Cain & Cain

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Cain & Cain

Table Of Contents:

Cain & Cain Introduction

Cain & Cain Models

Cain & Cain FAQ


Cain & Cain Reviews / HiFi Shows / Other Articles Of Interest

Cain & Cain - Single-driver, crossoverless designs

Cain & Cain:  Introduction

Cain & Cain Ben ESCain & Cain Co. is a Walla Walla, Washington, USA manufacturer of high-quality high-end home stereo speakers.


Terry Cain has been building hifi systems since he was 12 years old, specifically designs incorporating the use of tubes and Lafayette single drivers.  After 20 years of designing and building high end millwork and office furniture, Cain & Cain Co. branched out and since then has been engaged in the production of designs that reflected Terry's passion. In 2001, Terry began to manufacture high efficiency speakers of his own design. 


Terry Cain is a dedicated master cabinetmaker, utilizing the old world traditions of joinery and hand-finishing. He has devoted innumerable waking hours studying traditional speaker design, and more specifically, Japanese cabinet design. Terry views loudspeakers in terms of building a musical instrument, not unlike certain other manufacturers. However, Cain & Cain loudspeakers differ from the rest of the crowd with the use of natural solid woods and natural wood-ply cabinetry... not a speck of MDF, HDF, or inferior fiberboard is used. There are no metal screws, brads, or rivets holding the cabinet together... just true old-fashioned precision joinery and heirloom-quality construction. Again, a master craftsman's product - handcrafted works of art

In addition, Cain & Cain Co. also builds the audio cabinetry of some of the world's leaders in audio, as an OEM supplier of exotic veneered cabinetry.


"Because of our understanding of the basic engineering and challenges faced in making these products, as well as our committment to quality, our products enjoy wide acclaim.  Our dedication to advancing quality on every level will ensure our role in our future.  More importantly, we understand the joy of music..and what it takes to experience and share that joy."  - Terry Cain


"•Picking the 'best' product of the show is a no-brainer for me.  I heard nothing that touched the Cain and Cain Studio Ben ES double-horns  (US$12,500) and I hope that more people get to hear this superb example of sublime simplicity.  I know it seems odd that I would recommend the Studio Ben ES over the Avant-Garde Trio 3.0s, which are capable of brilliance, and have legions of fans, but the maple horns from Walla-Walla were better this weekend•  - Ian White, Enjoy The


Cain & Cain at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2005 - Denver, Colorado

"Terry Cain's Cain & Cain  ground-level space turned into VSAC central, with listening sessions late into the night and various tube amps on tap which were switched in and out on the fly. This is where Fostex/SET aficionado and Audio Asylum/TAS/6moons contributor Stephaen and large groups of like-minded folks hung out around the clock. Front-end duties were handled by Terry's VRS computer server which also appeared in three other exhibits, nearly always mated with tubes to herald a different kind of convergence. A proper turntable was present as well." - Industry Feature, Click Me! for photographs and report.


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Cain & Cain:  Models


Abby Loudspeaker


The Abby Loudspeakers

Cain & Cain Abby - various finishes


Cain & Cain Abby - Natural Alder"Since the Abby speaker's introduction, the momentum for low powered refinement has grown. So many of these simple systems have been installed by enthusiastic users, that we find ourselves adjusting our goals.

Cain & Cain AbbySince Abby's introduction we have built a few prototypes of alternate designs in an effort to improve the experience of low cost simple and refined systems. In every case we return to the basic design of the Abby and understand further •some things were meant to be•. The basic sound can be refined. But the basic sound is hard to improve upon too.

So we grind and refine.

The openness and transparency, combined with excellent tonal balance (in addition to high efficiency and dynamics), has made Abby •annoyingly good sounding• as one dealer remarked. This annoyingly good speaker has seen fit to be driven in systems with analog front ends costing twenty times as much as the Abby.

I designed the Abby to be an introduction into high efficiency speaker systems of simple yet refined design. That pays tribute to •classic• forms and re-interpret them with current thinking. The result is that Abby has succeeded and found a soft spot in audiophile's homes worldwide."  - Terry Cain, designer


The Abby loudspeakers are not only meant for triode-based amplifiers, Terry Cain also suggests that listeners will be very surprised by their performance with integrated amplifiers (both tube and solid state), solid-state amplifiers, and even surround sound receivers.



Cain & Cain: Abby Specifications

  • Cabinets and parts are in stock at factory, finished to order

  • Finishing program is essentially unlimited.  Need a custom color ? Just ask

  • Standard finish is Natural Alder

  • Dark Finishes at additional cost - walnuts, mahoganies, cherry•s and guitar finishes

  • Cabinets are made of solid alder wood, not one inch of MDF present

  • Also now offered in natural solid maple wood at additional cost

  • Ported, modified Voight-pipe design which utilize single-drivers from legendary Japanese manufacturer Fostex

  • .
  • Single-driver, crossoverless

  • Normal Version: Fostex FE 166e driver

  • Nearfield Version: Fostex FF 165k driver

  • Sensitivity ...... 95db ~ 1 watt ~ 1 meter

  • Frequency Response ...... 50hz-20khz (+/- 4db)

  • Nominal Impedance ..... 8 ohms

  • Minimum Impedance .... 8 ohms

  • 70"H x 9"D x 9"W  (5.8ft H x 0.75ft D x 0.75ft W)

  • All Cardas - internal wiring, solder, flux and copper binding posts

  • Eight very heavy and sharp spikes

***Super Abby*** is also available at additional cost, a special version adding an alnico horn tweeter firing backwards, for a huge soundstage, air and very nice HF extension. 



Cain & Cain Abby Comments found on the web:

"The Abby's are hard to please in matching the right amp to get the right sound. But if you are able to do so, you have something that's really a pleasure to listen to."

"I also received my Abby's one week ago and are thoroughly enjoying them. I agree, regardless what listening level they are at the sweetness and smooth detail comes through."

"I just picked up a pair of Cain & Cain Abby speakers yesterday and they are just wonderful. They work beautifully in my room (12x20x8, with a 10x10x8 "L"), sounding even better here than they did at the dealer's demo -- I had a slight reservation about lack of bass, but at home they sound just great to me."

"I still get amazed by them every day. They're also easy on the eyes .....just frosting on the cake : ) "

"I have the Abby's and love them. Best woodwork I've ever seen on a speaker. My wife loves their looks too - first speakers she has ever said that about (and I've had a lot of different speakers)."



Cain & Cain - Soundscape HiFi And Music ShowroomThe Abby + Bailey combination is sonically very transparent, with every nuance laid bare, and in between songs it can easily pick up musicians silently humming, musicians turning music sheet pages, shifting positions, etc.  It can keep one up all night rediscovering one's music collection.  Very lively, excellent imaging, with good height and a deep and wide soundstage.


The Bailey subwoofer is delightfully sonically subtle and unobvious, unobtrusive.  Definitely a true music sub, no home theater propensities here.  Very articulate, and a seamless match with the Abbys (and for other similar designs, or horns).


In our opinion, the Cain & Cain speaker system is a fine representative of the crossoverless single-driver design, sonically and aesthetically.  Listen and experience Terry Cain's offering, and perhaps you'll agree with us :)


Cain & Cain Abby Normal Version


The Abby Normal version uses one driver with superb tonality and dynamics, the Fostex FE 166e.


Basically we recommend the Normal version for rooms larger than 12 x 12 x 8ft, and listener-to-speaker distances greater than 6 to 8 ft.  The Normal version can project music into the room more easily than the Nearfield model.

Driver height is 39" from the floor so listening is best in a standard chair with a seat height of 16-18".


Cain & Cain Abby Nearfield Version


The Abby Nearfield version uses one driver, the Fostex FF 165k (without a whizzer cone using an aluminum dustcap), with superb tonality and dynamics, for smooth 17khz response.

The Nearfield version is offered to better suit small rooms with a design tonally closer to small room requirements, maintaining 95db efficiency and great bass performance.

Basically we recommend the Nearfield version only when rooms are smaller than 12 x 12 x 8ft, or situations
in which the listener is sitting close to the speakers, listener-to-speaker distances up to 6 to 8 ft. 

Driver height is 39" from the floor so listening is best in a standard chair with a seat height of 16-18".


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Cain & Cain:  Bailey Subwoofer

  Cain & Cain Bailey Subwoofer

The Bailey subwoofer is designed to harmonize with our existing products. Bailey fills the need for low frequency reinforcement for our high efficiency designs. What drives one in the first place to single driver systems could well be the one note bass emanating from so many bass systems one encounters. The tactile and colorful bass only horns and their variants provide is the goal of the Bailey. Not pretending to reinvent bass technology or to add anything other than precise craftsmanship, Bailey succeeds on all goals intended.

  • Provide bass depth to enhance soundstage size and scale.
  • Run efficiently on reasonable power and not generate heat.
  • Integrate with our existing lineup to the point that different room and equipment variations yield consistent results.
  • Harmonize tonally, without calling attention to itself, easy to place.
  • Integrate on an aesthetic level of existing C&C products.
  • Easy controls, set it and forget it with accuracy.

Cain & Cain Bailey Subwoofer

The first thing noticed in Driver selection is that the displacement wars that exist in car audio also quite dominate high end hifi. Just pushing in on some drivers you can pretty much guess they need a lot of power and are going to sound •one note•. And knowing one would and will lose the displacement wars allows freedom of design, allowing effort aimed at solving the real problem of system matching, tonally.

To match tonally with the high efficiency systems in place, we start by acknowledging that the Abby and the backhorns are easy to integrate with. Their already strong midbass clarity make adding the bottom two octaves, a pleasure of design. Placement becomes easier, lack of boominess in the main systems means less boom overall. Control is the issue, not the size or weight.

Recommended by the management at Madisound as a no holds barred driver for high end audio, •what would be better• we kept asking, but getting the same reply:

  • SEAS 10• aluminum driver, phase plug, rubber surround - from Norway
    • 87db1w mtr 8ohm
    • FS 20hz, ported
    • Xmax 7mm
    • Max power 125w

The SEAS driver won't win the displacement wars and does not attempt to. Instead it offers superb musicality and tonal complexity. Something very rare in systems not fully horn loaded. So to keep up with the modest heat and power demands on an amplifier, this driver is ideal. The 300 watt built in amplifier never runs hot and is very easy to adjust to our systems for optimal results. Enclosed in a sealed sub enclosure of it's own to insure stability, it effortlessly provides deep powerful bass.

The Cabinet is where we have gained some insights and flex our advantage. Knowing from building our other systems what rigidity can do for tonal and pitch accuracy we applied the same theory. By making a precision machined, all-plywood cabinet has yielded exceptionally taught and colorful bass. Where many systems built of composite boards will absorb energy, plywood reflects the energy putting more bass and texture into the room. And also by eliminating compliance wherever possible we maintain clarity. Most drivers have a big plushy (sounding) rubber gasket surround and right away you hear the difference with the SEAS rigid aluminum frame-to-wood t-nutted and hex bolted to a rigid cabinet. The synergy of the amp-driver-cabinet compliments our existing systems remarkably, such that they have become now, a complete system by addition of the Bailey.

Will you need 2 subs?

This would be a lot of fun no doubt. 2 subs allow for better room control of bass reflections. If your room is damped or irregular, one (1) Bailey will give you the big bottom. In a large open space 2 subs would provide rave-on-demand convenience and power. Ask about mirror imaged and symmetric matched pairs of Baileys for the ultimate installations.


Cain & Cain: Bailey Subwoofer Specifications

  • 300 watts built-in amplifier enclosed in a sealed sub enclosure of it's own to insure stability
  • SEAS 10• aluminum driver, phase plug, rubber surround - from Norway
    • 87db1w mtr 8ohm
    • FS 20hz, ported
    • Xmax 7mm
    • Max power 125w
  • Hi-lo inputs, phase switch reverse, adjustable x-over low pass 50-80hz, 100hz high pass

  • All-plywood cabinet

  • Auto-on-off, volume adjustable

  • 120-220v operation

  • Color matched , bases match both Abby or Studio Series

  • wooden crate/ museum grade packing

  • Shipping weight, crated:  100lbs   (Sub, instructions, power cord)


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Cain & Cain: Studio Series Loudspeakers


Click Me! for more information on the Studio Series.


Cain & Cain Single-Horn BEN

Cain & Cain IM-BEN at CES 2005, Wavelength Audio room

Cain & Cain BEN-ES

Single-Horn BEN Double-Horn IM-BEN Double-Horn BEN-ES    

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Cain & Cain:  FAQ


Why A Single-Driver ?

"Full-range single driver speakers attempt to cover the entire audible frequency spectrum using only one driver unit. This removes the need for an electronic crossover network, well known for being hard to design without introducing colorations to the sound.


Some people consider the crossover network one of the most evil things in audio. In practice, how well a single driver speaker delivers depends both on the driver and the speaker cabinet design. Lowther (UK) is one famous and well known full range driver, Fostex (Japan) is becoming popular in the USA and is well known in Japan and Europe.


Other manufacturers that build full range drivers include Mitsubishi (Diatone), Jordan, Reps, Fertin, Supravox, Radio Shack, and many others. "     Read more from ...

"A single driver is a very good way to realize excellent sonic satisfaction with low powered tubed equipment.


Of course, they can provide startling clarity with some solid state electronics, and they mate well with subwoofers in home cinema environments.


Single driver speaker systems, when properly set up and fed a nice clean watt or two can provide musical enjoyment far beyond multi-way speakers.


These speakers do not WOW you with what they are capable of . They will WOW you with what the musician is capable of. "



Why All Wooden Front on the Abbys ?

"The all wooden front of the cabinet is designed to aid in low level resolution. In an industry devoted to utilizing "the latest materials" we have actually lost touch with what solid wood can do for sound reproduction. All solid woods exhibit a sonic signature that influences the sound of associated equipment. The Alder wood fronts on the Abbys were chosen for their light weight and extreme rigidity as well as reflectivity, and forest sustainability.

Using solid Alder wood adds to a "lively" sound that will find appreciation in acoustic music in particular. The low level decay of notes of strings and percussion tend to become easier for the ear to track and ambiance from the recorded venue can now be easily appreciated. Being solid wood, minor imperfections in the wood such as pin knots and color changes contribute to a "natural" and pleasing look."


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Cain & Cain:  Reviews / HiFi Shows / Other Articles of Interest


Click Me! to visit the Cain & Cain reviews page, including hifi show feedback and other articles of interest related to Cain & Cain.

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