Let's start the year - late for sure - but with a bang!
If you had the chance to meet Georges Cabasse, the man would have left an indelebile impression on you.
First because he was a very big man physically, but also because you could not ignore his presence in the room, nor could you not not have an opinion on his designs.
The Sphere, launched 4 years ago, and its little sister the Ocean launched in October last year are the latest incarnations of Cabasse revolutionary ideas about speaker design. They have been at it for 60 years!
Somebody has tagged this latest incarnation of the "pulsating sphere" as the UFO of French HiFi.
They look more like "Big Brother" to me and I would have a difficult time living with them at home, but one has to admire the work and research behind these massive speakers.
These two speakers share the same medium and treble three-way coaxial assembly, the Sphere is equipped with a 55cm (yes, you read it properly...and that's 22" for the non metrics of you) woofer and the Ocean with only (!) a 38cm one.
The digital filter for the Ocean separates the signal in four bands with 175, 1830 and 4500Hz cut off frequencies and 150Hz, 800Hz, and 4kHz for the Sphere.
One thing to be noted though is that even if you take into consideration the 15 years of research behind these speakers, at 176K$ and 110K$, these are a lot cheaper than the Grand Utopia from Focal.
I missed out on listening to these speakers in Paris, as time was too short to get to the venue where they were presented during the Paris HiFi Show.
But I did hear the first incarnation of that technology, the Baltic, a number of years ago.
It used a simplified two-way the medium-treble unit and a DuoCell 21 cm for the bass.
Now, I am very familiar with this woofer, as I used a double coil version of it in my Triton subwoofer. It is probably the 21cm woofer you can find.
I used to pay 200$ for one of these wonders in 1985...Do the math with inflation and so on and you can see it is not for the faint hearted! (that's about 1000$ in today's money...).
One of the main quality of this arrangement is the time alignement and the pulse response, as well as spatial diffusion and image stability, due to the coaxial design and the spherical enclosure (we are back to Elipson, aren't we?).
If you want a good review of the Sphere, I recommend you read Stereophile: here is the link: http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/608cab/index.html
And finally, here is a photo of our Microphase Triton, a revival of the triphonic system introduced in 1985, which has been done to death by almost every single speaker manufacture ever since! (home theater, anyone???)
If anybody has one of these relatively rare systems, please get in touch via our comments link.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.