Cabasse, a French Audiophile speaker company, is out with a very slick, all-in-one audiophile system called The Pearl Keshi. For $3,000, you get a complete audio system, including two small round speakers that fit nicely on a desktop or practically any surface in a smaller environment. These round speakers are matched with a round subwoofer that covers the low frequencies quite nicely, and the entire system benefits from a handful of DSP technologies, including proprietary low-frequency room correction. Also included is a thoughtful little puck of a remote control that is extremely well made and easy to use. Cabasse also includes matching cables smartly outfitted with banana plugs, which makes installation a snap.
We Need to Start By Talking About The Setup of Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi 2.1 Speaker System
If you’ve never made an un-boxing video, I can tell you that this product might inspire you to film your first. Although, I do suggest you start the process with both a box cutter and a large garbage bag, as the outer box is filled with packing popcorn and you can make one hell of a mess without that little hint. Once you crack open the outer box, the wooden product case is reminiscent of fine wine storage vehicles. I know you don’t listen to the box, but you do get a good vibe from opening a product that is packed with care and using excellent materials. It builds pride of ownership from the first minute that you interact with the product.
There is a small booklet that, unfortunately, poorly illustrates how to hook up the unit. My advice is to download the Cabasse app onto your iPhone (or Android, if you are into that type of phone), which will walk you through setup and, if you’re an Apple user, AirPlay configuration. AirPlay sounds much better than Bluetooth and is more reliable in terms of a wireless connection, so that’s the way to go if you can. The Cabasse app will also help you dial in the company’s room correction, which is a pretty fun experience and a fast one too. From there you can connect any number of streaming services or, in my case, I connected iTunes from my 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro (M1 Chip) laptop.
What Makes Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi Special?
• The fit and finish of this speaker is simply gorgeous. The white finish (they have black too if you like) is elegant and the small speakers fit perfectly under my 49-inch LG 4K curved computer monitor.
• The remote for the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi is an example on how a remote should be implemented in the audiophile world. It has lights that notify you of functions, but this round, hockey-puck-sized remote is simple and elegant. If you want to use it for volume control, just turn the puck clockwise or counter clockwise. Wanna advance a track? Hit the arrow forward or back. Play/pause is in the middle. Easy. I love the rubber and felt bottom too. Another setup note, they ask you to install the battery via removing a plastic coating. It is like a car fob battery and should last a good long time, but requires a hardware store or Amazon order to replace when the time comes.
• There are all sorts of cool things that you can do with the Cabasse App once you download it from the App Store. The have a technology called DSE that is like the old “loudness” feature on your 1970s receiver. It is pretty useful to get a more relevant curve to accentuate certain frequencies for low level listening. There is another DSP feature accessible through the App that allows for adjustment for listening position main by adjusting the low frequency volume.
Why Should You Care About Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi?
You can’t have a full-sized audiophile stereo setup in every room of the house. You can’t take your main audiophile rig to work with you even if you wanted to. Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi affords you audiophile sound in a small and sexy form factor that fits into tighter spaces, with all of the little luxury touches that you expect from a high-end component system with power and control but without the fuss and muss.
Some Things You Might Not Like About The Pearl Keshi From Cabasse.
- The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi doesn’t work well with Bluetooth at all, but there are even times that the system drops signal using Airplay although that is far rarer. These are the sorts of things you expect to get sorted out with future firmware updates, but it’s worth knowing now.
- There is a little bit of latency in the volume control in my setup. Nothing critical, but I would say if you are an Apple guy like me, that you should go to System Preferences / Sound and make sure that you have your baseline volume set at a comfortable level just so you don’t send one of these little spherical speakers to the audio hospital.
- While the round form factor of the subwoofer is one of the coolest parts of the value proposition with Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi, the fact that the pairing button on the back-bottom of a round and somewhat heavy-for-its-size subwoofer makes for a few early reach-around moments that are a bit awkward. The good news is that you don’t have to do pairings very often. I did it twice: once with Bluetooth (which I advising you to skip) and a second time with Airplay. Then you are all set with the pairing process.
Listening to the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 Speaker System…
Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi makes very good sound in a nearfield desktop environment. While the room correction doesn’t touch the higher and mid frequencies, in a system like this, it’s the bass frequencies that need the most help anyway. You can hear the effects of all this on something like Johnny Cash’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” from Johnny Cash American IV (The Man Comes Around) at CD resolutions. It is hard to capture the space and subtle detail of this recording in a typical desktop system without getting into far bigger (and often uglier) speaker systems. The fact that these nicely crafted speakers and their matched sub cover some pretty serious range and image pretty well is a bit shocking.
There were a few times when I was really impressed with Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi, specifically when playing back music with very deep bass. More modern Rob Zombie tracks come to mind, as they pop up pretty frequently on my Apple iTunes playlist. Another track that takes me back to a time when us old guys were jamming out to Euro-trash techno music while waiting for the end of world (way back in Y2K) is “Shudder / King of Snake” from Underworld’s all-time classic and underrated audiophile record, Beaucoup Fish. This electronic track works up to one hell of a frenetic pace by the end of its first minute. On Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi, the bass is deep enough that I found myself reaching for the kick-ass circular remote to make my office a little less like a rave. Again, the imaging holds together in my nearfield environment even with this break-neck, highly mixed electronic track.
Is The Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi Speaker System a Good Value?
I don’t think that anybody is going to buy Cabasse’s The Pearl Keshi system because they are getting the maximum bang for the buck. There are bigger, chunkier speakers that cost less money (even when paired with an affordable subwoofer) that can make a good sound. They just don’t have the fit and finish, French styling, the custom cables, the uber-sexy remote, and likely the room correction. For $3,000, that’s hard value proposition to compete with, but the person who invests in this system values design and performance sound… and Cabasse delivers.
Who Is The Competition For The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 Speaker System?
In terms of form factor, the closest competitor for the Cabasse’ The Pearl Keshi feels like any number of 2.1 speaker systems from online audiophile brand, OrbAudio.com. They have many more stock finishes options (copper, silver, white, etc.) and can even can produce custom finishes. They don’t have room correction in their 2.1 branded setups but they do have an affordable amp that, unlike the Cabasse system, is external—not built into the subwoofer. Orb is all about round, but even they don’t offer a round sub like the more expensive Cabasse. Orb Audio’s solutions are less expensive even with a matching sub, an external amp, and custom finishes. I don’t think that you could spend $1,000 all-in and they sound pretty damn good.
There are countless powered speakers from the world of pro audio. Genelec are classic pro audio solutions that every recording engineer tends to gravitate towards but they are pretty utilitarian in terms of design Peachtree Audio’s M25 powered speakers sell for under $500 but have no room correction or subwoofer and are big and kinda ugly in comparison.
SVS’ Prime Wireless Pro speakers sell for about $799 per pair and sound great. They are powered but lack room correction. SVS is a subwoofer company in its DNA, so pairing the wireless speakers with one of their little ass-kicker subwoofers gives you a pretty fantastic sounding nearfield experience that is likely better and less expensive but it lacks the sex appeal. Yes, your Corvette is faster than my Aston Martin, but look at the details of my DB9.
Is There Any Resale Value with The Cabasse The Pearl Keshi Audiophile System?
I don’t see people selling such a system very often, but if you saved the gorgeous crates and put the item up where people understand the audiophile value of an exotic brand like Cabasse, there could be some good resale value. The fact that there are much larger and more expensive versions of this system is also helpful. The U.S. importer of Cabasse is promoting the hell out of entire line of complete audiophile systems. Short answer is yes. Longer answer is: you will likely never sell them.
Final Thoughts On the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi Speaker System…
What a cool audiophile system. I know: you can spend less and get a similar sound, but you can’t match the style, size, technology (specifically the room correction) and the overall cool factor of the Cabasse The Pearl Keshi 2.1 system. I’ve enjoyed the hell out of my time with these nifty, high-end, exotic and stylish speakers. If you’ve got the right space (and likely you do somewhere in your home or at your office) you might want to take a listen at a local dealer or have a pair shipped to you. This is one well-thought-out all-in-one audiophile solution.