Amazingly stylish, the Cabasse Riga/Santorin 30 stereo system delivers awesome sound, but at a pretty high price.
French company Cabasse isn't the only loudspeaker maker to go for coaxial drivers — in which tweeters sit at the centre of woofers, and so on — but it has pursued this to a greater extreme than most, with the four-way La Sphere model (cost: $199,000 per pair).
Also spherical, the Riga is much smaller. Each is a sphere, 220mm in diameter, mounted on a beautifully finished slab of wood, tapering down as it nears the top. The review units had a "black pearl" finish for the spheres, and "golden cherry" for the stands.
Note that the stands are not something that the spheres merely sit on; they are pre-attached, and their cabling snakes down the interior of the stand to the base, where high-quality binding posts are provided. You can get versions of the Riga for wall mounting, or on short stands for a couple of thousand dollars less for each speaker.
The sphere sits just over 1 metre from the floor (the wooden stand is about 100mm taller) when mounted on the five machined metal cones that serve as floor spikes (little metal plates are provided for putting under these to protect your floor if it is uncarpeted).
The coaxial drivers are built as one unit: a 170mm bass/midrange, shaped like a section of a sphere itself, with a 32mm horn-loaded tweeter inset in its middle.
Trying to get lots of bass out of such a small enclosure would be difficult (Cabasse rates them down at 95 hertz), so the system comes with the Cabasse Santorin 30 subwoofer. This is a medium/large unit with a 300mm driver and a 500-watt amplifier, and stacks of digital signal processing, including an automatic calibration kit, which consists of a high-quality measurement microphone and mic preamp.