Dali has come up with some great things over the years. Most of them have been stereo and surround speakers. Naturally, we were surprised to hear the Danish company was moving into soundbars.
Dali says the Kubik One is not exactly a soundbar – it’s a system in its own right, rather than a mere extension of your TV.
Whatever the appropriate nomenclature, one thing is for sure: we think it’s brilliant. Award winning brilliant, in fact.
We dive straight into Guardians of the Galaxy (opens in new tab), and it’s hard not to notice the size of the sound. It’s a wide, spacious soundstage, giving jets and spaceships ample room to manoeuvre. Even the more hectic scenes don’t sound crowded.
While the Raumfeld Sounddeck (£800) lacks precision and solidity to make things sound exciting, the Dali manages to ping effects around meticulously, and with impressive clarity. It also makes the most of speech; voices are detailed, maintaining their textures, but never sounding harsh.
There’s ample low-end heft to thicken the sound, but it’s nicely controlled. Add good timing and agility and you have yourself a punchy, dynamic soundbar that wipes the floor with its rivals.
Whether you watch a film or listen to music, the Kubik One’s greatest strength is its ability to seize your attention. It’s a thoroughly involving experience: we don’t tend to expect this from soundbars full stop.
Dali hasn’t just focused on the sound – the exterior is just as appealing. Soundbars don’t tend to be particularly attractive, but we think this one is really quite pretty.
Those grilles are removable: red, white and black come as standard, but you can also choose from six others ranging from purple to lime green.
Under the fancy exterior, a single piece of aluminium forms the chassis – designed to keep walls thin yet sturdy enough to suppress unwanted resonances. It’s heavy and solidly built, with a finish luxurious enough to match that price tag.
It’s not just a pretty face, however. This is a serious bit of kit. You’ll also find two 25mm soft dome tweeters and two 13cm wood-fibre cones.
At the back is a fair offering of connections. Inputs include two optical, and one analogue RCA. We’re pleased to see a micro USB input too, which means you can hardwire a Mac or PC into the Kubik One.
Three cheers if you’ve got a library of high-res tracks stored on there – the soundbar can handle tracks up to 24bit/96kHz.
For wireless input, there’s Bluetooth. The Kubik One handles aptX Bluetooth, which means you get higher-quality wireless streaming, provided you’re using a compatible device.
A sub out socket lets you hook up your own subwoofer if you feel the need. You shouldn’t have to, however. There’s also a switch to adjust the amount of bass depending on the position of the soundbar.
The ‘Neutral’ position offers the least bass, and is best when the soundbar is near a wall. There are keyhole-type mounts at the back, in case you want to stick it on a wall.
At the other extreme is ‘Bass Boost’, which does just that. It’s best for filling larger rooms (or blowing the roof off smaller ones).
The halfway point is ‘Bass Enhance’, which provided a balanced sound in our set-up: on a rack, in front of a TV.
Mind you, your TV will need to be tall to avoid having the bottom blocked off. At 16cm high, the Dali might conceivably justify its own shelf.
Once in place, it’s easy to use. Power, input and volume buttons are at the top of the soundbar, and on the remote control (a vast improvement on the remote that launched with the soundbar back in 2014).
Whether it’s a soundbar or a sound system, the Dali Kubik One is a massive success. The design and features impress us, and we love the way it sounds.
This is a gorgeous, complete package. Good work, Dali.
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