“What cool desktop speakers,” I hear as my visitor walks in. “Well… this isn’t really for the desk,” I report cautiously. “But it can be done, right?”, the editorial visitor asks. “Yes, anything goes…”, I say somewhat reservedly. Anyone who hears these Cabasse Pearl Keshi’s will understand that it can offer something more than some support for YouTube videos. Let’s clarify that.
Cabasse is a French brand. And the French often do things just a little differently. And a bit more stylish. Look at brands like Micromega, Focal, Devialet, Advance Paris… we can go on and on. And look at Concorde… or French car brands. How cool is the Citroen DS or something more modern: the Xantia with active suspension? Or a Renault 5 Turbo…? Yes: the French did know how to add a fun factor!
Cabasse is also different. In many ways even. Let’s take a look at that!
What immediately stands out is that this Cabasse Pearl Keshi is compact. Very compact. The first impression is honestly that it can’t be a decent performing system. After all, yeah, well… a brand with a “B” has promised us a lot a few decades ago…. and it did not deliver on anything. A lot of treble, no mid and then a lot of bass…. Often the result of too small satellites – well risky – and a subwoofer to compensate.
This is certainly not the case with the Cabasse. Partly due to incredibly strong drivers and a coaxial setup, the satellites can do much more than you might initially think. Not only does the subwoofer blend surprisingly well with the satellites – long live modern technology – the stereo image is also much larger than we expected. But more on this later.
The satellites, as mentioned, have a coaxial setup. That is to say that the tweeter is placed in the middle of the midrange. Surrounding the tweeter is the midrange unit. The unit sits in the remarkably heavy, round, metal enclosure. According to Cabasse, there is also a powerful magnet behind it that should keep the unit well under control.
The satellites have a fixed cable of three meters. We don’t find that a convenient choice, because what if you want shorter or longer cables? Or the cables break? That’s going to be a tricky story… I’m sure it can be repaired, but we’re guessing you won’t be doing that yourself. On the end are neat plugs that fit into the speaker outputs of the subwoofer.
A subwoofer with extras
Speaking of the subwoofer, it’s more like a central receiver, amplifier and subwoofer. Inside the sub are the crossovers (DSP) and amplifiers for the satellites and the sub itself. We’re talking 300 watts per satellite and 450 watts for the subwoofer. Obviously class D, because there is not that much space and of course there must be some way of cooling it.
At the bottom of the subwoofer we see the inputs: ethernet, optical, micro-usb (unfortunately no normal usb input), wifi and bluetooth. Bluetooth is also used to connect to the remote control. This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that bluetooth is energy efficient, so the battery can last a long time. The disadvantage is that after a while of no use, a connection must be set up again. And that takes a while. Cabasse needs to think about that; it doesn’t work very well.
Fortunately, there is a good app. The only thing we really miss in this system is hdmi. We can imagine this system will be used near the tv. And then hdmi-arc (e-arc) is simply a must. We guess that Cabasse will miss some customers because of this. Perhaps there will be a version 1.1 of the Pearl Keshi with HDMI input? Now people will have to make do with an optical cable, which is possible… but is less modern, and often less convenient.
In order to achieve the soundstage that this Pearl Keshi is capable of, there’s a bit of a stretch to be made in terms of DSP technology. In fact, everything is already in pretty good shape if you just connect and turn things on. However, if you want to get everything out of the Cabasse Pearl Keshi, you can also measure the mini Cabasse in the room to get rid of some pesky room modes. And you can – if you do not want to measure – also indicate how the Keshi is placed: from the wall, against the wall, all the way in the corner.
You can also choose a profile under “Audio Adjustment” and then audio spectrum. (Some things are still a bit fuzzy in terms of translation). These changes are definitely audible and wise to go through when you are setting up the Keshi and getting it ready for use. It doesn’t just dot the “i”; it’s the difference between sounding just fine and sounding really good.