Ask a person what is the best smartphone in the world, and with a high degree of probability they will say “iPhone” or “Samsung Galaxy”. The geek can name some Chinese OnePlus 3T or a new Xiaomi, ideal in terms of price / quality ratio. But ask someone about the world's best wireless speaker and you’ll be stumped. And this despite the fact that there are almost more models of these devices on the market than, in fact, the smartphones themselves.
Bluetooth-speakers are produced by almost all self-respecting technology companies, but the concept of "flagship", which has taken root in the mobile world, is practically not applicable to many of them. You can only recall Amazon Echo, which took the apartments of hundreds of thousands of Americans by storm in a couple of months, but the emphasis there is not so much on sound as on the built-in voice assistant Alexa, which can help in cooking dinner.
Katch, a wireless speaker from the Danish company DALI, can be called a flagship without a twinge of conscience. With a decent price tag - but also with the quality corresponding to it. Having collected many awards abroad in the specialized press, Katch has officially reached the Russian latitudes.
It's our turn to praise her too.
© press service DALI Katch
The appearance of the Katch is unlikely to strike you in the heart. The most appropriate word to describe the look of the speaker is “classic”.
The front and back panels, for example, are covered with plastic mesh, and this medal has two sides. This clearly deprives the speaker of the gloss that you expect from a rather expensive device, but it does not affect its weight at all. And it adds wear resistance: paint often peels off the same aluminum over time.
And in general, the column still does not look cheap - it is saved by the neat aluminum case of the device, shimmering in color and edged with a shiny silver polished frame. There is also a leather handle, thanks to which it becomes very convenient to carry the speaker, like a small carry-on bag. In general, the whole structure resembles BeoPlay A2, released by DALI fellow countrymen - Bang & Olufsen. Except that Katch does not look so strict - here it is about taste and color.
Be that as it may, Katch can be classified as a type of product that you forget about any external flaws after using them for more than a minute.
I am still wondering how a device of such a small size can sound so loud. According to this parameter, Katch outright "wipes out" not only all the wireless speakers I've ever seen, but, for example, an old 2.1 system connected to my home PC. The volume reserve is colossal, and at home it generally seems endless. Turning on the Katch to its maximum indoors is naturally dangerous for the hearing - and the nerves of neighbors. But what makes the Katch stand out is not the volume, but the detail in the sound. Incredible by the standards of this type of device. Inside is a 21mm tweeter and a dedicated 3.5-inch woofer. The column perfectly reveals the merits of songs of any genre, emphasizing the characteristic features of all instruments, be it even Jimi Hendrix's signature dirty stratocaster, or the elastic bass of Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers or Crosses viscous synthesizer. And even "crushing", heavy compositions like songs from the repertoire of Architects or System of a Down sound legible, and in fact even good expensive headphones often fail in front of them.
The vocals sound no less impressive: listening to "Don't Wanna Fight" by the Americans from Alabama Shakes, it seems that Brittany Howard is sensually wheezing literally a meter away from you. And this is through the Apple Music service, where the AAC format rules the ball, that is, all the compositions are actually compressed. You can connect the Katch to an external DAC and listen to lossless, but I didn't notice a significant difference in sound. Everything was fine, and it remained.
The Katch has a built-in equalizer and presets are switched with the press of a button on the body. There are two of them: one, the main one, with an emphasis on the top and middle, the second is on the bass. I rarely used it, mainly listening to hip-hop, where rhythm and beat are at the forefront.
There is no proprietary application for Katch. On the one hand, this is a plus - you do not need to install third-party software to connect your smartphone to the speaker - but on the other hand, iPhone users will not be able to accurately tune the sound of the speaker. On Android, this problem is solved by running a third-party player.
© press service DALI Katch
Be that as it may, pairing between the speaker and the sound source is created very quickly. In addition, Katch remembers the last device and, when turned on, automatically connects to it in a couple of seconds, which is very convenient. In addition to traditional Bluetooth, connection via NFC is supported, as well as directly - there is a 3.5 mm jack in the body. According to DALI, the Katch is capable of playing music for 24 hours without interruption on a single charge. The numbers are not far from the truth - for a week of daily use for a couple of hours a day, I have never connected the column to a power device.
The only obvious disadvantage of Katch is its relatively high price, about 30 thousand rubles. But, unlike many other audio devices, listening to the development of DALI, at least you understand where and what your money went to. If you've never loved the sound of wireless speakers, it's time to change your mind.>