The Ubiq Model One speakers represent a completely new breed of transducers, connecting the past and the future with a number of apparently unique sonic virtues and attributes. Their full-bodied sound, which is coupled to their exemplary resolution and transparency abilities, finally brings back the joy and excitement into the listening sessions - which had almost vanished from the high-end audio circles. Most speakers are seemingly after transparency/resolution and they hardly show any substance/authority but the Model One proves to be an exception - and a most welcome one. Their “Time machine” ability to shift minutely from one musical era to another while maintaining and preserving the SOUL of musical performances is both highly captivating and also mind-blowing.
The Model One speakers show class and elegance boldly. They are a stand-alone piece of art that fits homogeneously into any living space be it traditional or modern, minimalistic and they radiate the joy of listening profoundly.
I`ve rarely stumbled across such a company`s first born and complete product.
Vestis virus reddit (The clothes make the man) - Quintilianus.
These two proverbs suit in the best manner my introduction of the Ubiq Audio Model Speakers. They are the product of a few years extensive work and lifetime experience combined in a very special team; Igor Kante, Janez Mesarič and Miro Krajnc. Each of them contributed their own expertise, know-how and passion in the creation of these stand-out loudspeakers. The Model One speakers speak for themselves and mesmerize one instantly with both aesthetic and sonic appeal.
Even a slightest glance at the pictures and a few notes` strike will let you know what I’m pointing at. These loudspeakers hide their complexity and potent musical impact under the elegant, stylish - timeless shell.
Before getting into details, let me say a few words about their creators.
Although the fundamental acoustic and product design development phase was worked out initially by Miro Krajnc and Janez Mesarič, Igor is the founding father and mastermind behind the Ubiq Audio Model One speakers. He took immense effort to find the right combination of electronics, building materials and final design clues in creating and finalizing the speakers. Both sound performance and design were refined painstakingly by his efforts and in constant collaboration with both Miro and Janez.
Janez Mesarič is a renowned independent industrial designer and founder of the Design Studio Mashoni which also takes care of Ubiq Audio’s visual identity. He works as a Brand Consultant and Creative Director and his work has been exhibited at numerous international exhibitions and featured in many major design publications and newspapers worldwide including Domus, Wallpaper, I.D. Magazine, Icon, etc. He has been recognized internationally and awarded with both the BIO19 award and I.D. design award.
Igor knew that in order to create the speakers he had envisioned he would have to consider making a completely original speaker from ground zero. With this aim he joined forces with Miro Krajnc, the loudspeaker expert and designer/owner of the SoulSonic speakers. Miro Krajnc’s profound knowledge and more than 25 years of extended R & D in the field of high-end speaker building proved to be a Godsend. He challenged himself painstakingly through every possible speaker concept, both theoretically and practically. Since these two men have quite similar views on sound reproduction, a common language was quickly found. Igor presented his vision and requirements to Miro who advised on the acoustic concept, driver selection and crossover development, but they worked closely throughout the entire development phase.
The task of converting an electrical signal into an acoustic one is anything but trivial. Upon entering the loudspeaker, the signal is split (unless it is a single wide range driver equipped speaker) into two, three or more ways. The aim is to reproduce the complete musical content as well as possible and this, as evidence has shown, is an impossible task for a single driver trying to reproduce a sufficiently wide frequency range, properly balanced with enough dynamics and natural resolution; the end result is just too crippled to be reminiscent of a live event. More drivers are needed for a decent result, but then another question appears: Is a two-way speaker up to the task or do we need a three-way speaker? Since the whole musical spectrum is divided basically into low, mid and high frequencies, the latter seems an optimal solution but there are always some compromises involved. Still, with the experience of the live sound and using it as a reference, the priorities can be set quickly and this is exactly what the Ubiq Audio team did.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE MODEL ONE?
The first working prototypes were made 2 years ago. During that time, the Ubiq team made a concerted effort to refine and fine tune them. Igor Kante is a perfectionist and didn’t want to cut any corners. Just a peek at his den that spots a dedicated 85m2 listening room tells all. This man’s mindset operates on a completely different level. He created a real underground cave, where night and day-time research, testing and listening can happen.
Igor`s goal was clear. He wanted to produce speakers for the true music aficionados and music lovers. As Ubiq Audio needed no instant cashing-in from this project the guided R & D led to an end product standing on its own, with a design and sound performance above most similar dynamic speakers on the market. It was a quest for the perfect musical transducers that reflect music avidly, as close as possible to how it sounds in reality, and the Model One loudspeakers resulted in something different and unique…
Up to some level things can be measured, but everything cannot be done without the good old traditional listening process. As mentioned above, technically the speakers were ready two years ago to go into production. Yet, the rest of the time was spent on fine tuning and voicing speakers (with the great help of Miran Mesesnel) to a level that could ignite that homogeneous feeling of live musical energy that can be experienced live.
The Ubiq Audio Model One is based on the heritage of old school design principles and speaker building wisdom, but using the latest advancements in driver and enclosure materials. The Ubiq Audio team doesn’t believe in one driver, full range speakers; for them at least a three-way speaker is mandatory.
Too often we hear about the so-called breakthroughs and industry innovation in high-end audio, but a quick glance and peak into, for example, the Avalon Acoustic loudspeakers` shapes, clearly reveals H.F. Olson inspired designs and direct inspiration. And the list goes on and on.
From the first idea sketch the Model One was planned to be an all-rounder loudspeaker that is musical and can provide the same level of audio reproduction across all musical genres. This was the first strict requirement! The second one was a seamless blending into any domestic environment with the highest norm of stylish aesthetics.
Janez started from ground zero. Clean slate! It was his first speaker project and this proved to be a Godsend and a winning combination. The design outcome is fresh and unseen. He managed to translate his recognized expert industrial design language into a product that envisions both timeless elegance and contemporary statement. The horn eye, strings, decorative and protecting grill, Aluminum top and bottom, glossy side panels, textile back covering etc., the combination of all these radiates with a fresh, first seen design concept. Über refined frontals connect seamlessly with the glossy finished side panels, the mat textile back and aluminum top coverings, that are all hand brushed and diamond cut (inner top and bottom insert) on the outer side. This combination of two different finishes recalls the luxurious feeling of high end Swiss, hand -polished watches. It ensures quality and luxury.
Igor has spent all of his life surrounded by Avantgarde Acoustic and Sonus Faber products, as a high-end Audio Dealer. He inherited his love for horn speakers from Avantgarde and the beauty of both. Anyone knowing Igor usually agrees with my comment. He’s a Slovenian Lord Byron whose love and passion for fine arts, clothes, music etc, resembles closely the immortal English soul’s Leif motif. With such a deep appreciative nature, he possesses the unique ability to recognize genuine artistic souls and unite them expertly under one roof.
BEHIND THE INSPIRATIONAL CUE...
What we witness in the current high-end audio speaker fashion are mostly extremes; speaker designs that favor strongly one or the other aspects of sound reproduction, while losing completely the sense for the musical wholeness and emotional content which are the "sine qua non" of the music itself.
These are the very things that bothered Igor for years. Every time he got back from a fantastic Concert, his enthusiasm would be highly diminished by the inability of even the VERY expensive “high-end audio” speakers to convey power, drama and emotional content; the majority of them couldn’t provide a sound that would be even remotely reminiscent of the live events. He was sick and tired of the current “high tech” speaker offerings and began rediscovering the past: speakers of yore like the Acoustic Research, Altec Lansing, JBL, etc.
These speakers stem from another era when music reproduction was considered more important than “creative-visual-design-above-everything-else”. The things they have in common are a believable lower midrange/upper bass reproduction coupled to great micro and macro dynamics, but surely they weren`t exactly the last word in transparency.
Igor knew that in order to get both, he would have to consider making a completely original speaker himself. And the journey began…
In line with the heritage of the Altec A7 and Acoustic Research Model 9 that join the east coast- west coast legendary approach, Igor`s second initial affection started there. When he acquired an Acoustic Research Model 9 I version, Igor`s imagination was lit up and moved him to create something new and different.
“Acoustic Research were super speakers, but after 20 minutes of loud listening the experience was compromised by the driver compression effects. When you go to a Concert you’re affected by the real musical energy flow.” - Igor Kante.
Energy transfer was something the Ubiq Audio team pushed forward as the main building block and everything around this speaker project had to be subordinate to this particular quality.
Consequently, design choices led to the implementation of many specific technologies and materials. Model One speakers are completely handmade with an abundance of natural materials being used. A complete wooden enclosure with the specific and guided resonating propensities helped with the creation of a life-like sound signature that enthralls the listener immediately. Many renowned and respected speaker manufacturers still use wood as the building material for a very strong reason and there was no second guessing in regard to the primal speakers’ material with the creation of Model One.
Model One implements Okoume wood (Aucoumea klaineana) curved in one piece. The Okoume wood differs in thickness when being sourced, so the material for each speaker must be hand selected to match the exact thickness before making further production steps.
Making the enclosure from Okoume wood is very expensive (three times the price of typical birch wood) and very complex to make. Using some special tooling the four layers of Okoume wood must be joined and pressed together to achieve the required curvature. Only a few speaker manufacturers bend the plywood into a curved shape like this. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond series are among the few and we all know their hefty price tag.
The Model One comes in three standard color options of enclosure – black, pearl white or natural Slovenian walnut veneer, all with different aluminum top cover options. But Model One is not limited only to these options – every customer can choose any color based on their choice.
With the choices of finishes the Model One can stand on its own in the ultra-modern minimalistic home, blend seamlessly with the existing domestic furniture, or compliment any listening space with its stand out aura.
UNDER THE HOOD
The Ubiq Audio Model One speakers have no parallel side walls which could cause strong internal reflections. The utmost importance was not pinpointed only to the overall design and cabinet acoustic properties, but also to thoughtful selection of the drivers, crossover parts, speaker binding posts, etc.
To ensure robustness, a compression driver was chosen from the professional sector (instead of the usual dome tweeter). This unit, besides being robust, is also highly transparent in sound character, but a waveguide (horn) had to be developed for it.
The waveguide horn was calculated by Marko Rajh according to his and Miro's design proposal. Marko is Igor’s friend and colleague from the mid-80s, when they were studying at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana.
With the waveguide horn design the original plan was to combine the visually stand-out recognizable “eye” design with great sound performance. The horn was calculated with the primal goal to achieve great efficiency, proper loading, the least possible distortion and controlled dispersion. These qualities assist the larger than usual mid-range unit with its light, feather-like airiness, which always operates practically below the level of audible saturation.
The mid-range enclosure with a pyramid shape was designed to complement the 8” cone mid-range (neodymium equipped magnet) with pleated suspension. Generally, all the drivers being used in the high-end audio industry use rubber, but this driver suspension consists of textile as was as a rule done it the past. This is costlier for a reason…
The mid-range driver comes from a highly acclaimed Italian company, which has standardized and robotized production. This ensures perfect measurements and minimum tolerances.
Over dimensioned voice coils on all drivers ensure nearly non-destructible performance. Both paper cone drivers were chosen based on their sound performance. Additionally, the mid-range driver is coated with a special oil coming from a legendary old recipe of Italian origin used in the traditional, artisanal instrument making.
The Model One crossover parts are connected completely via point-to-point wiring and use Mundorf foil inductors. All capacitors and internal wiring (silver plated copper) come from Jantzen.
The Ubiq team wanted to differentiate on all points and this is further shown with the selection of damping materials. For dealing with internal resonances and micro vibrations they used eco natural sheep wool with a Certificate and the highest quality damping bitumen plates sourced directly from the high-end car industry.
As the Model One has a sealed enclosure, it needed high quality matrix screws to ensure longevity and stable performance and absence of unwanted resonances. Removing the grill and the protecting front plate reveals high quality, shiny screws used for this very reason. All screws and nuts are from Wurth, Germany. You really don’t see this very often as these cost money compared to the brand-less ones used widely.
Ubiq chose the WBT 703 copper binding posts. I really like the quality handling and grip of these. Being in the role of a reviewer, constant changing of cables surely is not the all expected fun but the WBT 703 are designed really cleverly. The Soundcare Superspikes feet took the role of leveling and stability.
The last, but not least, important thing…before the Model One ships out, all the drivers are broken-in for fifty hours and the crossover is fed constantly by pink noise before being inserted inside the speaker hub.
Here are few of The Model One loudspeaker highlights. These speakers were built primarily to provide the following qualities:
- Natural tone and harmonic structure which gives believability to the sound of instruments and voices
- With the above comes a sense of weight/authority/drama that is simply missing in the majority of current speaker designs
- Excellent micro and macro dynamic responsiveness that breathes life into music
- Hugely reduced compression effects that enable high sound pressure levels (the Model One uses oversized voice coils)
- Excellent transparency and resolution at all listening levels
- Rhythmic upper bass capabilities and good extension in the low bass
- Naturally sized holographic images of instruments and voices instead of the pinpoint miniaturization
- Optimized for playing in rooms from 25 to 100m2
- The recommended close to the back wall positioning ensures high reproduction quality in most domestic and listening environments
- The mid-range and tweeter can be adjusted +- 1dB (˙the knobs are on the lower part of the front baffle, underneath the front grille)
It’s important to highlight that the Model One speakers are pair to pair identical. This takes enormous time and cost, yet the requested price is actually a bargain. It was Igor`s goal from the start to create speakers that would be something special, musical and different, but still within the reach of many people.
The Model One represents the real industry standard and shows how products wanting to identify themselves with the high-end label should be designed and executed.
Of course, these are not even nearly all the qualities the UBIQ Audio team achieved with their Model One speaker but they should give you a taste of what these speakers are all about.
PURE ENERGY IMPACT
In Concert business circles the notion of great sound hasn’t changed much throughout the years. Of course, the public address systems are getting better and better each year, but concert venues, due to their size (and corresponding wavelengths), do not suffer from the biggest problem the majority of audiophiles are confronted with when trying to recreate the concert sound atmosphere in their homes; the lack of authority in the most densely packed musical spectrum - the lower mid-range/upper bass region.
In the high-end audio business on the other hand, the notion of great sound has changed a lot over the years. If a live music event is all about power, drama and emotion, then its domestic “counterpart” is, as far as one can see/hear, all about (statistical) information and sound localization. I am well aware that this sounds sarcastic but, sadly, it seems to be true.
The fundamentally important concept of the lower mid-range/upper bass weight/authority/body is mostly ignored, misunderstood or even completely forgotten. The prevailing trends dictate weird loudspeaker forms which encourage designs that laugh in the face of acoustic demands. Of course, visually fresh designs are always welcome, but the order of priorities has changed, resulting in interesting visual sculptures that look impressive but sound anything but impressive - at least to the experienced listeners that are familiar with the live sound.
The Ubiq Audio Model One speaker offers an uncontrived, exceptional musical illusion that is imperturbable in a way that lets you forget about technicalities and simply immerse yourself into listening to the music.
The way the musical waves interact with the listener enables the instant connection with the musical message. The grand audio illusion created by the Model One loudspeakers allows for an impressive level of soundstage constructional anchor points. This unexpected sound density helps with the translation of harmonic decays and delays, ensuring a lucid insight of a genuine live music feeling.
Music is essentially energy and as such it must affect the listener with the full scale. When we’re talking about high-end speakers in the true meaning of the word, the listener needs to be touched with the real life, emotional energy impact. Only this abundance of energetic transfer provides the recreation of the grandest illusion of a live event and this is where the Model One mastery shows it in a stand out character - Boldly and proudly.
With its impressive sound performance that embraces the music reproduction clearly and easily in a highly transparent way, the Model One sways in a chameleon nature, acting as a time machine that from song to song teleports you to any musical era.
The Model One speakers are among the few products that are bringing back the faith into the high-end audio industry regarding performance, design and value. They are a labor of love and encapsulate the lifelong passion and experience of all three contributing individuals harmonically: Igor, Janez and Miro.
Many times we are being told about the specific sound being on a reference level but, when we experience it, we realize that what we actually hear is mostly a distorted sound of tiny drivers being mounted in tiny enclosures that cannot really carry the energy needed for the unaltered ultimate sound reproduction. People mistake the sudden harsh peaks (distortions) through high and mid-range drivers for the factual reality and even find them pleasant. This illusion is accepted widely not only by seasoned audiophiles, but also by many distinguished reviewers from our industry.
From Muddy Waters` enormous vocal thunder strike and lighting fast guitar playing to the finest opera or orchestral music, across the ethane music, to the rock and electronic music, the Model One holds the integrity firmly and steadily. These are the speakers that are designed to play loudly at crazy volumes without breaking down; still, another big virtue is the low level micro and macro level of operation. The music is enjoyable and impactful even at moderate listening levels.
As a fresh wind breeze of change the Ubiq Audio Model One brings a feather-like lightness, which sways the energy beyond what typical loudspeakers are able to and works more in the domain of horn speakers, but without their usual hubris’s. The compression tweeter in combination with paper cone drivers ensures a one-of-a-kind experience that must be heard to be appreciated.
Without the music being the main focus of any speaker initial design, how could there be a viable result? These days we’re witnessing a high-end audio industry being swamped with loudspeakers designed straight from computers. Many of these never actually went through the listening test phase. Usually they’re driven by sinus waves before hitting the stores for the last check up and that’s about it. It is senseless to expect musically sounding loudspeakers to come from such a “creative” environment.
A full scale, fully potent blues record worthy of the best audiophile and musical remarks? Muddy Waters` Folk Singer is a legendary classic which carries immense power and bursting emotional energy unheard with most blues acoustic albums. The Interplay between musicians (including the then quite young Buddy Guy) is hands on captivating and blood boiling. Dynamic bursts and “mojo” mood potency, becomes revealed to the full scale only with selective fine-tuned and balanced high-end audio systems. As much as many are trying to bring a bit more havoc.
Sam Cooke’s Night Beat was released in August 1963 by RCA Victor and it`s Sam’s twelfth album. Why is it so special? This recording shows how good great music can sound when recorded and produced in the right way. It also reveals a lot about the potency of any speaker. Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen and Lost and Looking’ reveals quickly any misfit and hubris. For judging the vocals, this album for sure offers a great reference. The Model One swayed the energy in a feather-like, effortless stream and Sam`s vocal was rendered with all the needed vibrancy.
Klipsch Tape Project: The Joe Holland Quartet represents a real gem that encapsulates the era’s purity and directness. With this album many loudspeakers simply collapse, especially when they’re “called” to transmit the energetically empowered drum crescendos and drumming in Holland’s Holiday Drum Solo. For a speaker of this size the Model One reacts more in the fashion of larger horn speakers than typical boxed ones. The sense of the space, speed and transience empowers the Holland`s impact in an impressive way and with an energy of a different kind.
Everyone seems to avoid like the plague writing in high-end audio reviews about the music of bands like the legendary Australian AC/DC. I guess it must be for good objective reasons! Most speakers simply cannot handle the correct grip and impact of guitars and portray them properly. That’s why there are not many speakers being advertised as all-rounders. And especially with rock & roll there is no easy way to escape the laws of physics. To create a sufficiently realistic illusion an 8” mid-range driver (paper) is mandatory. I would even say 12”, to be on the safe side.
The songs Hells Bells and Back In Black from the AC/DC legendary album Back In Black are what seem two very “simple” songs to reproduce. But try them with different speakers and you’ll know instantly at what level the speakers perform.
Many times I have heard remarks about how rock & roll and classical music have little in common when it comes to high-quality reproduction. This is pure nonsense. Speakers that cannot handle jazz, blues or rock and roll guitar with power will never be able to handle the energy burst of classical music.
The Model One has an intrinsic ability to “move the air” that comes dangerously close to the larger horn speakers or even PA systems in creating near concert sound pressure levels. The Model One is an energetic performer that will handle the classical rock music at respectful SPLs and has more than enough mojo to ignite foot tapping sublimely.
Vlatko Stefanovski & Miroslav Tadić`s `Treta Majka` is another frequently played record and among a few of my all-time favorite albums. Along with Ry Cooder`s Paris Texas and Meeting By The River, these three albums share something very similar, yet they are still very different. Treta Majka takes the mystical potency of Macedonian Folk music to a completely new level. The interplay between Stefanovski and Tadić is heavenly and their “odd” time signature playing of syncopated rhythms is one of a kind. I know this album by heart and know how it should sound. When Theodosi Spasov joins in with his Kaval (Bulgarian flute) in “Ne si go prodavaj Koljoˇ” the magnitude of emotional impact reaches its highest peak. Now, suddenly, the air surrounding the Kaval creates an ethereal atmosphere with majestic scale. Treta Majka is recorded very well and it will play great on many systems. Experiencing it at its full creates a unique, small scale musical universe of complex sound bites. The forming of guitar tones, micro delays and reverberation, need a really well balanced system and speakers that are capable of maintaining the sonic shape of this music. The Model One proved again that it possesses the potency and ability not only to create a harmonically rich presentation, but also a dynamically diverse reproduction. The Model One speakers were tuned sensitively and the songs from Treta Majka are a great way to engage them in a lucid audio illusion.
Michael Franks` Blue Pacific and Abandoned Garden is not solely representative of his creational peak. Still, they both, in their own way, manage to paint instantly Michael`s sophisticated pop/jazz lyrical fusion. Mr. Franks may not be widely known but he’s highly respected among jazz lovers around the world. Blue Pacific was recorded with the same techniques used for Donald Fagen`s legendary albums and it’s a great record to test any loudspeakers. I’ve seen a few Japanese companies that were using this album at the shows, which to me was a great surprise and I was really happy to see Michael being played as he’s one of my favorite artists. The Blue Pacific`s unique lightness and directness is experienced easily with a well-balanced system and even more importantly with the right set of speakers. Then the complete album artistry of production, record quality and performing enliven a seamless musical journey. The Model One’s ability to transmit this album’s message is exemplary for a dynamic speaker and these loudspeakers would make a great tool for recording engineers with their ability of natural sonic portrayal.
Abandoned Garden on the other hand brings another emotional charge. While Blue Pacific is filled positively with a summer, seaside atmosphere, the Abandoned Garden carries the sad, melancholic energy of loss and everlasting appreciation. Michael dedicated this album to his mentor and friend Antonio Carlos Jobim. Yes, this is where Mr. Franks’ Bossa-nova DNA came from.
With such stellar musicians as Carla Bley and Steve Swallow being involved in the creation of this album, some more dedicated listening was called for. This Must be Paradise is the opening song of the album that hides its sublime complexity expertly. After a minute, when the deep bass kicks in, I knew instantly how to judge the dedicated speakers under the test. With other speakers the bass is either lost, wobbly or it goes very deep and needs an amp that is able to control the woofers. The Model One presented a very focused and igniting bass. The bass extension and power can get better with the Ubiq Audio`s dedicated subwoofer (below 35Hz), but for normal listening rooms the Model One can handle the bass on a very high quality and SPL level. The whole album is full of great songs but the “Hourglassˇ” is for sure another very interesting song that helps in judging the loudspeaker`s performance. Here the strong bass creates a havoc of forced, focused energy that you can feel in your guts when being played at sufficiently high SPLs. The Model One again managed to produce a bass that was both involving and musical, as well on the level expected from much more expensive speakers!
There are many classical albums that I use as a reference in terms of sound quality as well as for their artistic value. With classical music there is no second guessing and no half way of doing things. Any serious speaker wanted to be called high-end needs to be able to shift the dynamic graduations of music from pianissimo to fortissimo at the proper scale. No setbacks here!
Toscanini might be considered as the most ardent conductor of all times. Some even considered him a dictator because of his edgy relationships with the orchestra staff. As with all things this is arguable, but one thing is for sure: In his live performances he could bring such a tour de force and convey the score at the grandest scale of dynamic expression. Toscanini changed the way I’m experiencing, understanding and appreciating classical music. His recordings also managed to create a certain mindset of imprinted impressions. They’re my anchor points of reference in classical music for critical listening. He also helped me to understand and perceive classical orchestral music as a whole. This was very evident with his late radio performances in which the reverb is practically absent. This acoustical situation creates the unique transfer of the musical energy as a harmonic whole. In order to convey this giant harmonic “bubble" the loudspeakers must be capable of creating a diverse, harmonic completeness. The Model One`s intrinsic ability to reproduce the transients minutely and handle the instant energetic bursts, gives them a grand musical empowerment which results in an impressive micro and macro dynamic shading even at low listening levels.
Samuel Barber`s Adagio for Strings always evokes pathos and cathartic feeling. This is among few classical compositions that evoke an intriguing emotional response instantly. This phenomenon was even researched scientifically and the results showed an impressive level of body dopamine release during the pleasurable listening of this composition. There are quite a few interpretations of Adagio for Strings and they all share a common inherited potency but, interestingly, the level of affection and emotional charge depends intriguingly on the system`s ability to transmit the energy as harmonically correctly as possible. As with the Robert Koda Takumi K-10, this is the second time I’ve witnessed this unique harmonic correctness in practice that correlates with the musical energy and message in such a sublime and pure way. There may be many other factors at work in creating such an experience.
The Ubiq Model One speakers are not your typical dynamic floor-standers; they are a completely new breed, connecting the past and the future. Their full-bodied sound, which is coupled to their awesome resolution and transparency abilities, makes for an incredible musical sounding combination that brings pure joy to the listening sessions, and this is something that is dearly missing from the majority of high-end audio speaker designs. Mostly, we get transparency without substance/authority, but rarely do we get both. Their intrinsic “time machine” ability to shift minutely from one musical era to another while maintaining and preserving the SOUL of musical performances is both highly captivating and also mind-blowing.
Nothing was random in the development of the Ubiq Audio Model One speakers and the end result speaks for itself. They are among the most convincing dynamic speakers on the market, packed in a form and size that is pleasing to the eye and easy to set up. I love it when the power and energy of the music are unimpeded and the Model One doesn’t hold energetic momentum at any point.
The Ubiq Audio Model One may not be the best dynamic loudspeaker on the planet, but they are among the best, if not the best all-rounder dynamic speakers on the market that I’ve experienced so far.
And for everyone wanting to add an extra touch of sublimity, there is the Ubiq Audio SUB ONE subwoofer. Subwoofer electronics was designed by Marko Rajh according to the design proposal set by Miro Krajnc. It adds the lower octave extension elegantly and elevates the system performance even more. This of course depends on the room size and the level/amount of the bass the listener wants to experience. For most rooms and listeners the Model One will bring a lasting listening satisfaction as it is. The Subwoofer operates from 16Hz to 35Hz and plays only the lowest octave. It is adjustable in gain, crossover frequency and goes up to 60Hz.
Igor Kante believes in the traditional system approach like, for example, the legendary high-end audio manufacturer Linn is still following. And to show the full speaker potential the Ubiq Audio team designed their own integrated amplifier to ensure the ultimate system synergy. In his room the combination of Antipodes streamer and cables show a meticulously balanced, high performance high-end audio system.
The upcoming Ubiq Audio hybrid integrated amplifier implements on board DAC and brings quite a few unique and revolutionary technical solutions. Igor Kante strongly believes in the importance of valves being implemented into the high-end audio system. For him no real harmonic correctness happens in the absence of the tubes.
Only two tubes are used in their new hybrid integrated amplifier (BFA technology inside) and not in a typical fashion but in a new and innovative way, with input tube gain stage DC connected without any caps and coupling audio transformers in a signal path, without phase shift and frequency roll-off. More on that in the upcoming October review. I can assure you that in combination with the Ubiq Audio the Model One, these two are working seamlessly hand in hand and represent a sound performance in a league of their own.
The Model One speakers show class and elegance boldly. They radiate the joy of listening and contemporary industrial art profoundly.
The Model One is a sculpture, a stand-alone piece of art that fits homogeneously into any living space, be it traditional or modern minimalistic.
They let you enter the endless universe of music in a virtual time traveling fashion, pulling the listener intimately close with the energy of each respective musical era.
I`ve rarely stumbled across such a complete first born company`s product.
I’ve only come across such pure musical energy transfer lately with the Aries Cerat Symphonia Speakers, but they are a completely different size and type of speaker (upcoming story and review). The Model One are sealed box dynamic speakers, reasonably priced, very musical and with an energetic impact unheard so far at this size-price point and with luxurious lifestyle aesthetics, combining Bauhaus minimalistic practicality with the Italian timeless vibrancy.
So, everything positive and without negative remarks? Well... the Model One won’t be everyone's cup of a tea. I’m afraid that for many listeners these speakers will sound too authoritative and energetic. Many audiophiles have accepted new imperious norms for what high-end audio reproduction should stand for. This means that the typical dry and skeletal presentation (read: ceramic equipped speakers) favored by many audiophiles or the extreme swishing highs and clinical dissection of the sound is not associated with the Model One. They’re also quite big in size and might take too much space in the living environment. All in all, not speakers for everyone, but those who can recognize their true potency will embrace them with both hands.
High-End Audio is mostly a manly world with specific agendas and preferences. Interestingly and intriguingly, many people who are serious about the superior sound quality reproduction still see the elaborated horn speakers as the Holy Grail and the end of the road. For me the Model One encompasses and embraces so much of the best horn speakers` attributes that I can finally imagine they`re not indispensable any more, especially in averagely sized rooms. The Model One manages to sound extremely dynamic and brings a seamless, fluent and coherent unison of highs, mids and bass without the typical and instantly recognized set of problems (horn colorations and hardening of the sound) usually exposed by speakers from Avantgarde Acoustic, Cessaro, Accapela, etc.
This year’s Munich show was an interesting territory in which to explore, listen, comment and compare many different speakers. Living Voice Vox Olympian and Zellaton speakers for sure left lasting impressions. I dare to say that the Model One combines the best of the both worlds. The Ubiq team managed to unite the horn dynamic expressiveness and energy transfer, mixed to the open sounding nature of the Zellatons - in a reasonably small footprint and down-to-earth pricing. This is not a small achievement and not reacting about it would make me duplicitous and half-baked. I’ve promised to be more straightforward and critical in 2015. Those following me closely know that I’ve sharpened my “Excalibur” seriously this year but for many reasons my excitement is non reserved - in the case of the Ubiq Model One.
I have only given the Mono & Stereo Editor Choice award twice so far. Robert Koda`s Takumi K-10 pre-amplifier mesmerized me from the first insertion into my system. It was music nonstop and I’ve been practically intoxicated with its musical exchange ever since. The same thing happened with The Model One. Very similar potency entrapped me into the listening loop that left me with even less sleep. My wife rarely comments anything coming in and out of my den, probably too much of the constant changes. Yet, with Robert Koda K-10 and the Ubiq Audio Model One speakers, the same thing happened. She was very moved and asked me exactly the same thing, “You’re not returning them, right?”
Not much more to add… A Masterpiece for the people who appreciate the music for what it is and for what it can bring: Joy, happiness, relaxation and the embodiment of emotions.
Text: Matej Isak
Photos: Matej Isak & Miran Mesesnel
PRICE: 12.500 EUR
Tweeter driver diameter: 38 mm
Mid-range driver diameter: 200 mm
Bass driver diameter: 300 mm
Sensitivity: 88 dB
Impedance: 6 Ohm
Power: 200 W Continuous
Typical in room frequency response*: 30 - 30.000 Hz +/- 3 dB
Anechoic frequency response: 40 - 30.000 Hz +/- 3 dB
DIMENSIONS: 42 (W) x 37 (D) x 118 (H) cm / (16.5 (W) x 14.6 (D) x 46.5 (H) inch)
WEIGHT: 42 kg / (93 lbs)
STANDARD COLORS**: black, white or natural wood
* Since the woofer is a sealed design the low frequency extension can reach 25Hz depending on the placement.
** Other color options available on special request.
TEL: +386 41 695 029
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