DALI Katch

FOR Pow­er­ful, full-bod­ied sound; dy­nam­ics; bat­tery life AGAINST Noth­ing at this price

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Like a po­lit­i­cal ad cam­paign aimed at at­tract­ing the youth vote, Dali has con­tin­ued swap­ping Cs for Ks in the ti­tle of its lat­est wire­less speaker of­fer­ing, the Katch. (Though a quick search of the ‘Ur­ban Dic­tionary’ re­veals that Dali may not ex­pect to sell many units in Bul­garia.)

Plac­ing the Katch on the ta­ble in front of us, we get our first feel of what £330 buys you: sat­is­fy­ingly weighty, but not for­go­ing its porta­bil­ity, and seem­ingly ro­bust while re­main­ing easy on the eye.

The raw ma­te­ri­als

In­side the neat cas­ing (with re­tractable han­dle) are two 21mm soft-dome tweet­ers and a pair of alu­minium woofers, mea­sur­ing al­most 9cm, driven by a Class-d am­pli­fier which Dali claims can out­put 2 x 25W of power.

If you don’t want to play your mu­sic via Blue­tooth, Dali has also in­cluded a 3.5mm aux­il­iary con­nec­tion and a USB charge con­nec­tor into which it sug­gests plug­ging a Chrome­cast Au­dio don­gle to in­te­grate your home net­work.

We con­nect a Mac via Blue­tooth (easy) and load up Tidal to play God­speed You! Black Em­peror’s Asun­der, Sweet And Other Dis­tress and are taken aback by each bar of the drum kit’s crescendo on Peas­antry or ‘Light! In­side of Light!’. Not only be­cause the Katch seem­ingly al­ways has room to go fur­ther, de­fy­ing its size with colos­sal thumps, but also be­cause dy­nam­i­cally it fills us with an­tic­i­pa­tion for the grimy waltz-like riff that is to come.

When that riff fi­nally ar­rives, the Dali is far from over­awed by the track’s de­mand­ing in­stru­men­ta­tion. There’s plenty of de­tail picked out from saw­ing gui­tars and multi-tracked strings, deep digs into the soil of wails and drones that tail off each phrase. The size of the sound is quite sim­ply in­cred­i­ble for some­thing of the Katch’s stature.

Let’s not get car­ried away. You won’t be re­plac­ing your en­tire hi-fi with this one speaker – but you could well be clear­ing book­shelves to find it a home.

Switch to Ghost­poet’s re­mark­able Shedding Skin and the Dali’s ap­ti­tude is proven to go be­yond the in­stru­men­tal. Obaro Ejimiwe’s vo­cal de­liv­ery is char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally re­laxed, but the Katch still gives it a vel­vety, ex­pres­sive di­men­sion, not to men­tion loads of body. Har­monies on tracks such as Be Right Back, Mov­ing House are spa­cious yet tied to­gether smoothly.

A whole new level

We al­ready had an inkling KEF’S Award-win­ning Muo might be in trou­ble, but we weren’t sure just how much un­til we set the pair head-to-head. Dali has im­proved on pretty much ev­ery as­pect of last year’s stan­dard – and that is not to do the Muo a dis­ser­vice. But the Katch has raised the bar sig­nif­i­cantly. It isn’t cheap, but this is def­i­nitely a case of get­ting what you pay for.

2 x 18W power out­put 24 hours bat­tery life aptx Blue­tooth

Weighty yet por­ta­ble, the Katch has a re­tractable car­ry­ing han­dle

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