The new CAT (CAD Audio Transport) is a high-quality source component offering no-compromise CD ripping/playback, bespoke internal data storage, plus playback of Windows Platform music streaming services, such as Spotify, Qobuz and BBC radio.
The CAT has been painstakingly crafted, implementing the ideas, technology and lessons learned from the (three-year) development of CAD’s award-winning 1543 DAC.
The CAT is an exceptional audiophile-grade digital source built to complement the 1543, as well as other high-quality USB DACs. It combines exemplary sound quality with intuitive operation.
What it does
The CAT is a CD-ripper, music storage device and streamer (Windows Platform services) in one, with each CAT hand-built to order in CAD’s central London facility. CAD offers bespoke data storage solutions for the device, which can be fitted with any type of music storage: SSD, HDD or NAS. Due to the fluctuating price of memory, CAD’s engineers will install whatever storage is required, at cost price. The CAT can be further tailored to suit the user’s home music set-up — either as a standalone two-channel system, or for integration into home networks.
The CAT offers automatic CD-ripping — transferring CDs to memory before automatically ejecting the disc. Playback from the internal storage drive is over USB: the CAT’s audiophile-grade customised USB output can be directly connected to the CAD 1543 DAC for best results, or any high-quality USB DAC. In addition, the CAT also has integrated music-streaming capability: users can stream music services such as Spotify, Qobuz, and BBC Radio.
The CAT can be controlled using a number of remote apps for handheld devices on both iOS and Android. For iOS devices, control is via JRemote and for Android, Gizmo is used. Users can also access the Windows operating system in the CAT via a handheld device, using Windows Remote Desktop application; a screen, keyboard and mouse are not necessary (this is often referred to as running ‘headless’). Alternatively, for purchasers not wishing to employ a Wi-Fi network in the listening room, users can control the CAT using a conventional monitor and mouse, or using a TV/monitor panel via HDMI.
The CAT has been meticulously built as a no-compromise source component and particular attention has been paid to the device’s power supplies. CAD has implemented a separate external dual-linear power supply along with extremely low-noise internal linear regulators and fan-less cooling.
Particular attention has also been paid to the CAT’s USB interface, which is a highly modified design optimised for the best possible sound quality. The CAT also boasts extensive EMI/RFI management. High-quality audiophile-grade internal cabling is also used throughout.
CAD has exhaustively auditioned the finest third-party products on the market, enabling CAT users to immediately enjoy the best-sounding, most robust software available today. Plus, as the world of digital audio evolves, CAD can quickly adapt its chosen third-party software as new products become available.
Every CAT comes with a recommended software package. This is currently a customised Microsoft Windows operating system which includes CAD’s proprietary modifications, aimed at creating the best possible sound quality, without compromising networking and remote access. This provides a robust, easy-to-use and widely supported operating system that can be slotted into home networks easily. CAD’s engineers discuss customer set-up requirements and then install the most appropriate software (and storage), passed on at cost price, there are no ‘hidden’ charges.
The CAT uses a customised version of market-leading software dBPoweramp, which rips in secure mode, automatically downloading metadata if the CAT is connected to the internet. Files are automatically stored where required, from internal solid-state memory, to external NAS drives.
JRiver, which is probably the most widely used Windows-based music server software, is used for the music library management. Users can view and search collections, see artwork and sleeve notes, and create playlists. Playback is managed by JPlay.
Any music streaming service that works on the Windows Platform will work on the CAT. With digital music services rapidly evolving, as long as there is an app for Windows, customers can easily install it on the CAT. CAD will preinstall any service required.
File compatibility: AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DSD over PCM DoP, etc.
Max sampling rate: 352.8kHz
Max bit-depth: 32 Bits
Dimensions: 440mm (W) x 85mm (H) x 330mm (D)
2x (audiophile) USB 3.0 A; (standard) 4 x USB2.0
1x HDMI (TV/monitor output)
1x DVI-D (monitor output)
1x D-SUB (monitor output)
1x RJ-45 (Ethernet)
Plus 1x PS/2 (keyboard/mouse)
External power supply:
Dimensions: 169mm (W) x 57mm (H) x 243mm (D)
Supplied with two DC interconnects and one ground interconnect
Price and availability
The CAT is ready now priced at £5,300 (plus storage) build/delivery time is one month. (For a limited time, the new CAD USB Cable (£480) is supplied for free to customers purchasing the 1543 DAC and CAT source component.