October 04, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
Not a lot of people own CAT (California Audio Technology) speakers, and a lot of the people who own them, never even see them. The first reason is because CAT systems are all custom designed for the specific room/location they’ve being installed in, which makes them way fracken expensive. The second reason is that in most cases, CAT speakers are built-in—not like run-of-the-mill in-wall speakers—but built into the wall. A more accurate way to think about it is that the wall is built around them.
At last month’s CEDIA EXPO the company showed off an MBX system costing $110,000… each. What could a $110K speaker be made of? Are the tweeters formed from the skin of a rare albino anaconda and the woofers infused with moon rock?
The system as shown consists of (“armed with” as CAT’s Brian Barr says) three 22-inch MBX aluminum subwoofers, two 12-inch MBX aluminum subwoofers, two 8.5-inch MBX aluminum bass drivers, two 5.5-inch CAT MBX aluminum midrange drivers, and one 1-inch MBX silk dome neodymium magnet tweeter. Sadly, no snakeskin or moon rock, but all impressive stuff.
What do they sound like? I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t listen to them at that event, but I’ve sat in on other CAT demos, and the sound is really a physical experience. The bass could sink battleships and the highs cause giddy sensations where you shouldn’t have giddy sensations publicly.
Below is another image of two 12-foot high CAT speakers from the exotic car showroom of Ceasar’s Palace Las Vegas.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.