What is the Cube C30 DAP?
Cube c30, Hippo Gumstick, Nanite N2. They are all the same right?
Well not quite. While it is true that all are manufactured by the same OEM they have subtle differences which leaves one standing at the top of the pack. The Cube C30. Read on to find out what makes this such an outstanding little DAP.
We updated this article to reference our current list of the best cheap audiophile DAP’s.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – PACKAGING
The C30 comes packaging is standard fare, a white box covered in the usual bumf found on media players of Chinese origin. However, there stands one interesting little symbol, BBE which we will get into greater depth later.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – ACCESSORIES
Not much to report on here, there are the manuals in chines and a USB cable with which to charge and connect with. What is notable is the included earphones, these are Cubes’ own F1 earbuds and in their own right are one of the best included IEMS I have heard certainly they won’t take place over other options but they are more than acceptable to have around like a pair of beater phones.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – BUILD QUALITY
The build on this little device is excellent, when taken apart you can see why it feels so sturdy is the metal chassis. Externally, of course, plastic is used however it is of good quality and gave no cause for concern. If anything the buttons lock switch on top might be a little less than the rest of the device and the screen may be prone to pick up some scratches however I really am nitpicking here.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – USABILITY AND FIRMWARE
The firmware on the clip is very basic but works very well, almost all formats that you would wish to have included are here MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, and FLAC. Music is best sorted by one’s own folder arrangement and is very simple to use. You are given plenty of options for tuning the sound your way with a selection of presets along with 3 customizable 5 band user eq’s.
The most standout feature in the firmware (as alluded to earlier in the review) is that of the inclusion of BBE. BBE sound engineers were brought in to squeeze out every last drop of sound for this player and the inclusion of their presets will keep many Cowon users happy along with those who have never experienced BBE+. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea and the rest of the review will concentrate of the flat eq setting but be aware BBE is very well implemented here.
One slight issue with the player is that the screen is very reflective making it a struggle to use in daylight without shading the screen.
Memory can be expanded with up to 32 GB micro sd.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – SOUND QUALITY
The Cube is a very capable source and should be considered as a step up in sound quality from the old audiophile staple the Sansa clip/+/zip. The highs are crisp but never to the level of being over sibilant and in the most part very accurate. Mids though is where the player shines it has an ever so slightly forward and slightly warm presentation (very very slight) it remains crisp and clear and is extremely transparent.
Lows are another area where the player raises above the middle pack of players as the cube has very tight and well-controlled bass with a good amount of quantity, it does not sound thin and instead is lively and fun making this a great option when listening to faster styles of music.
Power-wise there is nothing that should be feared here as for a portable source it pumps out a fair amount of power capable of driving anything I have up to 150ohms including the RE262 and Superlux HD660 without clipping or other shortcomings. This most likely is down to the class A amp (MAX9722) providing the power.
Cube C30 MP3 Player – BATTERY LIFE
Even with the powerful amp inside on constant playback tests, I was getting about 18 hours which is very good, and even closer to the manufacturer 20 hours with interrupting playback. All in this is a very respectable
The cube c30 certainly fronts the clip in terms of sound quality and also would be preferred to a number of mainstream players such as iPods out the Headphone out. BBE is a useful addition and at the current price of £30 I can do nothing but recommend it,