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Vintage Cabasse Sterne active speakers

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by vonrozen, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. vonrozen

    vonrozen Active Member

    Dear all ,
    i have acquired a Sterne active loudspeakers , which were used by the Radio de France for monitoring; the description is in the link - the model Stern replaces the last model on the list.


    I paid 800 € .
    What do you think, given that I am very keen on a monitoring sound :
    1. 60 Hz - 16 kHz : not a very wide range , the bass will be totally missing, the sound flat ?
    2. Can it be ok as a mid range speaker ?
    3. How would it compare with JBL or B & W monitoring of a similar age ?
    4. Are they rare to find or have I just wasted my money ?

    Please let me know your thoughts. I am extremely worried that I have acquired a mediocre item.

    Thank you in advance

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    800 Euro sounds like an awful lot for a pair of speakers that you infer as being "older" ... How old are we talking, here?
    (although I need to state that I'm not at all familiar with those speakers, either, so maybe they are worth every penny... I don't know.)

    What I do know, is that speakers can wear out over time, with constant cycling (because that's how all speakers work) and through extended use. If these were used in a live capacity, you also need to take "general" wear into consideration

    60hz to 16k isn't bad... it's not all that good by modern specs, but there have been many, many hit records mixed over the years through speakers of similar specs. And, the fact that these days, so many people are listening to music through cheap ear buds, many of which are well within that frequency spectrum you mentioned, means that - while certainly not optimum - they're not completely useless, either. You could probably get mixes that would translate just fine to ear buds, if you know what you are doing as a mix engineer.

    Well, again, you didn't mention how old they actually are. It's tough to compare them with other popular speakers of a certain time frame, if we don't know what time frame you are talking about.

    I don't know what you mean by the description "mid range speaker"...

    It would help if you were to give more details - age, overall condition, speaker sizes, wattage of the internal amps, cabinet construction (ported/non ported) .. are they 1 way ( 1 speaker) 2 way ( one speaker with a tweeter), 3 way (one large speaker, one smaller speaker, one tweeter) ???
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    PS... I went to the link you provided, but I don't speak (or read ) French, and for whatever reason, it wouldn't let me select an English translation. We need Marco... (@pcrecord )

    Marco... can you help us out with this one, Mon Ami' ?

  4. vonrozen

    vonrozen Active Member

    Thank you so much for your reply !

    I am mainly doing jazz and classical music , for the deserving listeners; kind of ECM records approach.

    These are active, 3 ways speakers build in 1979 .

    here is a specification , alas, in French : http://www.forumcabasse.org/wiki/Sampan

    Any more help would be aprecaited

    PS : I am being offered JBL 4312 or 4411 - any opinion ?

    Thank you very much for your help !

  5. vonrozen

    vonrozen Active Member

  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't read French, and for some reason, I am unable to get the translated version - I don't know why this is, as it's never been a problem before. I've sent out a notification to PCRecord, one of our resident pro engineers here on RO, who also happens to speak French. He's here everyday, but, living in Quebec (EST) he's probably not up yet, and he may also have had a late night at his studio, so we'll just have to be patient until he can weigh in for us.
  7. vonrozen

    vonrozen Active Member

    Thank you very muh indeed, Donny .
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Well it's a long shot to comment without the actual specs of the speaker. When models are replaced, it's rarely for exact copies.. ;)
    I read a bit of the document and the speakers are referenced as HI-FI systems and not reference monitors but that doesn't meen much since accidents happens when speakers become reference when they were not ment for it. (ex NS10) OR studio monitoring was lost in the traduction...

    So are they a good buy ? A few things make me doubt, built in 79' may imply that they might not sound like they were at the time. Were they modified or any parts repaired over the years ? I just think that the technology as become so much better since then that new monitors maybe a better choice. Of course, I never regard monitors as sounding good but more as revealing Tools, so that's why I'm tempted to go with modern designs.

    In the end, your ears are unique, if you can mix well with them, they are the best for you... ;)

    Again with old stocks... They may be gems or total waste, hard to say.

    I may be off track but producing jazz doesn't meen you need vintage monitors. Vintage pre, vintage mixer, vintage mics; I'm totally wanting them, but monitors need to be true (at least to me)
    audiokid and DonnyThompson like this.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Thanks, Marco. :)
  10. vonrozen

    vonrozen Active Member

    Thank you, guys ! I have never come across a forum that is so pro and so reactive ... ! Well done to all of you guys !
    Thank you
    audiokid likes this.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    That's what we're here for. ;)
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't think you are "off track" at all. I think that our monitoring is a crucial link in the chain - and for all types of music... actually, probably now more than ever... because these days we are dealing with such better conversion, higher sampling rates, much quieter gear... which all lends to a virtual limitless ceiling on fidelity. I think it's probably safe to assume that, if those engineers who came before us would have had the option to use gear with increased fidelity, that they most certainly would have if that had been an option.

    In short, if it were me, I'd want the best monitors that I could afford - regardless of the musical style I was recording/mixing.

    "Vintage" doesn't always equate to "good" - and in the case of speakers, I'd say that this is probably more true than not. ;)

    IMHO of course.
    pcrecord likes this.

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