|Wilson Audio CUB II Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Friday, 01 September 2000|
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The CUBs are very expensive for a less than full-range speaker. Although very good within their given range, let’s be honest: can we live with a big-dollar speaker that falls short of the lower frequency excitement that many of us yearn for in our music? I would love to own the CUBs myself, but could I live with them as my only speakers? Probably not, but I would sure love them for most of my music. Personally, I have a taste for high energy in my music - bass that can get into my soul. I would consider WATT Puppys as my entry-level buy in the Wilson line, but I can’t yet meet the $20,000 price tag and I imagine I never will. However, I don’t want to imply that the CUBs are not exciting - they just aren’t full-range. At $10,000, with stands that are essential, they must be compared to other speakers in their price class and a few below. The first models that come to mind are my current reference speakers, the Revel Studios, which cost between $10,000 and $11,000 per pair depending on the finish. The Martin Logan Prodigies would also be a strong contender at $10,000 per pair, as well as several speakers in a lower price class such as B&W Nautilus at $5,000 per pair and Revel Performa F30s priced at $3,500 per pair.
Many choose to use a sub with Wilson CUBs. There are several subs available that I would consider as a good match. Of course, the Wilson XS would be amazing but, at $18,000 and over four feet tall, the XS would be overwhelming with the CUBs. Jerry Del Colliano uses two Sunfire Signature Subs with his WATT Puppy 6.0s at a cost of $1,895 per sub. One or two Sunfires would match well with the CUB IIs well.
My instinct is to not match a sub with CUB IIs, as the advantage of the CUBs is that they are very fast loudspeakers. When set up correctly, they can produce satisfying, but not physically jarring bass. In a 5.1 audio or home theater system, a sub is a must. Rumors have been flying about smaller, powered Wilson subs, but none have hit the market yet. Considering the quality of sound from Wilson subs over the years, as well as their excellent finishes, a future Wilson sub might make the best match for a CUB II, but you will not be missing out too much between now and then.
Whenever I read about a mini-monitor, it almost always generates a mental picture of a specialty product for a group of listeners that are primarily interested in pinpoint imaging of simple vocals, and perhaps some small venue instrumental music. There are inherent advantages to the smaller enclosures. Among these are less potential enclosure interaction, as well as a typically more efficient speaker. If you share in any of these misconceptions, let them go, because the Wilson CUBs are so much more. The CUBs are dynamic and exciting. They are capable of absolutely startling imaging. They lack the low-end punch of the big boys but, to their credit, the bass they do provide is good, real good. In fact, if you compare them to many full-range speakers in their price bracket, you might find the other speakers’ bass to be slow and fat when contrasted with the ultra-quick bass response of the CUBs. However, I will say that the CUBs are not for everyone. Their less than rock-bottom bass response and sometimes less than polite top end makes this the speaker for the connoisseur, rather than the person looking for the ultimate full-range do-any-music speaker system. Whether you are in the market for a speaker system in this range or not, find somewhere to hear these speakers. They are simply wonderful.