|Ambiance Acoustics Super Cubes Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Wednesday, 09 February 2011|
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Good recordings really shine with the Super Cubes. Yes' 2004 release, Magnification, is notable for the orchestration provided by soundtrack composer Larry Groupe, largely replacing the keyboard textures of prior lineups. The album is a melange of musical textures and melodies, highlighted by Groupe's arrangements and the artistry of the band members. I was taken by the suave and brooding strings announcing the beginning of “Give Love Each Day.” The sound is close and detailed yet I felt like I could reach into the air and grab the notes with my hands. That studio hall ambiance and sense of intimacy made for a great experience. The Super Cubes, however, do not suffer poor recordings. Listening to the Allman Brothers Band Live At American University was an almost painful exercise. The music and band are fine, but the recording is so tinny that it's almost like listening through a two-cans-and-a-string play telephone. Dynamics are smeared, smashed and crushed; sonorities are tempered and tamed.
By contrast, on another Allman recording, Seven Turns, the results were completely opposite. I caught myself doing an about-face as it became difficult to distinguish the tracks from a live, in-studio session. Open, rich and radiant acoustics flowed forth as the band members coalesced into a single musical entity. This is the sense of exhilaration one gets from “being there” - like a rush of wind carrying guitar notes and harmonies through the air and dancing around the ears. You not only hear the music but “feel” it. Re-creating that experience of a live performance is what the Super Cubes do very well. In the late 1970s, guitar-slinger Ronnie Montrose's self-named band broke up, after which he formed Gamma. The group's second album, Gamma 2, is a forgotten hard-rock release. If you like Bad Company and your songs served up with a heady dose of expertly crafted riffs, check out Gamma. Vocalist Davey Pattison sounds like a cross between Paul Rodgers and James Dewar. The spacey blues crawl of “Voyager” is worth the price of admission. Background winds swirl around Pattison's voice and Montrose's otherworldly lines, while the Super Cubes deliver all the punch and fire.
Finer top-end details are not the Super Cube's forte. Listening to tunes from The Beach Boys Sunflower album, I noticed some of the knottiest arrangements lacked impact and the clarity of detail from subtle dynamics that can bloom only with a speaker whose design accommodates such demands, but again that's an error of omission – Salvi's compromise.
Lively and life-like - from the get-go the Super Cubes go a long way to putting you concert, stage-center for a private performance of your favorite recordings. The Super Cubes are not for the music generalist or casual listener, but if your tastes run toward rock and/or you want the experience of a live performance, these are worthy of serious consideration. Placement is paramount – for the Super Cubes and listener – but find the sweet spot and you'll be rewarded with engaging sound from this unusual and fun speaker system.
Ambiance Acoustics Super Cubes
Yamaha R-S700 Receiver
Emotiva Audio ERC-1 CD Player
Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 turntable
Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 moving coil phono cartridge
Parasound Zphono Preamplifier
RS Audio Cables Kevlar Starchord Power Cable
RS Audio Cables Illume Silver Interconnects
RS Audio Cables Illume Silver Loudspeaker Cables