Interview: Pierre-Yves Diquelou, director of product engineering at Cabasse

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Pierre-Yves Diquelou is the director of product engineering at Cabasse. He spoke with us about the origins of the Cabasse The Pearl Sub system.

Pierre-Yves Diquelou joined Cabasse as a warehouse worker in the late 80s after his military service. Captivated by the world of audio and curious to discover this domain, he learned on the job thanks to Cabasse employees who trained him and shared their knowledge with him. Today P-Y Diquelou uses this experience to direct the research and development of Cabasse speakers.

SV: can you explain the origins of the Pearl Sub?

PYD: Historically, Cabasse has always placed innovation at the heart of its work. This desire to innovate is particularly evident in two areas: active systems, the first Cabasse active loudspeaker dating back to 1958, and coaxial loudspeakers associated with active systems that have existed since 1993 here at Cabasse (the 1952 Atlantis MC system was the brand’s first coaxial loudspeaker dating. Editor’s note).

The Pearl Sub system stems from this tradition. It benefits from all our experience with active systems, loudspeakers and coaxial loudspeakers, expertise that we mobilized to design an active system that offers a quality of reproduction that corresponds to the requirements of Cabasse.

SV: Can The Pearl Sub work with any pair of speakers?

PYD: No. We have decided to offer a complete system, and not just a subwoofer. It is a subwoofer, but it is part of an audio system in which we want to have complete control of the entire chain. The subwoofer powers the woofer, but it also powers the mid/high frequency part of the associated satellite speakers. The signal processing which is applied in the mid/high range is almost as important as that which is applied to the bass.

We are really talking about a coherent system. If we want to obtain and preserve this coherence, we must have complete control from one end of the chain to the other. To do so, we have developed this system with our speakers and our coaxial speakers.

SV: So the Pearl Sub makes it possible to achieve an complete acoustic system optimized according to the speakers it is associated with, is that correct?

PYD: Yes, an optimized acoustic system based on the satellite speakers. Cabasse has been working on satellite speakers since the 1990s. When we started experimenting, satellite systems appeared to be extremely efficient but very complex to implement. Satellites had to be very precisely positioned and required that a professional configure the active filters according to the listening room in order for the system to operate at 100% of its potential.

Since the 90s, we were aware that the day we managed to create a system that installs itself at the customer’s property would be a big achievement. The customer could then have an integrable, efficient and easy to configure system. Simplicity is the key today.

This ease of implementation is now accessible thanks to digital filtering, which was not possible 10 years ago. By playing on what we in our profession call the “interconnection” (the range of intermediate frequencies that can be reproduced by different speakers of the system, editor’s note), we try to make two systems (the satellites and the subwoofer, editor’s note) which are positioned at different places in the room cohesive. The development of such a solution is complex but made possible by digital signal processing. And it remains very simple and transparent for the user who can install their system themselves.

SV: sound optimization based on the satellites and the listening room is managed from the Cabasse application. How does this work in practice?

PYD: The Cabasse application controls the system. During the initial setup, this app instructs the system to generate a series of sound signals to “animate” the room and measure any identifiable acoustic faults. These measurements are sent by the application to the cloud in order to be analyzed by a powerful algorithm. It then generates a correction tailored to the room which is then sent to the application and applied to the system.

For the user, it is very simple and very user-friendly since they simply have to enter the model of associated satellite speakers and their placement in the room. This process only takes a few moments.

SV: Is the Pearl Sub’s connectivity limited to calibration and audio filter adjustment?

PYD: No. This subwoofer incorporates all the “network” functions found on The Pearl connected speakers.

The connection to the local network which allows synchronization with the other devices of the Cabasse ecosystem for multi-room streaming, but also the playback of music files stored on a NAS or a smartphone.

Then there is the Internet connection, with access to streaming services such as Qobuz, Tidal, Deezer and Spotify which allow you to enjoy your music with optimal audio quality.

SV: So why did you design a connected 2.1 system and not just a pair of connected floorstanding speakers?

PYD: For many years now, we have been convinced that a 2.1 system is superior in terms of performance to floorstanding speakers, for two reasons.

The first is that in a 2.1 system, we have a low frequency source that is designed and optimized only for that purpose, while in a floorstanding speaker there is a low frequency driver that must also often reproduce the low-midrange or even the high-midrange on a 2-way speaker. Specializing a piece of equipment in a frequency range therefore makes it possible to optimize it.

The second reason is that with a 2.1 system, you can position this bass source at the place in the room where it gives the best listening result. But this location generally isn’t suitable for positioning a medium-high source, and vice versa. To be effective, a bass source must often be brought close to the walls or placed at an angle to generate the least resonance in the room. Conversely, to provide a good stereo image, the mid/high source must be kept away from the walls.

Considering this, it is clear that a 2.1 system using satellite speakers and a subwoofer will perform better and give better results than floorstanding speakers whose positioning in the room inevitably involves a compromise.


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