UBIQ AUDIO Model One

MJ16.12.2016

Floorstanding loudspeakers

Expect ‘a frighteningly dynamic, powerful, precise, transparent and yet extremely involving presentation, with natural colours of voices and instruments, along with the tremendous sense of authority and rock solid 3D stereo image’. That is what Ubiq Audio says about their Model One. My opinion is that the Ubiq's Model One, though easily overlook-able at a hifi show, has the ability to make you forget about the SKIP button on your remote at home.

Function and form

96%
Ease of use
62%
Sound
98%
Appearance

I had no preconceptions with the Model Ones. I submitted them to the critical listening first and only then I looked at the manufacturer’s website at what I was listening to. And boy, was I lucky! The young Slovenian brand has conjured up such a professional marketing story that one simply has to love these speakers without auditioning them at all. Stripped off all the storytelling the design principles are quite solid and down to earth.
The Model Ones are quite sizable towers (118 x 42 x 37cm, 42kg) with no bassreflex port. There is only a small pressure release port for the midrange compartment to prevent distortion. The tweeter, a 38mm compression horn driver, is the only thing that is visible with all the Ubiq’s grilles on – this gives the impression of a coaxial speaker which the Model Ones are not. The midrange driver (54mm paper cone) and the bass driver (76mm paper cone) are mounted unusually far apart in the bottom part of the cabinet with the goal to get the woofer as close to the floor as possible.
Their fit and finish is stunning. There is no parallel surface on the cabinets, the side walls are running in a curve towards the back. The cabinets are made from bent plywood (4 layers of wood here), alike the Bowers & Wilkins’ enclosures, with aluminum tops and bottoms. Three Soundcare Super Spikes is what locks the Model One on the floor.
Three Ubiq Audio offers three standard finishes - White Pearl, Black and Walnut veneer – plus custom built options. Impedance of the Model Ones is 6 ohm, sensitivity is 88dB, and the frequency range starts at 40Hz (-3dB point) – all these are standard values so no surprise here. No bi-wiring.

Bass management

Weight
73
Slam
65
Articulation
70

The bass of the Ubiq's Model One misses its weight and scale, yet somewhat it nicely complements the midrange and the highs with its speed. With some recordings, however, the bass was quite prominent - the listening room was rather small so the proximity of walls helped it develop. The frequency limitations in low octaves can be understood: the Model Ones look big but they are not big, plus the cabinets have no reflex port. The quality of bass was what made me happy, however. It is very contoured and texturally rich bass that lends music solid foundation - what I heard were real bass guitars and double basses, not just undefined basso continuo.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
81
Air
76
Transparency
63

Actually I found the Model Ones to be rather forgiving speakers. This is good for ears that do not suffer from listening fatigue. The Ubiqs were not that much different from planar speakers in their spirit. The sound was open, it seemingly came from nowhere, had no frequency excesses, but it was also a bit reticent too. Stravinsky's Firebird (RCO, Maris Jansons) almost put me to sleep (this sometimes happens to me in the sonic comfort of some festival halls). I prefer soothing qualities to overly brilliant or ear-grabbing voicing of modern loudspeakers - thje sound like this is good for shows, bad for long term partnership.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
72
Dynamics
67
Temporal resolution
64

The Model One allows the listener to adjust its frequency output. Next to the bass driver, under the textile grille, there are two switches (the switches can be operated without the necessity to take the grille off, which is not an easy task). The upper switch adjusts the tweeter by +/-1dB, the lower switch adjusts the kidrange driver by +/-1dB. I had no itching to perform any adjustment - the sound was exemplary flat, with subjective lift in the ambient range at around 9-11kHz, which was probably the effect of the horn waveguide (as was also the faintest cupped hands impression). This lift was more prominent depending on how far I was sitting from the tweeter - in certain distances it highlighted the hiss of studio tapes or the studio noise around microphones, or made horns more blazing. Again - depending on the recording that I used - it made the listening experience either richer or slightly inferior. So you need to find your own sweetspot. I also wished that the Models One had punchier dynamics - the speaker is quite honest in how it conveys the music but the excitement level could have been higher.

Spatial resolution

Holography
73
Soundstage width
74
Soundstage depth
72

The lateral soundstage of the Ubiq Audio Model One was not restricted, the speakers dissapeared effectively in the listening room. Soundstage depth has something to do with personal preferences, as well as with time alignment of drivers. The better the speaker the more realistic the depth (not necessarily deeper). A piano was quite realistic in its proportions, not oversized or shrunk. The tape hiss reminded me that I was listening to a recording - without that it would be a very live event.

With the Ubiq Model One the owner gets 3 different looking speakers in one package. Naked the Ubiq resembles a speaker from 60’s. With its cloth grille on it becomes a very elegant and understated design from even the most demanding architect’s dream. Everything is matte black, it is like the Model One does not reflect any light, simply beautiful. Add the second grille, the one with strings, and visitors would swear the Model One is a new launch from Sonus Faber. Nice design versatility.

Price as reviewed:360 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Navrátil Audio, Havířov, tel. +420 737 821 360

Associated components

  • Sources  Luxman D-05u,
  • Amplifiers: Luxman C-700u and M700u
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: CrystalConnect Micro, Nordost Blue Heaven
  • Loudspeakers: Ubiq Model One
  • Power conditioning: Isol8 Axis, Nordost Valhalla, Nordost Blue Heaven, Siltech, Neyton, Harmonix

Gallery

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