Cabasse’s Rialto wireless speakers are a serious high-end soundbar alternative

Cabasse Rialto speakers on a mantlepiece, with a picture of the Venice Rialto bridge in the background
(Image credit: Cabasse)

Not sure whether to plump for one of the best soundbars or go a little more traditional with a set of the best stereo speakers this holiday season? French loudspeaker company Cabasse has a lovely alternative option: a new pair of active standmounts with TV connectivity and built-in streaming smarts. 

The product is called the Rialto, and in each one of the speaker pair Cabasse has put a 13cm coaxially-aligned midrange/tweeter unit, with each driver powered by a 300W amplification module. 

Interestingly, the low end is handled by a 17cm ‘HELD’ (High Excursion Low Distortion) bass driver which is rear-firing and powered by a third dedicated amplifier, this time a 450W one. Cabasse has gone with something called a ‘DEAP’ (Digital Enhancement of Acoustical Performance) DSP tuner to boast a low-frequency reach of 30Hz. 

In terms of connectivity, you get HDMI eARC, TOSLINK, analogue RCA and Ethernet options around the back of the 'main' speaker (even though these are billed as active speakers rather than simply powered, one box still takes the lead), plus Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Apple AirPlay plus Qobuz and Deezer baked right in via Cabasse’s own StreamCONTROL app. 

You also get Cabasse’s proprietary room compensation software and a volume control ring above the master speaker, which surrounds a touch panel display for playback controls and even cover art images. And while you can certainly tell that Cabasse also makes otherworldly spherical options, this is a more sensible aesthetic entirely. 

Opinion: good stereo speakers offer far more nuance and separation than standalone soundbars 

Why might you opt for a set of standmount speakers rather than a one-box five-star 'bar? Because you've got a bigger lounge or very low-slung TV, maybe?

Perhaps, but mostly it should be because when stereo speakers are placed a little further away from your TV (possibly closer to the corners of your room, depending on its dimensions and acoustics), positioned at the ideal distance from a rear wall and 'toed in' to create the ideal listening spot, they offer oodles more separation, nuance and detail than almost any high-end soundbar on the market. 

That's the beauty of moveable wireless audio kit; it isn't limited to being popped under your TV along with all of your other consoles and Blu-rays (you still have those, right?). Those two driver-filled boxes can be moved and angled so the frequencies hit you just right

The speakers are named after the most famous and oldest bridge in Venice, and with its own Rialto, Cabasse says it wants to bridge the gap between traditional hi-fi and newer connected technologies that it's developed over the last 10 years (see what they did there?).  

Although US and UK distribution is not yet finalized (we're waiting on that), we do know that the Cabasse Rialto will sell for €2,990 (so, around $3,000, £2,596 or AU$4650) per pair in your choice of black or white.

It's probably not a product we should expect to see in any Black Friday deals. Then again, you never know… 

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.