Revive your Vintage Electronics – Audiocubics R-Cube

November 12, 2012 in Preamplifiers, Reviews

The seventies was the golden age of receivers and integrated amplifiers (henceforth referred to as amplifiers). Kenwood, Marantz, McIntosh, Pioneer, Sansui and others produced high power, technologically advanced electronics. Now, I know what you’re thinking…”Sansui, come on, for real? Sansui?” Yes, Sansui! Sansui made some great amplifiers, some of which are now considered audiophile legends. Remember the Sansui G-9000, or 9090? The problem with many of these vintage electronics is they were “inconvenient” to operate. I put inconvenient in quotations because the word is subjective; One mans inconvenient is another mans Zen. Ok, so no remote control volume, nor input switching meant in many cases that over time these electronics were replaced with electronics that had a remote control. The Audiocubic R-cube ($295) is meant to revive that old non remote controllable Sansui receiver.

The Audiocubics R-cube is a simple device. It adds remote volume control to non-remote controllable receivers and integrated amplifiers. Now you can pull out that vintage integrated and enjoy it again. Once you dust off that old gear, there are two ways to integrate the R-cube into your system; one thru the pre-out/main in’s on your receiver/integrated amplifier. The second is thru the tape monitor loop of your receiver/integrated amplifier. I used the R-cube in a traditional preamplifier and amplifier configuration. The R-cube acted as a preamplifier and a First Watt M-2 as the amplifier.

My system consists of all digital sources and the R-cube performed as advertised. The cube was transparent, easy to place and had an cool easy to read volume control. It uses a single LED that transitions from blue to red in 192 steps from lowest to highest. This made it easy to know the volume level at anytime and the LED wasn’t overly bright. Speaking of volume control, the small remote control of the R-cube is especially elegant and comes in aluminum and select exotic hardwoods and machine-turned aluminum buttons.

"The Audiocubics R-cube is a versatile piece of kit…"

“The Audiocubics R-cube is a versatile piece of kit.” the British say. It has but one input which is perfect for extending the the functionality of say, a digital to analog converter (DAC). Let’s say you have a DAC with remote control input selection and only digital sources. Now let’s say you want to control the volume of your preamplifier. The R-cube is your huckleberry. Connect your digital sources to your DAC, connect the DAC to the your R-cube, connect the R-cube to your amplifier and BAM you have a high performance, fully remote controllable audio system.

The Audiocubics R-cube did what it was designed to do; provide transparent remote volume control. The R-cube is a smart and simple piece of audio equipment. It breaths new life into your vintage audio receiver and does so without changing its sonic character. The volume control implementation is well thought out and the fit and finish of the unit is top notch. The fact that the R-cube can be used as a traditional preamp in many situations is icing on the cake and further expands its versatility. Well done Audiocubics.

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Author and Associated Equipment
Thomas Turner
Speakers- Kef XQ5, Artison RCC300 Subwoofer
Amplifier- LSA Standard Integrated Amplifier, First Watt M2
Digital Processor- Music Hall 15.2
Sources- Squeezebox Touch 24/96 Hack
Cables- DH Labs, MIT, Signal Cable
Accessories- Panamax 5500 AC Regenerator, API Power Pack V