The Computer Audio Design CAT is a high-quality source component that features CD ripping/playback, internal storage and playback of music streaming services such as Spotify, Qobuz and BBC Radio.

The CAT (CAD Audio Transport) promises to be a high-end "digital source component", offering "no-compromise" ripping, storage and playback.

Customers can specify which type of storage they'd like: SSD; HDD or NAS, and due to fluctuating prices, CAD will install each storage type at cost price. Each CAT is hand-built to order in CAD's central London facility. 

CAD's engineers can further tailor the CAT to different home set-ups as either a standalone two-channel system or for integration in to home networks.

CDs can be automatically ripped to the internal storage, while playback is over USB. The USB output can be directly connected to the CAD 1543 DAC or any other USB DAC.

The CAT is also capable of streaming a range of music services, including Spotify, Qobuz and BBC Radio. Any music streaming service that runs on Windows, will run on the CAT and Computer Audio Design promises to preinstall any service requried.

More after the break

Users are able to control the CAT via remote apps for iOS and Android. JRemote is required for iOS and Gizmo for Android.

Alternatively, users can access the Windows operating system in the CAT using the Windows Remote Desktop app. For those who don't have a wi-fi network, the CAT can be controlled by connecting it to a monitor and mouse or a TV/monitor panel via HDMI.

The CAT features a separate external dual-linear power supply, and claims extremely low-noise internal linear regulators and fan-less cooling.


The CAD CAT with CAD 1543 DAC

Each CAT comes with a recommended software package. Currently, this is a customised version of Microsoft's Windows operating system which features CAD's proprietary modifications. CAD's engineers discuss customer set-up requirements and then install the most appropriate software at cost price.

A customised version of dBPoweramp rips in secure mode and automatically downloads metadata if the CAT is connected to the internet.

JRiver is used for music library management. Users are able to view and search collections, view artwork and sleeve notes as well being able to create playlists. Playback is managed by JPlay.

The CAD CAT supports a number of file types, including AIFF, FLAC, WAV and DSD over PCM. It features two audiophile grade USB 3.0 A and four standard USB 2.0 connections. 

Other connections include HDMI, DVI-D, D-SUB, Ethernet and PS/2 for a keyboard or mouse.

Scott Berry, designer of the CAT and the 1543 DAC, said: "Our customers love the 1543 DAC, but I quickly realised that the biggest problem in computer audio is the computer. Having worked hard to improve sound quality using the software, I wanted also to implement the discoveries made during the development of the DAC in the CAD Audio Transport."

"The CAT combines exceptional sound quality with true ease of use. It is also a device that can adapt as the digital music world evolves with the renewed focus on sound quality."

The CAD CAT is available to order now for £5300 (plus storage). Build/delivery time is one month and for a limited time the new CAD USB Cable is supplied for free to customers who purchase the 1543 DAC and CAT together.

MORE: Best music streamers: Awards 2013


The_Lhc's picture

So, it's a Windows PC, for £5

So, it's a Windows PC, for £5,300. Get real...

YouTougle .'s picture

£5,300 PLUS storage costs!!

£5,300 PLUS storage costs!!

ellisdj's picture

Essentially it will be, but

Essentially it will be, but there is much more to it than that.  Getting full sound quality from a PC is not straight forward - but the potential SQ from a PC is very high after a lot of effort / time and money is put in. 

Knowing some of the work Scott has done and witnessed forst hand the results I bet it sounds very good indeed


nara's picture


Crazy money for a basic PC in a fancy case.

ellisdj's picture

I hate it when people shun

I hate it when people shun without even properly considering.

This is much more than a basic PC in a fancy box - there is a lot of behind the scenes work done in optimisation, it comes with dual linear power supplies whhich is expensive and other work done.

It is possible to do a lot of this yourself - however it has cost me getting on for the same amount to do similar so its not crazy money being asked at all.

This is not a budget product - its a high end product


YouTougle .'s picture

I hate it when companies exploit

I hate it when companies exploit buyers, by hiding behind alleged "audiophile" quality. You can build "recording studio" quality PCs for less than half the price of this, and that would include storage, which this price doesn't include. Soundslive do a rack mount recording studio PC, for less than £1500, with 1.5TB of storage across two drives.

With a guaranteed hardware platform, optimisation for multiple units is easy. Do it once, create an installation image, and then just build every new unit round that image. Heck, you can ever just create an array of installation images, and install any one of them to suit.

Coming from a company that sells a USB cable for £480, I would expect nothing less than this kind of thing. The problem is, they're taking on a generally knowledgeable crowd in PC users, who know exactly how to get performance on a sensible budget.

I guarantee, unless they give some very accurate specifications out (hardware, software, which version of Windows etc...) someone will buy one of these, tear it apart, and post the results across the internet. And if those results fall short compared to the cost, the fallout won't be pretty. But as the cable makers have found out, drop enough buzzwords and "guarantees" into the marketing spiel, and there will always be someone who'll believe it and hand over the money.