When Grzegorz Rulka from Cube Audio contacted me and introduced me to his new project Qualio and the uniquely conceptualized IQ loudspeakers, I saw a great opportunity to give our readers the chance to learn more about these interesting speakers, which thanks to direct sales are much more affordable than the usual offerings and can therefore be imagined in many more listening rooms.
The team behind Cube Audio, led by Grzegorz Rulka and Marek Kostrzynsk, has always had the goal of making the best full-range speakers and loudspeakers in the world. Over the years they have learned their craft and discovered many secrets of drivers and loudspeakers because, at Cube Audio, they are designed and manufactured from scratch. Rulka and Kostrzynsk wanted to put their unique skills and experience into a truly exceptional 3-way speaker that will open doors for many people looking for a pair of musically potent and much more affordable speakers.
Qualio IQ is a very different and unique semi-open baffle speaker.
IQs are equipped with a Satori midrange driver, which can be considered a full-range unit as it offers a wide extension of up to 15 kHz. It is accompanied by my Mundorf AMT driver, which is used as a super tweeter and covers frequencies up to 31 kHz.
To work seamlessly, both drivers are mounted on the transparent front plate working in an open baffle principle, meaning they open up and radiate sound in both directions. This not only eliminates all resonance and cabinet distortion but also fills the entire room with sound, creating an outstanding three-dimensional holographic soundstage extension.
Impressive and surprisingly deep, fast, and tight bass is delivered by 9.5″ Satori drivers that can reproduce low frequencies down to 28 Hz.
The IQ speakers were designed from the beginning to be very neutral and the crossovers are perfectly matched, but Qualio wants the owners to take things further by being able to match them perfectly in any room and any system.
That’s why there’s an extra pair of WBT connectors on the back of the IQ speakers that connect only to the Mundorf AMT dipole super tweeter.
The Mundorf copper-nickel resistors on these terminals are color-coded so you can easily connect them to the speakers. Two resistor values are available in the standard package and five values in the precision package.
All resistors are soldered to gold-plated copper banana plugs, they can be replaced in seconds and adjust the proportion of high frequencies to your taste.
With the kit included, experimentation was fun and I could easily and immediately hear practically how the sound expands horizontally and vertically without affecting the timbre, tone, and color. Very nice and practical in the real world and not just an afterthought tweak gimmick.
Different music will reveal the drawbacks of each speaker and highlight the merits. Qualio IQ speakers have proven to be able to enhance the listening experience, reveal the unique character of each instrument and voice, and produce a surprisingly well-tuned sonic delivery across a complete frequency spectrum regardless of genre.
As usual, here are some tracks/albums that, among many others, served to decipher the inner heart and overall nature of IQs.
Dominic Miller’s “Absinthe” from the same titled album is a beautifully yielded composition featuring many well-known musicians, including legendary Manu Katché.
Despite its seemingly appearing simplicity, there is a lot going on in this piece starting with the intro filled with prominent crash cymbals and metallic percussion, the spirited bandoneon, and Miller’s lyrical guitar that are later joined by the drums that Sting fans will certainly recognize the connection.
The narrative slowly expands and evolves increasingly into a more complex arrangement, and the sonic space expands and implodes in a variety of ways that keep the listener continually engaged.
The Qualio IQ loudspeakers succeed in portraying the Absinthe sonic canvas validly, with surprising clarity, animated vibrancy, and unanticipated vertical and horizontal expansion, no doubt due to the semi-open baffle principle.
The IQs also promptly followed tempi without losing pace or veering from the steady outpour of musical energy, which was further confirmed on “Blue World” by Anne Tivel from the album Blue World.
Melancholy but a captivating one. That’s the very leitmotiv of slow-paced “Blue World” that throbs through the sonic fabric with a different kind of cadence, a dissimilar kind of mood, and a distinct kind of soulfulness that might appeal to a diverse kind of listener.
Qualio IQ speakers echoed “Blue World” rousing and luminous disposition without altering the nearly heart-rending yet still fervent mood.
The song demands a particular auricular connotation that does not blur the vocals, trim the guitar delays, or make Tivel’s voice sibilant.
The Qualio IQs demonstrated a different kind of balancing act, one not expected in this price range, broadcasting the “Blue World” with a taut focus and harmonically rich content.
The upbeat, rollicking Hank Garland’s “Move” from the album Jazz Winds From A New Direction, released in 1961 with the one and only Gary Burton on vibraphone, Joe Benjamin on Bass, and John Morello on drums.
There is something particularly melodic and alluring about this quartet that is as musically relevant nowadays as it was then. The interplay between Garland and Burton shows that Burton was already a wizard at age 17, and Garland had an amazing sense of timing that only developed further and inspired generations of guitarists.
It’s not exactly easy to reproduce “Move” in its entirety, even for high-priced speakers, but Qualio IQs has managed to pull it off. A big thumbs up.
The IQs feature a distinct fidelity to the momentum and several unforeseen characteristics that create a highly immersive sound experience that neither shies away from nuances nor is astray from bringing details to life.
Cube Audio has already established itself on the market with its unique speakers and proprietary drivers, but with the Qualio IQ speakers Grzegorz Rulka and Marek Kostrzynski approach the market from a different perspective.
With Qualio the key factor for Rulka and Kostrzynski was to present a pair of speakers working and sounding optimal in a wide variety of listening environments and by being sold directly from the factory they want to offer the customer the best value for money.
When ordering, the customer can choose the desired color and finish and the speakers are ready for shipment within a few weeks.
Qualio has removed everything unnecessary and after a long period of development, trial, and error, Rulka and Kostrzynski have depicted a pure speaker concept, designed from the ground up with a clear goal: to disappear into the room and reproduce the music directly and intimately.
The Qualio IQ speakers do well with begetting direct sound in a larger room as well as operating nicely in a smaller space where speakers are placed closer to the side wall.
Dealing with first reflections adds another challenging factor to the expansion of floor and ceiling sound waves, but IQ speakers managed to disperse the energy equally well on all fronts.
As with most of the speakers I’ve reviewed in my listening room, I preferred the Qualios in closer proximity where the position of the speakers almost reached the golden triangle in the relative distance between speakers and listener.
A great speaker can bring out the best in music and engage the listener in a way that makes them feel part of the performance, not sacrificing the accuracy and precision that both music lovers and audiophiles seek.
With music reproduction, the Qualio IQ speakers comprise essential timbre data and were tuned and voiced to produce the correct tonal signature. The IQs can render equally well joy and excitement as well as sadness and melancholy when called upon, and they can reproduce both delicate acoustic instruments and thundering bass lines with surprising authority for the given size.
Many speakers near, above, and below the Qualio IQ price point can present a kind of stoic, pragmatic sound reproduction. The Qualio IQ speakers defy this notion that the “small budget” listening experience has to be boring and uninvolving.
The question of whether they will float your boat depends on the boat you’re after, but there is little doubt that a pair of Qualio IQ makes a worthwhile investment for music lovers who want to fully appreciate the intricacies and nuances of their favorite songs without feeling deprived of audiophile sound quality and neat design.
The Qualio IQ speakers have a sleek, modern design that will blend seamlessly into most environments.
Qualio refined simplicity, and affordability along with notable sound performance make these speakers accessible to a wider range of shoppers and justifies the Mono & Stereo 2023 Best Buy Product Award. ❖
- €5.550,00 per pair
- Mundorf AMT dipole super tweeter
- SB Acoustic Satori midrange and woofer
- Mundorf, Jantzen, WBT crossover parts and terminals
- 2 or 5-point regulation of the AMT tweeter
- Lifetime support and advice
- 3 years warranty
Phone: 0048 507576410