California Audio Technology

Paired with the same Theta Gen. VIII DAC/preamp ($15,995)/Theta Compli Blu transport ($3995) combo and VPI Avenger reference turntable ($20,000) as in the SAE room, but with a TR phono cartridge ($7000) replacing the Zu, this room showcased CAT's brand new MBX 1250.2 FD XPR twin monoblock amplifier ($30,000), which outputs 1250Wpc in to 4 ohms, and MBX 320.2 FD ($10,000) twin monoblock amplifier, which outputs 320W into 8 ohms. The amps were driving a bi-amped pair of CAT loudspeakers, specifically voiced for this hotel room, which consisted of CAT MBX 900 Trinity satellites resting upon MBX Miramar subwoofers ($100,000/pair for all). Analog crossovers were employed, and the subs were dialed-in through a CAT MBX DSP8x8 digital signal processor ($15,000).

Instrumental timbres sounded far more correct in this system. On the same track from the Lou Harrison Violin Concerto that we played in the SAE room, the midrange was just a bit warmer than neutral, and speed and slam were superb. I also noted that timbres and weight were correct on deep drum, and that there was just a bit of the sharp sizzle that I heard in the SAE room.

All things considered, I thought this system had great potential. How the CAT components would sound with a more modern DAC/preamp and different cabling, I do not know, but I'd sure like to find out.