What happened to CAT?

Hey everyone,

So a couple of years ago I heard a CAT setup at the Magico demo room. I know their amps were super expensive, but I thought about looking up the pre-amps. Seem to have vanished as a manufacturer.

I'm wondering if anyone has a scoop? Like did the designer go away, start another brand?



They have never had a website.  I believe the company is still alive, but don't know for sure.  Did you try the phone number in the industry directory (it's for The Analog Shop, they don't list it as a line they carry anymore, but perhaps they can answer your question)?  One other possibility is to go to the CAT owners website (Google it) and ask the question.

CAT is alive and well....always has been just no marketing concerns with business at hand. Telephone 585-359-2700.
Thank goodness Ken is still in business. He has always flown beneath the radar ( somewhat intentionally I am sure) but his gear is absolutely SOTA...IMHO. Thank you gwalt for the update.

Yeay. :)

So can someone tell me about their experiences with CAT preamps vs. CJ or modern AR? I haven't had a chance to hear them very often, so comments from others would be welcome.


CAT was at RMAF 2017 . In a room with Acoustic Zen . CAT had monblock amps with a pre . The owner of CAT was a nice host . Seemed knowledgeable about many musicians and their recordings . The sound in that room tempted me to buy a pair of the Acoustic zen speakers . Was very close but ultimately did not pull the trigger .
Ok Erik_squires...I will have a shot at this answer....Basically, and strongly IMHO, comparing a CAT to the CJ or modern AR is going to come down to one basic aspect...Dynamics! The CAT is almost unbeatable in this regard...why, I believe due to the immense power supply the CAT enjoys. The CJ's and modern ARC's that I have heard don't quite match it....
Otherwise all are good preamps, but for me, the CAT is king. I could live with any of them, but so long as Ken Stevens is still 'sharpening' his design, it will be #1 on my list.

Thanks Davey!! That's very interesting. :)

I always think of CJ as more colorful in the pre's, but dynamic in the amps.

I hope to participants I did not come across as having an axe to grind. I'm just thinking about my next upgrades. :)


I A/B compared CAT vs CJ GAT at home. At vocal and non complex music, the CAT was as good as the CJ, but when the music got complex with plenty details and nuances the CJ GAT still kept everything under control. I think the CAT got a little messy compared with the CJ.
But the CJ GAT is real high end and one of the very best preamps out there I think.

geddyen, do you remember which CAT you heard? Even though the basic design has not changed that much over the years, the newer versions, and those that have been modded or tube rolled, can sound very different to the oldest models.

The reason you don’t hear too much about CAT is that they are slowly pricing themselves out of the market. 
CAT makes a great preamp. I have heard a few and they were outstanding. 
Test pilot, unfortunately what you state applies to most high end manufacturers these days...
I actually think that CAT has held their pricing structure better than most...have you looked at the price of some of the new ss gear!
Soulution, Boulder and a few others make CAT seem like it’s given away....some of the other tube gear...Lamm and Ypsilon come to mind, same thing. 
I believe that the main reason you don’t hear too much about CAT these days is that the people that own them...a) are too busy enjoying them and b) see no need to upgrade them...after all, what would they replace them with...
I am a new CAT owner so just trying to find an amplifier to drive my Gamut RS7i speakers that favors there dynamics while remaining convincingly musical. I cannot live without tubes.
I think I found that amp. hopefully in the CAT JL5. I say hopefully as I just got it here yesterday and it is breaking in but so far it is convincingly real.
This amp. does not sound totally like tubes.......as it has bass to die for, most tube amps. sort of do bass. SS does that part until now. CAT does bass like no other tubes that I am aware of. Dynamics and speed are startling and these speakers are alive.....all because of this amp. It is not as colored musically beautiful as many others out there.....look elsewhere if that is number 1 on your list. If you are into PRAT, transparency, and musical honesty this will be hard to beat.
I am not a newbie to the sport. I have owned a GAT preamp....version 1. It was musical but it had a veil  in transparency compared to some of the competition IMHO. Perhaps the new model is better that way. The new GAT linestage is like $24K. The CAT Renaissance S-1 is $12,990 without phono. The JL5 amp. I just bought is 120 WPC in full triode with the first 60 wpc in Class A retailing for $14,990. I disagree with the comment that CAT is priced out? CAT is so overbuilt they will drive any speaker on the planet. I think they represent a very decent value for what they have to offer.
 If you look at the parts and build quality it really has no peer. The designer (Ken Stevens) really has a record product in his preamp.....over 25 years and running with enhancements. This reminds of the Linn LP 12 which in full dress still competes with many other analog devices.
In the end go listen, compare pricing vs. the competition and decide for yourself as any of this gear. I would find it hard to believe you won't be impressed.
Actually gwalt, the current Linn LP12 in full dress easily beats most other analog devices...IMHO...:0)

Same with the CAT vs. most other preamps.