NVA Cube 2 review

lpv

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Courtesy of Richard Dunn I had on home demo: NVA Cube2 speakers [£1000], NVA AP50 integrated [£700], NVA LS6 speaker cables [£300]
I’ve tried them in two different rooms on a Soundstyle Z1 stands
1st - 6m x 3m living room, regularly furnished, brick walls, suspended wooden floor, I’ve spend about 8 hrs moving the speakers and listening
2nd
- 3m x 3,5m bedroom, after a dinner break I moved to the bedroom with nva’s trying to find sweet spot…rather empty space, two laundry dryers, ironing board, toys.. In both scenarios and moving the speakers a lot [ as per Richard Dunn instructions] in order to get them right the bass is uncontrolled, slow, all over the place, spoils the midrange and ruin vocals badly…there’s this nasty nasal layer over vocals something you notice immediately if you’ve ever spend some time with quality monitors… the midrange is recessed, stereo image average.. sound changes as I walk the room.. the Cubes are not producing balanced sound. Put some bass heavy music and it feels like 6,5 inch mid/bass driver wants to cover sub bass too but instead there’s undefined rumble far from tuneful, controlled or agile.. in fact, the bass is wrong to the point where stops me from any serious listening and further comments regarding sound quality.I think I can exclude possibility of bad positioning as in both rooms I moved the cubes a lot; I’ve started close to back wall [as close as the speaker cable allowed] and away from corners and moved them further away until I ended up almost in the middle of the room… you can read on NVA website: ‘ designed as semi omni to integrate with the room acoustic instead fighting it the way normal speakers do’ [ there’s no crossover and single capacitor as the low frequency protection].. I must say I did not experienced supposedly positive integration with the room acoustics as per manufacturer claim… no matter where I’ve placed them the bass was wild and abandoned. Yamaha HS8 [good for house parties, dance music or as an outdoor speaker as I’ve also used them] was most bassy speaker I had and still more precise and with ‘room control’ switches at the back I could reduce bass output if needed. You’re left on your own with Cubes if bass won’t integrate with your room as you can’t reduce the excess of it. I appreciate there are NVA customers out there in love with the products; they may all have ‘better' rooms, different taste and simply love this sort of sound. My reference for tuneful, controlled and agile bass from a 6,5 inch mid/bass driver is set by AVI DM10..

this is not ‘child friendly’ [ note the brackets; for the record: anything can be/ cannot be child friendly but if I have a choice and kid running around I think twice and I choose wisely] system; due to material used corners of Cubes and amp are sharp [something I notice straight away while unpacking components]; while I wouldn’t mind NVA amp sharp corners [as this component is often on the rack] I do mind speakers sharp corners… also, glossy & acrylic isn’t my first choice when deciding on speakers finish.
cables are very stiff so can’t hide them easily or push hifi unit right against the wall because of the inflexible cables hanging at the back;
no remote control is a massive minus for me.

NVA £2000 system seems a very poor value and bag of problems this system possess makes a big no-no for me. I can’t see myself enjoying NVA’s...
I don’t even try to compare NVA to AVI DM10 as both systems are on antipodes of decent sound reproduction..


I need to remind and warn anyone: if you ever sending any equipment using courier service don’t forget to take photos while packing and just before the actual package leaves your premises. I forgot and the next person that received the loan equipment [3 boxes: 2 with the speakers and 1 with the amp] blamed me for no protection or care at all with the amp and cables as the 'box was soaking wet on the underneath and ripped/ damaged in one corner with one speaker cable sticking out of the box. The amplifier itself was wet/ condensation on the underside, marked up mess, no bubble wrap, not cleaned’.. also, the amp was missing 2 of its feet.

I admit, did not polish Cubes or amp before packing and neither I’ve received polished. I’ve put bubble wrap and cables around the amp same way I’ve received them. The boxes were dry and not damaged when leaving my house.
 
avole said:
which you can't do with AVI. In fact, I'm not even sure you can return AVIs after the compulsory distant selling 7 day trial period as the ex-director (if he is) claims they are built to order, and therefore not covered by consumer protection legislation.

Some clarification is needed by both parties, methinks.

This being the case then perhaps both are best avoided. ;-)
 

avole

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which you can't do with AVI. In fact, I'm not even sure you can return AVIs after the compulsory distant selling 7 day trial period as the ex-director (if he is) claims they are built to order, which means the speakers are therefore not covered by consumer protection legislation.

Some clarification is needed by both parties, methinks.
 

drummerman

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NVA have always been a little idiosyncratic but do have a loyal following.

Never heard any of their products so can't comment.

Thanks for your impressions.
 

lindsayt

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I am quite happy to suggest NVA or AVI products when I think they are appropriate to the person I'm recommending them to.

Best value comes when you buy them 2nd hand.

This NVA system clearly sounded bad to lpv in his room with his test tracks.

I'd like to thank lpv for sharing his thoughts on this NVA system.

So far, I have lost a system bake-off to NVA (on the basis of overall sound quality). I have never lost one to AVI. Or at least I think I haven't?

To clarify this I'd like to ask lpv the following two questions about the ATC vs AVI vs EV bake-off on September 23rd:

Would you say that in your opinion with your tastes that you think that the AVI's sounded overall better (as in more realistic), about equally good, or worse than the EV's?

And would you also say that for someone who craves dynamics, zip, life, bounce, sparkle, an attention grabbing sound - that the EV's would sound better to them, about the same or worse than the AVI's?

These questions may seem off-topic, but depending on lpv's answers I might then have some further questions that may, or may not shed some light on this thread...
 

lpv

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lindsayt said:
I am quite happy to suggest NVA or AVI products when I think they are appropriate to the person I'm recommending them to.

Best value comes when you buy them 2nd hand.

This NVA system clearly sounded bad to lpv in his room with his test tracks.

I'd like to thank lpv for sharing his thoughts on this NVA system.

So far, I have lost a system bake-off to NVA (on the basis of overall sound quality). I have never lost one to AVI. Or at least I think I haven't?

To clarify this I'd like to ask lpv the following two questions about the ATC vs AVI vs EV bake-off on September 23rd:

Would you say that in your opinion with your tastes that you think that the AVI's sounded overall better (as in more realistic), about equally good, or worse than the EV's?

And would you also say that for someone who craves dynamics, zip, life, bounce, sparkle, an attention grabbing sound - that the EV's would sound better to them, about the same or worse than the AVI's?

These questions may seem off-topic, but depending on lpv's answers I might then have some further questions that may, or may not shed some light on this thread...

all I wanted to say is included in relevant thread. I've got nothing else to say as I heaven't heard EVs since.
 

luckylion100

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Was following this elsewhere online and waiting in eager anticipation for your feedback.

Shame that so many on here can't seem to help themselves and attempt to hijack the thread,
 

lindsayt

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lpv said:
all I wanted to say is included in relevant thread. I've got nothing else to say as I heaven't heard EVs since.
I've read very carefully everything you've written and I'm still not sure what your answers would be to my 2 questions.

If you'd rather not say publicly what your answers are then that is entirely up to you.

But it does lead to the question: why do you not wish give your answers to my 2 questions?

Especially when you've so clearly stated the results of your NVA listening tests in this thread.
 

Andrewjvt

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As it was only my 2nd of this sort of thing and having time to reflect, im pretty sure now why some reviews take 'weeks' to evaluate equipment.

Ita easy to be impressed at first listen only to find holes after a while.

While i dont take back my findings of the impact/realism i have a lot of questions regards distortion/congestion.

Also living with the scm11s (although bass is not the strong point) amaze me daily how dynamic they are and composed. The fine detail that can be picked from aby recording (i found the avi dm10s the same. Although slightly clearer than the 11s. With the 11s giving a thicker reproduction)
An example of the quality of the scm11s while watching the 2016 jungle book when shere khan jumps at mogli - well the power and volume increase really smacks you full on i mean really goes up like rockect in room (without sub) and that also is a plus for the hegels power here. But the bad wrap they got. Anyone can come and listen to see.

I also think that people evaluate or listen to music/equipment differently or look for different things.

So what im trying to say is i at least need more experience in these bake off sort of things to get my balance right and wish i could have listened to the nva cubes.

Darius. We should get together again for another avi atc some time and see what we think after a 3rd one?

I feel its fair to bake off like for like ie: book shelf v book shelf (same size drivers)

Lindsay once ive built my atc clones (if i ever get round)
Then id be up to bake off again
 

lpv

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Andrewjvt said:
Its easy to be impressed at first listen only to find holes after a while.

precisely.
EVs, I've said everything I wanted to say in the relevant thread and Lindsay, if you want me to say more I need another listen; good news is that I want to have another listen at all... not for few hours, for few weeks, at least, if precise answer to your question is required. not that you would like to lend me your EVs or that I'd like to have the beasts in my house ( however, our little one could appreciate it, hide and seek in bass port?).. not that you let me live in your castle or I wish to leave my family.. so it can be difficult.Cubes, on the other hand, I did not like them from start to finish and I have no desire to have another listen... Andrew, I'm open for a 3rd avi/ atc.
 

james_LR90

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Just to add more clarity to the review here is the full bake off thread from hi-fi subjectivist.

http://www.hifisubjectivist.org/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=48008
 

lpv

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I recommend to go ahead and feel the vicious and abusive bunch of nva creatures in full glory.. you won't like our acrylic miracles? we teach you a lesson.. *dash1*

ps. 'no ad hominem' is their slogan *wacko*
 

drummerman

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Andrewjvt said:
As it was only my 2nd of this sort of thing and having time to reflect, im pretty sure now why some reviews take 'weeks' to evaluate equipment.

Ita easy to be impressed at first listen only to find holes after a while.

While i dont take back my findings of the impact/realism i have a lot of questions regards distortion/congestion.

Also living with the scm11s (although bass is not the strong point) amaze me daily how dynamic they are and composed. The fine detail that can be picked from aby recording (i found the avi dm10s the same. Although slightly clearer than the 11s. With the 11s giving a thicker reproduction)
An example of the quality of the scm11s while watching the 2016 jungle book when shere khan jumps at mogli - well the power and volume increase really smacks you full on i mean really goes up like rockect in room (without sub) and that also is a plus for the hegels power here. But the bad wrap they got. Anyone can come and listen to see.

I also think that people evaluate or listen to music/equipment differently or look for different things.

So what im trying to say is i at least need more experience in these bake off sort of things to get my balance right and wish i could have listened to the nva cubes.

Darius. We should get together again for another avi atc some time and see what we think after a 3rd one?

I feel its fair to bake off like for like ie: book shelf v book shelf (same size drivers)

Lindsay once ive built my atc clones (if i ever get round)
Then id be up to bake off again

Yes. As soon as speakers are involved, they should be comparable in size. No point otherwise imho.
 

Andrewjvt

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drummerman said:
Andrewjvt said:
As it was only my 2nd of this sort of thing and having time to reflect, im pretty sure now why some reviews take 'weeks' to evaluate equipment.

Ita easy to be impressed at first listen only to find holes after a while.

While i dont take back my findings of the impact/realism i have a lot of questions regards distortion/congestion.

Also living with the scm11s (although bass is not the strong point) amaze me daily how dynamic they are and composed. The fine detail that can be picked from aby recording (i found the avi dm10s the same. Although slightly clearer than the 11s. With the 11s giving a thicker reproduction)
An example of the quality of the scm11s while watching the 2016 jungle book when shere khan jumps at mogli - well the power and volume increase really smacks you full on i mean really goes up like rockect in room (without sub) and that also is a plus for the hegels power here. But the bad wrap they got. Anyone can come and listen to see.

I also think that people evaluate or listen to music/equipment differently or look for different things.

So what im trying to say is i at least need more experience in these bake off sort of things to get my balance right and wish i could have listened to the nva cubes.

Darius. We should get together again for another avi atc some time and see what we think after a 3rd one?

I feel its fair to bake off like for like ie: book shelf v book shelf (same size drivers)

Lindsay once ive built my atc clones (if i ever get round)
Then id be up to bake off again

Yes. As soon as speakers are involved, they should be comparable in size. No point otherwise imho.

The same goes for willys lol
 

lindsayt

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drummerman said:
Yes. As soon as speakers are involved, they should be comparable in size. No point otherwise imho.
I totally disagree when the small speakers are marketed as being far better sonically than the large speakers.
 

lpv

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lindsayt said:
drummerman said:
Yes. As soon as speakers are involved, they should be comparable in size. No point otherwise imho.
I totally disagree when the small speakers are marketed as being far better sonically than the large speakers.

no one said anything about small speakers being sonically far better apart from you...
 

lpv

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Hi Lindsay.. recently you stated atc scm11 are worth no more than £200 ( if I remember corectly) and dm10s no more than £700.. what price would you stick on nva boxes?
 

lindsayt

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lpv said:
Andrewjvt said:
Its easy to be impressed at first listen only to find holes after a while.

precisely.

EVs, I've said everything I wanted to say in the relevant thread and Lindsay, if you want me to say more I need another listen; good news is that I want to have another listen at all... not for few hours, for few weeks, at least, if precise answer to your question is required. not that you would like to lend me your EVs or that I'd like to have the beasts in my house ( however, our little one could appreciate it, hide and seek in bass port?).. not that you let me live in your castle or I wish to leave my family.. so it can be difficult. Cubes, on the other hand, I did not like them from start to finish and I have no desire to have another listen... Andrew, I'm open for a 3rd avi/ atc.
lpv, from this answer would it be fair to say that your impression of the EV's vs AVI's at the end of the bake-off on the 23rd September was that the EV's sounded better - as in more realistic - than the AVI's?

And that you think you'd need a period of a few weeks living with them to confirm or deny that impression?

All I'm after here is a simple answer to a simple question. To your ears at the bake off did the EV's sound about equally good, better or worse than the AVI's?

And when I get that answer I might have some more questions that I'd like to ask. With the questions that I'd like to ask depending on your answer to my simple question.

And if your answer to my simple question is that you're not going to answer it publicly, no matter how many times I ask it, then my next question would be: why won't you answer this, especially given your very clear declaration of the results of your ATC and NVA bake-offs?

All I'm asking is for your impression, for your tastes to your ears. Something that you must have formed at the bake-off. I'm not asking if you'd like to buy a pair as they are clearly too large and ugly for you - and for the vast majority of people - and therefore your AVI's are a good solution for you and you should carry on enjoying them for what they are, without any need on your part to search for alternatives.

It really is a simple question.

I'd be happy with an answer along the lines of:

"My impression was that the EV's sounded better, but I'd like to live with them for a weeks to decide if preferred listening to them overall."

or "My impression was that the EV's sounded about equally good, but I'd like to live with them for a weeks to decide which would sound better to me in the long term."

or "My impression was that the EV's sounded worse."
 

lindsayt

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lpv said:
Hi Lindsay.. recently you stated atc scm11 are worth no more than £200 ( if I remember corectly) and dm10s no more than £700.. what price would you stick on nva boxes?
On the basis of the results of your listening tests I'd value the Cube 2's at £20.

On the basis on Neilwootens listening tests, much higher than that.

On the basis of my own listening tests I'd rate the NVA Cubix as worth paying about £500 to £1500 for.

I'd rate the EV Sentry III's as worth about £500 to £1500. Bozak Symphonies I'd rate at £500 to £1200 (they require the additional cost of active bi-amping to really show what they can do sonically). As speakers to keep I'd rate the EV Patricians at £1500 upwards - difficult to say because how much do you pay for diminishing returns? Linn Isobarik DMS's at about £200. Sansui SP5500's at £225. Linn Saras £175. Heybrook HB1's £99.

All of these figures would be subject to change, depending on the results of any further listening tests.
 

lindsayt

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lpv said:
lindsayt said:
drummerman said:
Yes. As soon as speakers are involved, they should be comparable in size. No point otherwise imho.
I totally disagree when the small speakers are marketed as being far better sonically than the large speakers.

no one said anything about small speakers being sonically far better apart from you...
...Ashley James, JCBrum...
 

Andrewjvt

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james_LR90 said:
Just to add more clarity to the review here is the full bake off thread from hi-fi subjectivist.

http://www.hifisubjectivist.org/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=48008

Ive just read the forum and first question that enters my head. Why are all hifi makers/sellers crazy insecure?

Basically calling darius a spy for avi.
Double standards and agendas everywhere.

So now im going to call it as i see it. But first its sleep time.
 

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