CAT pre-amps

I have read some comments on the great soundstage of these amps. Are they way better than say, the BAT pre-amps. If CAT's are not the best, what is?
I have a CAT sig. mk. III and although I have only heard a BAT preamp once( I dont remember which model ) it has been my impression that the CAT gives one of the largest soundstages around. This is all also dependent apon one's other equipment, speakers, room set up, etc. The CAT also has a rich prominent midrange. A great preamp for Jazz, classical , voice , etc. Also one of the better phono-sections. Hope this helps-Jim
I have the CAT mk. III which I bought after auditioning a mid level spectral and the top of the line cary. The CAT struck me as the most natural of the 3; the Cary was more romantic (but I could easily live with it) and the spectral seemed to 'extract more detail' (as they always say). I think in general you'll find better soundstaging with tubes overall.
The CAT is the most un-collered pre-amp on market, it has one of the best phono section available, very un-collered. The preamp can change sound signiture bassed on tubes in unit, factory tubes sound hard, if replace with NOS tubes unit can sound warm and romantic or very detailed, depending on soun preference. The new unit Ultimate is better than MKIII, but not at the price differential. You can buy used MKIII for around $2700, great deal.
I have a CAT Ultimate. While I haven't heard everything, if these are not the best preamps available anywhere, they are WAY up there. I have even heard a 8-10 year old CAT Reference and, while it sounded slightly different (a little brighter, maybe slightly less smooth, and even more dynamic than my Ultimate), it is also a great preamp. The CAT is, above all things, musical like nothing I have heard. But they also are grain free, have great extension at the frequency extremes, dynamic and have a magically transparent midrange. I have heard a BAT VK-50 with BAT amplifier (don't remember which) playing through a B&W Matrix 802 and found the sound uninvolving. Uninvolving sound, I believe, is something a CAT is incapable of.
Sorry, that was Nautilus 802, not Matrix
I own a CAT for about 6 yrs now, and i heartily agree with all comments mentioned by others. If it is the music your after, and all the emotions it may give you, the CAT will deliver, and will be a supreme partner. I have mine upgraded to mk3 status recently, and it was bettered in many ways, after spoken to many other CAT owners, the mk3 versus Ultimate is about preferences really. I know of a friend who owns both, and he doesn't want to choose between... the Ultimate is said to be a bit more relaxed and easy in presentation, the mk3 with a bit more liveliness and attack.. very subtile though. I have a word of caution regarding the people who 'throw' in all different [nos] tubes, in search of even better sound.. The v6 and v7 tubes use 6922 sovteks, and are very very closely matched by Ken Stevens, and with strict reason. As the service manual clearly states, you may not use the 6dj8, [at v6 v7]. Now my CAT has been serviced for many time by the tech-rep in my country, and with all the tube trying and changing I did, the FET's have blown up many times.. although this didnt stop the music playing, it ruined the CAT sound.. i have only recently been aware of this, since my tech-rep told me about this in detail.. so, if you don't happen to have a tube tester yourself, or somebody doing the tube matching, AND KNOWING ALL THE PARAMETERS ON THIS FOR V6 V7, but instead you are just trying whatever nos you can lay your hands on, you are JUST PLAYING AROUND, and you ARE IN RISK of blowing FET's everywhere ![yes up into the power supply!] The only one I would make a call is Ken Stevens himself, or Kevin Deal from Upscale audio. ofcourse i know that the NOS philipse's and Amperexe's DO sound better than the Sovteks.. but if you do all parameters well for matching THESE 6922's you will end up needing hundreds of tubes to come up with good pairs, and there are not many Amperex 6922 left these day's! [that's why Upscale charges astronomical prices..] so, you may think it your way,[and that's what I used to do] .. But I learnt my lesson now, and stick to Ken's advise, [through my tech rep] Mind you, I am also buying all sorts of 'NOS 6922's still, but I let em carefully check first, before maybe using in my CAT. we have NOT found any NOS which were up to standard..[and i live in the land of philips and Amperex !] If you have been putting in all sorts of NOS at v6 v7, and are in doubt after reading my note, pls contact your CAT representative, or Kevin at Upscale, it is worth the check. One happy Cat owner, may the music touch you !
GREAT POST Superclamp !!!I just bought Cat 3,and yes,I'm looking to score some extra "magic"---or was. I needed the reminder.3yrs ago I wanted some "magic" for my Music Reference 9 mk2.Called up a dealer for same.Analog Audio in NY.Also talked to Paul @ MR. He said don't.I let the dealer talk me into it. The tubes cost 2x what they quoted me to begin with.I could never get them to bias,they kept blowing fuses.and eventually took out something else.More $$The amp repaired but never was the same. So listen up tube changers.Thanks for listening.