CAT Escapes the Box With Magico

Ken Stevens and the folks from Convergent Audio Technology had already taken down most of the heavy black draping that tamed reflective sidewalls when I happened upon CAT’s JL5 LE stereo amplifier ($24,995) and JL7 SE ($49,990) monoblock amplifiers connected to their SL1 Legend Extreme preamplifier ($59,995). (The Statement Extreme, $209,990, was not playing.) Connected to Magico S5 Mk.II loudspeakers by beta version CAT Black Path cabling, the system delivered lively, maximally illumined silvery sound.

In my brief listen to “Keith Don’t Go”—I resisted the temptation to run out the door—and the Harry James Big Band playing “Tuxedo Junction” on an old Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP, this system shone like few at AXPONA, with a fine coherent soundstage to boot. I wonder how many other systems might have shone as much had their room’s black draping been removed?

Stevens told me that the JL7SE’s power supply storage has been upped from 2400 to 3600 joules per pair. It also has bigger output transformers with a dedicated 4 ohm tap that, in his opinion, offers greater control to 8 ohm speakers. The Legend Extreme preamp boasts CAT’s Black Path film capacitors in its power supply. I wish I could have stayed for more.

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