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News

Review: Palo Alto Cubik speakers

Can these eye-catcIhing speakers square up to the competition?

If you’re a true audiophile who regularly uses a MacBook as their primary computer, it can sometimes be difficult to get the most from your music without a pair of external speakers.
The Cubiks are only the second product released by the Californian company Palo Alto, and we have to say that we love the design. Each speaker’s casing is made from a soft plastic with a texture similar to that of a matte black golf ball. The beautiful cubes each sit atop a metal stand that holds it firmly a few centimetres off your desk, and the speakers feel very solid.

Unfortunately, you will need to plug these speakers into the mains to get the powerful sound you’re after, but the Cubiks connect via USB to your computer, and thanks to this they are able to avoid the drop in quality that occurs when using a standard 3.5mm adapter. The sound is transferred digitally to the speakers and is then converted into an analogue signal within the casing, meaning the clarity of the sound is incredible. More on that later.

We were a little disappointed by the connection that was required between the two speakers, which uses a proprietary jack on a relatively short cable. Of course these are computer speakers, so it’s likely you won’t need it to stretch much further than to each side of your Mac, but the option would have been nice. In terms of sound, the Cubiks do, as we said, produce sound of such clarity it genuinely feels like the artist is in the room with you. Sitting at the desk and pressing play on the first track we experienced an odd feeling that the sound was surrounding us, as if we were wearing headphones. We could hear every note of the music, and the quality shone bright.

It was a shame, then, when we reached a particularly bass-heavy track. The small speakers, though powerful, couldn’t deal with the lower frequencies nearly as well. The Cubiks have a bass-boosting button that works relatively well, but causes tracks to distort at high volumes. It’s a shame that Palo Alto didn’t include a sub-woofer in the package, as it would have solved the

problem completely. Sadly, though, the small speakers will not be powerful enough for lovers of deeper tracks despite their specially designed speakers. Still, if you’re more interested in clarity, and can afford the hefty price tag, the Cubiks will absolutely blow you away.

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