Convergent Audio Technology SL1 Renaissance Black Path Edition

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tullman, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    When I was using my CAT "Ultimate" in my work I actually had a chart for swapping 6DJ8's and 12AX7's for both the phono section and line section. An amazing number of combinations can really change the sound depending on what you want. I love that about the thing. My 12AX7's are always Teles (the Ei is OK but just a Tele wannabe, IMO). The 6DJ8s I had (still have) for the CAT are the Teles as pictured above and a nice sampling of Amperex 6922, 7308, 6DJ8, etc). Fun times. Oh, and I have a pair of cryo'd EH 6922s that I sometimes use when I want an icy presentation (working on really warm stuff like EWF, etc.

    All good, I still love mine even though it's not in use right now. A great preamp, my only bitch about it is the noise floor using Amperex tubes is way too high, the Tele 6922 (E88CC) tubes lower the floor a lot.
     
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  2. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    The noise floor on the new Renaissance is really low, talk about black background.
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I wonder what he did in the circuit to fix that problem? Noise or not, I still love mine. We were going steady for a long time. Still in my heart!
     
  4. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Ken told me the new Renaissance performs better than the 2009 Legend preamp. I don't know if it is those new caps he designed called black path.
     
  5. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    I would like to know the answer to that question too.
    Ken, IMHO, is one of the very best audio designers...perhaps even the best. So whatever he did, I'm sure it was a breakthrough.
    Very interesting that he told Tullman that the new Renaissance performs better than the 2009 Legend, that too does not surprise me too much.
     
  6. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Also very interesting, maybe Ken has changed his position on this in the time since I last spoke to him about it. He was pretty adamant that the tubes supplied were the best for his preamp...and was not in favor of tube rolling.
    Perhaps, he has seen the light, LOL.
     
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    He might have just lowered the gain a bit on that thing. Was pretty intense.
     
  8. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Well now, there is some truth to that. He does design his equipment to sound good with the tubes he supplies. I'm not sure Ken changed his position. I just don't remember him telling me not to tube roll. When I was at his shop Ken was showing me cases full of out of production ei tubes, he also showed me the NOS RFT 12Au7's. In fact, I bought some of those tubes from him. I think if Ken could find a steady reliable supply of NOS tubes, then he would put those in his amps and preamps. He told me he tried a bunch of NOS tubes in his stuff and the quality of NOS was just too inconsistent to put in his designs. Ken thoroughly tests the tubes he puts into his new equipment.

    In the manual for the Renaissance preamp he mentions not to use power conditioning, or contact enhancers. He also warns against tweaks and said some power cables may improve the sound, but some will make it sound worse. He does not mention tubes.
     
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  9. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    There are now two gain settings switches, one switch for each channel, inside the preamp 15db and 25db. I prefer the 25db setting which is what I was used to with the old Signature model.
     
  10. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    It made me feel better about the new preamp for sure. I do really like the volume control option, that is the same VC that is used on the Legend. The 2009 Legend went for 20 grand.
     
  11. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Hopefully your new CAT has a few more hours on it by now. Aside from the decrease in background noise ( a pretty nice improvement all by itself) what other improvement areas do you hear? Did you trade your old CAT Sig in to Ken or was it to a dealer?
     
  12. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I traded the old CAT Sig to Ken. He must have a market for them.

    The soundstage is bigger. The instruments have more air around them. Overall sound is much better. Less listener fatigue. I could go on...
     
  13. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    I wonder if Ken is "refurbishing" the older models?? Would be a great idea for him to do that..and then sell them again.
    If the soundstage is bigger, it must truly be impressive!
     
  14. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    It wouldn't surprise me if Ken checks and measures my old unit to be sure everything is up to specifications and then replaces parts as needed. I don't think he would replace or update any parts that were functioning properly.
     
  15. Kkfan

    Kkfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Music City, USA
    Sorry to bump up an old thread, but how do you order CAT products? I could not find a website or a list of dealers online.

    Thanks!
     
  16. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    You can either get it factory direct fom Ken Stevens or you can go to Galen Carol Audio.
     
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  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    CAT stuff is still made? Had no idea. He needs a better publicist.
     
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  18. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Yep, Ken just emailed me a couple of weeks ago about Galen Carol being a dealer.

    I asked Ken why he didn't at least have a website, and he said he didn't want to be bothered. CAT is a pretty small operation. When I was there a couple of years ago, they had two people building equipment. I am pretty sure he had equipment displayed at AXPONA.
     
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  19. Kkfan

    Kkfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Music City, USA
    Thanks a lot!
     
  20. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    What are you looking at? Amp? Preamp?
     
  21. Kkfan

    Kkfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Music City, USA
    Mainly amp, but probably both. Also looking into Atma-Sphere. I've read that the AS OTL midrange is something else, especially on electrostatics.
     
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I have my CAT preamp patiently sleeping under my piano (not unlike a real cat) waiting for the day........ Will never sell it.
     
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  23. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I just added a low output Sound-Smith Hyperion cart to my setup. The CAT phono amp handled the cart with ease.
     
  24. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog Thread Starter

    Location:
    Boston MA
    They are /$15,000 now.
     
  25. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    New versions of the CAT preamps coming to market....official release will be in Munich.
    The Legend gets the full Black Path treatment including in the power supply and will be called the SL1 Legend BPX and the Renaissance gets the caps in the full audio path...and will be called the SL1 Renaissance BPA.
    I believe these models are what are shipping now.
     
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