The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System includes the smallest connected speakers from Cabasse alongside a connected subwoofer. It promises performance well beyond its size, with a total output power of 1050W RMS and musicality worthy of larger systems thanks to a brand-new patented driver. The wealth of features offered by the previous speakers in the Cabasse The Pearl range remain the same, with 32-bit/768kHe DLNA playback, a Bluetooth receiver and access to streaming services and web radios. An ambitious system available for €2,490. But is it really a viable alternative to bulkier traditional sound systems?
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: packaging & accessories
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System speakers come in a luxurious case that opens up like a jewelry box, revealing the various elements that are placed in dedicated compartments. The speakers and subwoofer are protected by very well-made fabric pouches. The system comes with a Bluetooth remote control, a premium power cable, wall mounts for the speakers and a quick start guide.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: presentation
Over the years, the sphere has become the trademark of several Cabasse speaker ranges. This shape can be found on the Cabasse Alcyone 2, Cabasse Eole 4 and Cabasse iO3 satellite speakers, as well as the Cabasse Riga 2 and Cabasse Baltic 5 compact speakers. The sphere is also inextricably linked to the Cabasse The Pearl range of connected speakers. The new satellite speakers in the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System also have this round shape, but with a diameter of only 8cm, which is only slightly larger than that of a baseball. An even smaller format than the Cabasse Eole 3 and Eole 4 speakers, which have a diameter of 13cm.
Thanks to their miniature size, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System speakers have the ability to blend into the interior and fit into small spaces. They can be placed in the smallest nooks and crannies in a bookcase, on a shelf, in a TV cabinet or on a desk. Moreover, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshis are mounted on a silver metal stand that allows you to adjust their height to ensure the proper perception of the different frequencies, regardless of their location in the room. For even better integration, the satellite speakers in the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System can be wall mounted using the included brackets.
The subwoofer that comes with the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System has a very similar design to the Cabasse The Pearl Sub (read the review of the Cabasse The Pearl Sub). It is also spherical. With a diameter of 23cm, it is roughly the same size as the Cabasse The Pearl Akoya connected speaker. There are several grooves along the center of the sphere for a more contemporary look. This cabinet rests on a circular chrome base. Seen from the front, it almost looks like it is floating! However, the base of the speaker is illuminated by a green LED when the system is turned on. It is bright enough to disturb you if the Cabasse Keshis are installed in a bedroom. It would have been nice to be able to deactivate this LED from the mobile app.
In order to retain a natural and precise sound with an incredibly compact format, Cabasse have developed and patented a new 2” wideband driver called Dom55. The latter is equipped with an ultra thin diaphragm of 50 micrometers that guarantees high power handling for great dynamics. This quality is also a result of the adoption of a powerful magnetic array that uses neodymium magnets. As a result, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System speakers are capable of providing a performance that belies their size.
To support the speakers in the lows, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi system includes a subwoofer equipped with a 6.7” driver. Its cone is made of woven fibers to increase rigidity. It is mounted on a flexible surround to amplify excursion and maximize air displacement. Moreover, Cabasse manages to optimize the distribution of bass in the room by aiming the driver towards the floor. Consequently, the subwoofer in the Cabase The Pearl Keshi system can reach 30Hz, while retaining a somewhat compact format.
The subwoofer of the Cabasse Keshi kit features all of the electronic components, including the two amplifiers dedicated to the satellite speakers. The latter are equipped with banana plug-mounted speaker cables that plug into the dedicated terminals on the back of the subwoofer. Each speaker benefits from an amplification of 300W RMS and a peak amplification of 600W. Combined with the sub’s 450W RMS, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 system has a total amplification power of 1,050W RMS. An impressive figure for a system of this size!
Each amplification module is calibrated and developed to get the best performance from the associated driver. Cabasse also uses the proprietary DFE technology, which uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze and adjust sound dynamics in real time. It therefore promises to reproduce all the richness of recordings at both high and low volume. The system also has a microphone to perform ARCS (automatic room correction system) calibration and adjust the reproduction according to the listening room. To fine-tune the settings, you can define the position of the speaker and the listener in the room from the mobile app.
Like the Cabasse Pearl Sub, the subwoofer of the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System offers the same network features as the Pearl speakers. Once connected via WiFi or Ethernet, it can play music shared through DLNA from a NAS or a computer. The internal DAC supports the majority of WAV, MP3, AAC, WMA, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC and Ogg formats up to a very high resolution of 32-bits/768kHz. DSD compatibility is also ensured up to DSD128.
Deezer, Napster, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal are also supported by the Cabasse app, which is free to download for iOS and Android. The app provides access to thousands of web radios via vTuner. It is also possible to stream from a portable device, a tablet or a computer via AirPlay 2 or Bluetooth (SBC or AAC codecs).
It is also possible to enjoy your wired sources with the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System. To do so, it has two audio inputs: an optical digital input and a 3.5mm mini-jack analog input. You can therefore connect a CD player, a pre-amplified turntable, an external DAC or even a television. All of the connectors are located underneath the subwoofer. They aren’t very easy to access, but it means that the cables are more easily hidden once the sources are connected.
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System stereo kit is compatible with high-resolution multi-room streaming and can therefore be connected to one or several Pearl speakers to play music in several zones simultaneously. Moreover, the subwoofer’s inputs are compatible with multi-room streaming. The sources connected via optical or mini-jack can be streamed simultaneously to one or several The Pearl, The Pearl Keshi or The Pearl Akoya speakers installed in different rooms.
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System comes with a puck-shaped remote control. A design that is similar to the Devialet Remote V2 that comes with the Devialet Phantom speakers. The finish is elegant and the shapes minimalist. Particularly ergonomic, this remote control is made up of two exterior rings: one that serves as a base and one that rotates to adjust the volume intuitively and easily. The flecked top panel includes physical buttons for starting playback, pausing playback, selecting the source, and changing tracks (next or previous). This remote control communicates to the speakers via Bluetooth. To save battery life, it goes into standby mode after a few seconds of inactivity. This means it has to reconnect to the speakers every time you want to adjust the volume or control the system. It only takes 1 to 3 seconds, but still reduces the responsiveness of the remote.
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshis can also be controlled using the Cabasse mobile app. Free and available for both iOS and Android, it lets you select the source, adjust the volume, create multi-room groups and configure many settings: acoustic calibration, speaker position, audio equalizer, etc. The mobile app also provides access to compatible streaming services, music shared over the local network and web radios. Lastly, voice control is possible by pairing the system to a speaker with Google Assistant.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: key specifications
- 2.1 hi-fi system
- Pair of satellite speakers + subwoofer
- Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer, Deezer HiFi, Qobuz and vTuner compatible
- Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth (SBC/AAC), AirPlay 2
- Cabasse control app
- 32-bit/768kHz and DSD128 DAC
- 1 x Dom55 wideband driver per satellite speaker
- 1 x 6.7” driver for the subwoofer
- Output power: 2 x 300W RMS (satellite speakers) + 450W RMS
- Frequency response: from 30Hz to 23kHz
- Satellite speaker dimensions (WxHxD): 80 x 101 x 80mm
- Subwoofer dimensions (WxHxD): 237 x 230 x 266mm
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: configuration
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System is quick and easy to set up. You simply have to connect the speakers to the subwoofer’s terminals, add a source if you want to, connect the sub to the mains and launch the app to connect it to the local network. The app also enables you to determine the location of the speaker and the listening position, and initiate the automatic calibration. After these steps, which only take a few minutes, the system is ready to use.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: listening impressions
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System stereo kit was a real surprise and demonstrated an ambition to compete with the best. It delivered an amazing amount of power for such a small system with rigor and command. The reproduction was so detailed and balanced that when we closed our eyes, we could have been fooled into thinking that a pair of bookshelf speakers was playing. It was amazing!
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi satellite speakers offered a spacious and transparent soundstage. The spatialization was wide, giving the music room to breathe and fill the listening room. The sound seemed even more open when seated close to the system, with the speakers placed on the edge of a desk or less than 3cm from the listener. The vocals were then beautifully embodied at the center of this vast acoustic space. They were natural and reproduced with a surgical precision that emphasized the slightest inflections. The Keshi speakers provided a sense of closeness with the artists, whose emotions and intonations were tangible.
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 subwoofer was perfectly calibrated to work with the mini satellite speakers. It brought texture and substance to the music, without dominating the acoustic message. The bass sometimes lacked a sliver of depth, in favor of tight, punchy lows. This gave rhythm to the sound, which gained in both authority and liveliness. The low register was always well controlled and without any delay, even when the volume was turned up. The notes were well sustained, without any unwanted vibration or saturation. However, the subwoofer extends into the lower midrange to compensate for the limitations of the speakers. Consequently, it is easier to locate than a model that only reproduces low frequencies. Its placement in the room can therefore have an influence on the accuracy of the sound message. In a small room, it is preferable to place it in between the two speakers, otherwise the soundstage may be unbalanced. In a larger room, this placement is less important.
Home theater test
Thanks to their compact size, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System speakers can be placed on either side of a TV. Connected to the optical output of an LG OLED television, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi kit offered a much better immersion than the TV’s built-in speakers. The spaciousness offered by the small spheres allowed the frontal soundstage to extend far beyond the physical limits of the screen, both horizontally and vertically. Just like with music, the voices were always well centered and natural. The system gave the impression of creating a virtual speaker right in the center of the image. The dialogues were clearer and more intelligible. The bass was also much more lively, punchy and credible. The stereo image was very stable and the effects moved efficiently from one speaker to another, creating a particularly realistic and lively sound.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: compared to…
It is difficult to compare the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System to anything else, because it is the only 2.1 kit to offer this kind of performance despite having such a compact format. Its only rivals are bulkier models like the Devialet Phantom II 98 dB Stéréo. In this respect, the Devialet speakers offer more intense and powerful bass, despite the absence of a subwoofer. That said, they aren’t as balanced and are less natural than the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1. The sound message delivered by the Devialet model is colder and more constricted.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: who is it for?
The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System is designed for discerning users looking for an audiophile-grade system that blends into their interior and can be installed in small spaces. A lot less imposing than traditional speakers, the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System is a must for those who love minimalist design but lack space. Its many wireless features and the excellent control app also make it a great choice for users looking for an intuitive Plug’n’Play system. It is just as suitable for listening to music as it is for improving the sound of a TV.
Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System: conclusion
With the French manufacturer’s Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 System, listeners are reminded to not judge a book by its cover. Behind its minimalist appearance and the discreet design of the 8cm speakers, this 2.1 kit hides remarkable abilities. The sound qualities are excellent, with a surprising amplitude that gives music room to breathe and be expressed freely throughout the room. The sound is always very well paced, lively and balanced. The system provides a feeling of closeness to the vocals, contributing to an intimate listening experience and conveying many emotions.
The subwoofer effectively compensates for the shortcomings of the speakers by reproducing the bass and low mids with conviction and control. However, it should be ideally placed between the two satellite speakers to provide a more consistent audio message in small rooms. Finally, the numerous streaming options and the connectivity meet expectations and make the Cabasse Keshi 2.1 a truly versatile hi-fi system.
- The speakers’ compact format
- The wide, spacious soundstage
- The balanced and natural reproduction
We would have liked:
- A more responsive remote control
- For the subwoofer to have been easier to place in the room