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Old 12-01-2017, 09:59 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pa
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Originally Posted by Jerome W View Post
Thanks Serge !
I read the reviews and the SL1 seems to be a very serious preamp for sure. I am not familiar at all with CAT and I am not sure if it is available in France.
I am not a technical guy at all. I never considered the price of the GAT too high because it uses only 2 tubes. Actually it is a hybrid design, each tube being coupled in the output stage to a MOS-FET transistor.
To me, the large number of tubes in the CAT would be a concern : as you know, tubes are not for ever and failures before their supposed life time is common. I like the simpler design of the GAT which looks more trouble free in terms of maintenance over the years.
The CAT may well be a better sounding preamp than the GAT. But just because of all these tubes, it would need to sound really much better than the GAT for me to consider to buy it. And honestly, I don't see how come something could be "much" better than the GAT to my ears. At this level, I am not sure to hear the differences on my system ( which is not a high resolution one as the one of the Stereophile reviewer ) and if I hear them, I doubt that I could consider them
of real importance.
Not being a technical guy, I do not "believe" in the complexity of a circuit as being a proof of superior sonics. I actually believe in the opposite. Sometimes, designing simple things is much more "complicated" and difficult but leads to much better results.
Makes me think of the statement of JC Verdier about the MC225 amplifier.
"The design is terribly simple and as paradoxal as it may sounds, it is the precise reason why it is extremely difficult to build one similar. The incredible sonics of the amp come directly from
this simplicity".
Seems to me that CJ took this path of simplicity over the years for both their preamps and their amps. The modern designs being much simpler than the old ones.

If my road crosses a CAT preamp, be sure that I will listen to it carefully.
Jerome, I can't tell you if the CAT sounds better than GAT2, I have never auditioned the GAT2 but spent quite a bit of time with the various CATs over the years listening to them in various systems. The CAT was an incredible preamp back then and nothing changed since then. My whole point was is that I feel some audio gear is drastically overpriced banking on the fact that they have a following and exploiting the loyalty of customers. Throw a few of them out there to the reviewers of the better known audio magazines who are all too happy to do a favorable review because the advertising fees is what keeps them in business (magazines) and they also often get to keep the gear at a substantial discount (professional courtesy discount) sometimes keeping it, sometimes selling it... I have never put too much faith in any magazine reviews because I know the business model all too well. I was also involved with marketing and advertising and a health magazine at one point in my life. I know how important advertising bucks are.

Trust your ears only my friend. When you can't audition, trust the ears of the friends who share your passion for audio and you know their taste in sound/music and can deduce from there.

Over the years, we get to know each other pretty well from posts and get a picture of who likes what and their taste. When I was looking for a DAC, I knew I could trust Stephen with his suggestion because he knew the DAC I was interested in well. He described it to me down to the last detail and that's exactly what it turned out to be. The advice of audio buddies carries much more worth and weight than any magazine, at least to me.

Having said all that, I am not suggesting you go looking for a CAT preamp or anything else for that matter, you are happy with the GAT and that's all that matters. Would you spend $24k on a new one? I'd rather convince you to be careful and try to save you money!

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Luxman D-06u SACD.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

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Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

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