A portable speaker with integral amplifier, headphone amplifier and audiophile-grade USB DAC input; with extraordinary sound.
A portable, tiny and sturdy (just over 2 inches cubed), the NuForce Cube is the perfect “triple treat” for music lovers on the go – a great-sounding portable speaker with integral amplifier, headphone amplifier and USB Digital Audio Converter (DAC) all in one. The Cube has been justifiably awarded 5 star awards and ‘best buys’ from reviewers in Hi-Fi magazines around the world.
The Cube is designed and engineered to be your all-in-one mobile audio center. If you want good sound wherever you go, then you’ll find it an amazingly convenient and easy to carry with you. If you want a compact home speaker, look no further.
In one tiny cube-shaped enclosure, NuForce have built in a quality headphone amplifier, high performance speaker, and audiophile grade USB DAC. Whether your music source happens to be a computer, cell phone or other portable music device, the Cube can accommodate them all while significantly improving their sound.
The Cube as loudspeaker: You can hear NuForce’s experience in high end audio equipment design in the Cube’s superior sound, which blows all cheaper and many more expensive portable speakers out of the water.
With the Cube, you no longer have to sacrifice great sound for portability. Despite its small 2” cubed size, the Cube offers audio detail, depth and dimension other portable speakers simply aren’t designed to deliver. You’ll hear the character of your favourite singer’s voice, the clarity and fine details of the musical instruments, their is subtlety and dynamics you will hardly believe from such a small speaker.
USB DAC: The Cube’s USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) accepts digital music directly from the computer and bypasses its DAC, because computer DAC’s are often low-quality and result in compromised sound. So expect a major improvement in sound quality!
Headphone Amp: The Cube’s optimized amplifier circuit takes the audio to a new level, providing plenty of power to drive even the most power-hungry set of headphones. It helps ensure that the headphones provide all the clarity, detail and power they’re designed to deliver.
Cube Product Specifications: Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Battery, single charge lasts 8 hrs. Rechargeable by USB charger or computer USB port. Dimension: 58.5mm x 58.5mm x 60.0mm high Available Colors: Black, Silver, Red, Blue Included Accessories: 3.5mm stereo cable 0.6M, USB Cable 0.7M, soft carrying pouch Features High quality USB DAC (16bit, 48kHz) Headphone amplifier Special adaptor for the iPod Nano is available. With the adaptor in play, the duo becomes one of the world’s smallest, high-quality music systems. NOTE: Nuforce USB Audio devices are designed to work with x86 architecture. Tablet devices running Windows 8 (RT) are not supported.
Sound Fidelity say:
“It is not often one finds a product that offers so much from such a small box. Two Cube’s wired for stereo either side of the laptop at work, take up no space at all and sound totally delicious. Listen from a decent source like an Astell and Kern DAP and you will not be disappointed (unless you are a bass loving head-banger!!!). Now we are looking for a compatible mini-sub bass unit to properly extend down a couple more octaves.”
Reviewed by Gadgetmac, July 2012
Meet the latest of NuForce’s audiophile-grade audio devices, the Cube. No this is not the Allspark in disguise, and although it looks cute, it’ll tear your ears apart with room filling sound. What is it? The Cube is first and foremost a portable speaker designed to serve up big audio despite its tiny size. If that’s not enough, the Cube is also an all-in-one portable speaker, headphone amp and at your computer desk it serves you as a USB DAC. Is this the wonder cube you’ve been waiting for? We go ears on in the full review right after the jump!
The Cube measures just above 2-inches and comes inside fine looking packaging as if it were designed to pay homage to Apple’s iPod packaging. Included with the Cube is a 0.6m-long 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a 0.7m-long USB to micro-USB cable. We haven’t yet gotten to talk about the Cube and we’re already disappointed with what we’ve found inside the box. Contrary to NuForce’s misleading Cube shots showing its supposedly higher quality, better looking Transient red cable being used, what you really end up getting is a cheap black cable with lower quality 3.5mm plugs which aren’t as slim as the ones on the Transient cable and won’t fit every smartphone or tablet that has a protective case on.
The Cube can be picked up in several different colors, and all of its multi-functioness will set you back $120. Build quality wise, the Cube feels well built with a part aluminum, part plastic body and svelte mesh speaker grille. The design is very clean, modern and looks like one of Nokia’s Bluetooth accessories more than anything. It’ll look good no matter where you use it.
When just about every portable speaker released these days prides itself at offering wireless music streaming, the Cube focuses more on audio quality by using wired connection for superior sound quality and better battery life. The Cube’s built-in rechargeable battery life has been terrific nearing the expected 8 hours on paper.
If you’re looking to enhance the audio quality that comes out of your smartphone, MacBook Air or tablet and still keep an ultra-portable setup, then the Cube will be your best friend. The Cube has a few things going for it, but its stronghold is its size. It can fit and be carried with you anywhere you go.
Using the Cube couldn’t be any more simple. If you haven’t yet noticed, there are no buttons or switches to be found. The Cube’s body is smooth for the most part. Plugging in your audio source turns the device on and a tiny red LED light will turn on behind the mesh speaker grille letting you know the unit is powered on. The only way of turning off the Cube is by unplugging your audio source cable. So if you forget to unplugg the cable, the battery will drain quickly. The Cube has no standby mode to help conserve battery life unfortunately.
The Cube offers up two ways of connecting an audio source. It has a micro-USB input for charging and utilizing its USB DAC functionality for hooking up a computer as well as a 3.5mm audio source input for connecting just about anything like a portable audio device, and a 3.5mm headphone output. Either way, the Cube is very easy to user and user friendly.
NuForce’s Cube literally blows away any speaker that shares its small cubic size. The Cube was built to be a pico-sized portable speaker without sacrificing sound quality. However, I wasn’t expected much out of this speaker only because of its toyish size, but I ended up being blown away with just how great the sound came thru. The Cube has very impressive audio performance for its diminutive size which makes it a superb portable ‘do-it-all’ speaker for the price. And even though this is a mono speaker and not stereo, the audio is very much enjoyable and will be most suitable for on the go applications using a smartphone or a tablet more than anything else.
Obviously you aren’t going to experience outrageously good sound quality using the Cube as a speaker. The Cube does lack bass and full, rich which in turn creates a flatter sound compared to other speakers. But what it lacks in it compensates for with sweet clarity and outstanding high end performance that really does a great job bringing out the vocals better than most portable speakers twice its size with twice as many drivers. I’ve noticed that instruments, and vocals in particular sound detailed and come out very clear. With such good high-end performance, the Cube delivers a treble heavy sound signature that’s more suitable for listening to non-bass heavy music and watching YouTube videos with the occasional movie watching and game playing.
SOUND QUALITY: The Cube can spit out impressive loud, room filling audio for its size trumping the much larger portable speaker, the Jawbone Jambox, without distorting one bit. And that’s no easy feat.
CONCLUSION: As far as we know it, the Cube is the best performing pico-speaker we’ve come across.
The bottom line is, if you’re expecting night and day difference in audio quality while using the Cube’s USB DAC and headphone amp features, you’ll be sorely disappointed. With that said, we think that the Cube as a speaker is without a shadow of a doubt one of the more capable micro-sized portable mono speaker you can get. The Cube does a good job being a high quality speaker in itself without requiring any of these extra features. You won’t believe the loud, clean audio that comes out of NuForce’s Cube.
Read the full review here.
Reviewed by Kyle for Headfonics, November 2012
This is a speaker. And an amp. And a DAC. All for $99. It even comes in blue! This is a Nuforce Cube, and it’s by far one of my favourite pieces of portable audio gear I’ve owned. But does it sound good?
The packaging of the Cube is pretty Apple-esque. The clear plastic displays the glory of the Cube’s design and protects it from falls (which I accidentally tested). Once the top part is removed, you are greeted by a small metal box. Under the compartment is a mini-USB cable, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a manual, and a fabric case. The cables themselves aren’t very good at all; the USB cable didn’t work for instance, but I’m fairly sure that’s a very isolated case. The 3.5mm cable is about the same quality as a Fiio 3.5mm cable.
The Cube itself, however, feels incredibly nice. The top and sides of the Cube have a metal (aluminum?) shell that looks very slick, especially in the cyan mine is. The rear is sadly black, but houses the mini-USB port, headphone jack, and line-out jack. The front has a removable grill of the same color as the metal. Underneath the grill is a 1 inch speaker and bass port. My one niggle is that the LED is REALLY bright. Other than that, I definitely feel like this is a $100 product. In fact, it’s something that I feel belong in an Apple store because of its combination of packaging and general usefulness. But does it sound good?
Well, that depends on what you’re expecting. The laws of physics simply will not allow much bass from the speaker at all. There’s a definite form of impact, but even iBuds have more bass. What bass is there is reasonably defined, but honestly, don’t expect too much.
When we move up to the mids, there’s finally some good qualities. Compared to the bass that is. Again, the midrange is reminiscent of iBuds, but honestly, that’s not so bad. No matter what anyone says, I’ve always thought that iBuds had okay mids. The Cube has a far amount more detail though, which is better than I expected. Most instruments are decently conveyed, but ironically, I’d recommend lower instruments for the Cube. Vocals and high instruments are a little bit too bright for my tastes.
Speaking of highs–and this is a problem I’ve come across with all portable speakers–there’s too much of them. Again, this is almost a universal problem, so I can’t complain too much. I struggle to call them sparkly–they border on harsh.
I did notice that the Cube sounds a lot better when it’s pointed directly at the user. Any deviation from direct center muddles up the sound a bit.
But if you’re buying the Cube for analytical listening, “You’re doing it wrong.” The Cube is not meant for analytical listening; it’s made for, well, life. I was supposed to have this review done a month ago, but I’ve been too busy actually using it. I keep it in my car just in case some friends and I have an impromptu party in a parking lot or something and don’t want to waste fuel by playing music through our cars’ speakers. It might not sound amazing, but it just works. And it works in more than one way. Headphone jack on someone’s laptop broken? No problem! Let me get my Cube. It has a DAC.
Actually, the DAC isn’t half bad. it’s significantly worse than my home system’s, but in a pinch, it sounds better than onboard sound. Bass is slightly more defined, mids are much clearer, and treble is a little less grainy. But the amp might have more to do with that.
Honestly, the amp isn’t that great though. It’s nowhere near as good as a CMoy and doesn’t really increase volume much because they don’t have a potentiometer. Like above, bass is tightened, mids are clearer, and treble is better. But again, that’s not the point.
In my eyes, Nuforce has achieved the impossible. Nuforce created a lifestyle product that actually makes a lot of sense. It’s a jack of all trades, master of none. But I’m okay with that. For only $99, I get a usable speaker, okay DAC, and an amp. None of its functions individually sounds amazing, but as a whole, I can’t imagine being without it.
This is a relatively short review for a product that doesn’t really need too much introduction. Seriously, if you think you’d use this, there’s absolutely no reason not to buy it. I mean, it’s cheaper than an Audio Technica M50. It may not be fantastic at anything, but the wonder of the Cube is that it really doesn’t do too much wrong. Again, it’d make a very nice gift, and with Christmas around the corner, this should definitely be something to consider. Parents, if you don’t know what to give your kids for a birthday gift or something, take a good look at this.
Read the full review here.
Reviewed by Bill Henderson for The Gadgeteer, December 2015
NuForce has a winner with the Cube. Maybe it would be more useful with Bluetooth, but for what it is and the fact that it only costs a hundred bucks (with an amp and DAC included!), how can you go wrong? It’s perfectly priced for holiday giving.
One more thing: I review many items that are cool, fun and amazing, but when the review is over, many of these items end up on a shelf to be used occasionally. The Cube is not on a shelf. It’s in my backpack.
Reviewed by Jon Myles for Hi-Fi World, November 2013
NuForce’s range of amplifiers has a reputation for being clean, clear and rather marvellous to listen to. So it’s no suprise that the Cube displays some of the same traits… it punches rather more [bass] than its diminutive size would suggest.
Its major highlight is a rather lovely mid-range and treble for the size. The Cube also has a rather good sense of timing – which was revealed by a blast of Led Zeppelin’s ‘trampled underfoot’. Foot tamping, smile-inducing joy, even while working away at the computer.
What it has going for it is an enclosure that seems fairly resonant free. Push the volume up a bit and there’s no sense of rattle or shake around the driver. That, in itself, is a credit to the quality of build.
It’s small, it’s cute and delivers a rather loveable performance for the price. If you want a portable speaker – or if you just want to get a better sound from your home computer or laptop – then the NuForce Cube hits the mark.
OUTSTANDING – amongst the best.
Beautiful form-factor allied to a rather beguiling sound. There’s little to dislike about the NuForce Cube. Just plug it in and enjoy.
- great sound
- good battery life
- little bass
5 / 5