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