Cabasse has recently introduced its small integrated stereo amp made for audio streaming, the Cabasse Stream AMP 100, on to the market. This amp, on paper, has nothing to fear from its competitors (Denon Ceol, Marantz Melody) and it even uses acoustic optimization for the Cabasse column and Cabasse compact speakers.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: design and functions
The Cabasse Stream AMP 100 amp benefits from a monolithic design with a glossy black plastic finish. The front panel integrates touch controls to change the source, adjust the volume and activate the mute mode. This amp features stereo analog inputs for connecting a CD player, a mic input and an optical S/PDIF input. The latter handles PCM streams up to 24 bits and 96 kHz as well as Dolby Digital streams. This amp can thus be paired up with an HD TV.
The Stream AMP 100 uses Ethernet and WiFi network controllers, in order to be connected to a local and/or Internet network. Cabasse offers, via AwoX, its parent company, a control app for iOS and Android, allowing access to Internet radio, audio files shared on the local network (NAS, receiver box, DLNA server such as AwoX Strim Server for example), as well as streaming services like Spotify and Deezer. Audio files can also be played using a smartphone or tablet via DLNA (WiFi or Ethernet) or via Bluetooth apt-x (high quality codec with a compatible smartphone or tablet).
To conclude this introduction, it’s worth noting that there is a pre-out stereo output to connect a power convertor as well as a mono pre-out output for an active subwoofer. The Cabasse Stream AMP 100 features enough HP terminals to power four pairs of speakers. If this is the case, power goes from 2×50 W to 4×25 W.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: installation
Let it be said that network connections do not rhyme with complications with the Cabasse Stream AMP. We tested the connection to our WiFi network without using the WPS automated pairing function in order to test out the least simple configuration. For this, you need to use the AwoX Cabasse Stream Control application. This detects the amp and communicates the connection settings to the selected WiFi network.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: DEAP technology
Cabasse’s technology known as Digital Enhancement of Acoustical Performances consists of a series of acoustic profiles applied by the DSP integrated in the digital audio signal. Cabasse is currently developing all profiles adapted to its speakers and these will be added automatically to the amp via firmware update. Throughout the summer, the number of DEAP modes should reach fifteen. Profiles for Santorin speakers and subwoofers will be offered in the near future (a steeper high-pass and low-pass crossover of the speaker and subwoofer).
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: test configuration
We listened to the Cabasse Stream AMP 100 amp with different speakers, including the brand new Cabasse Surf compact, Wharfedale Diamond 220, Q Acoustics Concept 20, Focal Aria 906 and even the Klipsch RP-280F. We used the Audioquest Star Quad 4 interconnect cable, chosen for its neutral nature and lively listening.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: with Spotify
The Cabasse Stream AMP 100 is compatible with the Spotify Connect protocol, meaning therefore that Spotify for Windows or Mac OS as well as its mobile versions for iOS and Android can control the amp. In these circumstances, it’s not the smartphone or computer which transfers music to the Cabasse amp but the amp directly connects to the Spotify servers. Ease of use is excellent and the amp has a great response time. It’s important to remember that a Spotify Premium pay subscription is necessary.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: with Deezer
As for Deezer, you need to use the Cabasse app as Deezer still hasn’t come up with a connection protocol for its servers which can be integrated into amps. Access to playlists is swift and smooth. Once again, a Deezer Premium pay subscription is required. In these circumstances, streaming quality is 320 Kbits /sec and playback is no longer random unlike a free subscription.
We preferred the tonal balance of the Deezer’s MP3 coding to that of Spotify’s OGG Vorbis even though this doesn’t relate to the Cabasse amp.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: with DLNA servers
As most Internet receiver boxes, NAS or computers can hold a DLNA / UPnP server, Cabasse has fitted the Stream AMP 100 with a support for this extremely flexible protocol. MP3 or FLAC files up to 24 bits and 96 kHz can be played from any iPhone, iPad, smartphone or Android tablet. The icing on the cake is the fact that the Cabasse app can select DLNA amps other than the Cabasse Stream AMP 100. This is convenient for those who own a home cinema amp (with network socket).
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: multiroom
The Cabasse app allows you to play music on different Stream AMP 100 amps simultaneously. The application is therefore multiroom and compatible with Cabasse Stream 1 and Cabasse Stream 3 speakers as well as the Cabasse Stream Source network player. Playback on other network players or DLNA amps is also possible.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: USB input
Our USB flash drive containing MP3 and FLAC files was immediately detected as its contents could be viewed in the Cabasse mobile application.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: listening impressions
A great level of energy is released by this little Class D amp, which we found to be firm in the bass range and lively in the medium. When used with Cabasse Surf compact speakers (available on the market this summer), the sound is really pleasant and even more refined when the DEAP profile is activated. The harshness which can be heard in non-equalized mode (FLAT) disappears when the DEAP mode is activated. Performances with our Focal, Wharfedale or Klipsch speakers are consistent and make the listening experience very lively. The live acoustic version of Hotel California (Hell Freezes Over) demonstrates the power of the Cabasse Stream AMP. Percussion is delivered with a great deal of impact while the string instruments are delivered with extra bite.
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: what we liked
- the numerous inputs and sources on offer
- the lively amplification
- the DEAP technology used with Cabasse speakers
- the ability to power compact and tower speakers
- the integrated Deezer and Spotify digital music services
- the compatible Dolby Digital optical input
- the effortless WiFi settings
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: what we would have liked
- a selection of sources from the mobile app (Cabasse stated that this is imminent)
- an integration of all DEAP profiles from Cabasse compact and column speakers (likewise, this is scheduled)
- to have had the auto-calibration feature using the mic (this is optional and is also scheduled)
Cabasse Stream AMP 100: conclusions
The Cabasse Stream AMP 100 amp keeps its word. The benefits of DEAP technology (with Cabasse speakers) are perceptible and adapted to a wide range of speakers. The already comprehensive control app is to be further developed, which is good news. The Stream AMP 100 is a great way to discover Cabasse speakers and their many advantages. Let’s conclude by stressing the point that a microphone input at the back of the amp could be used for acoustic auto-calibration, as is the case for home cinema amps. This little musical amp is lively with lots of potential.French