Cafe Sound is a new product and services line by Cathode Bias created to address the needs of the growing commercial listening room market with products with high integrity at an effective cost point. We offer entire commercial audio systems and commercial installation guidance. Our first installation is slated in our own showroom in Reno, NV.
We are currently offering entire system packages meant for new builds or to augment existing spaces. We can work with you on the configuration of the space and we have a designer available to help.
Our first ready-to-install system which consists of the following components:
- Newly developed Cafe Sound by Cathode Bias horn speakers
- Two fully restored Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables with Audio Technica cartridges
- Ecler WARM 2 Rotary DJ mixer
- Bluetooth receiver
- Vintage 1960s Fisher X100B Tube Amplifier fully restored by Cathode Bias
- A warm backup class D amplifier
- All wiring and inter connects
- 4 hours design and installation consulting
- House mixer / compressor / eq / crossover
- Klipsch KG2 DJ monitors and amplifier
Cafe Sound multi-cellular horn speakers
Cafe Sound multi-cellular horn speakers are a new high quality loud speaker system specifically design for listening to recorded music commercial environments. They are designed and built to be cost competitive with many commercially installed speakers including those by Klipsch and vintage options.
They are power efficient and can be driven with most tube amps with passive crossovers. Multi-cellular horns were chosen because of their large dispersion area which improves off axis listening in rooms of approximately 1500 sq ft or less (depending on configuration). These speakers are capable of high SPL levels needed in loud environments.
All components used in the system are new and commonly available. They have been sourced globally including from Europe and the US. This allows us to produce a high quality speaker at a cost point.
The speakers reference vintage designs, like other modern speakers based on Altec style horns. They have a handsome and functional appearance, which is meant to be the centerpiece of a commercial installation.
The bass cabinets with slotted ports are built with high fit and finish standards from 1" MDF and finished in flat black veneer and lacquer. They are based on a common design and tuned to match the selected bass driver.
The horns are made from Baltic Birch to exacting specifications, and use a state-of-the-art carbon fiber compression driver.
The tweeters are horn loaded compression drivers chosen for their smooth integration with the main horns.
The passive crossover are custom built from high quality components. L-pads are attenuate the horn drivers for simplicity and cost effectiveness. We explicitly decided not to use autoformers because of the lack of installation flexibility and additional cost.
Those speaker components look familiar, are they built by XYZ?
Since we use common components, you maybe able to determine the individual component manufacturer (although many make incorrect assumptions). But since we may change a component in the future depending on design and availability we prefer to focus on the overall speaker performance than individual components.
Do you recommend a subwoofer with the Cafe Sound speakers?
The Cafe Sound speakers were designed to work with or without a sub, and depends on the installation and music programming. If you plan to use these in a smaller room primarily with Jazz for instance, then a sub is not necessary. On the other hand if you plan to use these in a large room with electronic music, then we would recommend a sub. While we plan to develop our own sub, it is currently not available, and instead we can make a specific recommendation for a sub based our or experience.
What about the Superwoofer?
We plan to stock the Fostex FW800HS Superwoofer driver for custom installation (although we are currently awaiting delivery). The Superwoofer is complex to implement, and each installation would need to be considered individual. Expect the cost of the subwoofer to equal the cost of the rest of the system.
Can I bi-amp the Cafe Sound speakers?
Yes! In fact we recommend it if you need higher SPLs in larger rooms. You can use an external active crossover to drive the horns and tweeter with a lower power tube amp (potentially a SET amp) and the woofers with a more powerful amp (for example a push/pull tube amp or class D amp). In this configuration the system can compete with professional PA systems.
What we don't recommend is bi-amping or bi-wiring full-range. The crossovers are NOT configured to accept multiple full-range inputs (and honestly we find these configurations frivolous).
If you do want to bi-amp with an active crossover, let us know, and we will help you configure it.
Do you provide specifications for the Cafe Sound speakers?
No (except power handling). The reason is that audio specifications are not standardized and can be highly misleading. For instance efficiency measurements -- unless the speakers are tested in identical environments, efficiency numbers are basically meaningless. The speakers were designed with casual commercial listening environments in mind versus studio monitoring environments which may require a speaker with flat response. We do not recommend these speakers for such an application as we prioritized off-axis performance higher than flat response.
Can I upgrade X on the speakers?
Probably not. The speakers were designed around the components. The only exception may be the horn compression driver. If you have a specific compression driver in mind, we will consider installing it, but you are responsible for the final tuning of the speaker.
I'm pretty handy, I could probably build the speaker myself
That might be true and can be a good way to go. Honestly this isn't rocket science and if you've worked on mildly complex systems in the past, you will not find the process overwhelming. With that said, I've taken a lot of time and guess work out of the process. These speakers are built, tested, and are ready to install now.
What about vintage speakers?
If you can find a restored Altec multicellular Voice of the Theater speaker system for similar price or less than we are offering our speakers, we would say buy them. The problem is complete vintage multicellular Altec speakers are becoming increasing rare and expensive.
As an example we had the opportunity to purchase a set of A7s, which we regrettably turned down over 2 years ago. We have yet to find another set of A7 worthy of buying. One of the problems with vintage Altec drivers is while the ALNICO magnets they use are valued by audio enthusiasts, they lose charge over the years and need to be correctly recharged to perform like originals. Also the specifications on vintage Altec drivers varied from production run to production run so it is difficult to specify a standard box configuration.
What about delivery?
Well we are planning a cross country trip from Miami to NV in the next few weeks. If want install these anywhere along that route, we will deliver the system personally, free of charge! If you are too far from that route, we will quote shipping via freight.