First introduced in Las Vegas in 2006, the Cabasse Sphere has the kind of looks that would make it perfect for use by J.J. Abrams as a prop in the next Star Trek movie. To us, it resembles a gigantic Turkish ‘nazar’ evil eye stone or, more prosaically, a bloody great eyeball on a stick.
As is often the case with the highest-quality audio manufacturers from Europe, the name Cabasse was first associated with the production of world-class musical instruments; in Cabasse’s case, violins, the first of which to bear the name appeared in 1740 in far-eastern France, just a short jog from Germany and Switzerland. The fact that most of the stringed instruments the family made are still in use today bodes well for the build quality of these distinctive speakers.
In a quest to produce speakers with a single point source – an ‘acoustic Graal’ (Holy Grail) that Cabasse modestly claims to have achieved with the Sphere – the company has given pesky marketing and technical folk the cold shoulder, excluding them from the build process completely less they interfere with the goal of producing speakers entirely without compromise. Devout audiophiles planning a pilgrimage to their Cabasse dealer will no doubt appreciate this rigorously ascetic philosophy!
Comprised of a QC55 four-way coaxial driver – itself the combination of a TC23 three-way unit and a 21cm subwoofer aligned on a single axis – low-mid, mid- and high-frequency ranges achieve a perfectly linear response up to 25,000Hz, according to Cabasse. All are placed in front of a 55 cm (22 inch) Nomex honeycomb dome woofer that plumbs down to 25Hz.
Made of ‘expensive polyether’ by computer in a laboriously slow but error-free process, the membranes connecting each driver are rigid, light and uniform to ensure that linearity, the end result being a four-way ‘coincident’ design, whereby all four of those drive units share the same acoustic centre.
And, of course, it’s spherical. The outer casing eschews the traditional ‘box’ design and instead adopts a sphere, with all the rigidity and volume characteristics inherent in the geometry of that shape, such as minimal vibrations, no parallel surfaces that can create standing waves, the ability to fit the woofer in a smaller space and perfect internal symmetry for zero diffraction.
Digital filtering and processing delays each of the units to create a single, acoustic focal point with no variation in a 60 degree diffusion cone, according to Cabasse. Even the speaker stand is assured to be rigid and dampened, utilising a single piece of twisting, Escher-like die-cast aluminium that complements the spatial coherence. Viewed as a whole, the Sphere twin set is absolutely enormous, for disembodied eyeballs, weighing 100 kg and standing 70cm x 70cm x 140cm.
International Dynamics Australasia (IDA) has just been awarded the Australian distribution rights for the Cabasse speakers and will be able to show you representative products from the entry-level Oceo, mid-level Idea and high-end Artis lines but not, sadly, the ‘La Sphère’ itself.
An Artis 2.1 system consisting of two Riga floorstanders and a Santorin 30 sub will set you back a mere $19,997 but the Sphere, selling for about £90,000 a pair in the UK which is about $150,000 with the most generous of exchange rates and no ‘penalty-for-living-in-Australia’ surcharge, may take a little longer to save for.
Price: $150,000 USD
Contact: International Dynamics, internationaldynamics.com.au, (03) 9426 3600