When it comes to sound systems, only a few manufacturers are able to slap a huge, justifiable price tag on their products. Sonos I can vouch for and when someone tells me how expensive they are, I’d play mine and allow them to make their own judgement, so you can imagine when I was offered a Dali Kubik One for review I was very skeptical at first, but it proved to be a good sound system overall. A couple of small niggles here and there, but nothing major; in fact, most of the niggles has to do with the design and the remote control it came with.
Out of the box, it comes with all you need to get started, so unless you want to mount it or do some crazy custom setup at home, you can simply link it to your device and you’re all set. The Kubik One sound system looks and feels premium as you lift it out of the box, and not many manufacturers – no matter which field – can strike a good balance between design and functionality.
The Kubik One is not light, it weighs in at just under 10 kg and 162 x 980 x 102 (HxWxD), it’s about the same length of the average sound bar like Sonos Playbar so nothing surprising there at all. Although you can place it wherever you like, after all, you spent your hard earned money on it, but Dali recommends that you place it on a shelf or stand, on-wall and centre it like you would any soundbar. With a sealed or closed box design, some say it’s better for frequency range and sound quality, but it’s a matter of preference, but I find this design methodology is much more reliable and consistent with sound quality.
The Kubik One is rugged thanks to its metal chassis, which, also gives it a sense of sturdiness and Dali have given it an interesting design with black metal frames with a glossy finish and red contrasting mesh cover in fabric. The left and right drivers are separated by a black metal band. The metal in the middle houses the buttons – there you’ll find the on/off, volume up/down, input type and infrared (IR) for remote control sync buttons.
On the design side, two things that are worth mentioning is that the paint scratched off easily, although this is something to worry about during installation and the remote control felt quite cheap in comparison to the rest of its premium host. If you prefer to do away with the remote control, you can always synchronize a third party one to suit your needs.
Where connectivity is concerned, Dali includes a 3.5mm mini jack, RCA , Optical (Toslink), micro-USB input and SUB Out, should you wish to connect your own sub-woofer. The Kubik One is primarily a BlueTooth (Apt-X) sound system in my opinion, although other connectivity options are just as good.
Elsewhere, you get switches for bass enhancement, power mode and gain adjustment, which, if you have the right sound source like Spotify or HD video, you won’t need to use.
DALI KUBIK ONE Sound System Performance Review
The Kubik One’s 48 – 22,000 frequency range (+/-3 dB) Hz was more than capable of producing all you need from bass and all the way up there, in fact, any more you’d just become a nuisance and may create some friction with your neighbors. Whether you are connecting it to your TV or simply streaming audio via Bluetooth, you can expect a really good sound. One thing I did find interesting is that placing it on different surfaces did affect the way the bass sounded, especially on my wooden floor, it did not sound as good as placing it on a solid, wall-mounted shelf (why they recommended ideal places to place it) which is by no means a problem with the Kubik One.
Tried with TV shows for sound quality, it performed very well with not issues at all, Game of Thrones with all sorts of surround sounds came out well, I was able to hear all the footsteps, horses approaching and even the noise from fire crackling was very clear. Switching it up to Grime music (UK Rap if you want), Hip Hop, RnB, some country music just to level the playfield, all came out well. Turning the bass up and even on the device itself still produced a good level of bass and did not crack under pressure at all.
Before I forget to mention, set up is also very straight forward, with most of the process involving just plugging in cables and Bluetooth connection is just standard, press and hold a couple of buttons or the first time connecting, it goes straight into pairing mode and withing two minutes you’re connected.
Overall, the Kubik One performed very well. Bluetooth connection for most sound systems can affect audio performance and could also mean interference, but Dali nailed it in that area. Although it’s missing HDMI connectivity, it comes with good workarounds to make sure you can still connect it to you TV for a complete setup and better audio experience. It feels premium and comes with a good choice of colour variety to choose from. It comes in at a higher price than a lot of sound systems out there, placing it in the premium market and it does hold its own there.