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/

----------------------------------------

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.
david_ten

Showing 50 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 
@toetapaudio,
Can’t explain that one specific example, could have been simply lack of awareness at that time. Certainly if you go through current and past threads there’s been ample discussion of similar type speakers and genre. I believe there's more exposure and awareness now.

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

Yep, horses for courses indeed.  In the 6 Moons Nenuphar review I believe that Srajan Ebaen put the speakers further from the front wall for improved sound quality. 
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

@vinpic, 
Do you prefer the Bakoon13R over the S.I.T. 3 driving the Nenuphars?
Charles 
The Nenuphars are so easily driven it seems that the beastly Aries Cerat amplifiers would be overkill in this specific application. I’m not doubting the sound quality of these  massive amplifiers.
Charles
debjit_g,
Line Magnetic is an excellent suggestion for a very high quality tube (Particularly SET as well as push pull) integrated amplifiers. I’d also recommend that you consider the Italian Tektron brand as well. They offer quite a large stable of integrated amplifiers as push pull or SET. This is the brand of amplifiers that Cube Audio always selects in their European audio shows and demonstrations.

I believe that most of their models fall well within your budget range.
Charles
debjit_g, 
Here's another possibility.  The Canadian company Coincident has an integrated amplifier named the Dynamo. It is available in two versions, el 34 or 300b (A bit more expensive but I think excellent for the Nenuphar). Both of these are single end circuits rather than push pull. The latest versions have bigger and  better output transformers and beefed up power supplies. Worth a thought.
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 
Hi Stephen, 
Thanks for the update. It seems clear that the Vinnie  Rossi hybrid is a fabulous match with the Nenuphars. It's gratifying to read how happy you are with this current system  set-up.  I believe that you will remain in joyful musical bliss for years to come. It's an achievement to get your audio system to a point where it all clicks for you. 
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
Cal,
Yes all things considered the EML XLS 300b has the best combination of sound quality and great durability and reliability. A  true workhorse tube.
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

Steve,

It has been fun following your  listening impressions and reporting as your system has evolved. After all isn't this the entire point ?  Discovering  ways to improve our music listening experiences. and engagement. It really makes me  happy  when someone  gets ever closer in connecting with their music be it streaming or a collection of recordings.

Charles

Hi Steve,

I am also not surprised that the S.I.T.-1 is even better with the Nenuphar than the excellent S.I.T.-3. It is a closer match to the type of amplifier the Nenuphar was designed for. More in line with (as you identify) a high quality zero NFB high output impedance tube SET. Yet one can still achieve stellar results with other types of amplifiers. I did also feel/sense that Srajan tempered the differences between the two First Watt amps when I read the initial Nenuphar review. Steve if sounds as if you have stepped deep into the realm of music lover’s heaven with the addition of the S.I.T.-1 mono blocks. I suspect you are hearing (certainly very similar) what David is hearing with his system..

Charles


Ricardo,
Given your experience with the Dynaudio, Devore and Magico speakers you have a very solid reference point of high quality competitors.  The Nenuphar Mini is so different philosophically and design I'm very interested in your take on it once you've had the opportunity to hear it.
Charles 

Stephen,

Thanks for your latest listening impression of your evolving audio system, your posts/comments are always interesting and fun to read. I would not be surprised if our listening  preferences overlapped  in the range of 80 % or so. .  The other 20 % we 'd make different choices (variety is the spice of life).  In my experience solid state (SS)  preamps 'generally' sound drier, less tactile and 2 dimensional compared to the very good category/level of tube preamps (For certain not every tube preamp is a good one).

I am  fully  aware that there are exceptions to my generalizatons. For example I have always been intrigued by the SS Robert Koda  preamp. I strongly suspect that I'd find it truly excellent. Your Pass SP 22 and S.I.T.-3 pairing could easily be another exception. I have no doubt that your current audio system sounds fantastic! I'm glad it is providing you such music listening joy.

Charles

riia,

You are right snd BTW I suspect I'd probably like the S.I.T.-1 even more than the highly praised S.I.T-3.

Steven

Coincident Statement line stage for over 10 years. I appreciate it more than ever. It's superb.

Steve,

Your comments concerning  the Shindo is in a sense surprising in regard to the level of perceived coloration/editorializing it imparted to your system. I do believe the Nenuphars unapologetically reveal all the is placed before them in the signal chain. So I feel that you heard the innate character of the Shindo Giscours as combined with your components and speakers.


I believe you would like the Coincident Statement Linestage (CSL) very much.  It utilizes a pair of the 101d DHT tubes and has transformer volume controls rather than one that is resistor based. Of its many attributes what stands out most IMO is the purity and transparency of its presentation. The natural tone/timbre/harmonics are rendered without gratuitous warmth or tint. Yet it’s the antithesis of clinical/threadbare/dry/analytical. The sense of flesh on the bone and living breathing performers is present.It has excellent dynamic capability and is very adept in revealing the nuances and subtleties of music reproduction.

You are very pleased with your Pass SP-22 and I can understand why. There’s no way I could say you’d be even happier with the CSL but I genuinely feel that you’d be pleased with it as well given your desire/preference of purity versus imposed sonic colorations. I suspect that the Vinnie Rossi DHT and the Trafomatic 10y DHT preamplifiers are excellent.

Charles

Steve,

There was a remote version of the CSL a few years ago. Israel Blume did subsequently discontinued this version. The latest MK II CSL is further evolution and refinement of my original model and I'm sure even better. Given the level of satisfaction you have with the Pass SP 22 I'd imagine that you have very little incentive to replace it. It seems an ideal match with your S.I.T.-1.

Charles

Congratulations David,
I know how much thought,  research and time you've devoted to this search and decision. In my humble opinion the end result for you will be extraordinary sound quality and music reproduction in your home.
Charles 

The F1 and F2 amps really have output impedances that high? This seems impractical for use with most any speaker. 80. and 15. ohms? Is there a missing decimal point? Particularly elevated for a transistor amplifier. What would be Nelson Pass' rationale for those levels? The S.I.T.-1 and 2 at 4 ohm I can understand.

Charles

The Nenuphar driver was very specifically designed to mate well with high output impedance amplifiers. It utilizes a "powerful" magnet to control the driver.  Srajan Ebaen  certainly confirmed this with his review where he used multiple amplifiers. the higher the output impedance (lower damping factor) the better the sound.


It is quite interesting how some listeners/owners of the speaker are reporting very good sound with amplifiers that don’t meet the desired criteria. It really seems that a high DF amplifier would deaden the sound of the Nenuphar as the driver would be markedly ’over damped’. I realize you have to trust what you hear but this seems very counter intuitive. I wonder what additional factors are involved here.

Charles

Keith,
I’ve heard Vaxativ single driver speakers a few years back and I wasn’t blown away for certain. Thin in the midrange and bass shy. From all indications the Cube Audio Nenuphar is a much more complete and satisfying speaker. I have no reason to doubt this as a fair number of listeners have confirmed this assessment. It's reported to be quite adept with all genres of music. 
Charles
Cal,
Good observation. It would be most interesting to see how the DHT preamp section  of the VR mates with the S.I.T.-1 My suspicion is very well and quite likely to surpass the Pass Labs preamp in this scenario.   Fun stuff.
Charles

Steve,

Cube Audio's Grezegorz made it clear to Srajan Ebaen that the voice coil excursion and the phenoic spider of the Nenuphar are very well controlled by the magnetic field provided by the very powerful neodymium magnets (81 total). He also mentioned the importance of the driver’s carefully determined geometry and level of cone/whizzer stiffness employed. Grzegorz clearly intended for the Nenuphar to pair in excellent fashion with low DF amplifiers.


It seems this speaker will also sound quite good with amps of higher (to a point) DF but will most probably display their ultimate performance with the targeted low DF amplifiers. Your listening impressions do seem to bear that out.

Charles

I googled the Yamaha AS 3200 and according to Yamaha,

THD 0.07%

Damping Factor (DF) is 250 at 1K HZ and 8 ohms

Those numbers suggest a generous amount of negative feedback NFB is utilized. On paper not a particularly good match for the Nenuphar but listening is the final arbiter.

Charles

Hi David,
Thanks for providing the 2 posts. Duke hit the nail directly on the head. When I switched from a very good push pull 100 watt tube amplifier to an 8 watt SET nearly 11 years ago this was my experience. Just as Duke describes, more musical nuance and inner detail revealed. Increased sense of performer presence. Simply more realism and definitely increased emotional connection/engagement with listening to music. Bottom line, more pure and natural sound quality.

I can now understand how the Bakoon amplifier generates  similar results to a good SET amplifier (Or in Duke’s case an Atma-Sphere amplifier). Zero NFB and a higher output impedance certainly suggests that the damping factor (DF) would be relatively low. This would make it quite compatible with the Nenuphar. Makes sense to me.
Charles
Robert,
Yes,
Now I wonder exactly which Bakoon amplifier jtgofish was referring to in his response to Duke on the damping factor thread. It sure seems as though there is variance amongst the Bakoon amplifier models.

There’s the possibility that a number of them could sound excellent with the Nenuphar despite differences in the level of DF. Again one would suspect the higher output impedance Bakoon amplifiers (Lower DF) to be (In theory) the preferred choice.
Charles

I would agree that although DF is a factor that needs consideration there are additional variables involved that also influence amplifier and Nenuphar compatibility. People are expressing happiness with the Bakoon 13R driving the Nenuphar so something is obviously going right to make this possible.

Charles

Hi cal,

However you made a valid point. Negative feedback (NFB) level manipulation does affect these amplifier parameters.

1 Gain output decreases as NFB is increased..

2 Output impedance decreases as NFB increases.

3 Damping Factor increases as NFB increases.

Output impedance and Damping Factor have an inverse relationship.

Charles'

Hello,
Looking at the level of the stated distortion and accompanying output impedance and damping factor of >10 (Does this mean But <20?) is consistent with a zero NFB (Or very low level of NFB). So based on these measurements they suggest that (on paper) this amplifier should be a pretty decent match with the Nenuphar. Only an educated guess as other aspects of the amplifier aren’t known. Speaker impedance =8 ohm ÷ output impedance of roughly 0.8=10 which is the DF (At least for 8 ohms).
Charles
David,
Thanks for the link posting. Srajan Ebaen really loves the Elrog 300b and as a former owner I understand why. It’s interesting that an upstart 2A3 impressed Srajan to such a degree. This Lanlai 2A3 is roughly 1/3 The price of the esteemed Elrog..
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

You wouldn’t want your preamp output impedance to be more than 1/10 (preferably 1/20th) of the amplifier’s input impedance. Al’s correctly points out that some tube preamps have output impedances that can exceed that level (particularly at certain frequencies). Good warning from Al. Not an issue with nearly all solid state preamps. To be clear divide the amp input impedance by the preamp output impedance.

Charles