DALI Katch Bluetooth speaker review: Small sound from a small package

I’ve long been a big fan of DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) audio gear, not only for its generally outstanding performance, but also for its elegant Danish design. TechHive has reviewed several DALI products, including the Rubicon 6 speaker, IO-6 headphone, and Katch One soundbar.

Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the original Katch, a portable Bluetooth speaker that shares its design aesthetic with the newer Katch One. But does it also share its performance characteristics with the soundbar? In many ways, yes.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best Bluetooth speakers, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

Features

The Katch and Katch One look very similar, with the same super-slim oval cabinet. The only obvious differences are the grille—crosshatched plastic on the Katch, cloth on the Katch One—and the fact that the Katch One is more than three times longer than the Katch (5.8 x 33.9 x 2.7 inches for the Katch One versus 5.4 x 10.6 x 1.9 inches for the Katch, HxWxD). Also, the Katch weighs in at 2.4 pounds, which is less than a third the weight of the Katch One. Finally, the Katch is available in five colors, while the Katch One comes only in black or white.

dali katch colors DALI

The Katch is available in a variety of groovy colors.

Derived from DALI’s Fazon series, the cabinet incorporates an extruded-aluminum body that is said to allow a thin structure that maximizes internal volume without compromising rigidity. According to the company, matching the aluminum body with a composite front and rear baffle eliminates any potential internal resonance, so the cabinet does not add unwanted acoustic energy to the sound generated by the drivers.

Speaking of drivers, the Katch uses the same ones as the Katch One, just not as many. The smaller model includes two 0.8-inch soft-textile dome tweeters with neodymium magnets, and two 3.5-inch aluminum-cone woofers with a textile cap. In addition, there are two 3×2-inch steel-cone passive radiators in the otherwise closed cabinet. The shallow woofers are said to allow the full excursion of a conventional woofer by using a specially designed chassis, inverted diaphragm, and custom spider suspension.

One tweeter, woofer, and passive radiator face forward, while the other trio of drivers face backward. I suspect this configuration is intended to distribute sound evenly throughout a room or outdoor space. If you place it near a wall or other large surface, the bass will be boosted, which might or might not be a good thing, depending on your preference.

dali katch exploded DALI

In this exploded view, you can see the drivers that are mounted facing forward and backward along with other details of the construction.

Two 25W Class-D amplifiers power the drivers, and the specified frequency response extends from 49Hz to 23kHz (±3 dB) with a maximum output of 95dB SPL. In addition, the DSP (digital signal processing) provides two sound modes: Clear and Warm. Clear is said to offer a neutral frequency response, while Warm boosts the bass.

The primary input is Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the aptX high-quality codec. Plus, you can pair a Bluetooth source with the Katch wirelessly using NFC (near-field communication) if the source device supports it. A 3.5mm stereo analog-audio input lets you connect non-Bluetooth devices, and the Katch automatically switches to that input when it senses a signal there. Fortunately, you can manually toggle between Bluetooth and the analog input. Finally, a USB Type-A port lets you charge a USB device (5V/1A), and you can also connect a Chromecast dongle to the USB port, which is a nice feature.