CAD Audio Transport
The CAD Audio Transport (CAT) is our highly advanced source component. It has been carefully designed to combine exceptional sound quality with ease of use. The CAT provides a high-quality one-box solution for your digital music library, integrating CD ripping, music storage with streaming and playback. Each CAT is built by hand to order in the UK and can be tailored to suit your home music set-up: either as a stand-alone two-channel system, or for integration into home networks.
The CAT is a flexible music source with multiple functions:
- Automated CD ripping: simply pop in a CD and the CAT will automatically rip it to memory and then eject the disc.
- Store your music: we install memory capacity to your requirements and can supply the CAT without music storage for use with external music storage (NAS).
- Playback: connect the CAT’s customised USB output to the 1543 DAC or any USB DAC, using our CAD USB cable.
- Remote management: control the CAT using apps on handheld devices, both iOS and Android.
- Operate as an audiophile NAS ripper. We can install an Ethernet card modified for audio use instead of the USB interface. Use the CAT with your streamer and you will be amazed at the improvement in sound quality!
Scott Berry, designer of the acclaimed 1543 DAC, has skilfully employed technology that he developed over three years of research, to create an exceptional audiophile-grade digital transport.
Notable features include :
- Separate, linear power supply with four independent voltage rails.
- • CAD highly modified motherboard with custom BIOS, optimised for audio use.
- Operating System stored on a separate SSD, manufactured for CAD to our specifications.
- Music storage drive(s) separate from the Operating System SSD.
- Highly modified Windows Operating System, based on our extensive work optimizing Windows for audio use. Type “CAD audio optimization” into Google to see some of the freeware CAD has developed for modifying Windows.
- A highly modified USB interface designed for optimum sound quality.
- Audio quality internal cabling, including handmade SATA interconnects
- Fan-less cooling.
- Extensive mechanical vibration isolation.
- Extensive EMI & RFI reduction.
A special version of the CAD USB Cable is available to purchasers of the CAT, optimized to work specifically with the CAT and 1543 DAC.
Every CAT comes with a recommended package of third-party software. We will discuss with you how you want to set up your system at home and then install the right software, all, of course, passed on at just cost price – there are no ‘hidden’ charges. This approach means:
- You can make changes in the future if something comes along that works better for you
- You can add applications as they become available – like new high-resolution streaming, for example.
Delivery time is normally 4 weeks depending on demand. Your existing Network Attached Storage (NAS) can be used of course, but we recommend that the CAT is fitted with SSD internal music storage. We believe this gives the best sound quality. Due to the price variation of memory, we will install whatever you require, at our cost price. CAD, nor our distributors or resellers make any money on music storage drives.
Recommended standard software package:
- The CAT runs on a customised Microsoft Windows Operating System. This includes CAD’s proprietary modifications, aimed at creating the best possible sound quality, without compromising networking and remote access. This provides a robust, easy-to-use and widely supported operating system that can be slotted into home networks easily. The CAT can run all streaming apps like Spotify, Tidal, etc. If your preferred music software runs on Windows, it will work on the CAT.
- Custom BIOS. CAD has worked with our motherboard manufacturer to develop a custom version of BIOS made to our specifications, again designed to optimise sound performance.
- Ripping software. We have a customised version of dBPoweramp, which rips in ‘secure mode’, automatically downloading metadata if the CAT is connected to the internet. Files are automatically stored where you want them — internal solid-state memory, or your existing external NAS drive.
- We use JRiver for the Music library, which is probably the most widely used Windows-based music server software. You can easily view and search your collection, see artwork and sleeve notes, and create playlists. Playback is managed by JPlay.
- Streaming services can be included if the CAT is to be connected to the internet. For example, maybe you have a TIDAL HiFi account, or have subscribed to one of the new high-resolution streaming services. Or, maybe you’re still trying out new things; digital music services are rapidly evolving, as long as there is an app for Windows, you’ll be able to run it on your CAT.
- Remote control is via Kazoo installed on your iPad or BubbleDS Next for Android handheld device (the current recommended setup). This is simply a remote control: we don’t believe wireless music transmission can provide appropriate sound quality. You can also access the Windows operating system in the CAT via your handheld device using Windows Remote Desktop application – A screen, keyboard & mouse are not necessary. This is often referred to as “running headless”.
- Alternatively, if you don’t like Wi-Fi networks in your listening room, you can control the CAT using a monitor and mouse, or using your television via HDMI.
“The CAT has a degree of poise that is very rare in any form of audio source. It combines precision with naturalness of timbre and tone that makes acoustic sounds so real it’s uncanny. The noise floor is so low that everything you play reveals fine details that were previously masked or unclear.”HiFi+
Technical Specifications (excluding external Power Supply)
Digital outputs: USB 3.0 A x 2
File compatibility: AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DSD over PCM DoP, MP3 etc
Software included: Optimizing Windows 8.1 OS; JRiver Media Center – configured by CAD; dBpoweramp – modified by CAD and configured for automatic ripping; JPLAY
Dimensions: 440 mm (W) x 85mm (H) x 330mm (D)
What Scott Berry, the designer of the CAT says:
“Many of our customers love our 1543 DAC, but I quickly realized that the biggest problem in computer audio is the computer! Having worked hard to improve sound quality using software, I wanted also to implement the discoveries made during the development of the 1543 DAC in the computer itself. The CAT combines exceptional sound quality with ease of use. It is also a device that can adapt as the digital music world evolves with the renewed focus on sound quality.”