Convergent Audio Technology CAT SL1 Sig Preamplifiers

5/5 (5 Reviews) MSRP : $5950.00

Product Description

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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bombaywalla a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This is a review/listening report of the Convergent Audio Technologies SL1 Signature Mk III tube preamplifier with an on-board phono section. This is a pre-owned unit that I own for 10 months now. Over these 10 months I have listened to many records & CDs using both the power amplifier section of my older Harmon/Kardon integrated amplifier and using my recently acquired Symphonic Line RG4 mono-block power amplifiers. I have tried to highlight what I think are the characteristics of the CAT SL1 through these listening test but before I commence with the review, a little about the remaining audio system & a bit about my listening room. WARNING: This review is long!

The associated equipment:-

· Music Hall MMF5 TT with the stock Goldring 1012GX MM cartridge.
· Harmon/Kardon HD7525 CDP - this is my trusty-rusty CDP which has an 18-bit built-in DAC, analog & digital outputs (of which I’m using the analog L&R outputs) & a captive power cord. I have DH (large) Cones under the CDP chassis. Even though the unit is 7 yrs old, I feel that it has great sound. So far I have not been tempted to upgrade it.
· CAT SL1 Signature Mk III tube preamplifier – subject of this review.
· Symphonic Line RG4 Mk III mono-block power amplifiers – reviewed on this site in the amplifier (SS) category.
· B&W DM 604S2 3-way, 4-driver floor standing speakers in black ash, which was the only colour available when I bought them (much to my wife’s dismay!). Speakers are on 3 brass spikes each.
· Interconnects & cables used: 1m Groneberg TS Premium between TT & pre, pre & power. Tara Labs RSC Master Gen II between CDP & pre. Tara Labs Prism biwire speaker cables. In my opinion, the B&Ws are known to be on the bright side so I have tried to limit the brightness by avoiding silver speaker cables. ESP Essence power cords, for the power amps, connected to the Juice Bar & a Silver Audio Power Burst connecting the PS Audio Juice Bar to the wall outlet.
· Lovan Soverign 2+2 audio rack.
· 1 Richard Gray Power Co. 400S into which the CDP & TT are plugged & 1 PS Audio Juice Bar into which the pre & power are plugged. Note that the Juice Bar does not have any filtering of any sort – just like I want it.

Listening room details:-

My audio room is located in my converted attic area & is quite asymmetrical in shape - the listening portion is 17’X19’ with a 9’ ceiling. There is also a k

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $2600.00

Purchased At:   private purchase

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by hemant a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
once you get this preamp you never need to
purchase any other

5 stars for value is for used equipment

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   the stereo shop

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ed a

Date Reviewed: March 20, 2001

Bottom Line:   
the cat sig 1 mk2 is a killer pre amp liquid mids extended treble and exellent bass.there is really no weakness.the cat has the ability to let you hear inside the music and studio were the music is recorded. this preamp has the magic in spades. a must hear product

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ron Ploeger a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The Cat has a character like an formula 1 racing engine,
prepare it well, tune it to the max, and it will deliver..
it is sensitive on well selected tubes, the intrinsic
design needs near perfect tubes to perform well.
the later mk2 and mk3 models behave much better and are
designed around the 6922 tube in a different configuration.
the upgrade to an fully mk3 status is to an even higher
degree of performance in any way !
I have my CAT since 1992 and although it gave me hard times
sometimes, i wouldn't think of anything else...
it has been upgraded to mk3 spec's now, i would advise to
buy an mk3, or do the upgrade first before buying.
the Ultimate has some advances, but this needs to
be listened to, it is about preferences i think.
If you are into Analog, care about your records, don't mind
a little extra care, find a good example, it will reward
every analog wish up on a star.
I don't need to go into audiophile Bla-Bla, the CAT is
beyond higs lows and midrange discussion.
four stars for value because of tube problems in MK1 version

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bruce a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: February 15, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The first thing I had to do when I unpacked the unit was take off the top plate and remove the bubblewrap. The top plate alone weighs 5 pounds!!! As I looked inside, there is dampening material on all sides of the casing. When I plugged it in, I found I had reached sonic nirvanna. The grain was gone that the Levinson had, the unit was just coherent from top to bottom. The images snapped into place and the depth of soundstage grew about 20 feet. I was trying to save shelf space by buying a full-function preamp but the CAT has an unbilical with an attached power supply. The difference in the phono stage between my ARC PH-3 and CAT is NOT subtle. Wired with Transparent Reference going to my Levinson Amp, I can finally enjoy the music and forget about any more upgrades. It's As Good As It Gets!!!

Well-Tempered Ref.
Benz Ruby 2
Levinson #331
Magnepan 3.5r
Transparent Ref cables

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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