CAD CAT offers high-end ripper, storage and streamer

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.

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

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.

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.