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Cabasse Speakers anyone? $2500 budget

 

New member
Username: Hankster

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2004
Audiophiles,

After rigorous research on this board and many other similar boards, I've finally pulled the trigger on my receiver. It came down to three final choices:

NAD T762
Rotel RSX-1055
Denon 3803

Without further ado, I chose the NAD T762 for $899 at a local dealer making way for the T763. For those interested, sound-wise and convenience-wise there are no appreciable differences between the two. The Rotel was also great, but just didn't offer as rich and inviting a sound IMHO. I'm sure others will disagree.......

Now, on to speakers. Obviously, the most important piece. I'll give a quick run-down of what I've heard, and what I thought....with a major surprise about what I liked best.

Price range is $2500 max for fronts and center (Not including rears where my old Polks will go for the time being)

Up until today, the standout winner was the B&W across the line. I'm not sure whether it was because the Rotel 1055 was driving them in most of the taste tests (some big honkin Krell was set-up for a couple tests....NO FAIR!!!!!). Anyway, here's what I heard:

Through the Rotel RSX-1055 (MSRP $1400)

B&W CM2 -Very nice bookshelf
B&W 603 -A little flat to my ears
DefTech C/L/R 2500 -Muddy, veiled
DefTech PM900 -Muddy, veiled

Through the $5000 Krell Showcase 7 amp

B&W DM 604 -Very clear, warm, crisp
DefTech BP2004TL -Booming, muddled
DefTech C/L/R 3000 -Booming, muddled

Hands down winner was the B&W 604 for clarity, richness and accuracy. DefTechs are way too "boomy" for my ears. The B&W CM2's were also very nice for their price point.

Through a $4000 Aragon 3005 Amp:

Paradigm Studio 40 - Just plain bad
Paradigm Studio 60 - No clarity, separation
Bunch of Klipschs designed to sound crappy next to the Paradigms.

End result. Studio 40 sounded unbelievably veiled (I kept opening my eyes to make sure someone hadn't thrown a thick down comforter over these). Studio 60 uttlerly lacked clarity....was hugely disappointed. To my ears, these are way-overhyped speakers. Not even in the same category as the B&W's.

Finally, today I got to really test a bunch of speakers, more importanly with the NAD T762:

KEF XQ3 -Very Nice. A bit pricey
KEF Ref 201 -Nice 4 the $$ (Like B&W CM2)
Vienna Bach -Too sweet, muffled mids
Vienna Mozart -Too sweet for my ears.
Vienna Haydn -Very muffled
PSB Stratus Silver - Nice, but lacked clarity
PSB Image 7PT -Poor. Bass dominates Mids and Highs
Cabasse Samoa -Remarkable for a bookshelf
Cabasse Caprera -Amazing, clear, rich, warm

Surprised? So was I? It should be noted that my guidelines demand clarity of each instrument, separation of sounds and warmth/richness of sound for primarily 2-channel listening.

I can see how a big HT lover would go for the DefTechs or Paradigms. Big booming, thumping sounds come pounding out of these. If you're primary need is get big moive theater like sounds from action/sci-fi/Special FX movies at home, I can see how these would be the obvious choice. For every day music, you're missing on on a lot!!!

That being said, the audio-purist that I still am, I come down to 3 clear winners.

B&W DM 604 - MSRP $1400
KEF XQ3 - MSRP $2000
Cabasse Caprerra - sale $1500

All offer a full rich sound with excellent instrument separation and wonderful clarity. Remarkably, the Cabasse is my favorite of the group!!! This is a speaker, up until 3 hours ago, I had never heard of!!!

So, I ask for everyone's expertise in this forum. Am I missing something? Am I getting duped? I realize we all have different tastes in sound and music but I would consider myself to be a pretty middle-of-the-road guy. All things being equal, I like my sound at the manufacturers suggested settings. No crazy EQ needed.

Has anybody else ever heard these Cabasse speakers? What did you think? How about their reputation?

I would appreciate any and all opinions. Even if you disagree with my evaluations and preferances.

Thanks for all your advice and help.

Clay
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 18
Registered: 12-2003
Clay,

I have the T763 (acquired as NAD replaced my T762). I agree with your assessment that there is no appreciable difference between the two. I would be interested in hearing how you decided among the receivers you auditioned.

I found this review post (www.tnt-audio.com/casse/cabasse-caprera_e.html) on the cabasse. I have not heard these speakers so can't help you.

Not to throw anything in, but I really like the new hybrid Martin Logans if you have any chance to audition. My price range was a bit lower but you might check out the Clarity or the Mosaic. The only reason I bring this up is that I was looking (listening) for similar attributes. I wanted clarity, separation and warmth and was not impressed with booming bass. I also listened to Paradigm, B & W, and PSB and felt the MLs were vastly superior and I only listened to the bottom-end Montage.

Good luck and nice post!
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 19
Registered: 12-2003
Clay,

Sorry, another couple of cites to a Martin Logan forum where the speakers are frankly discussed:
(www.martinloganowners.com/forum/messages/3642.html) and (www.martinloganowners.com/forum/messages/3551.html)
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 20
Registered: 12-2003
And sorry again, one more:
(www.martinloganowners.com/forum/messages/1959.html)

Understand that the Mosaic and Montage are hybrid speakers that give planar mid and high along with a normal bass. They go down to 47 or so on the bass. I have found that their bass is plenty. My speaker is part of a home theater set up and I have backed off the subwoofer quite a bit.

The interested comparisons are not to MLs ELS line but when the comparisons are made to non MLs. I also find Joseph Oberland's posts have very interesting information.

Cheers.
 

New member
Username: Homedesign

Post Number: 19
Registered: 01-2004
Rotel is probably the superior of the three. Rule of thumb for amp specs is:
THD <0.1% over a frequency range of 5hz-50khz. The Hafler DH-200, 220; Rotel; ATI; Muse 160; Bry$ston, and Jeff Rowland$ Dei$ign Group, all surpass this rule, though the Bryston and JR are pricy, even for their superior build quality.

As for box speakers, B&W's entire line is probably superior. But Maggies, Martin-Logan, Gradient Revolution, or Audio Artistry, etc., that is ESL, planer, or open baffle designs are superior to box speakers generally.
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 22
Registered: 12-2003
Fred has some good points. However, the Rotel is probably far more expensive than the NAD and if you prefer the NAD sound, it makes sense. There are concerns about NAD reliability. If you buy from an authorized dealer, you should be ok. I had a NADT762 which went bad and NAD replaced it (by their own suggestion) with the NADT763. I found NAD quite easy to work with and have no problem recommending them.

I suggested the Martin Logan hybrids because of the range you are in. The ESL speakers are more expensive and need better receivers to drive them. Magnepan does have some cheaper stuff but has no low end to it. If you have a chance, try out the Martin Logan Mosaics. They list for $1995 but I presume they could be had for less. They probably don't compare to higher end ESL stuff (I haven't heard any and they aren't in my price range nor interest range) but they may sound to you (as they did to me) so much better than regular box speakers. Again, I suggest this to you as you seem to have the same criteria for picking speakers and receiver that I had.

In any event, you sound like you are making informed intelligent choices. Good luck!
 

New member
Username: Homedesign

Post Number: 21
Registered: 01-2004
[Jonathan]
Isn't it a shame to aquire speakers with accuracy and transparency, only to power them with an amp that 'has a sound of its own' which is another way of saying 'distortion' :-)

What, to add to the music recorded on the source material? It will only prevent accurate playback. So as you 'hear' the amp, you will 'not be hearing' the material on the disk, if you see what I mean.
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 24
Registered: 12-2003
Fred, you are absolutely correct. I am constrained by money, limited interest (due to family and work life) and limited discriminative abilities. I look at my search for "goodness" and not "greatness." I feel my choices put me at or near the top of the under $1,000 heap which would be the distortion bunch.
 

New member
Username: Homedesign

Post Number: 22
Registered: 01-2004
[Jonathon]

An artist once told me, 'its ok to wear polka-dots with plaid, as long as you know they clash'.

So, 'as long as you know the differnece' :-)
 

New member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 26
Registered: 12-2003
What's wrong with polka-dots and plaid?

Anyhow, in my 3:13 post, I tipped my hand discussing "you need better receivers" when I should have been stating separates or equipment.
 

New member
Username: Edison

Post Number: 276
Registered: 12-2003
Jonathan,

If you don't mind used, buy at www.audiogon.com or www.videogon.com
You get more quality for the buck.

Seems like your ears want better than what your pocket can buy. You can satisfy both by getting them used. You might have to wait a bit for them, but in the end, you will end up with more quality.

 

New member
Username: Homedesign

Post Number: 28
Registered: 01-2004
[James Lee]

Sounds to me like you believe the more you pay the better it gets. It is a perspective that requires little thought, and so is not true.
 

Anonymous
 
Jonathan,
How much did the martin logan montage cost?
Thanks.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 58
Registered: 12-2003
They list for $1495.00 and Martin Logan constrains what authorized dealers can do. I can tell you I got a better deal.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jonmoon

Post Number: 59
Registered: 12-2003
Anon: let me quote Joseph Oberlander from the Martin Logan club website. Here he's talking about the Mosaics (a step up from the Montage: about $1995 mrp with a larger woofer)


"90 db efficiency - I can vouch for that. I heard some at the local dealer recently and they were very UN Martin Logan in that they actually got loud. They were very good with blues and old-school rock. The size was nice, too - way smaller than a pair of MMGs and a subwoofer. They will go loud enough to hurt your ears, since the bass is a conventional driver, and it's really hard to destroy the tweeter and midrange. Almost ribbon tweeter in that respect.(unlike an electrostatic, where you have to be a bit more sane)

But the real eye-opener was not how they did versus the other Martin Logans, but how they shredded every other tower speaker under $2000 in the store in the midrange. Tannoy's Saturns came very close to being as good, but it's honestly very hard to compete versus a planar midrange and tweeter."


 

HiFiNut
Unregistered guest
I believe that the original innovators of the ribbon/cone hybrid are SLS (Superior Line Source) Loudspeakers who are more known in the Professional audio world. They also have a model that incorporates a ribbon/horn/cone design.

http://www.clarity-av.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=prodLines.detail&recID=6

http://mixonline.com/ar/audio_sls_pro_studio/

I wonder if Martin Logan actually got the idea from them....inquiring minds want to know.


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