The Ultimate CAT Renaissance
More than once, I've teased Convergent Audio Technology's Ken Stevens about calling his preamp SL-1 Ultimate. I mean, once you've got something that's the Ultimate, where can you go if it's improved—and there is no audio product that can't be improved, even if only to a minor degree. He subsequently introduced a preamp called the SL-1 Legend, but it was about double the price of the SL-1 Ultimate, and Ken said that it was sufficiently different from the SL-1 Ultimate that it could be considered a new preamp, deserving of a new name.
Well, Ken now has an update of the SL-1 Ultimate, using much of the technology borrowed from the Legend: improvements in the power supply, passive A/V pass-through, switch-selectable high/low gain, and—most important for phono fans—built in moving-coil transformers that result in a much-improved S/N ratio in this application. He calls this preamp SL-1 Renaissance. (And, I suspect, he may regret ever having used the word "Ultimate" to refer to his preamp.) Price for the SL-1 Renaissance is $7950 for the line-level version and $9950 for the version that includes the phono section. (The Legend comes in at the industry-standard-high-end-preamp price of $18k.)