If a big, spacious and smooth sound is your cup of tea, you must have a listen to the Cabasse MT32 Antigua speakers.
Yes, they’re rather big for bookshelf speakers, but they do the job expected of their size, delivering a huge, room-filling sound that’s wonderfully open and pleasant to listen to. Hans Zimmer compositions sound grand and dynamic, while Nina Simone’s soulful voice is enveloping and full of warmth.
They have the kind of smooth detail that’s wonderfully easy on the ears without sacrificing too much sonic integrity. Harsh or coarse edges on a recording are ironed out. The top end soars high and open, while voices are projected clearly.
The bass is full-bodied and eager to please, although the Antiguas don’t quite deliver the punchy, commanding performance we were expecting from speakers of this size. We’d like a bit more rumble and impact at the low-end.
The staccato rhythm of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s On We March needs a stricter sense of timing than the MT32s supply, but the speakers get by with the wide arc of sound they dish out. Voices could have more depth, too, while the easy dynamics that we like so much could be more subtle in the way they shift and soar.
Sure, these Cabasses are not quite as revealing as their aforementioned rivals, but it’s impossible not to love that rich, open sound. It’s inviting and full of enthusiasm – and we could happily spend hours listening to these speakers.
Big and boxy, although surprisingly light, these speakers demand quite a lot of space in your listening room. It’s not just because they’re large bookshelf speakers, it’s also because they sound best when given plenty of space.
Push them too close to the wall and not only will you exaggerate the quality of the languid bass, you’ll also lose a significant amount of that wonderful sense of space.
Build and finish
Available in ebony or walnut finishes, the speakers are well built and finished, even if their plain appearance looks a little severe.
The MT32 Antiguas may look humble, but their heritage can be traced back to Cabasse’s high-end speakers. The ‘MT’ in the name stands for ‘midrange tweeter’, which is the DOM 37 tweeter – a design derived from the technology used in the flagship La Sphere and L’Ocean speakers (both with six-figure price tags).
The main impression we take away from the MT32 Antiguas is just how easy and enjoyable they are to listen to. They’re not quite precise, punchy or revealing enough to worry the very best in this class, but their spacious sound is unrivalled at this price.