In short what astounds about the rCube is its power and clarity. Power isn't to be confused with volume, rather its ability to project full, rich sound across a wide area. Sit left or right of the rCube and it makes no difference. Turn your back or listen from behind it and you'd swear you were still placed in optimum position. This is no coincidence. Arcam angles its amplifiers within the rCube to achieve this consistency with the only proviso being not to place the rCube in a book shelf with books either side. Sound comes out in all angles and in such a scenario you'd be strangling it.
Corners, on the other hand, are not a problem. The bass button I mentioned earlier isn't a crass 'boost' but instead to counter the natural bass reverberation you'd get sitting the rCube in a corner. Toggle it off if you place the rCube more centrally, such as when having a party. It works a treat.
Now I've long preached that specific docks tend to favour one particular type of music. The bombastic Teac Aurb, for example, is for bass lovers while the refined nature of the GenevaSound Model S is better suited to jazz or classical music. Well consider my theory expunged by the rCube. Over the last three days I've thrown every genre possible at it and come away smiling from ear to ear each time. After its exemplary reproduction of Nigerian blues we moved through Charlie Parker's jazz, The Prodigy's big beats, Massive Attack's sultry trip hop, Metallica's raucous Black Album, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Beethoven.
This was followed up by Head Candy's party fuelled dance, Daft Punk's stunning electronica on the new Tron soundtrack, the beautiful guitar pickings of late greats Steve Ray Vaughan and Elliott Smith. BoB, Kanye West and Eminem failed to knock the rCube out of its stride either, nor did Whitney Houston's warbling, Blondie's high pitch or Barry White's low one. By the time Fischerspooner's Emerge had made the hairs stand up on my neck it was time to admit defeat.
Distortion? Nothing. Even at maximum volume everything is crystal clear – another speaker dock first. So where's the but? There's always a but…. and the rCube does indeed have a big one.
Let's just get it over with: the rCube costs five hundred pounds. Yes a £500 speaker dock and my price searching couldn't find a single retailer selling it for less than £499.99. There is a simple reason for this: as a small British company, Arcam simply can't make enough to satisfy demand. Still can the rCube really be £100 better than a B&W Zeppelin? The answer is yes, because it isn't just a speaker dock…