The hi-fi world is in mourning. Georges Cabasse, founder of the eponymous brand and celebrated innovator in the field of hi-fi speakers passed away last Sunday at the age of 91.
A descendant of several generations of French luthiers, a music lover and electrical engineer, the founder of Cabasse followed a dream: that of perfectly reproducing the sound of the classical music concerts he loved.
Realizing that manufacturers at the time were “not very sensitive to distortion”, he decided to begin producing his own speakers and founded the company Cabasse in 1950. His goal: create accurate sound, without any modifications, and with the least amount of distortion and coloration possible to rediscover the original musical emotion.
In 1960, Georges Cabasse moved to Brest. There, he built a new facility that was entirely dedicated to achieving the perfect sound. All of the necessary trades (carpentry, mechanics, electrolysis, wiring, assembly, etc.) were brought together to develop and produce the first Cabasse products for consumers and professionals.
Cabasse: an appetite for challenges
Cabasse’s adventure began at Neuilly-sur-Marne with the creation of the Maison du haut-parleur. The manufacturer’s efforts were rapidly rewarded. The Grand Rex, the first French movie theater equipped with CinemaScope technology, turned to Cabasse as early as 1953 to create its sound system.
In 1974, the engineers of the Maison de la Radio organized a competition with a series of blind tests. Cabasse’s first active 3-way speakers, the Brigantin VTA and Galion 3 VTA with dual servo-controlled bass, won the competition hands down and were chosen to be used in Radio France’s studios.
In 1984, La Géode challenged Cabasse with an unprecedented assignment: to create a high power, high fidelity sound system, without any compression or coloration, for the iconic IMAX theater. Cabasse installed 4-way clusters with special filtering, resulting in an innovative 12 point transmission system, with four subwoofers that continue to amaze fans of exceptional sound 30 years later.
In 1998, Cabasse was entrusted with designing the sound system for one of the Marine Nationale’s (French Navy, editor’s note) flagships: the Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The technological innovation of using 10 long range horn loaded speakers across the ship allowed orders to be relayed to crew members with an acoustic power that could reach 136dB!
Cabasse: research and development
In 2003, the Cabasse teams moved to a new location facing the ocean. The research department and industrial production equipment were completely overhauled using the best technology and most experienced professionals to preserve the tradition of innovation that is part of the French brand’s DNA.
The Research and Development department was equipped with an unprecedented custom-built installation: a 20,000m³ anechoic chamber. Apart from the floor, it is completely unconnected to the building around it for almost perfect soundproofing. An underground bunker also allows power and reliability tests to be carried out on the brand’s premises. Lastly, a workshop for wood, metals, paint and high-quality composite materials produces all of Cabasse’s functional prototypes and tools.
Cabasse: noteable technologies and products
When Cabasse is mentioned, one can’t help but think of coaxial driver technology. The French manufacturer took concept very far and in 1992 managed to develop a revolutionary tri-coaxial driver: the TC21. All of the drivers are placed on the same axis, forming part of a pulsating sphere, without any of the imperfections caused by the lack of coherence between direct and reflected sounds. This unique coaxial design is the ideal solution to ensure lifelike sound placement.
In 2007, Cabasse presented La Sphère, the fulfillment of an acoustician’s dream. Inheriting 60 years of innovation and equipped with tri-coaxial technology, this unique speaker’s structure does not generate standing waves or diffraction effects, mostly thanks to its aluminum stand. Lauded by the specialized press, Cabasse’s incredible creation became a reference.
Cabasse: the streaming revolution
Always at the forefront of innovation, the French manufacturer took advantage of its takeover by AwoX, a company specializing in smart objects, to enter the streaming market with the Cabasse Stream range. A connected amplifier, soundbar and network receiver can be connected to Cabasse speakers to listen to music wirelessly, with everything controlled via an app for Android and iOS. Cabasse Stream products can even be combined to create a multi-room audio system.
In 2019, the French brand innovated once again with the release of the Cabasse The Pearl. This wireless multi-room speaker features a 10” tri-coaxial driver powered by 1600 watts RMS. It features an auto calibration system piloted via a mobile app to optimize the sound restitution according to the acoustics of the listening room, and can be used as a pair for stereo sound.
The hi-fi world has lost one of its most devoted pioneers with the passing of Georges Cabasse, whose innovative spirit influenced several generations of audiophiles.