Nothing excites dyed-in-the-wool audio folks more than new technologies, and so I had an almost Pavlovian response to Infinity’s Cascade-series speakers, which feature innovative MRS (Maximum Radiating Surface) drive units. What’s the big deal with MRS drivers? Well, for starters they neither look nor behave quite like traditional piston type drivers.
First, MRS drivers are rectangular—not round—and feature light, stiff CMMD Ceramic Metal Matrix diaphragms whose front surfaces are ribbed and indented for improved rigidity. The rectangular shape means the drivers disperse well across their narrow axes, yet still have sufficient surface area to produce authoritative dynamics. Second, side-byside pairs of oblong voice coils power the MRS drivers, supporting them over their entire operating area. The upshot is a mid-bass driver that, in essence, offers the lightning fast transient speed and resolution of a good tweeter, yet also has plenty of dynamic punch and the ability to handle fairly low frequencies. Our comparatively deluxe Cascade test system consisted of a pair of Model Nine two-way, threedriver floorstanders, a Model Three C center channel, a pair of Model Seven floorstanders (essentially two-driver versions of the Model Nine), and a 300-watt Model Twelve powered subwoofer. The Twelve, like all higher-end Infinity subs, features the firm’s RABOS (Room Adaptive Bass Optimization System) EQ system, which helps the woofer achieve clearer, smoother in-room bass response. Add everything up, and the system comes in at $5394.
If, like me, you view speakers as sculptural objects, then you should know these beauties look like speaker systems that, say, Calder might have designed. The Cascades are, hands down, the most visually appealing surround speakers I’ve ever tested, and more than a few first-time viewers have reacted to them with long, low wolf-whistles of appreciation.