The Caterthuns produce quite a deep sound stage, even when they are pushed back against the wall….
…Within the sound stage the imaging is pretty much pin-point as I found when listening to Patricia Barber singing ‘My Girl’. She and the bass guitar were kept well apart and positioned almost holographically. I always like to play a few tracks from the Roger Walter’s album, ‘Amused To Death’ to see how the Q-sound effects are portrayed. The Caterthuns passed that test well, indicating that there are no phase problems. I had particularly wanted to check out that issue as the designer had told me that the modifications made to extend the bass do affect the phase. However, there are seemingly no adverse effects from those modifications.
…Placed close to the rear wall, they do indeed seem to put out a lot more bass, and deeper bass, than I would expect from a smallish speaker with a 6 inch bass driver. And more, the quality of the bass is very good, tight, well defined, fast, and tuneful. Putting on ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon, the title track had my foot tapping almost uncontrollably, a sure sign that the timing is spot on. Turning to ‘The Might of Rome’ from the Gladiator sound track, I was also very impressed how these small speakers captured the awe of that track…. for a speaker of the size of the Caterthuns to play such a piece of music and make it such a moving experience, is no mean feat!
The Caterhthuns also portrayed the emotion in that track as well as anything that I have heard.
The dynamic range of the Caterthuns is very good…. I was very impressed how audible were the quietest sounds while playing at a lower volume… This was so with everything that I played, with the quieter details being distinctly clear.
The Caterthuns.. dig out the last ounce of detail from whatever they are playing…. There is no harsh treble, and I found no trouble in listening to them for hours on end. Whatever I played on them sounded good and I wouldn’t say that they favoured one genre of music over another.
You do get ‘everything’ with the Caterthuns. Listening to Nick Drake, the tape hiss from the original recording was clearly audible. On the album ‘War of the Worlds’ by Jeff Wayne, the opening track features a spoken commentary by the late Richard Burton. How accurately a system portrays Burton’s well-known voice is a useful benchmark, and again the Caterthuns did a good job. If the system is doing its job, you should also clearly here the echo on this track with Richard Burton sounding as though he is speaking inside an echo chamber, as was quite clear in this audition. There’s excellent ‘presence’ too. On the Pink Floyd album ‘Wish You Were Here’ the feeling of actually being in the elevator was most real.
A Bach Toccata and Fugue also displayed the bass capabilities of these small speakers. There wasn’t quite the sense of awe that I get with my open baffles and their 15 inch bass drivers but unless you are comparing the two, the performance of the Caterthuns was more than acceptable given their size. A quick delve into the Dreadzone album ‘Live at Sunrise’ also demonstrated that these speakers don’t leave the listener wondering where the bottom is, and can really ‘rock’.
Turning to a few familiar classical tracks, what I noticed with the Caterthuns is that instruments at the back of a large orchestra, percussion, harp etc, were much better defined, with a real sense of presence. They really do dig out every little detail in the recording. Again, they were good at portraying the emotion in that type of music.
It’s difficult to find anything negative to say about the Caterthuns. That they are a bit forward in their presentation is an observation rather than a criticism. Some (like me) will like that, others may prefer something a little more laid back. But over the weeks that I listened to them, I found them most enjoyable to listen to, fun even. I’m not sure what trick has been used to get that extra bass from the small boxes but it does seem to work, and work well.
…I guess what I am saying is that these speakers are worthy of serious consideration particularly if you need a small speaker and don’t want to compromise on bass performance. So forget the hype and if you can, just try and hear them.
Summing up, I give a big thumbs up to the little Caterthuns… All hi-fi is compromised is one way or another but the Caterthuns seem to go against the rule that says that bass must diminish as the speaker size gets smaller. They do almost everything well, and more importantly they sound good too. Enjoyable and fun are the two words that best sum up their performance.
I now know that if I was restricted to having a small listening room (and couldn’t use my open baffles), I may only be looking at a choice of one speaker to keep me happy! … I give them a strong recomendation!