The Kube, the first time I heard about this amazing MP3 player was on coolest-gadgets at first I thought the pictures could not possibly be true and that maybe it was a gimmick, until I went to Singapore and walked in to a 7/11 and saw this beauty, I had the intention of leaving the store with a Sprite and a plate of Nacho's but instead I spent my money on buying this beauty and to this day I am glad I was able to buy it in time, a week later these things went out of stock. At an amazing price of SGP$37 (USD$28) I could hardly believe my fortune, locally I could only find cheap low quality MP3 players but for the last 3 months this thing has been going rock solid it has been giving me great up time and flawless audio quality the only other time I have heard such pristine audio quality was on an iPod Nano 4G with its original Apple headphones and in some songs it was even better.
While it did VERY well in pop songs like "Thriller - Micheal Jackson" and "Smooth Criminal" it really shined out when I played my metal songs, "Kalmah - Heroes to Us" and "Children of Bodom - Everytime I Die" followed by "Bed of Razors" were pure listening pleasure to me the guitaring, the drumming even the locals were all so crisp and clear that I could not make my self believe that I can hear the bass guitar without any problems the low quality MP3 players being sold in
my local market gave standard audio quality although some models came with equalizer adjustment the audio quality would always fall short of the Kube. At first I though at medium volume of course all sounds pleasant so I took the next step and cranked the volume up to full and even than the audio quality was super clear, no crackling or hissing in the audio as you would expect considering the songs were each 320 Kb/s (Yes I know there is no difference between 256 and 320 but I am very picky when metal songs are concerned) normally in Chinese MP3 players there is audio loss/cackling/hissing when you turn the song volume up to full on a high bit rate but the Kube manages to maintain pristine audio quality. Enough talk today I am going to do a side by side of a local Chinese MP3 player against the Kube.
The body has a nice plastic like finish and has 6 faces; 1 for play/pause button, 1 for next track/volume up, 1 for previous track/volume up, 1 for power switch, 1 for micro SD card slot/ 3.5mm jack/ micro USB port for charging and 1 face which simply shows the logo. The functionality is simple once you get the hang of it; they have made this thing compact by removing several buttons such as volume up/volume down, shuffle off and the shuffle on buttons. But just because the buttons are not there does not mean these features are extracted from the device, but rather they have been cleverly embedded on the onboard buttons, you hold down the play/pause buttons for 5 seconds to shift between sequential play mode or the shuffle play mode, you hold the next track button to take the volume up, and the previous track button to take volume down, although to make things simpler there is a small picture of a speaker icon with + and – right below each of the afore mentioned buttons to indicate which is which. At first this can get a little tricky to get the hang of but once you have mastered it, you will forever love this little cube.
I Also got a lot of goodies with the package:
- Kube branded head phones which give crystal clear and super loud sound quality
- MicroSD to USB 2.0 converter so you can transfer songs from PC to the card
- 2GB MicroSD card
- USB 2.0 to MicroUSB cable for charging purposes.
- The Kube itself
I decided not to use my iPod Nano 4G for this testing purpose since it wouldn't be fair considering that the iPod cost me nearly USD$100 so i borrowed something of equal value, an MP3 player worth $30 a Chinese brand called "TouchMate" it looks like an iPod but minus the thumb navigation swivel. On both of them I used the stock headphones which came with both and at one point I used the Kube headphones with the Chinese MP3 players.
Thriller - Micheal Jackson: I decided to start off with some pop something with lots of sound effects in the background such as the howling wolf and other sounds thrown in. I used a 320 kB/s bit rate version of the song which is over kill.
Kube As I mentioned in the introduction the Kube surpassed my expectations for this song and played everything with flawless quality even when I cranked the volume to its fullest the audio quality remained superb.
TouchMate It managed to stay pretty good but certain parts of the song which I heard in the back ground were kind of in audible or really hard to make out and when i turned the volume to the fullest thats when cackling and hissing began in the headphones.
Kalmah - Heroes to us
Again one of my favorite bands and this is without a doubt one of my favorite songs cause of the awesome guitaring and drumming mixed in. Again the song is at 320 kB/s.
Kube: The Kube shines out yet again even at 320 kB/s and at full volume the song remained perfectly audible and at some parts where the drumming gets drowned out by the vocals and the guitaring I was still able to faintly hear the drumming but for that I had to focus a bit on the song. And once again with the song turned up to maximum volume there was again no hissing or crackling.
TouchMate: Surprisingly this song provides a nice mix instruments and the TouchMate gave me a pretty good result but alas that fell short when I turned the song to full and certain parts began crackling too much that I ultimately couldn't bear it, other wise quality wise at base volume it maintained a good standard
Children of Bodom - Everytime I die & Bed of Razors
Kube Both songs were again at 320 kB/s (Yes I know over kill again) Everytime I die is my favorite song to listen to while driving after Kalmah and the adrenaline rush I get from this song is unexplainable but its very thrilling, with the Kube I ultimately succumbed to head banging while by myself. The guitaring was perhaps the best part of the super clear audio quality and for some reason I just had to rewind and listen to it over and over again. Once again the Kube maintained its Composure when I turned the volume from 50 - 100% and kept my ears safe from the dangers of noise crackling.
TouchMate Now this was a tough choice some how the TouchMate managed to give me ALMOST the same quality but it did fall short at certain parts of the song where there was an instrument in the background and once again this did not last the 100% barrier in both songs while at start it was noise free, when the guitaring got intense thats when the crackling began.
The Final Judgement
The fight was very close but I will have to choose the Kube because Every Tom, Dick and Harry off the street has a Chinese MP3 player but when I show off my Kube no one is able to believe that such a tiny device is actually capable of giving such superb audio quality, not to mention how unique it is, although I have been on google for a good 10 minutes and I can't find the name of the company that made this marvelous device I give them my full kudos for making such an amazing device and if only these were available more widely I would buy these a 100 times and more if the need ever arises, For now these things are only available in 7/11's (In Singapore at least, I can't be sure of other countries yet) The stock headphones are absolutely amazing and have served me very well although I am planning on replacing them with some Sennheiser headphones I lent to a friend they give amazing audio quality which are almost on par with that of the iPod Nano stock headphones.
Despite the fact that it lacked many features I want such as a battery indicator or selective song playing the Kube still helps me survive my everyday walks if ever I go to the market it helps me forget the noisy sounds of cars passing by me and it helps me escape into my music world where I enjoy perfect audio quality for at least 5 hours or even longer if I take down the volume. Friends have offered to buy this thing from me for double of what I paid for it but I always reject their offers, that's how attached I have grown to this beauty.
For a very unbeatable price and a great design and performance I would highly recommend this product if ever you were to come across it, for only SGP$37 (USD$28) what can you possibly lose? This is an Indie company as far as I know and I always support the underdog, whether its buying digital games or buying their products I always give support to brilliant inventors such as the company that made the Kube, who knows one day this very company might change portable music as they have done with the Kube and maybe even make their next product even better, they most certainly have my support.