There’s no such thing as a stupid question, unless perhaps that question is regarding the function of the Stream Base.
There isn’t a great deal more Cabasse could have done to tell you this is a sound base that streams.
In order to stave off the possibility of other questions, perhaps the company might also consider changing the name to Really Rather Good Stream Base, so that it does exactly what it claims to on the tin.
Features and build
As well as taking over from your TV speakers to add even more drama to Bargain Hunt, Escape To The Country and Tipping Point – this can be done via optical or analogue 3.5mm input – when connected via LAN or WLAN the Stream Base can play music stored on your network, access internet radio and stream from Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz.
If it isn’t one of the popular streaming services, however, we assume most people will want to play music directly from their phone or tablet, and that’s aided by Bluetooth AptX; the final piece in the jigsaw to make this a truly one-box-fits-all home entertainment system.
Not that it shows off aesthetically; this is essentially a black cuboid, smart and robust though it is, belying all the features it has to offer.
Cabasse has also included a shiny, pebble-shaped remote that will have magpies all a fluster. They will be able to peck their way through each of the unit’s settings without needing the smartphone app though.
We have previously struggled a little with Cabasse remote apps, but if you’d prefer to declutter your living room and use your phone, tablet or iWatch instead, we have no qualms with the functionality of the app. It’s both neat and tidy and a doddle to use.
Once plugged into our television, the Stream Base greets us with a warm, full-bodied sound that has as many hard edges as a pickled beetroot.
Those rich tones are unashamedly flaunted in the dulcet Scottish inflections of Neil Oliver’s voice as we sit back and enjoy a little escapism with Coast.
There’s a nice tonal balance and a respectable amount of detail for the money; the Stream Base has little trouble separating dialogue from the oft-tumultuous atmosphere of a windy coastline, while still delivering enough of that background noise to allow us an immersive watch.
Switching to a Blu-ray copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Stream Base proves itself equally adept at delivering the power and pace of space-set battles as with British coastal whimsy; a box like this is never going to satiate your desire for a proper home cinema, but you’re likely to get a lot more entertainment value than using the speakers in your TV set.
Changing input, which is neatly signalled by lighting on the front of the product, we play The White Stripes’ White Blood Cells via Spotify.
In keeping with the Stream Base's character to this point, there’s meat on the bones of Jack White’s guitar riffs while allowing enough space and detail to allow for the lo-fi personality of the recording.
Where this rendition falls down, however, is in terms of expression. These 16 tracks ought be kicked through the dirt of the Midwest, yet they lack that bite due to an overly soft approach to dynamics and timing.
It’s still a respectable performance, one you’d never find offensive, but it wouldn’t convince us to stream our music through the Stream Base rather than a reasonably-priced wireless speaker.
MORE: Best soundbases 2016
Let’s not lose sight of what we stated at the beginning of this review, however: this is a sound base AND a wireless music streamer, and targeted at those who covet a one-box solution to all home entertainment needs.
In that sense, Cabasse has delivered.
See all our Cabasse reviews