Interview: Pierre-Yves Huet, production manager at Cabasse

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AwoX, Made in France, customer service and memories: a presentation of Cabasse by Pierre-Yves Huet.

SV: What is your job at Cabasse?

PYH: I’m the production manager for Cabasse, at the headquarters in Plouzané and also for production in Asia.

SV: How are the Cabasse teams organized in Brest?

PYH: There are several departments at the Brest site: the Research & Development department that is mainly composed of engineers and the production team that I manage, which is composed of specialized workers and technicians. There is also a customer service department composed of electronics technicians and the sales department.

SV: And the rest of France?

PYH: There are also the AwoX teams in France. Cabasse has been part of the AwoX group since 2014. There is real synergy between Cabasse and AwoX. We mainly collaborate in developing the software and firmware that are installed in the products to process the audio signal customized by Cabasse acoustic engineers. AwoX also works on developing applications for iPhones and Android phones. That covers the Cabasse teams outside of Plouzané. There is also a branch in Singapore with a team that is on-site every day with our partners from Asia. These partners are locals, employed by the AwoX group. We are in daily contact with this team from Singapore and they are in the field every day in the different Asian countries we work with.

SV: Is it now important for products to be «Made in France»?

PYH: A number of our speakers are made in France and produced here, at the Plouzané site. These are very high-end speakers. This is Cabasse’s specialty and area of expertise: the development of coaxial drivers, with speakers that start at around €2,500 per pair and reach €185,000 per pair for the ultra-high end, iconic Sphère speakers. The first models in our range are the IO and stand-mounted IO2 speakers, Cabasse’s entry-level, “Made in France” speakers. Then, there are more traditional, bookshelf speakers such as the Murano and its larger sister, the Murano Alto (floorstanding model, editor’s note). After, we have the Artis, Riga and Baltic ranges. The Baltic speaker features the aramid tri-coaxial driver also found in our Sphère system.

The elegant Cabasse IO2 stand-mounted speakers.

SV: What does customer service mean to Cabasse?

PYH: First and foremost, customer service means listening to the client. We receive various requests every day via our network of resellers throughout France, but also internationally. Each request is treated exactly the same at Cabasse, whether it is a customer who wishes to repair a 30, 40, or even 50 year old speaker, or a customer who has a problem with a more recent electronic product, which happens sometimes. We are able to answer these clients and repair their products. These can be drivers that we restore to their original condition, old products or recent products. We are organized in a way that allows us to respond to all these requests. We receive requests from our resellers, but also via our website’s customer service section. These requests are all processed in the same way, always with the desire to answer the client’s questions, resolve their problems and provide them with musical enjoyment.

SV: Which models do you repair the most often here?

PYH: It is important to note that a driver’s lifespan depends on how they are used, conditioned and stored. The adhesives used to assemble the drivers break down over time, due to age and exposure to humidity and UV rays. At the moment, we get a lot of speakers from the 70s and 80s, some of which are equipped with the 30BZ18, 30M20 or more recent 21M18 drivers. These are all drivers that we regularly restore to their original condition, most of the time using the same materials and manufacturing processes. Occasionally the adhesives have changed for regulatory reasons, so the lifespan of the product is sometimes prolonged, but we always strive to respect the original technical specifications of the speaker. This is what we are currently able to do. We still have the tools to restore these speakers and drivers.

SV: Can you tell us about your personal sound system?

PYH: At home I enjoy all the connectivity solutions offered by Cabasse. I’m lucky enough to own several home audio systems: in the kitchen, in the living room of course, and even in my bathroom and my garage. These systems are all interconnected. In the living room I have an IO and Santorin 30-200 system. In my bathroom I have a Stream 3 system. I enjoy listening to music that makes the shower tray shake.

The Cabasse Santorin 30-200 subwoofer.

SV: What is your fondest musical memory?

PYH: When I arrived at Cabasse a few years ago I was lucky enough to hear the Sphère in our auditorium. Listening to London Grammar’s track Hey Now was more than just a sonic performance. It was a physical, sensory experience, with extremely deep lows that glued you to your seat and powerful vocals. This track really made an impression on me, especially with the Sphère. These same sensations can be found with Baltic 4 and Santorin 38 systems, and to a certain extent with The Pearl speakers in a stereo configuration. It is an experience that left a deep impression on me.

The Sphère: an uncompromising acoustic masterpiece.

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