Cabasse is renowned for making loudspeakers with multi-concentric drivers, its ultimate creation being La Sphere, a spherical loudspeaker with four drive units on the same axis. Until very recently, the company was owned by a division of Canon, so it had greater resources than most loudspeaker companies and access to a lot of digital engineers. This perhaps explains what a loudspeaker company is doing making pebble-shaped digital streaming product line collectively called the Stream range.
The Stream 1 and 3 have a built in loudspeaker for standalone operation, but Stream Source is relevant to those of us who own decent speakers, amplifiers, and the rest, and who want to add the option of streaming without giving up too much space or money. Stream Source can be used on a network both wired and wirelessly. It can receive an NFC or Bluetooth signal sent from a phone or tablet, and it can access internet radio stations with the vTuner service. All are familiar streamer features, even at this price point, but what Cabasse has added to the mix is access to the Deezer streaming service and the ability to use a standard USB hard drive as a DLNA server. This means you don’t need a network with a NAS on it when a drive full of tunes will suffice.
There is plenty of competition in the entry level streamer stakes and some of it offers direct access to the rather more popular streaming service Spotify. The other useful feature that the Cabasse omits is the ability to stream Apple’s Airplay from an iOS device, something to bear in mind if you’ve an iPad or similar. What is included, however, is the ability to run several Stream Sources around the house multiroom style, and control them from the same device so that their output is synchronised. This is still quite uncommon and puts Cabasse in direct contention with Sonos and its ilk.