It`s been more then a year since I wrote my initial review of the Ubiq Audio Model One speakers. Many things have changed since then: the Duelund Edition was first introduced followed by the Special Edition.
Duelund and Special Edition feature a solid aluminum top and bottom plates which are now glass bead sand blasted rather than just brushed, pushing the already established quality further. Special transparent protection (anti-scratch coating), while more costly, is also more durable and adds an elegant, satin-like luxurious feel.
I’ll describe the differences in more detail below, but most importantly, the already great attributes that let me fall in “love” with the originals, gained even more status and appreciation.
Compared to the standard edition, both Duelund and the Special Edition resolve with grip locking dynamics, a much better sense of space, more focused mids, extended highs, expanded soundstage, and with Duelund capacitors in play, a unique see-through transparency.
Model One still holds the value of a louder listening impact, but with the advanced resolution it’s also easier to listen to a wide array of musical material, from lower quality recordings to produced and mastered tracks. No speaker is universal, but Model One is one of those rare all-rounders that can actually pull the trick. When it comes to my selection of reference speaker attributes, both loupe-like magnifying/revealing ability and emotionally charged heart reproduction must be equally combined.
As described in the manual, it`s very important to position the Model One according to the instructions. Maximal advised distance from the back wall is 1m. Even more important is to partner the Model One with an amplifier of proper potency. While Model One can act greatly with lower watts, it really calls for and deserves an amplifier with higher wattage.
Over the last two plus years, I’ve had a chance to explore many amplifiers with Ubiq Audio’s firstborn speaker. One of the matching partners that really grabbed Model One by the guts was Ubiq Audio’s own Ubiqu amplifier. With 300W per channel and whooping 3000W power supply per side, it really locked in with the speaker’s with full control. Even in a less optimal room where a usual amplifier arsenal failed to properly balance the One’s, Ubiqu brought more focused bass, upper mids, and a general formation of solid sonic portray.
It felt as if practical, by-the-book law was being put into practice. Yes, every speaker needs a matching power amplifier; even from my pro-studio exploration year, this same rule has always applied. This is why many of the studio grade speakers went with the fully active system where amplifiers were optimized for each driver.
As a rule, you first follow the synergy of the amplifier and the speakers and then apply the needed steps into the audio system. It’s something to be experienced hands on and to try out, but basically even the annoying bass wobble and typical (80hZ) peaks can move into a much lower scope when the speakers are properly driven.
With both Duelund and the Special Edition, the Model One became an advanced product that most likely won’t change for a very long time because, quite simply, there is no need to change it. With the Duelund capacitors addition, the new crossover takes a grand step further in terms of sound. From this point, it’s more about finding the proper synergy
The production model now comes with 0dB or +1dB tweeter adjustment, that can be very helpful within some systems or, if the owner prefers, an even more open sound. 1dB might seem like a little step, but it changes the upper frequency range quite dramatically. Very useful!
There are many more subtle changes being introduced with the latest production models. One of them is the ability to adjust the feet, which will not only help with a more stable fixation, but also enable adjusting the tilt of the speaker.
Since 2017, all Ubiq Audio loudspeakers come fitted with Duelund capacitors. This rather drastic change came as result of prolonged listening tests that have pushed both Model One Editions to the upper plane. The Duelund-based crossover introduced such an advantage with Ubiq’s team deciding to produce only speakers with selected Duelund capacitors.
The latest product line update also brings the new Mini One model. This direction was taken because many customers wanted the sound of the Model One in a smaller package. Starting now, Model One will be available as Duelund and Special Edition along with the addition of the Mini One.
There are many things that pulled me towards the Ubiq Audio Special Edition Model One. The Black Piano finish with gold inserts on both the top plate and the solid sandwich aluminum stand base as well as golden horn “eye” push this speaker to new realms. It adds a timeless and luxurious feel which filled many of my friends and visitors with positive comments. Special Edition aesthetics are of upper echelon origin and introduce a refined, aesthetic appeal. With these looks and aesthetics, other established brands would easily charge twice the price, if not more. Model One Special Edition comes in three colors; black, white and high-gloss walnut with special ceramic anti-scratch lacquer.
Special Edition adds upon Duelund’s massive aluminum-layered base, improved crossover, and gold, copper, and chrome trim in the base’s top cover plate. Both versions sport a dedicated brass (Duelund Edition or Special Edition) badge on the back/top of the speaker. Special Edition also comes with a new, high quality textile speaker cover that adds a luxurious feeling and protects the speakers after listening sessions.
The most important and most often asked questions were, “how do new Edition models differ from the standard version”? The improved, upgraded, and costlier crossover is taking the sound of the standard edition much further. With the addition of the Duelund capacitors, both models bring an even more impressive and authoritative effortlessness.
The trend of more transparent sound is moving forward each year and amplifiers are embracing much more energy and translucency—this is also where the Model One core was shaken!
Both editions can resolve with full spectrum even with quiet listening when connected to a properly matching amplifier but can instantly morph into “thunder mode” at any time. Although the Model One Duelund and Special Editions clearly step further on the path of transparency, they still act mercifully to recorded material of lesser quality or mastering.
Ubiq Audio Model One are rare examples of high-end audio speakers that can actually handle the playing of loud music. They were designed from ground up to withstand enormous power but without sounding like a PA. That was by no means a simple task to achieve and this is one of the reasons why it took more than three years to develop the actual voicing of the speakers (various capacitor types were sonically explored). I’m sure that many of you encountered more than a few speakers that implement pro-audio drivers within high-end speaker enclosures and more or less, the sound of these is usually in the absence of proper balance and linearity that normally makes typical high-end audio a seamless performer.
Many contemporary speakers introduced in the past few years are designed in such a way that can play with great resolution at lower listening levels. That’s surely to compensate for smaller room and domestic appliance, as not everyone can have the dedicated listening room and push the volume up. In most cases cranking up volume introduces non plausible neighbor reactions :).
The problem with this approach relates to the optimum gain level. Each system (and for that sake, each song) demands a proper gain/volume to lock with proper synergy. This is where the sound structure can easily completely collapse if speakers were designed to play up to a certain decibel level.
Many exhibitors at high-end audio shows refuse to go up with volume. I won’t state names, but in many rooms the answer to my request to play louder was either no (we can brake the cones) or the volume knob was turned in at a safe 0.5dB.
I enjoy listening to the music at low levels but also at mid and high SPL when I want to. Certain types of music or mood swings demand more energy impact and it’s far away from a safe, quasi, Zen-like experience.
Music listening and high-end audio gear should follow the music and not the other way around. This means that high-end audio systems should act via medium rather than a studio grade limiter or mastering EQ.
In recent years, many audiophiles and even reviewers stepped into (in my opinion) completely non-understandable realms where they’re taking the conductor’s role rather than following the intended written compositions as they are.
In my book of audio truths, creating a grand illusion of reality will always be the first and foremost goal. This cannot change by any trends and looking back in the past and present, I can understand why some people love the traditional horn speaker designs like Western Electric for their ability to render musical energy without taming it at some point.
At the end of the day the fact remains that we’re ultimately chasing reality for what it is and it remains irrefutable. I can understand the plausible argument, but never the safe as with non-cluttering and unbiased news reports. The reporter wants to convey the information un-altered and in its purest form. And this is also how high-end audio systems should transfer the musical message: as it was intended.
The sonic truth should always be on the high-end audio throne and this is how Ubiq Audio Model One operates. I can understand that not everyone will decipher this (or want to), but quite few had and I’m sure many more will in the upcoming years. In order to firmly lock the Model One in acoustic terms, one needs a proper match. Surprisingly, it’s not only the high-power solid state amplifier that can lock and load instantly. While a bigger room will call for 250+ Watts or even more raw power (with massive power supplies), smaller rooms can work surprisingly well with amplifiers like the Yamamoto A-03S. This particular tube power amplifier caught me by surprise. Unexpected control and three dimensional layering was off the charts. This combination came as a sobering smack and a reminder that one can never be too smart and act in the egotistical modus operandi of “I know everything” mentality. We can certainly predict some dealings, but not everything. High-end audio exploration is about enthusiasm and open, broadminded operation.
I’m still enthusiastic to receive new components for reviews. Despite going trough vast amount of gear, there are still gems out there ready to be discovered. And on the bigger plane, trying so much different high-end audio gear offers an extended system of combinations that are usually not possible. At the end of the day, we reviewers are in the service of the readers and all the permuted combinations and listening notes are of value when it comes to objectively rendered reviews, as well as answering the frequent emails about the system combinations and different integrations of the gear.
It was interesting to see the follow up and what happened within one year after my first, initial review. Ubiq Model One went through the hands of quite a few reviewers and succeeded to stand out in a particular way among them all. Of course no one product will ever be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, Srajan Ebaen from 6moons deciphered Model One’s virtues elaborately, Roy Gregory from Audiobeat highlighted the impressive performance, Steve Guttenberg surprisingly discovered Model One’s uniqueness, Marek Dyba from High Fidelity loved them so much that he also ordered a Duelund Edition for himself, Wolfgang Kemper from German magazine Hifi Statement forgot about his intimate headphone world completely while reviewing the Ubiq Audio speakers, and High Fidelity magazine awarded Model One with the “Best Product of the Year” award. Quite a turn of the events!
The circle went around and seventy plus pairs of Model One Speakers being sold have proven how Igor Kante and his team are doing something more than just right. I can like and love the speakers; heck, I’ve even embraced them as my reference and daily tool, but the market is fierce and it strikes too often with a healthy dosage of reality. It was interesting to see how Model One progressed in such a short time.
In the era of continuous reintroduction of field coil, horn speakers, and large driver cone based speakers, the momentum points towards an interesting agenda. Something was done right in the past and Ubiq Audio’s Model One speakers follow this path with a 21st century take.
Igor Kante didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, he just followed the basic logics and experimented with different materials and parts. But, yes these takes time, effort, and quite some funds to achieve. It’s not a one trick pony mentality, and the end results speak for themself.
As much as speaker manufacturers are trying to get way with multiple, smaller drivers per side in order to achieve bigger sound, there is simply no substitution for large diameter drivers. This is why Model One differs from many other speakers with its 8” mid and 12” bass driver as well as with the implementation of the compression driver tweeter. The sheer energy coming from this combination reflects much closer the musical flow, that happens in reality.
There are many interesting speakers on the market and with each new year, even the big boys are starting to explore more exotic parts and approaches as well as moving up with the exploration of drivers with bigger cones.
Ubiq Audio Model One keeps its firm position with the Mono & Stereo Editor Choice Award. Each reviewer chooses his own palpable set of tools that can help him compare, discover, and less critically write about the products coming in and out for evaluating. For me, Ubiq Audio’s Special Edition moved further on the plane where, in combination with the rest of my reference system, can operate on both micro and macro levels as well as with quieter and rock-like volume levels.
More coming in part two. Stay tuned...
Tel: +386 41 695 029
- 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 / 46 kg
- 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