Friday, January 20, 2006

CES Report: Best In Show - The Cabasse La Sphère

This is the best loudspeaker I've ever heard. At $70,000 a pair not only will I never own them, I'm unlikely to ever hear them again (or meet anyone else who's ever heard them), but I'll never forget the emotionally gripping experience of listening to them.

Mike's comment reminds me that I've failed to mention the most obvious thing about these insane orbs...they're not pretty. They're even bigger than they look in this picture! There's a 21" woofer in each of those alien eyeballs! A 21" woofer that seems to have the speed of an 8" and the depth of...well, of a 21". Jim and I talked long on the subject of the look of these...when cranked up they look like the worlds least subtle pieces of kinetic sculpture...and they are white! It's the last color they should be because it makes it seem as though the designer is proud of the look...if they were black it would be clear he was trying to downplay them...if they were red or yellow he would be playing off the look...but white seems to say, "what's weird? they look cool!" And they don't. They just don't.

So why are they round? What you are looking at is the world's only full-range point source speaker. They are 4-way in a tweeter, mid-range driver, 8" mid-bass driver, and a 21" woofer, and all the drivers are placed in a line, one in front of the other...tweeter to woofer. Flat from 20,00hz~30hz and very loud below 20...believe me. It was the cleanest organ fundamental I've ever heard...maybe even cleaner than the real organs simply because it was louder.

The speakers are good because they're almost not there...everyone claims that about their speakers, but these were just utterly natural. Shocking in every way.

But it must be said that if I were putting speakers in my house it would currently be the Burmesters. All people would do with the Cabasse's is LOOK at them! They're too strange for a home, but Jim and I agreed that you could sell tickets for people to come hear them if you put them behind an acoustically transparent screen and everyone would feel it had been worth the money. I would rather pay $10 to hear these again than to see any movie Hollywood has produced in 20 years. By a mile. Posted by Picasa


M & H said...

... And they have the added bonus of looking wicked-cool.

Aaron said...

LOL, they were truly ugly. Jim and I agreed they would be marginally more livable in black, but...

These are purist speakers in the truest sense.

M & H said...

What did you hear played on them? I need to know so I can dream of them while sitting in my egg chair.

Anonymous said...

I´ve heard these speakers too in Munich - High End 2008. And they sounded very good and would love to own them.
However - I don´t understand why you think they are ugly. In my eyes and many others - they are hardcore industrial design - and I would call them "very cool". They stand out and in real life they are simply breath taking. It looks like though - that the ones you have in your picture is an older model than what I saw in Munich. The ones in Munich looked like the ones on Casse´s website.
Thanks for your inut on these speakers.

Aaron said...

Yes, these were only prototypes and the speakers have been re-designed since then and are much more beautiful. However, they are still very ugly. And when I say they're ugly I'm talking about for the use of putting them in my home. From an industrial design standpoint they are very nice indeed, and I really love the new stands they've designed. But putting them in my home would be simply out of the question, they're just too stupid looking.

That said, they're still one of the absolute best sounding full range loudspeakers I've ever heard and I've heard hundreds of high end speakers in my life.