It’s a common sight at high-end audio shows these days, where you walk into a room and you see nothing but a pair of speakers and an exhibitor over in the corner running everything from a smart phone. Where are the sources? Where are the amps? Is this really all I need? In the case of the Cabasse Rialto, it is.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
You’re probably aware of Cabasse from France. They’re the ones who design those exotic spherical speakers with crazy looking drivers. They’ve been around a long time. The Cabasse Rialto speakers aren’t quite as exotic in 2023, but they are still gorgeous little monitors and yes, the concentric drivers look like no one else’s concentric drivers. I haven’t listened to Cabasse in many years, and I normally would spend too much time in a room with nothing but a teeny pair of monitors hooked up to some sort of hidden server or DAC. But I made myself a promise for the 2023 Pacific Audio Fest–I wanted to stop spending so much time listening to systems I already know. I wanted to hear some new stuff.
When I sat down in front of the Cabasse Rialto system–I didn’t expect to hear what I heard. I expected small. I expected convenience and technology over sound quality. But the sound coming out of these small speakers quickly reminded me of all the bigger systems at the show. Soundstaging and imaging were incredible. Tonality was natural and believable. Bass response was impressive. Most impressive is the price of the Cabasse Rialto–$3,995 complete.
The Cabasse Rialto offers so much for so little, and in a tiny package. For your four grand you get two active speakers, and the master speaker features a circular Naim-like touch screen on top of the enclosure. From there you can control the entire system, or you can use the app. What’s included? Active room correction, wireless tech, power output of 1050wpc and a frequency response that goes down to 30 Hz.
The Cabasse Rialto might be the Best Value winner of the show, and maybe all of the shows I’ve attended this year. It’s astonishing that it sounds so go for just $4K complete. If you’ve forgotten how cool and innovative Cabasse has been over the years, it’s time to catch up.