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.
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Showing 42 responses by charles1dad

I believe that it’s certainly possible the Schitt and PS Audio BHK amplifiers could provide good sound driving the Nenuphar. I would be ’very surprised’ if they approach the same level of sound quality as the S.I.T.2 driving these speakers. This is precisely the type of amplifier profile Cube Audio designed the Nenuphar to work with. I eagerly look forward to khragon’s amplifier comparison comments post listening sessions. The high DF and low output impedance is exactly what the Nenuphar driver doesn't require or need.  This should be an  exceptionally insightful exercise. 
Charles 

Hi Steve,

Your Billie Holiday example is an excellent one. As I improved my audio system over the years I became more aware of recording flaws yet this was overpowered by the increased naturalness of tone/timbre nuance just as you observed . This heightened awareness was particularly noticed when I began using my 300b SET amplifiers. The ’naturalness/realism’ factor went up a level without question. I can certainly see how the Nenuphars could have the same effect (if not even more so). Bottom line, you aren’t distracted by recording imperfections.

Bill what are your Clayton amp’s specs in regard to

Damping Factor

Output impedance

Utilization of NFB?

If you read the initial 6 Moons review of the Nenuphar you'll find considerable discussion on these parameters and their effect on the speaker’s performance.

Charles

David,

Thanks for providing the link to the Cube Audio Mini Basis review. The final sentence on page 6 Srajan sums it up well in regard to High End Audio. "The absolute sound is what you like best"

His effective weather/climate and coffee analogies for the two amplifiers  work well  for me. Given my taste/bias in music reproduction, I'd  choose the S.I.T.-3 over the obviously excellent (as well) Bakoon.

Charles

Hi larryi,

Your assessment of the Nenuphar makes me curious as to what components were used upstream in the signal path. I’ve become convinced that the Nenuphar simply delivers what it is fed. Srajan of 6 Moons has particularly made this point on several occasions. While this could be said of any number of good quality speakers it seems especially so in regard to the Nenuphar.

David whose ears I trust has owned these speakers for a year and has had none of the shortcomings you identified. Now to be fair David has truly excellent components in his system and no doubt this is a factor. But this makes my point as to the impressive honesty of the Nenuphar. Larry as always I appreciate your informed insight and comments. For an example  of upstream changes, Srajan noted this speaker sounds crystal clear and a ’touch’ nordic cool with the Bakoon amp.

The speaker clearly sounds warmer/fuller/richer with the S.I.T.-3 amp. So the sound heard via the Nenuphar is ’quite’ different merely by changing the power amplifier.

Charles

larryi.

Just to be clear I welcome your listening impressions and opinion. There is no ’perfect’ speaker and that’s a fact. I found your critique interesting as I believe David had some concerns about full range single driver speakers that you mentioned. Fortunately for him these concerns/fears did not materialize in his system. I know his experience with the Nenuphars has been outstanding. David forgive if I’m putting words in your mouth. BTW David is using the superb Found Music 2A3 SET mono blocks.

Charles

Hi khragon's,
Congratulations and I'm so happy with your very successful results.  It is just as the Cube Audio owner/designer would have predicted for you.  He designed the driver with a very light mass paper cone and an extraordinary powerful magnet motor assembly to absolutely provide excellent damping control. 

A high DF amplifier will simply over damp the driver leading to a dead/lifeless sound quality just as you described.  The Klipsch is a very different speaker and would very likely benefit from increased DF. Horses for courses.  The S.I.T.-2 is a splendid choice as you now can affirm. 
Charles 
It seems to me that the Gold Note amplifier’s DF switch is actually manipulating the level of NFB. As NFB is increased the DF increases and the output impedance and gain level decreases.

I have no experience with the Townsend isolation platforms but I do not doubt their ability to improve the performance of speakers and audio components. Effective management of resonance and vibration is definitely worth pursuing.

I can attest to the considerable positive attributes of the Star Sound Apprentice platforms beneath speakers and components. These are excellent well engineered products. Their impact is undeniable in my audio system.
Geoffkait's  explanation for the necessity of a wide/large footprint to ensure good isolation  makes much sense to me.
Charles

Stephen,

David uses 3.5 watt 2A3 SET mono blocks with superb results and preferred them in direct comparison to an excellent quality el 34 PP amp and his excellent T+A SS amps. I believe you’d be very happy with a good quality 300b SET (8 watts usually) driving your Nenuphars..

At European audio shows Cube Audio often demonstrates with 2A3 and 45 SETs to reveal how easily driven the Nenuphar is.

Charles

Agree, and this is why people must know their own listening expectations/ demands and intentions when attempting to pair amplifiers and speakers. This is truly an individual endeavor.

Charles

Hi Steve,
 Your comments and listening observations are always insightful and interesting. Some people mock the idea of audio component burn-in and say it's merely psychological or just getting use to components/speakers sound character. I believe that burn-in is real. I don't claim that differences are night and day in degree but certainly quite noticeable. 
Charles 

 
 

Hi David,

Thanks for your insight into recent listening experiences. Does your T+A 300 watt amplifier offer any additional advantage specifically related to large scale symphonic/choral music at high volume levels? It's clear (to me) you prefer the 2A3 Found Music amplifiers under virtually all other listening conditions (Genre and typical volume level).

Charles

The JJ 2A3 40 has a reputation as a very good sounding tube for reasonable cost. I be quite curious as how it compares to the EML 2A3 solid plate (SP) David currently uses. David if you ever decide to try the JJ I’d be interested in how it fared against your excellent (My opinion) EML in your high resolution system that seems to easily bare all sonic nuance/subtleties. This would informative.
Charles
Hi David,
Okay,  "you've been there and done that" with regard to comparing the two 2A3s. So much for that😀. The EML is much more expensive and their performance should reflect that. Based on my experience with the EML XLS 300b I can vouch for the following 
Excellent sound quality 
Exceptional reliability 
Very long life span

The EML 2A3 should no different.
Charles 
David,
Your description of the essential differences between the two EML tubes is on the mark and I’d have little further to add. Both are excellent sounding but the mesh plate tube has to be placed in an amplifiers with friendly /gentle operating points. It’s a more delicate tube. The solid plate version is a very rugged heavy duty workhorse (particularly the XLS version).
Charles

Sakso136,

I've been very curious about Aries Cerat for several years as I'm very intrigued by their design approach and philosophy. I thought the Genus amp used the 813 DHT as output tube driven by the Siemens  so called "super tube". Regardless I imagine this amp paired with the Nenuphar sounds outstanding.  I have no doubt.


In a perfect world I'd love to hear your amp compared to David's superb Found Music 2A3 mono blocks. Two very different amplifiers for certain but the Nenuphar bringing out the best of both of them.

Charles

Hi sakso136,

 Thanks for the update information regarding the Genus amplifier. The 845 is a wonderful tube in my opinion. I've heard the Elrog 845 in a friend's amplifier and it was heavenly. A few years ago I had the Elrog 300b in my amplifier and it was beautiful sounding but unreliable (I had the very early production tubes). I understand that the latest generation Elrogs have solved the reliability issues. Given the Aries Cerat approach your amplifier will have a fabulous over built power supply.

Charles


Considering the acknowledged superb sound quality of the Nenuphar,  if Lii  Audio drivers approach 90% of their performance that would be some feat given the cost differential. I hav6no idea if this is a possibility. Obviously someone who has access to both would have to compare them and submit a listening impression.

In the big picture the more of these types of high quality higher sensitivity drivers that are easy to drive the better. Match them with excellent quality low power amplifiers and you'll have the recipe for really natural and emotionally involving/organic sound. This is a good path to travel. 
Charles 

sakso,

Your comparison of  the 9 watt 300b amp and the MBL 300 watt amp is consistent with findings from other posters earlier in this thread. It drives home the unique design/intention of the very special driver used. An ultra controlled driver cone doesn’t need additional damping (DF) control from the driving amplifier.

As you and others have demonstrated excess amplifier DF will deteriorate the sound quality of the Nenuphar. Your powerful MBL amp very likely has a relatively high DF (and low output impedance). These traits are no doubt desirable for some (perhaps many) speakers. The Nenuphar is an entirely different approach. Given the superb results of the AC Genus/Nenuphar pairing one could assume the Genus amp has very little (or maybe zero) NFB and thus a low DF and moderately high output impedance. Ideal for the Nenuphar..

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 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  
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
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
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 
Deepfield,
Thanks for your reply.  You have a very nice collection of amplifiers.
Charles 
Steakster,
 I also believe that David's audio system sounds "absolutely stunning ". A first rate signal chain (Denafrips, Grandinote Genesi and Found Music 2A3 SET) and the purity of the Nenuphar.  My gut feeling is that the level of naturalness,  tactile realism and subsequently deep emotionally involving/connecting music listening experience is simply sublime. No doubt in my mind that this system pulls you into the music and keeps you there. IMHO this is more difficult to accomplish and is more satisfying than Hifi spectacular objectives. 
Charles 
Hi sale84,
Your situation is totally expected and predictable.
The designer/builder has clearly stated the Cube Audio Nenuphar is specifically meant to be used with amplifiers possessing
1 little or no NFB
2 Relatively high output impedance
3 low damping factor (DF)

The special single driver has a very powerful magnet/motor assembly and is very well damped and controlled. An amplifier that utilizes high levels of NFB which results in very low output impedance and high damping factor is exactly what you need to avoid.

It is no surprise the superb Nenuphar speaker sounds magnificent with a high quality SET amplifier (Most often zero NFB) such as your Line Magnetic 845 or David_ten’s teriffic 2A3 SET mono blocks. High NFB amplifiers (which yields very low output impedance) are detrimental. IMO the Nenuphar is worth every penny based on feedback I’ve received. BTW solid state amplification are  fine as long as they adhere to the designer’s recommendation/ guidelines.
Charles
Saleh84,
Your Gryphon is an excellent amplifier "with the right speaker". Some speakers demand amplifiers with high current delivery with lower output impedance due to low and difficult to drive load characteristics and often steep phase angles. The Nenuphar is the antithesis of this type of speaker. Your LM 845 wouldn’t be a good choice with these current hungry speakers. I much prefer your LM /Nenuphar approach.
Charles

David,

I'm not surprised that  stepping up to a higher quality better  engineered brass spike would  be noticeable. Better vibration/resonance management is a worthwhile  pursuit. Particularly a speaker the high caliber of the Nenuphar will easily reveal the differences.

Charles

Hi toetapaudio,
Other than presumably lower frequency region differences,  have you heard other sonic distinctions between the 8" and 10" Cube Audio drivers in your showroom system?
Charles
Toetapaudio,
Thanks for your thorough characterization of these two what I believe are spectacular speakers. I really think that these Cube Audio speakers are cut from a different cloth compared to other single driver wide band speakers. I don't doubt that they sound splendid with transistor amplifiers that avoid over use of NFB and unnecessary damping factor levels. Srajan and Cube Audio have clearly emphasize this point. 
Charles 

Stephendunn,

With the stated output impedance of your OTL amplifier I suspect you're going to have a very fine match with the Nenuphars. Congratulations and I look forward to your upcoming listening impressions. I believe you'll be quite pleased with what you hear.

Charles

Hi Steve,

Congratulations! I believe you have made a wonderful decision in choosing the Nenuphar. Based on what I've been able to learn about this speaker from owners and reviews I feel it sets a new upper tier standard among single driver speakers. Given your current components and power amplifiers, IMHO you will have superb sound quality and beautiful music reproduction. If I were constructing a new audio system today I'd begin with the Nenuphar.

Charles

Steve,

 I believe at a lower price point the Tekton Perfect SET and the Canadian Coherent  Audio speakers may have come close to your wish list. However when many factors are taken into consideration the Nenuphar remains very formidable. I just get the sense this speaker personifies 'naturalness' which is a quality many speakers fail to achieve.

Charles

Stephen,

Thanks for sharing your initial listening impressions, you obviously had quite an enjoyable and insightful experience. It will only improve from its excellent debut. I have no doubt the Nenuphar sounds fantastic with either of your amplifiers. It’s great to read that you are presented with such realism and ’completeness’. You must be thrilled with your decision to purchase these superb speakers. "a feeling of encountering the real thing" That sums it up beautifully.

Charles

I’m curious to know how the Schitt Aegir pairs with Nenuphar. On paper it seems an undesirable match given its low output impedance and very low THD figures which suggest generous use of NFB and very likely high damping factor (DF). Cube Audio intentionally designed the Nenuphar driver to be compatible with amplifiers the opposite of this. 6 Moons reviewer Srajan Ebaen confirmed this with his  multiple amplifier comparison driving the Nenuphar.  The higher the output impedance the better the sound/match. The ’highly controlled (very powerful magnet/motor assembly) driver needs very little DF to function at its optimal performance.

However the proof is in the ’listening’ and there are always exceptions to measurement predicted outcomes. khragon’s listening impressions will be insightful and I look forward to reading them.
David both reviewers basically just confirm what the Cube Audio owner/designer so openly shares with everyone willing to listen to him. That extraordinary driver he painstakingly developed simply doesn’t need a NFB amplifier with gratuitous DF levels (low output impedance) to control it as many other speakers do benefit from. Frankly I am surprised that the PS Audio BHK amplifier has such a high DF (>350) that’s a lot of NFB being utilized in that circuit design.

Nevertheless wouldn’t it be something if both of khragon’s amplifiers sound terrific driving the Nenuphar? This speaker fascinates me. David I can easily understand why it sounds superb with your 2A3 mono blocks or the LTA Ultralinear amplifier mentioned earlier above.
Charles
The Klipsch is a high sensitivity speaker yet may possibly  benefit from more power due to crossover design and big woofer control. The crossoverless,   very easy to drive load Nenuphar is a different animal. S.I.T. 3 amplifier and Nenuphar is considered to be a splendid pairing. As they say, "horses for coures".
Charles
cal,
I suspect that the F4s would quite likely work out well with the Nenuphar. I'm somewhat surprised you preferred them over the Atma-sphere M60s and the Pass Labs XA 25 with your speakers.  I get that the Frankenstein's 8 watts isn't enough for your PRE. The Frankenstein would very likely be an excellent match with the Nenuphar. 
Charles 

In regard to cables. silver vs copper there are so many variables involved as cal alluded to. Either material can sound smooth and warm or cold and sterile. Quality of the wire, geometry, dielectric material chosen, connector selection, on and on.  .I've had wonderful results with silver I.C.s and speaker cable in my system over the years and the Ocellia has been superb for me. Without question many could say the same about their copper wire experiences.

Charles

Cal,

You did it the right way by actually listening to various amplifiers in your own audio system. At that point you just have to trust your ears and 'know' what type of sound presentation you prefer. This stuff is so personal and that is what makes it fun and  so interesting.

Stephen you have two excellent amplifiers for your Nenuphars and listening impressions can and do change over time (particularly if burn-in is a factor). The First Watt S.I.T.3 is a formidable component. I just believe that the Nenuphar has remarkable purity and transparency (without being analytical) and reveals what's fed into it within the system.

Charles

David,

The T+A’s reasonable DF level and its negligible NFB no doubt contribute to its perception/reputation of being a very organic sounding  transistor amplifier compared to many other solid state brands. Also explains why it pairs so well with your Nenuphars. I guess it comes down to what someone desires as some amplifiers are touted for their DF greater than 1000!!! This is viewed as a + attribute.

Charles

khragon,
 Nice ! It will be quite interesting to read how these very different amplifiers  sound paired with your Nenuphars. I believe this will be a very enjoyable endeavor.
Charles