The first wireless bookshelf speakers from the French manufacturer, the Cabasse Rialto incorporate the numerous streaming options of The Pearl range in a more traditional format. They take the acoustic structure of the Cabasse Akoyas, which have a triaxial configuration with a 6.7” woofer, and magnify it with an amplification of 1,050W RMS per speaker and DSP algorithms. Sold for €2,990, the Cabasse Rialto speakers promise to bridge the gap between traditional hi-fi and the latest connected features.
Cabasse Rialto: packaging & accessories
The Cabasse Rialto speakers are delivered as a pair in a single box. They come with two power cables (one per speaker), an optical cable, an HDMI cable, as well as a quick start guide. However, there isn’t a remote control. The speakers are controlled using the touchscreen and the Cabasse mobile app.
Cabasse Rialto: presentation
The Cabasse Rialto wireless speaker takes its name from the oldest and most famous Venetian bridge. An embodiment of the intersection between traditional hi-fi and the connected technologies developed over the last ten years by Cabasse. For this first pair of active bookshelf speakers, the French manufacturer has produced a cabinet with soft, rounded lines reminiscent of the Cabasse Murano. However, they differ with their compact format, measuring just 20cm wide, 26cm high and 23cm deep. The Rialtos are therefore very easy to install in any interior. The driver on the front can be left apparent or can be hidden by a magnetic grille. Lastly, the chrome-finish base elevates the speaker, giving it an elegant, aerial design.
The modern aspect of the Cabasse Rialto is embodied through the circular touchscreen built into the top of the main speaker. Similar to the one that adorns the Cabasse Abyss amplifier (read the review of the Cabasse Abyss), this screen lets you quickly select the source, change tracks, access your favorites and see the album artwork of the track you’re listening to. It is surrounded by a rotating ring that allows you to adjust the volume smoothly and intuitively.
The brightness of the display can be set to different levels to ensure optimal viewing, even in brightly lit rooms. You can set a timer for the screen to enter standby mode, or you can leave it on for as long as the speaker is in use.
The Cabasse Rialto connected speaker uses a triaxial structure, a technology that was introduced by Cabasse as early as 1952 and that has been continuously improved ever since. This triple driver allows all sound waves to be emitted from a single point, ensuring coherent, natural dispersion and improved phasing. The front of each Cabasse Rialto features a 5” coaxial fiber midrange driver with a central tweeter. This driver is coupled with a rear-firing woofer.
On the same axis as this driver, but positioned on the back of the speaker, is a 6.7” driver dedicated exclusively to low frequencies. It is a patented HELD (High Excursion Low Distortion) model, identical to the driver used in the subwoofer of the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi speakers. Its cone is made of woven fibers for greater rigidity. This driver’s design enables a very high excursion without the voice coil moving out of the magnetic field. This allows for a long throw while reducing distortion. Consequently, the Cabasse Rialto can go down to 30Hz, a real feat for an active bookshelf of this size.
Each driver is paired to its own amplification module, ideally calibrated and developed to achieve the best performance. As a result, each Cabasse Rialto speaker is equipped with a 300W module for the tweeter, a second 300W module for the mids and a 450W module for the lows. Impressive specs for such a compact system!
The Cabasse Rialto speaker uses patented DEAP (Digital Enhancement of Acoustical Performance) technology to ensure perfect synergy between the amplifiers and the drivers. This exclusive technology optimizes performance via signal processing to harness all the available amplification power without generating distortion. Consequently, the Cabasse Rialto speakers are able to play at very high volumes while preserving musical clarity and precision.
In addition to DEAP technology, the Cabasse Rialto speakers offer many options to refine and adjust the sound reproduction, notably by correcting the listening room’s defects. To this end, each speaker incorporates a microphone for ARCS (Automatic Room Correction System) calibration. Highly effective, it eliminated the low-frequency resonance present in our office during this test.
The acoustic calibration makes it a lot easier to install the Cabasse Rialto speakers in the room. While the latter have a rear-firing woofer, they can be placed just a few centimeters from the wall without much impact on the sound reproduction. The bass is automatically attenuated so that they don’t sound artificial. The calibration also takes into account reflections from the materials surrounding the speaker. Nevertheless, the manufacturer recommends decoupling the speakers by at least 20cm for greater depth, amplitude and balance.
To fine-tune the settings, it is possible to determine the listening position in the app: sofa very close to the speakers, in the middle of the room or next to a wall. This function appears to act primarily on the bass level. Finally, you can set the balance and adjust the sound signature to obtain a reproduction that is more bass-oriented, treble-oriented or perfectly balanced. This feature replaces the band equalizer.
The Cabasse Rialto wireless speakers provide the same network features as the speakers in the Cabasse The Pearl range. Once connected via WiFi or Ethernet, they can play music shared via DLNA from a NAS or a computer. The internal DAC then supports the majority of audio formats up to 24-bit/192kHz (WAV, MP3, AAC, WMA, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC and Ogg), as well as DSD files up to DSD128. The latter can even be read from a USB key or an external hard drive.
Deezer, Napster, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal are all supported by the Cabasse app that is free to download for iOS and Android. It also allows you to access thousands of web radios via vTuner. It is possible to stream for a mobile device, a tablet or a computer via AirPlay 2 or Bluetooth (SBC and AAC codecs).
It is also possible to use your wired sources with the Cabasse Rialto connected speaker. The connectors are all situated on the back of the main speaker (the one with the touchscreen) and include an RCA input, a USB-A port and an optical input, allowing you to connect a CD player, a tuner or a DAC, for example. An HDMI eARC port simplifies connection to a television, with the option of turning the speakers on or off at the same time as the TV, and adjusting the volume using the TV remote control. Note that these speakers don’t support Dolby and DTS audio formats. You’ll need to set the TV’s HDMI ARC/eARC output to PCM if you’re connecting a pair of Cabasse Rialto speakers.
Each Cabasse Rialto speaker is also equipped with an Ethernet port to connect to the network. When the speakers are connected via WiFi, they communicate with each other completely wirelessly. During the many listening sessions carried out over several weeks for our review, the communication between the speakers was always smooth and synchronized. However, Cabasse gives you the possibility to use an optical connection in case you notice any latency.
The Cabasse Rialto connected speakers are compatible with multi-room streaming, allowing you to listen to music in several zones equipped with compatible Cabasse devices. The sources connected to this pair of speakers can be streamed simultaneously in one or several zones. Multi-room playback is also possible with AirPlay 2 compatible devices via an Apple source.
Cabasse Rialto: key specifications
- Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer, Deezer HiFi, Qobuz and vTuner compatible
- Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth (SBC/AAC), AirPlay 2
- Cabasse Streamcontrol control app
- 24-bit/192kHz and DSD playback
- 1 x 5” midrange/tweeter coaxial driver
- 1 x 6.7” woofer
- 1050W total power per speaker
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 206 x 260 x 239mm
Cabasse Rialto: configuration
Setting up a pair of Cabasse Rialto speakers is quick and easy. Simply connect the various sources, turn on each speaker and then launch the mobile app to connect them to the local network. The app allows you to assign a channel to each speaker (left or right), so that the touchscreen speaker can be placed on the most accessible side. You can then determine the location of the speakers in the room, the listening position and perform the acoustic calibration. After these steps, which only take a few minutes, the stereo system is ready for use.
Shared by all the manufacturer’s connected devices, the Cabasse application is very well designed, a real asset for these connected speakers. It provides easy access to compatible streaming services, music shared over the local network and web radios. The interface is modern and well thought-out, and provides smooth navigation thanks to four tabs grouping the most frequently used features and favorites.
Cabasse Rialto: listening impressions
The Cabasse Rialto wireless speaker surprised us with its ability to generate colossal power in such a small package. The bass was deep, energetic and remarkably intense. It was always well controlled and reproduced with phenomenal force, sometimes even requiring us to lower the level of this frequency range. Lovers of bass are well catered for and can easily do without a subwoofer.
The Cabasse Rialto speakers exuded a real sense of accuracy, reproducing every register with naturalness and fine detail. The front coaxial driver offered an immense harmonic palette for reproducing every musical nuance. Vocal timbres were incredibly authentic, textured and highly detailed. It’s almost as if we were reading the lips of the performers, which provided a very pleasant sense of closeness. The rear woofer completed the picture, adding depth and texture to the listening experience.
The Cabasse Rialto speakers displayed remarkable amplitude. The spatialization was very wide, giving the music room to breathe and unfold in the room. The reproduction was almost holographic, with surgically outlined details positioned in an extremely vast and open soundscape. Instruments were brought to life with great realism thanks to the depth of the soundstage, which eliminated any sense of oppression and perfectly reproduced the acoustics of the recording. Whether it was an intimate acoustic guitar solo or a soaring orchestral composition, everything was always properly positioned, correctly timed and sounded perfect.
The stereo image provided by the Cabasse Rialto speakers was solid and pronounced across a wide listening area. On Jimi Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary, the drums and bass were clearly audible on the right, with the singer and guitar on the left. This instrument was reproduced with passion and clarity, revealing the full intensity of the guitarist’s performance. This abundance of information was handled with great skill by the speakers, which managed to maintain a coherent, crystal-clear soundstage. We simply closed our eyes and let ourselves be carried away by the music, succumbing to the illusion of a private concert offered by the resurrected god of guitar.
Cabasse Rialto: compared to…
Devialet Phantom II 98 dB Stereo: available for €2,750 per pair, the Devialet Phantom II 98 dB speaker provides even more powerful and deep bass. The lows are strongly emphasized, sometimes to the detriment of the other frequency ranges. The Cabasse Rialto provides a more balanced and much more natural listening experience. It’s also more user-friendly, with both a touchscreen and a mobile app.
Cabasse The Pearl Akoya: priced at €3,180 per pair, the Cabasse The Pearl Akoya has an acoustic design that is very similar to that of the Rialto, except for the shape of the cabinet. They have the same triaxial structure and 1050W amplification. However, its smaller format doesn’t allow it to produce bass that is as deep or powerful as those offered by the Cabasse Rialto.
Cabasse Rialto: who are they for?
The Cabasse Rialto connected speakers offer a credible alternative to traditional hi-fi systems for those looking for a comprehensive, musical and easy-to-use solution. They can be used on their own, thanks to their numerous streaming options, extensive range of connectors and ability to produce powerful bass without the need for a separate subwoofer. A truly multi-functional system capable of blending into any interior thanks to its compact design and numerous acoustic calibration options that ensure consistently flawless sound.
Cabasse Rialto: conclusion
A historic bridge between the timeless world of hi-fi and the latest connected technologies, the Cabasse Rialto is the brand’s most powerful speaker. It combines the countless connectivity features of its predecessors with unrivalled audio performance to reproduce music in the purest hi-fi fashion. You’ll be amazed from the very first moment you use this speaker. It captivates listeners with its ability to deliver music with colossal power and remarkable spaciousness, while maintaining a compact, elegant silhouette. It’s enough to make you wonder if you still need a system comprising wired passive speakers and a separate amplifier.
- The powerful bass
- The natural timbres
- The spacious soundstage
- The design and touchscreen
We would have liked:
- A remote control
- A touchscreen on both speakers?