I’ve lengthy been a large fan of DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) audio gear, not just for its usually excellent efficiency, but additionally for its elegant Danish design. TechHive has reviewed a number of DALI merchandise, together with the Rubicon 6 speaker, IO-6 headphone, and Katch One soundbar.
Now, it’s time to show our consideration to the unique Katch, a moveable Bluetooth speaker that shares its design aesthetic with the newer Katch One. However does it additionally share its efficiency traits with the soundbar? In some ways, sure.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the finest Bluetooth audio system, the place you’ll discover critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must think about when searching for the sort of product.
The Katch and Katch One look very related, with the identical super-slim oval cupboard. The one apparent variations are the grille—crosshatched plastic on the Katch, material on the Katch One—and the truth that the Katch One is greater than 3 times longer than the Katch (5.Eight x 33.9 x 2.7 inches for the Katch One versus 5.Four x 10.6 x 1.9 inches for the Katch, HxWxD). Additionally, the Katch weighs in at 2.Four kilos, which is lower than a third the burden of the Katch One. Lastly, the Katch is accessible in 5 colours, whereas the Katch One comes solely in black or white.
Derived from DALI’s Fazon sequence, the cupboard incorporates an extruded-aluminum physique that’s mentioned to permit a skinny construction that maximizes inside quantity with out compromising rigidity. In line with the corporate, matching the aluminum physique with a composite entrance and rear baffle eliminates any potential inside resonance, so the cupboard doesn’t add undesirable acoustic power to the sound generated by the drivers.
Talking of drivers, the Katch makes use of the identical ones because the Katch One, simply not as many. The smaller mannequin contains two 0.8-inch soft-textile dome tweeters with neodymium magnets, and two 3.5-inch aluminum-cone woofers with a textile cap. As well as, there are two 3×2-inch steel-cone passive radiators within the in any other case closed cupboard. The shallow woofers are mentioned to permit the complete tour of a typical woofer through the use of a specifically designed chassis, inverted diaphragm, and customized spider suspension.
One tweeter, woofer, and passive radiator face ahead, whereas the opposite trio of drivers face backward. I think this configuration is meant to distribute sound evenly all through a room or outside house. When you place it close to a wall or different massive floor, the bass shall be boosted, which could or won’t be a good factor, relying in your choice.
Two 25W Class-D amplifiers energy the drivers, and the desired frequency response extends from 49Hz to 23kHz (±Three dB) with a most output of 95dB SPL. As well as, the DSP (digital sign processing) gives two sound modes: Clear and Heat. Clear is claimed to supply a impartial frequency response, whereas Heat boosts the bass.
The first enter is Bluetooth 4.Zero with help for the aptX high-quality codec. Plus, you’ll be able to pair a Bluetooth supply with the Katch wirelessly utilizing NFC (near-field communication) if the supply gadget helps it. A 3.5mm stereo analog-audio enter helps you to join non-Bluetooth units, and the Katch mechanically switches to that enter when it senses a sign there. Fortuitously, you’ll be able to manually toggle between Bluetooth and the analog enter. Lastly, a USB Kind-A port helps you to cost a USB gadget (5V/1A), and you may also join a Chromecast dongle to the USB port, which is a good characteristic.
As I used to be wanting by the guide and specs, I observed transient mentions of a Stereo Pair Mode, which helps you to hyperlink two audio system into a stereo pair, however I couldn’t discover something extra about it. The guide refers the reader to part 6.5, however there isn’t any such part within the printed or on-line guide. After I requested DALI about it, I used to be directed to a third-party guide website, the place the Katch guide does have part 6.5 explaining Stereo Pair Mode. I didn’t have two items, so I couldn’t strive it, but it surely’s very odd that this characteristic isn’t totally documented on the DALI web site or within the included guide.
The rechargeable battery is rated at 2400mAh, which permits the Katch to play for as much as 24 hours on a single cost. Even higher, charging takes solely two hours, and the included energy twine contains adapters for numerous AC shops in numerous elements of the world.
Management is easy utilizing the 5 buttons on the highest of the unit. These embody energy on/off, quantity up, quantity down, sound-mode choice, and Bluetooth pairing; that final button additionally toggles between the Bluetooth and three.5mm enter. The facility button is surrounded by 4 quarter-circular LEDs that point out battery-charge standing, quantity, chosen sound mode, and Bluetooth pairing standing.
For many of my listening, I positioned the Katch on a desk far from any wall or different vertical floor. As standard, I performed tracks within the Tidal Grasp library of uncompressed, high-resolution music from my iPhone XS by way of Bluetooth.
I’m a big fan of Jacob Collier, a 26-year-old musical wunderkind who sings many of the vocals, performs many of the devices, and composes many of the materials on his wonderful albums. He additionally does extremely imaginative covers, equivalent to “Moon River” from Djesse Vol. 2, a dense a cappella vocal association. On the Katch, the general sound was a bit closed in; it instantly struck me as coming from a small field. The vocals, nevertheless, had been clear and pure, with fairly good steadiness from low to excessive. I listened with each sound modes—Clear and Heat—and Heat mode was barely louder with a bit extra bass, but it surely wasn’t a large distinction.
I had a lot the identical impression listening to the 2014 remaster of “It’s Good to be King” by Tom Petty from Wildflowers & All The Relaxation. The sound was clearly coming from a field, and it was a bit skinny and vibrant. The Heat mode was fuller, however the bass was nonetheless barely weak, whereas the vocals and electrical guitar had been very clear and up entrance, and the high-frequency components of the drums (e.g., cymbals and snare harmonics) had been fairly distinguished.
Subsequent up was “Seven Bridges Road” from Eagles Dwell on the Discussion board MMXVIII. After extra comparisons of the Clear and Heat modes, I ended up preferring Heat; Clear mode sounded too skinny. However even in Heat mode, the sound was clearly coming from a small field, and the bass was weak. Then once more, the vocals had been good and clear.
For some fashionable pop/rock, I cued up “Enigma” by Woman Gaga from Chromatica, which incorporates a lot of synthesizers. As earlier than, the vocals had been clear and clear, however the general sound was skinny with weak bass.
As I used to be wanting round Tidal, I got here throughout an album known as Blue Be aware Re:imagined, which incorporates jazz classics carried out by new artists. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” is dramatically reimagined by Mr. Jukes—it’s recognizable, however simply barely! On the Katch, the sound was skinny and clear with comparatively weak bass, and the high-frequency parts of the drums had been very distinguished.
I discovered a whole album of reimagined Herbie Hancock tunes on guitarist Lionel Loueke’s HH. He performs “Dolphin Dance” on solo acoustic guitar, which sounds clear and clear. Apparently, the thinness I had heard earlier than was not almost as evident right here, although the sound was comparatively vibrant.
Turning to classical, I listened to the primary motion of Elgar’s Falstaff, Op. 68, as carried out by Staatkapelle Berlin beneath the route of Daniel Barenboim. Sadly, the Katch didn’t do justice to a full orchestra, sounding fairly skinny with weak bass. It was a little higher with solo piano; particularly, Lang Lang enjoying Variato 4 from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The piano sounded clear, however nonetheless skinny.
Throughout my listening, I attempted putting the Katch up in opposition to a wall to see if the sound would fatten up. The nearer it received to the wall, the extra the bass elevated, and the sound did get richer and fuller. However I needed to put it very near the wall to listen to a lot distinction.
Comparability with Urbanears Rålis
Probably the most comparable product I had available for this evaluation was the Urbanears Rålis, reviewed right here. Each are moveable Bluetooth audio system from Scandinavia, although the Rålis is bigger, heavier, and fewer than half the value of the Katch.
Listening to every of the tracks listed above, the Rålis sounded greater, richer, and fuller with extra bass—in some circumstances, maybe a bit an excessive amount of. Additionally, the bass was generally barely congested, and the highs had been much less distinguished. It actually did a higher job on the orchestral choice. Apparently, each audio system have about the identical specified bass extension (50-Hz for the Rålis versus 49Hz for the Katch).
Even with the caveats, I ended up preferring the sound of the Rålis with its large, wealthy sound over the Katch’s skinny, clear, vibrant sound with much less bass than I usually favor. And I couldn’t shake the sense that its sound appeared to come back completely from a small field, whereas the Rålis’ sound prolonged a bit past its bodily boundaries.
Don’t get me fallacious—the DALI Katch doesn’t sound unhealthy per se. On the plus aspect is a clear, clear, vibrant sound that’s positive to hold all through nearly any gathering. I particularly like its replica of vocals. However the bass is usually weak, even in Heat mode, and the one manner to enhance that’s to position the speaker proper up in opposition to a wall. Additionally, the sound seems to come back completely from its small cupboard.
As I hinted on the high, the Katch shares some efficiency attributes with its bigger soundbar cousin, the Katch One. Quoting from my evaluation of that product, “It must be placed up against a wall or other large, flat surface to sound its best; it sounds pretty wimpy when freestanding away from the wall. With the right placement, its sound is clean, open, and well balanced, though it’s a tad on the bright side.”
The Katch’s small measurement, gentle weight, and lengthy battery life are large benefits by way of portability. In contrast, the Rålis is far bigger and heavier. Alternatively, the Rålis lists for $199, a mere 40 % of the Katch’s record value of $499.
When you admire Danish design and clear, vibrant sound from a moveable speaker—and you’ve got the funds—the DALI Katch is a good selection. However in case you favor a hotter, fuller, richer sound, I’d look elsewhere.