What is the Cabasse Stream Source?
My biggest miss though has to be UPnP streaming. This is all the more peculiar because I am (now) a massive advocate of the process and find it the most effective and best performing method of listening to digital audio. In the early days, I wasn't convinced at all. I simply couldn't see the advantages in a system that depended on supporting infrastructure to work at all and for which almost no music was available natively (and still isn't for that matter). In this case, I missed the comfort that people found in switching to home networking via UPnP and DNLA and the involvement of companies that had no interest in selling flakey solutions meaning that interfaces became slicker and faster - helped in no small part by the arrival of tablets as a control point.
This means that there is now a huge number of UPnP products to choose from at a very wide selection of price points. Most of these are from conventional electronics brands but the relative youth of the format has ensured that it has also seen some new arrivals too. One of these is Cabasse. When I reviewed the Stream One earlier this year, it could be argued that as it also contained speakers, it was a logical move for the company. The Stream Source you see here is a little different. This is a £300 streaming device that takes Cabasse some way from their comfort zone. Should they have stuck with speakers?
The first of these is more common in this day and age than it once was but remains useful. The Source supports Spotify Connect and direct access to Deezer. If you have a subscription to either service, the Source can replay it direct to your system. The next feature is decidedly more unusual and I can only assume that Cabasse must have been reading the DNLA manual really thoroughly to discover it let alone implement it. If you connect a USB stick or drive to the Source, as you might expect, the files can be read and replayed. What the Source also does is make them available to other UPnP devices on the network. This is a rather handy way of turning a bog standard USB drive into a NAS device and it seems to work well.
In connectivity terms, the Cabasse is adequate if not exceptional. You get an analogue RCA connection, an optical output, a USB connection to perform the clever sharing operation and Ethernet and trigger connections. The Source has a useful additional feature in that it can act as a preamp if you flick a switch to engage volume on the back but this seems to be done via the bit reduction method so expect quality to suffer a little if you do.
The Source is supplied with the same remote as the Stream One. This pleasant pebble shaped device gives you basic functionality but seems designed to escape down the side of sofa cushions. That being the case, the good news is that the app used by the Source is the same one as in the Stream. The app is stable, well implemented and easy to use with the iPad version being especially efficient. Other than it being curiously promiscuous (more of which in a bit), the only real shortcoming is that lack of fast alphanumeric jump when searching through artists and albums but otherwise, it is a stable and effective piece of software.
Any downsides to the Stream Source?
How was it tested?
Cabasse Stream Source Sound Quality - lossless and high res material?
In reality, it seems that Cabasse has put a reasonable amount of work into making the Source share some of the properties of their speakers. This means that the Source sounds big, refined and expansive. A quick blast of Leftfield's immortal Original is a large scale assault on the senses that - even allowing for the rather spacious presentation of the MartinLogans - is wide ranging and fills the space in front of you with a soundstage that is easy to perceive.
Within this commodious space, the Cabasse manages to do further things rather well. The handling of voices and instruments is very good and moving away from the electonica of Leftfield to the more considered and beautifully recorded Ray LaMontagne shows that combining these presentation skills with such a commendably realistic tonality is a surefire way to make a useful case for the Source. With the wonderful You can bring me flowers, the Cabasse is in its element with a lovely sense of the languid and relaxed method of the performer.
High res material within the agreed limits of what the Source can handle works well but there is no huge jump in the overall performance. As no real information is supplied about what the Source is doing inside, it is possible that it is resampling the material to 16/44.1 (the QED Index does this at a not too dissimilar price) or it could simply be that the Cabasse has been setup to favour CD and more compressed material.
Cabasse Stream Source Sound Quality - compressed material?
- Expansive and involving sound
- Well sorted control ap
- Compact and attractive
- Slight lack of fine detail
- Ap tries to contol other devices
- Slightly minimalist spec
Cabasse Stream Source Streamer Review
Ease of Use
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