I had recently the chance to listen to this strange feline creature at a friend's and I must confess, that I was pleasantly surprised. I listened through the venerable Jecklin electrostatic floats ear speakers, which were powered by some Chinese integrated tube gear, the name of which I've forgotten. It is a 300b job with a somewhat darkish sound, which however can easily be equalised out by the Windows Media player's equaliser. We listened ( through two of those floats)to a wide variety of music, Jazz, Pop, voices, string quartetts, big classical music from Windows XP lossless files from his HD and I must say, that every time the Bobcat made a difference towards a more musical, pleasing rendering, once the right setting was found. Mostly the differences were subtle, but none the less easily discernable. I am no fan of digital, after having had to sell my huge Lp-collection, I now mostly listen to reel to reel tapes on an ancient Otari,which apart from the hiss, gives to my old ears are more musical, less tiring rendering of the musical material, compared to digital. After an intense listening session of about three hours I didn't notice any aural fatigue, which to me was quite surprising. Whether tthe Cat's rendering is up to the standard of SACD or Analog I cannot say. I think, that is beside the point anyway, important to me was the fact, that the usual irritants of digital were at least on this occasion completely gone.
To my mind, the Bobcat is not for those purists, who want their gear to be able to give an as exact as possible rendering of the recording venue. It is is rather for the subjectivist, intimatly aquainted with the sound of live music, who does not mind fiddling around until he gets the sound, he things is right for that particular piece of music. I would certainly buy one, if I could afford it right now.
I schlepped my Otari with about 15 r2rs, some at 7.5 others at 3.75 ips and we compared especially voices, solo violins, small Jazz combos and big classic orchestra to similar renderings through the Bobcat, which we had set to the sound most pleasant for us.
The result: Especially regarding solo violins, the layered rendering of big orchestral music, sweetness if highs, even the most pleasant setting of the Feline doesn't even come close to the old recording and reproducive technology of 30 to 40 years ago. The entire "gestalt" of the music was totally different between the two technologies, subtle musical cues, when heard through tape were more evident and gave the impression for the music to be more "real" and the tape won every time. Well, I grew up on 78s and later on LPs, my friend however is much younger ( 40 years !) and had never listened to analog commercial tapes before. He's now looking for an Otari or a Revox B77 on Ebay and wants to buy my doubles. I don't need to say more.
Conclusion: I would still buy the Bobcat if I had the money, because, after much fiddling, it can improve the sound, making it more pleasing to the ear and reducing listening fatigue. However the idea, that its sound would come close to or equal that of analog is to our two pair of ears and the minds located inbetween them ABSOLUTELY PREPOSTEROUS !