What is the Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7?
Cuby 7 is a wireless speaker equipped with nifty new technology that aims to eliminate the age-old problem of the ‘sweet spot’. Called WiSound, this audio innovation has been developed over several years by engineers from Crystal Acoustics and academics at the University of Patras, Greece.
Traditional speakers only deliver optimum sound quality if you’re sitting in a particular part of the room (the sweet spot), but the reality is that most people don’t sit directly in front of their speakers “on axis”. Single-box speakers are usually placed on shelves or furniture and people tend to move about while listening. To that end, Cuby 7 uses seven multidirectional drivers to create a 360-degree soundfield that stays the same wherever you are.
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Cuby 7 hails from Crystal Acoustics’ Reference Wireless Series, a group of products that all use WiSound technology. The series also includes the £219 Cuby 5 (which uses five drivers), plus two soundbases – the Teevy 5 and Teevy 6 (the latter we’ll be reviewing soon) and a Teevy soundbar.
Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7 – Design and Connections
As the name suggests, the unit is a cube measuring 235 x 235 x 235mm. These compact dimensions make it easy to place on shelves or kitchen tops without hogging lots of space. Our sample came with a gorgeous red lacquer top panel, but it’s also available in white, black and four wood finishes – Walnut, Oak, Rosemah and Rosewood.
This cool, sophisticated look makes Cuby 7 quite the talking point. The red finish contrasts strikingly with the black speaker cloth wrapped around all four sides, while another cloth panel on top conceals the upward-firing drivers. Also on top is a small panel of buttons, including input selection, play/pause, mute and volume. Two LEDs glow orange, blue or green to indicate which input is selected.
Build quality is outstanding – the lacquer finish exudes luxury and the MDF cabinet is heavy and robust. The price may seem steep, but you’re more than getting your money’s worth on design alone.
On the back are analogue stereo, 3.5mm minijack and optical digital inputs, plus a USB port for charging portable devices. The unit also features built-in Bluetooth with aptX. Crystal Acoustics is planning to launch a version of Cuby later in the year with Wi-Fi and multiroom functionality, but for now it’s Bluetooth only.
Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7 – Features
Cuby 7’s key feature is WiSound and here’s how it works. Inside the cube are seven strategically-placed speaker drivers facing forwards, upwards and sideways. They radiate sound towards the walls of the room, the reflections from which enhance the direct sound coming from the speaker. This creates a big ‘spherical’ soundfield (that even includes an element of height) with a consistent tonal balance from any position in the room.
The driver complement includes four 2in midrange drivers (two in the sides, two facing upwards), two upward-facing ¾-inch tweeters and one forward-facing 6.5-inch subwoofer. The amplifier provides 2 x 25W of power, and frequency response is quoted at an impressive 35Hz-27kHz.
Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7 – Operation
Using Cuby 7 is a breeze using the clearly-labelled top buttons, but you can also control it from the sofa using a small, slender remote. Sadly the quality of the zapper doesn’t match the unit itself – it sits awkwardly in the hand and the fiddly blister buttons are a pain to press.
Pairing Bluetooth devices is a painless process and it’s easy to toggle between the three inputs with the input button on top or the individual keys on the remote.
Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7 – Performance
Cuby 7 lives up to its creators’ bold claims with a stunning performance that rewrites the rulebook for wireless speakers. As promised, those seven WiSound speaker drivers muster a massive sound that fills our high-ceilinged living room with lashings of deep bass and sparkling high frequencies.
Music sounds punchy and full-bodied, but with plenty of polish. It’s a surprisingly complete sound for such a compact speaker, delving deep into the bass frequencies and reaching high into the treble. You don’t have to go easy on the volume either – it handles loud volumes without batting a red-lacquered eyelid.
Even more impressively, WiSound delivers on its promise of a tonally consistent sound from any listening position. Walking around the room while streaming Happy by Pharrell Williams from Spotify, the hi-hats and gospel claps lose none of their crispness from any angle, while the funky bassline remains punchy and agile. Pharrell’s voice cuts through the mix and loses none of its prominence when heard off-axis.
Switching to Get Lucky by Daft Punk, the infectious bassline locks tightly to the punchy disco drums, while WiSound’s expansive “sphere” of sound gives the whole thing an almost live feel. If we’re being picky, it over-emphasises the high frequencies a touch but we’re too busy strutting round the room to care too much.
Of course, this ability to fill a room also pays dividends when you hook it up to your telly. We piped Edge of Tomorrow into the optical input and Cuby 7 proves itself a worthy alternative to a soundbar or base. The beach drop scenes are suitably loud and rousing, with big bassy explosions and sizzling high-frequencies as the Mimics thrash about in the sand. WiSound’s open, expansive output, combined with the heavy bass notes, give the action a sense of scale that most Bluetooth speakers would struggle to match.
Should I buy the Crystal Acoustics Cuby 7?
Cuby or not Cuby, that is the question. The answer is definitely the former. Deluxe build quality, chic design, innovative tech, superb sound quality with music and movies – Cuby 7 boasts all the ingredients of a must-buy product.
Its sound is weighty, dynamic and detailed, plus WiSound does a great job of making sure this excellent performance is maintained wherever you are in the room. There’s a decent range of sockets too, plus Bluetooth for easy music streaming.
Complaints are minor. Wi-Fi and multiroom would have been nice, but that’s on its way. The remote is poor too – an upgrade is required for the next generation, please. Otherwise Cuby 7 is a terrific Bluetooth speaker that perfectly suits today’s music listening habits – stick one on your shortlist.
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Fabulous sound quality and stunning design make this one of the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested, plus nifty WiSound tech is a revelation for modern music listening.