are suppose to get even better with more hours and age.

Wig
David , single drivers are very addicting to listen, 
Anyone able to compare these to Zu, esp the Druid 6?
@spiritofmusic  The 6Moons review does compare the Nenuphar and the Zu Druid VI  [Note: VI within the body of the review but V listed in the intro section under speakers].
Reports from the front line would be great. Surely if you're considering one, you should the other. And vice versa.
@david_ten 

congrats those speakers look interesting and have some nice reviews..

would also be interested in your comparison between the Tekton SE's, in what areas you like and prefer in each brand.   i assume  the SE's  would probably have better dynamics based on two 10" bass drivers?   
I demoed the speakers last night and I'm impressed enough that I will follow that up with a home audition.
@exlibris  Do you know when you will be able to home demo the Nenuphars?
I heard them on April 3 at a dealer.
I was intrigued enough by the sound to get a home audition.  I don't want to say much more because it was a system and room that I wasn't familiar with.  I'm not sure when I'll get the home audition but I'll be sure to give a full report then. 
I demoed the Nenuphar again today.  It's a really incredible speaker.   For my taste, however, it was a little 'dry' and didn't have the emotional impact that I'm used to and looking for.  
With the right associated equipment I suspect (hope) I could dial it in but it would be a work in progress rather than a plug and play purchase.
I would describe it as a 'cerebral' speaker rather than soulful one.
It really can be intoxicating in terms of its spatial presentation, clarity, and the way it energizes the room. It's really special.     


Exlibris, I really think Zu Druid 6 could be right up yr street. It may be a little fussier than the 5 on amp demands as 213Cobra contends, but Zu is a highly emotional and immersive experience. Try to get a demo.
This thread is about the Nenuphar so I hesitate to talk about other speakers.  I did demo a German horn speaker in the same system that I heard the Nenuphar.  I found it shockingly good. My only decision now will be to purchase it or the model one above it.  My search is over.   I'll post about it over on thread that led to this thread. 
Let me just say again though how much I enjoyed the Nenuphar.  I think the 6moons review pretty much nails it in terms of it being able to almost alter your state of consciousness.   It's a heady experience and a very tactile one.  Even the way it plays ticks and pops is fascinating - they dance around the room and it's like you can actually feel them on your skin.  Prior to hearing the horns I was totally sold on the Cubes.  I just figured I'd need a Koetsu or Benz-Micro and maybe some 300Bs to get rid of some of dryness and slightly 'bleached' quality of the sound and bring a little more warmth, soul, and testicular fortitude to the proceedings.
A very key aspect regarding the Nenuphar is it was designed 'specifically ' to be driven by SET amplifiers with high output impedance/ very low damping factor (DF). I could imagine a perceived "dryness" to the sound of this speaker if the amplifier DF  is more than required for this unique speaker. It would effectively damp the life and "soul" of an already very damped/controlled driver with its exceptionally powerful magnet /motor unit. I suspect one wouldn't want or need a DF > 10 or so.
Charles 
A very key aspect regarding the Nenuphar is it was designed ’specifically ’ to be driven by SET amplifiers with high output impedance/ very low damping factor (DF). I could imagine a perceived "dryness" to the sound of this speaker if the amplifier DF is more than required for this unique speaker. It would effectively damp the life and "soul" of an already very damped/controlled driver with its exceptionally powerful magnet /motor unit. I suspect one wouldn’t want or need a DF > 10 or so.
Charles
Hi Charles,
I don’t think that it’s the architecture of the amplifier that is the cause; I think I’m simply hearing the paper in the driver.
I drove them with three different amps: my 2 watt Thomas Mayer 45 SET, a 150 watt Solution SS amp and, finally, with a 30 watt Unison EL34 PSET integrated amp. In all cases I perceived dryness. I need to stress that what I hear as dryness, others may welcome as neutrality and honesty. Everyone should listen to these amazing speakers and decide for themselves.
In Herb Reichart’s recent blurb he says "... (the Nenuphars) have a direct, fresh, nothing-between-you-and-the-recording presentation." I would agree with him but to me it felt more like "nothing between me and the stylus."
Hi exlibris, 
I get your point and understand the subjectivity we all experience with listening. No doubt that both the Nenuphar and Odeon horns are excellent sounding speakers but presenting their own individual sound/sonic character. 
Charles  
What an interesting design!They do look like flowers.Single driver designs intrigue me,but there's none to be found around here to audition.I enjoy hearing about other's experiences though.These are particularly fascinating.
@david_ten 


heard the speakers at Axpona. and they sounded nice, but  was not wowed by them,maybe the room/gear?

any updates on your pair and  do the Cube speakers  blow away the Tektons?    was looking for a SET style speaker and the Cube was on the list and also the Tekton SET speaker


@roadwarrior75  @steakster   and others.... I've been reluctant to post on your comparative questions due to my discomfort in possibly offending my fellow Tekton brethren. I have also developed a number of wonderful friendships initiated because of the Tekton Design speakers.  However, I need to cover this, so it may as well be now.

I encourage @charles1dad  to offer his take, as he's been with me throughout the move to the new amplification and speakers. He is more diplomatic than I and is better at communicating these matters, especially since he is approaching this from a non-emotional perspective.

First, I've heard the same regarding the presentation / performance at Axpona. 

In summary,  @douglas_schroeder was prescient in this post on the thread exploring my options prior to the Nenuphar purchase:

"When you build the alternative system and get it tuned up you will question everything you think you know about your reference."

There is no better way to elaborate on what I need to share... Douglas Schroeder's post conveys it all.

My reference has moved and changed, and in significant ways.

I have nearly 850 hours on the Nenuphars and am closing in on 250 hours on the Emission Lab 2A3 Solid-Plate tubes. The rest of the system, including cabling, has many, many more hours on it.

For all purposes the system is fully settled, though there are areas I will be addressing in the near future. For example, further positioning efforts, a new IC termination that will eliminate the adaptor, isolation, etc.

Three nights ago I brought the Tekton SEs into my system. This was a short A/B and I will be conducting a more thorough one. My family has been visiting this week and my brother was interested in comparing the two speakers (the rest of the chain was identical). 

He asked that we move the SEs out after a half hour. I pulled them out at the 2 hour mark. The SEs, in comparison [EMPHASIS: In Comparison only], sounded veiled, flat, slower, less engaging and involving than the Nenuphars.  He commented on how incredibly real and natural the music sounded via the Nenuphars and he was astounded at the level of clarity and musical information conveyed. He was especially surprised by the bass performance and insisted that I was 'lying' to him when I told him there were no separate bass woofers or subs in the system.

Nothing about the SEs has changed. They are likely performing at their very best at this point in time based on my current system. What has changed is my reference and preferences.

I have not heard the Tekton PS12 or PS15, so I cannot comment on them. 
@david_ten 


thanks for the update and comments about both speakers and your thoughts!

Cheers...
Ooops! Maybe, I shouldn’t have sold my tube monoblocks recently. Thx for taking the time to share your observations. I hope these Nenuphars exhibit at a show in L.A. soon.
You carefully put together a different system that you are thrilled with.That shouldn't be offensive to your friends:)I'm happy with my Tektons,happy for you,and would love to hear your system.Thank you for the interesting thread.
David,
I’m aware of how much you have enjoyed listening to the Tekton D,I. SEs and your genuine admiration  of them. I’ve heard the SEs and can vouch for their excellent sound quality. With the Nenuphar you’ve moved into a very different direction /realm of speaker design. From multi driver with crossover design to a single driver crossoverless design.

The SE has really good coherency,openness and transparency for a multi driver speaker. These parameters are the purported areas of strength of a single driver speaker. Within this genre (single driver) there is a hierarchy of quality and implementation. By reliable sources the Nenuphar is in the uppermost tier for single driver speakers. They may offer a level of sheer purify that few or any multi driver speaker would be able to match.

Reportedly the Nenuphar has simply stunning good midrange purity/tone/transparency (speaker just disappears) without sacrificing exceptional performance in the bass and upper frequencies. Quite an accomplishment that many other single driver speakers fall short of achieving. Having become accustomed to this premium level of single driver execution/sound quality I could imagine that even a ’very’ good multi driver (with its necessary crossover components) may in direct comparison sound veiled and flatter/less alive.

The 10" driver used in the Nenuphar is said to be unique and superb with its very powerful magnet/motor assembly. I do not consider your comments of comparison a knock on the Tekton SE at all. It is competing against the very strengths of what highly executed single driver speakers are all about. Also factor in you are using the type of amplifier this speaker was designed to be driven with. Your Found Music 2A3 SET is an ideal choice.
Charles
david this is a great thread! i get immense satisfaction from my omega speakers and decware set amp. i can only imagine what going up the the single-driver chain must be like. at least i can grasp the reality (:
Thanks, @jmolsberg  Here is Stereophile's quick take from the Munich show:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/cube-audio-nenuphar-loudspeakers-teutron-tu-2a350s-1-amplifier-lampizator-big-7-dac

NOTE: The amps being used are TEKTRON (not teutron)  : )
I love single-driver and coaxial speakers and have owned several.  IMO whizzer cones are a compromise and cause as many problems as they try to solve.  Ex: (again IMO) the Omega 3 series sounds much better than the larger drivers.  But they won't play as loud or as low.  The Coherent line from Canada uses a different approach with it's Radian coaxial works great and doesn't suffer any "whizzer tizz." 

Admittedly I have not yet had a chance to hear a pair of Cube Audio speakers but will at the first possible opportunity.

@br3098 
You absolutely  right, whizzer is anachronistic part from  cinema era  and 
I don't now why is came to  High End. How you compare the high quality 
tweeters to whizzer cone ?
I wouldn’t make the assumption that the Cube Audio Nenuphar suffers from some "common" whizzer limitation. Based on all accounts I’ve have been exposed to the Nenuphar is in a completely different category of performance/design success. Generalizations don’t apply here.
Charles
All speaker designers know what their speakers are and are not capable of, and all speakers are a collection of compromises.  There is no perfect speaker - that's why there are so many speaker types on the market.

Whizzer cones are a useful tool to help redirect and disperse the high frequency energy from a single driver speaker.  That's fine, but ALL whizzer cones change the response from the driver and add coloration.  Maybe these guys have achieved a design and methodology that works better - I don't know because as I have stated I haven't heard these speakers yet.  But based on what I have owned and heard up to this point, I will say that I prefer my single drivers to be whizzer-less.  That's all.

Cube Audio's website (regarding the F10 Neo driver in the Nenuphar):

"Cones and whizzers"

    "Once we had the motor ready and capable to control heavier moving cones and suspensions mass, it was time to do the cones. Plenty of experience for experimenting with 8" drivers came in handy. We knew where to start with. But that was basically it. 10" is a completely different beast. For a very long time we were not satisfied with the sound. There was a time where we didn't have more bass than from 8" driver which is basically pointless. Multiple times we had a prototype cone geometry that on measurements was absolutely linear and looking amazing to the point that studio monitors could be really envy, but the sound was dull and boring. Those times were very frustrating. Sometimes we thought that it is impossible to do a really amazingly sounding 10" fullrange driver. But we never gave up and experimented more and more with even more drive every next day.

   It was definitely worth it.  The final design consist of 4 cones. One being the main cone and 3 whizzer cones. The smallest cone is responsible for highest frequency range. With only one standard whizzer we never would never be able to go up to 18 kHz with a driver that in proper cabinet reaches 30 Hz region. So adding that little whizzer, solved one of the issues that we had. But there were plenty more of them. When you add a whizzer to the cone, there is additional interference between the cone and the whizzer. The mini high frequency whizzer and the main whizzer got together really well and the sound was way better than without it. There was still a geometry issue present though. Its diameter, height, surface, geometry, stiffness, damping, coating all are a part of final sound equation.

 

   To achieve the right amount of sound pressure in desired frequency region the most important of them all is geometry. There was one geometry that gave us amazing rich, colourful midrange, but on the other hand it interfered with the main cone in such a way, that a mods were pumping up mid frequencies. Since "shouty" vocals were not desired,  we had to do something about it. Here's where the third whizzer comes into play. That is a very elegant solution to change the interference mods of the whizzer and the cone. Due to changed geometry and distance, amplitude of the modes decreased. As a result  overall sound became sweeter, richer and more natural. At that moment we knew that this is the way to go."


More information on the driver design and approach here: 

https://www.cubeaudio.eu/cube-audio-f10-neo

Linked below is the latest review of the Grandinote Genesi preamplifier, from Mono & Stereo. It is the preamp I am using in my system for the Nenuphar speakers.

https://www.monoandstereo.com/2019/05/grandinote-genesi-preamplifier-review.html?fbclid=IwAR1TTVYR6ROK4FO_wcMFyX7xUqXQHEEopylQDY-bVF8jN--8tP4yvIj67HY

Congratulations to Massimiliano Magri (Max) of Grandinote!!!
@david_ten 

thanks for the link and sounds like the Grandinote is a nice preamp. do they offer RCA inputs or only balance inputs for their preamps? 

have you compared to a tube preamp  like a Linear MicroZOTL Preamplifier and your thoughts. LTA stuff is great and matches well with many types of amps.

cheers
@roarwarrior75  The Genesi Preamp only offers BAL Inputs and BAL Outputs.

I have not personally compared it with the LTA pre.

I agree...from everything I read and hear from LTA owners, their gear is terrific and a good value.
@david_ten 

Thanks and find it a bit strange that the preamp is only available in balanced Only?  probably rules out using this preamp with my SET amp that is only in RCA. (using a adapter maybe not optimal?)

LTA offers great performance and value indeed! would not be surprised if their latest preamp $4500  competes with the Grandinote?

Cheers
Can anyone compare Magus vs the Nenuphar ? Apart from more lower octave extension in the Nenuphar, do they differ much in the midbass and above ? With a pair of subs, will Magus come close ?

We have the Cube Nenuphars in the U.K. on demo. Drop me a PM for details if interested. Outstanding speakers.
I have heard both the Magus and Nenuphar.  Not as much a difference as I was expecting!  I heard the Magus after the Nenuphars, and they really wowed me.  The Nenuphar's had more bass extension, but everything else impressed me slightly more with the Magus, so much so that I didn't even care about any bass that might be missing.  The Magus are even faster than the Nenupars, with more air and treble extension.  Like the Nenuphars, the treble and the entire frequency spectrum is wonderfully balanced and coherent, coupled with stunning resolution that I think really is state-of-the-art.  These Cube Audio drivers with their very unique spiders are true innovations.  While listening to them, its strange hearing such transparency and 3-D tactile presentation while observing their simplistic appearance.  Listening to The Fairfield Four a cappella had more realism than ANY loudspeaker I've heard, they sounded so real in the room it was unsettling in a way.  The Nenuphar's can play louder and are more forgiving of poor source material.  I'm preferring the Magus now because their smaller size will work better in my listening room.  I'm trying to decide whether to buy the Magus or buy the Magus drivers and put them a DIY sealed box with a subwoofer...  leaning towards the DIY for flexibility in room placement.  

Jon, importer of Cube Audio, is sending a pair of Magus to Steve Guttenberg for review!




Thanks Deepfield. What was the source and amplification used for the comparison for interest?
Hi deepfield, 
Thanks for posting your listening impressions of the Cube Audio speakers. I do not doubt a word you have written. If I were to ever change my speakers the Nenuphar would be my choice. This Polish  company in my opinion has raised the bar for premium tier single driver speakers. I'm also curious to know what amplifier you used to drive these Cube Audio speakers. 
Charles 
Post removed 
I had the Nenuphars at home for a few weeks where I listened with my SET amps: Korneff 45, Fi X 2A3 and Line Magnetic LM805ia (805 power tubes); and non-SET amps: Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40, Schiit Ragnarok, and Nord One SE NC500DM MKII Dual Mono digital amp. I used my NAT Symmetrical line preamplifier when needed. With the Nenuphars, the 2A3 had the best overall sound at lower volume, but, as I cranked things up the Nenuphars liked the Line Magnetic and Linear Tube Audio amps. My source was a Mojo Audio Deja Vu music server and Rockna Wavedream DAC. Cabling was all Clearday. The Magus speakers I heard at Jon Ver Halen's house with First Watt SIT3 and F7 amps. His source was a Pass Labs preamp with a Metrum Pavane DAC, not sure what music server he had. He was using Duelund speakers cables which had me intrigued and impressed.

So, in fact, I was comparing the speakers in the context of completely different rigs, but their superb resolution, tonality and imaging came through in both instances.
Deepfield,
Thanks for your reply.  You have a very nice collection of amplifiers.
Charles 
Thanks deepfield for the information.

We are getting great results driving the Cubes with Mola Mola Makua/Kaluga’s and look forward to trying Bakoon amplification soon with the Cubes.

We have the Nenuphars at present and will be receiving Magus shortly. I’ll come back here with thoughts/findings when we have made comparisons
@deepfield  Thanks for sharing your impressions of the Nenuphar and Magus speakers. Much appreciated.