|Wilson Audio CUB II Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Friday, 01 September 2000|
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Wilson Audio is a name that needs little formal introduction. In business for over 20 years, creator of the WATT/Puppy - AudioRevolution.com’s 1999 Speaker and Product of the Year - Wilson Audio is the company behind the new entry-level CUB II loudspeaker. Few companies over the decades have sustained Wilson Audio’s high measure of success and respect within the audio industry.
At first glance, the Wilson CUB’s look is pretty darn basic. They resemble fairly typical mini-monitors. That is, of course, if you are looking at them from across a room. The finish on the CUBs, as with all Wilson loudspeakers, is second to none. Wilson calls this their WilsonGloss finish. For those who haven’t seen WilsonGloss at close range, we’re talking pure art. This article and the photos here couldn’t begin to do justice to the finish on the CUBs. I recently had the opportunity to visit the Wilson factory in Provo, Utah, and saw firsthand how this finish is achieved. Perhaps I was a tad skeptical - okay, very skeptical - about what goes into these mega-dollar speakers to warrant the enormous price tags. I left most enlightened.
I learned that Wilson machines the front baffle out of the same proprietary phenolic resin that is used in the making of the Grand SLAMMs. The side, back and inside baffles are made from a high-density MDF. The cabinets are assembled, prepped, sanded, then find their way into a state-of-the-art paint facility for a fit and finish second to none, essentially as good as and clearly inspired by the finest European automobiles. Frankly, these speakers look expensive to build.
The industry has long known that the speaker cabinets themselves are a strong contributor to reproductive coloration. The best cabinets are made with very dense materials and constructed in a manner intended to eliminate cabinet resonance. The best cabinets are designed so that if there is any resonance, it exists in frequencies outside the audible range. I did find that when the CUBs were driven to their highest limit, the cabinets were almost dead to the touch, with minimal outside vibration. Of course, there was little ultra-low frequency output in this test, but it was nevertheless impressive. As for the knuckle test, not a chance I would rap my hand against this finish. A friend or two made a move towards the CUBs with knuckles at the ready, but I quickly put a stop to that.
The CUB is 22 inches tall, nine-and-a-half inches wide, 19.5 inches deep and weighs a dense 75 pounds per speaker. The speaker configuration consists of two matching six-and-a-half-inch drivers, and a center-mounted one-inch inverted dome titanium tweeter. The CUB has a listed frequency response of 45Hz to 22kHz. The rear of the CUBs have single speaker inputs - meaning they are not bi-wireable - and two rear enclosures that contain the speakers’ crossovers potted in resin, which inherently makes the network more stable. The CUBs have an asking price of $7,500 per pair.
The primary differences between the original CUBs and the CUB IIs from an audio standpoint are in the tweeters. The all-new tweeters are more transparent and musical than those of the original CUBs. The speakers have a new look that is much improved over the originals and have much better serviceability if they should ever need repair. On the original CUBs, the WilsonGloss finish was an option; now it is a standard feature.