The first thing you notice when unpacking the Dali Kubik One is the unusually heavy box. The device weighs almost 10 kg – I have never seen such weighty soundbars before. Some samples even weigh less when bundled with a subwoofer, but here there is only one speaker!
The weight can be explained simply – the body is made entirely of aluminum, and the soundbar itself is quite dimensional.
The Kubik One looks modern: rounded edges, two separate grills (there are three standard grill colors – white, black and red, but you can order six more optional ones), and between them there is a thin strip where controls and indicators are located.
The soundbar is controlled both with the buttons on the front panel, and through its own remote control, or learns from any other remote control. In other words, you can take, for example, a TV remote control and use its buttons to adjust the volume level on the soundbar. On the back of the Kubik One, there is a bass response switch to adjust the sound based on where the speaker is positioned against the back wall. However, I advise, without looking at the position of the soundbar, to try all three modes and choose the one that you like best.
The grills are easily removable and underneath (surprise!) There are two full channels, each with its own one-inch woven dome tweeter and a proprietary midrange / woofer with a 5.25-inch wood fiber-injected paper cone. In fact, two equivalent bookshelf speakers are installed in the soundbar cabinet, with the built-in Class D amplifier supplying power to each speaker separately.
All ports are located in a recess on the rear panel, and only a 3.5 mm mini-jack for connecting various portable equipment is brought out on the front side under the DALI logo.
Alas, this “cube” has no HDMI ports. Traditionally, a soundbar is considered to be a device that enhances the sound of a TV, and today it is accepted that it is connected via the most popular TV port, HDMI. At least that’s how most models work. It seems that DALI decided to focus on the audio part and did not drag all the electronics necessary for HDMI connection into the speaker.
There remains one more digital connection – optical. But there are some nuances here. So, my two TVs turned out to be unable to convert the output stream to PCM. They can only output it in AAC or MPEG format. However, the soundbar does not have any codecs at all (it only accepts PCM digitally), so the future buyer should take this into account. Check the capabilities of your TV if you plan to connect it via an optical cable. Of the outputs of the DALI Kubik One, there is only a linear one to the subwoofer. The power supply, which is nice, is built-in.
The soundbar can be placed on a shelf or hung on the wall. By the way, there are photos on the network where Kubik One simply hangs in the center of the wall in splendid isolation. It looks awesome, but maybe I don’t understand Scandinavian design enough.
But on the shelf, the “cube” looks quite organic, especially if you pick up some bright grill of cheerful colors, and it does not matter at all whether there is a TV nearby or not. It turns out a sort of compact audio system.
So, let’s move on to the most important thing – listening. And here the highlight of the DALI Kubik One finally surfaced: it turned out that the speaker does not sound like a soundbar at all. It is not for nothing that the manufacturer calls it “a universal Hi-Fi-quality system”! Familiar CDs sounded exactly as they would be played on a high-quality mini-system – high detail, good stereo picture and correct tonal balance in the entire reproduced frequency range.
Based on the specs, the Kubik One starts to sound from 48Hz, and I tend to believe that, perhaps in my room the lower limit is felt even lower. In any case, on the bottom-hole tracks of the Safri Duo, I did not feel the need to add a subwoofer, although for cinema it will definitely not be superfluous.
I liked the smooth reproduction in almost the entire frequency range – to some it may seem unnecessarily sterile, but everything is fair. Stereo images and musical images are drawn confidently and clearly. All in all, an extremely pleasant music experience.
I cannot call this device universal due to the lack of HDMI and built-in decoders. But on the other hand, the sound quality of Kubik One is really at its best, and if you put it at the forefront, then you will overcome the above disadvantages with the help of external players (or compatible TVs), which give out a PCM stream at the digital output. I cannot fail to note the original design and collection of replaceable grills – for some, these advantages can override all the disadvantages.