What Does a $110K Speaker Look Like?
CAT builds custom speakers for celebrities and other suitably wealthy audiophiles.
Pictured from left:  Arthur Kelm, Brian Barr, Michelle Nugent, Helen Barr, Michael Barr, Theo Kalomirakis.
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.

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
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 training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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