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Home theaters have a come a long way, seriously. Designs have become a little short of exceptional, at times even better than that. This week we got a unique HTS speaker system called Cabasse Cinesound.
This brand hails from western France; their office is in one of the coolest locations, facing the Atlantic. Cinesound is just one of the products in their acoustic stable, plus it’s reached all the way here. So it's fair to say that they deserve a decent listen. Here’s what we heard and saw.
Design and Features
‘Sleek and sexy’ sums it up; anything more would be just details. The system consists of simply a powered subwoofer and a single horizontal speaker, known as a ‘soundbar’ in the parlance. This one speaker contains three speakers in it, each being a two-way system in itself.
The two complement each other very well, with a metallic gray exterior for the soundbar and a regular grey cabinet for the sub. A similar matching bluish grey cloth grille seamlessly wraps the soundbar’s front end. The main aspect of the device's aesthetic brilliance lies in the shape of the speaker. It’s an elliptical cylinder with slanting flat cross-sections, with the grille hugging the front part quite tightly.
The overall finish is quite appealing; the Cinesound has a very 'lifestyle' look. The unit will fit perfectly into a neo-modern décor, with its metallic color signaling the onset of the future of innovative designs. Let’s just say that when I opened the box it was greeted like quite the superstar – everyone wanted to hear it. So was I, but a quick run-through its specs and features was in order.
The soundbar has a single black wire coming out of it, with a custom three-way connector that slots comfortably into an input at the back of the sub. The sub is quite heavy, just as subs are meant to be, while the soundbar is a light piece of equipment.
The connections are limited. There are three SCART inputs at the back of the sub, with analog inputs for the audio at the top end of the rear panel. SCART is useless for us, and analog RCA connections are passé. So here we meet the first slightly negative aspect of the system, as I prefer a sweet and simple digital connection, either a coaxial or optical as the link between the player and amp. On the flip side it must be admitted that quite a lot of high-end CD players also leave out any form of digital circuitry; they too sport analog outputs only.
The sound bar comes with two metal screw levers on the curved side at the rear, for wall mounting or furniture mounting.
I hooked up the system, which took barely a couple of minutes, and slipped in J.S. Bach's 'Concerto for Two Violins' as the first test serum. The effect was very open, entailing very good sound staging capabilities, especially when you consider it’s coming out of just a single physical source in front of you. In this regard I think the guys at Cabasse have done well, for they have managed to produce a huge amount of sound from the available equipment.
It was not as good as a full-fledged surround system, though the job gets done. The 3D surround mode can be switched on at the back of the woofer. I switched to stereo to get better perception of the frequency response and other sensitive aspects, which led me to a couple of conclusions: the overall balance was quite good, though at the crossover range between the sub and speaker, which is about 200 Hz, the sound was slightly boomy. A little adjustment on the sub level solved the problem to a certain extent.
The thump on the bass was good, and quite meaty. I’ve heard tighter responses obviously, but this one was satisfactory. I heard some Indian classical music, namely Ustad Vilayat Khan, to check tonality. It was great; The mid-frequency stringed instruments sound very nice. Compared to the last time I heard some techno house sets MP3s, (192 kbps- not the best but it works) the bass was much better appreciated this time.
The price of the Cinesound is Rs. 65,000 (MRP) and Rs. 55,000 (street), so it’s in no way cheap. But in AV, quality matters and can be expensive. This system is groundbreaking aesthetically, and very good sonically. An audition is recommended.