CAT SL1 Legend or First Sound?

Which top preamp : New CAT SL1 LEGEND or FIRST SOUND Ultimate PARAMOUNT Line Stage??

Boy, you have expensive tastes Mehdi!! I wish I had your dilema . . . I expect that you haven't had too many posts as most of us don't have either or both of your listed units to compare, but's just a guess on my part.

Some Differences that you might find useful:
* PHONO STAGE -- The First Sound doesn't have a phono stage whereas I believe the CAT SL1 preamps do so there is one difference depending on your requirements.
* ERGONOMICS -- The FS is dual mono meaning two volume and input selector switches vs CAT's single vol which may or may not bug you.
* POST SALES SUPPORT -- Mr. Go from First Sound has a stellar reputation for customer support. For example, he is offering a FREE modification to owners of FS Presence Deluxe MKII units to bring them up to the very latest standard (which, in relative terms, probably still pales in comparison to your Paramount Ultimate). But that is an example the dedication to customer satisfaction he offers. How does this compare to CAT post sales support?

I can't think of any other differences as both units are great I'm sure . . .

Kevin is correct, the CAT is available with or without phono, although many opt for it. Some options are available, including volume taper and adjustable cartridge loading while listening to music.

Is there a new CAT preamp? Is the Legend something new after the Ultimate?
There is a new CAT preamp, the Ultimate Mk II and I have not heard it.

If there is a CAT SL-1 Legend, I have not heard of such a unit.

I imagine the Legend which was mentioned in the title of the thread could be the Legend preamp from Legend Audio.
This company was recently sold to Von Gaylord Audio. I don't know if Von Gaylord continues to market the p;reamp. I have never heard this preamp, but Legend made some truly outstanding products and I would doubt that this product was in any way a dud.

I own both the CAT SL-1 Ultimate Mk I and the First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II 4.0 with dual premium power supplies.
This unit is one step below the Paramount and two steps below the Ultimate Paramount. Although the units which I have may not be the exact comparison which you are looking to make, I figure that few people have lived for several years with units as close to the two which you want to compare.

They are both great products which will sound quite different in a high resolution sound system. Which one you
will prefer will depend on your sonic tastes as well as which one better matches the rest of your system.

Last weekend, I went to a local dealer here in Manhattan to
hear the top of the line VTL preamp ($14000) and the top of the line BAT preamp ($8500). Other gear used in this demo was the full DCS digital gear (Verdi, Elgar and Purcell), JM Labs Grand Utopia and top of the line VTL amps. No comparison with my system. I get better sound at home
with either the CAT or the First Sound.

CAT's excel in dynamics, musicality, smoothness, low frequency weight and extension and neutrality.

First Sound excels in transparency of the midrange and
imaging which seems derived from the low noise and utterly black background which the F.S. seems to have. It is, to me, an outstanding reproducer of female vocals.

Only by comparison with First Sound, the CAT is a smidgeon
less starkly transparent in the mids, but utterly silky sweet, musical and smooth. First Sound is never sweet, but appears to have no midrange musical "artifact" at all. It will push the vocalist out front a little more than the CAT and make him (or more likely her) sound "in the room". Ability to hold instruments in position within the soundstage is stunning with the First Sound, but still very excellent with the CAT. Both will throw a very wide soundstage, the FS maybe a tad wider, the CAT a little deeper.

CAT has terrific dynamic capabilities. It is slightly warmer than F.S., with more lower midrange emphasis. There is more energy and weight from the CAT in the deepest bass. F.S. has very decent bass, including a prodigious midbass in my system, but sounds a little rolled off at the very bottom. This is probably due to an impedance mismatch between it and my low impedance (10k ohm) Pass Aleph 4 amp. Others report a stunningly deep and powerful bass with the F.S.

Each product has its strengths and anything which I said which hinted at drawbacks could only, for the most part, be discerned by comparison with the other product. In general, neither product has significant drawbacks and those negative characteristics which I could detect from either are, for the most part, not discernible except when compared to each other.

Of course there are many other products to listen to and I haven't heard them all, but I have heard a number of the so-called top preamps and linestages. Of the ones that I have heard, I like these two the best.

I am considering the upgrade of both products: the Ultimate to Ultimate Mk II and the Presence Deluxe upgrade discussed earlier. I will proceed cautiously because I don't want to give up anything good in either of these just to say that I have the latest.
Hi,their is a new CAT preamp coming out in Nov. called the Legend.It will retail for 15000.00 with phono,13000.00 without.4 main differences will be seperate left and right volume controls,all teflon boards,black caps throughout and about 15 more pounds of weight,high or low gain switch on back of unit,plus smaller improvements.Ken said it will
be a real killer.


I have had the CAT SL1 Ultimate in my system for a few days in the past, and I currently own the same First Sound model as Rayhall (as of his last post): the Presence Deluxe Mk II, 4.0.

I did not have both units at the same time. But, as far as I can tell, Rayhall hit the descriptions of both units dead on. I had a bit of a pre-amp/pwr amp interaction problem with the CAT and my Cary SLAM-100 amplifiers which I chalk up to a very sensitive input section on the SLAM-100s; so, I can't speak as completely about the CAT's characteristics as I can about the First Sound's. But, the CAT's dynamic, low end weight and authority speed, etc., it adds up directly to what I also heard. (The Lamm LL2 is similar in this area.)

So too does Rayhall's description of the mid-range purity of the First Sound and its slightly softer bass extension (in my system). Others have reported great bass extension and speed with First Sound pre-amps, just as Rayhall mentioned.

It comes as a pleasant surprise to read someone else's account of gear I am familiar with so nearly match my own impression when, all too often, just the opposite happens.