DALI’s Katch One is the Danish model’s first devoted TV soundbar, carrying with it a level of flexibility by way of mounting choices, sound modes and connectivity
What would you like a soundbar for? It’s a real query.
Do you need to get as full-on a house cinema expertise as doable, full with Dolby Atmos 3D sound, with out filling your room (and your ceiling) with audio system? In that case, you’re 4 figures, straightforward, with the perfect efficiency of all costing effectively over £2k and sporting a ‘Sennheiser’ badge.
Do you simply need to enhance on that skinny and weedy sound your flatscreen TV makes, add a little bit of physique to your audio expertise? That’s simply executed – there are quite a few manufacturers able to half you from £100 or so to make your TV sounds marginally much less garbage than it did earlier than.
What if you happen to don’t need to lay our a fortune, although, however need extra of an audio improve than ‘a bit extra bass’? What if, on high of that, if you would like a soundbar that may additionally operate as a wider audio system – and achieve this credibly?
Properly then, it is best to take into account the brand new DALI Katch One.
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DALI Katch One Design — A soundbar with a slim profile and flexibility with reference to placement
It’s been a good whereas since DALI launched a soundbar (the ‘additionally a full-on audio system’ Kubik One was the corporate’s final toe within the water) – and at first look it’d seem that the Danish specialist has merely hung out fastidiously stretching certainly one of its extremely regarded Katch wi-fi audio system. You understand how Mercedes turns certainly one of its saloon automobiles right into a diplomat’s limo simply by making it for much longer? A bit like that.
Nonetheless, there’s extra to it than that. It is a tall, slim soundbar (it’s over 16cm tall however lower than 7cm deep), and at 86cm it’s about the identical width as a 40in TV (keep in mind them?). It may be wall-mounted, utilizing the built-in hook slots behind the cupboard – at three.7kg it’s not a lot of a pressure.
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It may also be hung from the wall utilizing the couple of leather-based straps supplied within the field, or stand by itself two real-wood ft (additionally supplied). As a result of typically the Danes prefer to remind us all that they know precisely what they’re doing in terms of design.
Katch One is on the market in three finishes (‘ivory white’, ‘mountain white’ and ‘iron black’), and from the dead-ahead it seems superbly uncluttered in any of them. All bodily controls are alongside the highest of the chassis, all inputs and outputs are recessed into the rear.
The swatch of acoustic fabric throughout the entrance is interrupted solely by the IR sensor for the distant management. It’s a tidy, coherent looker than manages to look a bit extra trendy and rather less useful than the norm.
DALI Katch One Options — Loads of methods to get audio in, whether or not it’s HDMI or aptX Bluetooth
So the Katch One is all serenity above the floor – however, like a swan, there’s some livid motion occurring beneath.
The DALI incorporates a whole of 10 speaker drivers. A pair of 21mm tender dome tweeter sit above a few 89mm aluminium mid/bass drivers at both finish of the entrance of the soundbar. Nearer to the centre there are a few 114mm steel-cone passive radiators for further punch.
On the rear of the bar there are two additional aluminium mid/bass drivers and two extra passive radiators. The six drivers that want energy are handled to a complete of 200 Class D watts.
There are many methods of getting audio into the bar too, in order that amplification (and all these drivers) can do their factor. There’s an HDMI ARC socket – so, at its easiest, a single HDMI cable out of your TV to the Katch One is all it’s essential give your audio expertise an enormous increase. A few digital optical sockets enable connection of a CD participant, video games console or what-have-you.
There’s an analogue three.5mm enter, a pre-out for a subwoofer and a USB socket. This final can be utilized for servicing, or as an influence supply.Naturally the DALI is provided for wi-fi connectivity too – it options aptX Bluetooth four.zero. All of the digital data coming into the Katch One is dealt with at a local 24bit/96kHz by the digital-to-analogue patch embedded within the direct digital amplification association.
Switching between inputs, adjusting quantity and so forth can all be taken care of utilizing the controls on the soundbar, however there’s additionally a bit distant that controls each operate. That features the DALI’s two sound modes: ‘huge’ and ‘focus’.
So it’s hardly on the reducing fringe of surround-sound algorithms however, so far as it goes, the Katch One is a completely specified and engineered gadget.
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DALI Katch One Sound High quality — Refined and well-balanced, however the lack of a sub means bass could possibly be higher
It’s secure to say Katch One isn’t a type of ‘seize you by the lapels’ audio system. Some soundbars prefer to pummel you with bass to try to impress, some handle to sound loud even after they’re taking part in quietly. In comparison with certainly one of these blustering units, the DALI is – initially, a minimum of – fairly understated. Undemonstrative, even.
Give it time, although, and hear carefully. The well-judged stability of the Katch One’s tonality means it manages to be subtly detailed, despite the fact that it provides the entire of the frequency vary full expression.
DALI is quoting a frequency response of 46Hz – 25kHz, which appears reasonable – and it additionally means the Katch One isn’t probably the most bass-heavy soundbar this type of cash will purchase you (therefore the subwoofer pre-out). It’s among the many most articulate and insightful, although.
An impeccably mastered 4K UHD Blu-ray of Christopher Nolan’s enduring The Status demonstrates a lot of what the DALI does effectively. With the audio mode set to ‘huge’, the presentation is, effectively, huge – significantly wider than the soundbar itself.
The midrange, the place the majority of any film soundtrack resides, is nuanced and loaded with tremendous element, and treble sounds shine crisply. Down on the backside finish, there’s not fairly the extension some rivals supply, however there’s a stack of texture and tonal variation.
The general presentation is fairly dynamic, and the DALI does wonderful work with low-level atmospherics. The movie’s few moments of actual Hollywood-style assault are in need of absolute energy and punch, however you’re by no means left in any doubt as to the film-maker’s intentions. Anybody who lives on a eating regimen of Marvel films, although, might discover the DALI wanting the place sheer grunt is worried. The remainder of us can get on with admiring its deftness and element.
Katch One fancies itself an entire audio system, in fact, and a swap to a CD of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Fever To Inform (through one of many optical inputs and handled by the DALI’s DAC) establishes its credentials. ‘Extensive’ mode doesn’t assist the music’s coherence a lot, however swap to ‘focus’ and the entire presentation turns into way more convincing.
That very same profitable tonal stability is clear, and the small harmonic dynamics are paid simply as a lot consideration because the extra apparent ‘quiet/LOUD/quiet’ selection. These 4 mid/bass drivers do a tremendous job of speaking all of the character and individuality of Karen O’s vocal, and the Katch One brings her to the entrance and centre of the soundstage with out estranging her from all the pieces occurring round her.
Streaming wirelessly through Bluetooth might up the comfort quotient greater than considerably, however it impacts just a bit on the Katch One’s constancy. The DALI might be able to obtain and take care of an MQA file of Gorillaz’ Clint Eastwood and provides it a lot of the weight and all of the momentum it requires, however in some way the mixing of all these drivers (which has been impeccable till now) suffers.
The music is uncovered considerably as a mixture of distinct parts, fairly than as a completely unified entire as it’s when delivered by a tough connection. Taken in isolation, there’s a lot to admire about the best way the DALI serves up the music – the gimpy tempo is dealt with confidently, the keening melodica cuts by the remainder of the data with actual chew – however there’s not fairly the earlier stage of unity.
Ought to I purchase the DALI Katch One?
Simply because there’s a niche within the soundbar market on the £600-ish level, that doesn’t imply it is best to value your new soundbar accordingly and hope for the perfect. Luckily, DALI has been a bit extra considered than that.
Which doesn’t imply Katch One is with out competitors. Actually, if you would like a sensibly sized soundbar at a practical value, it’s exhausting to look past Sonos’ wonderful Beam. It doesn’t have fairly the width or separation of the DALI, however it’s usefully cheaper and each bit as forthright in terms of film soundtracks.
A little bit costlier (and a extra expansive visible assertion) is Bluesound’s Pulse Soundbar 2i. It’s not with out its foibles – the management app, specifically, is sort of simply flummoxed – however it’s a large-scale hear, with loads of element and extra out-and-out assault than the DALI can muster.
So we exit as we got here in, by asking ‘what would you like a soundbar for?’. In case you’re making an attempt to mix efficiency, model and ease of use with out getting carried away in a monetary sense, it is best to hear (and see) the DALI Katch One.