Published 2021-08-09 - 7:00 am
- Configuration: 2 x 3.5″ midwoofer, 2 x ¾” dome, 2 x drone
- Frequency range: 49 Hz – 23 kHz (+/- 3 dB)
- Amplifier power: 2 x 25 W class D
- Max. sound pressure: 95 dB/1 m
- Connections: Bluetooth 5.0 (aptX), AUX (3.5mm stereo minijack), USB port (for charging)
- Battery: 3300 mAh, up to 30 hours of playing time
- Dimensions and weight: 13.8 x 26.8 x 4.7 cm / 1.1 kg
- Web: dali-speakers.com
Although Danish DALI is best known for its speakers for home use, the people in the small Jutland town of Nørager also make portable equipment. One of the products is the Katch Bluetooth speaker, which has just come in a revised version.
The DALI Katch G2 is similar to its predecessor for confusion: a super-elliptical, flat device that is suitable in size to be worn in the built-in imitation leather strap, and which can be carried in the luggage without much hassle.
The front and back are covered by a plastic grille, and behind this the front fabric further protects the speaker units. But not against water, sand and the rage of the elements. The DALI Katch G2 is not waterproof and dustproof.
Classic new colors
The new Katch comes in new colors, of course, but the color choice is less playful than its predecessor’s pink and moss green. Katch G2 is available in Iron Black (black), Chilly Blue (blue-gray) and Caramel White (same color as salted caramel ice cream).
Behind the grille are six drivers. There are two 3.5-inch midwooefers with aluminum diaphragm and long stroke. To accommodate the longest possible movement, the magnet is placed in the middle of the voice coil instead of on the back of the unit. So the woofer is almost “folded” around the coil. The woofer units get help at the bottom by to passive units.
The tweeters are proper 21 mm soft domes. It allows for slightly better resolution and more airiness than the full-range drivers we find in most handheld Bluetooth speakers.
The two channels are powered by Class D amplifiers of 25 watts each, and there is of course a DSP (digital signal processor), which straightens the frequency response.
There is an equalizer button on the DALI Katch, but there are only to settings, called “Clear” and “Warm”. “Clear” is the neutral, while “Warm” should give a fuller sound. The bass is admittedly raised a bit, but the biggest difference between the two settings is that the treble is attenuated quite strongly. So “Muffeled” or “Dark” had been a more correct term.
The DALI Katch G2 plays – like its predecessor – in stereo. However, the two channels are located on opposite sides of the speaker so that the devices play forward and backward, respectively. If you need a stereo image, it is best to rotate the speaker 90 degrees and listen to it from the side. This actually works quite well, although the effect is more of a spatial feel rather than an actual stereo effect.
You can pair an extra Katch G2 with your phone for stereo sound. The two speakers synchronize the volume with each other. However, you have to make sure that they have the same EQ setting.
As a stereo set, the two Katch actually provide a really nice stereo perspective. And the speakers are well-resolved and detailed enough for you to listen “right”. Still, stereo pairing probably remains a gimmick as a pair ends up in a price range where there are many bigger and more powerful alternatives.
The DALI Katch G2 is a pure Bluetooth speaker. It supports the hi-fi-friendly audio protocol aptX, which makes especially sense when the speaker’s quality – as here – is high enough to reveal the difference. For the price, we could have hoped for networking features that could allow for lossless transfer – and perhaps streaming with Spotify Connect or Tidal Connect – when at home.
The sound quality
The first edition of the DALI Katch was among the cleanest and most accurate handheld Bluetooth speakers we know. That place of honor is rateined by Katch G2. For something that weighs a kilo and can be brought – if not in the pocket, then at least in the glove compartment of the car – the Katch G2 sounds astonishingly good.
From the lower midrange and upwards, the quality is directly excellent. Voices sound natural and free, and the resolution is some of the best I’ve heard on a portable speaker. Even a classical string concert is bearable to listen to. Something that I must advise against trying on most other small Bluetooth speakers!
What sets the quality apart is especially the purity and freedom of resonances. On most travel speakers, the plastic cabinet sings along merrily to the music. It does so to a much lesser degree here. Of course, it also helps a lot to the clarity that the tweeters are a pair of real 21 mm domes instead of a struggling full-range unit per. channel.
On paper, the Katch G2 goes down to 49 Hz in the bass without dropping more than 3 dB in sound pressure. It probably does – but not in a way comparable to a full-fledged living room speaker. Despite its other qualities, the Katch G2 has a relatively slim sound. This applies to both EQ settings. But in “Warm” the sound becomes both slim and stuffy at the same time.
On the other hand, there is good control over the bass that actually is. Drums sound like drums, and a double bass sounds like just that. Even a track like Sorten Muld’s Balladen om Iver og Buske, where there is lots of percussion and synthesizer bass, gets through with both dynamics and drive.
The second generation of the DALI Katch follows safely in the footsteps of its predecessor. Enhancements have been made to the cabinet and the battery life has been increased by a few hours. But the sound is retained. Which, all in all, is a good thing, as Katch is among the speakers in its size and weight class that have the cleanest and most well-resolved sound.
On the other hand, it is also among the most expensive, and if you are not a hi-fi nerd who insists on bringing the hi-fi sound quality with you on the trip, you can find Bluetooth speakers that play just as loud – and also deeper – for a little over the half price. When it comes to bass in pocket speakers, the Beosound A1 2nd Gen is the reference. Some, like the Sonos Roam, even offer Wi-Fi playback. Unfortunately, this will make the DALI Katch G2 a speaker for the few who are willing to put the extra bucks on the disc just for the sake of sound.
Hello John! And if you compare g2 with g1, how big is the difference in sound when the player is connected via a wire? I use my hires player and cable to listen to it with g1. How much has the sound improved in this regard in g2?
I will say that even though the G2 has been improved on several points, one of them being separating the two channels in separate cavities, the difference in sound quality and sound signature between the two is very small. So I would not consider upgradring to G2 if you already have G1.
Hello John. I use the G1 in the same way as Daniel. With a A&K SP1000/Dragonfly Cobalt+DragonTail DAC from iOS. Crystal cable Diamond jack-jack. Sounds uniquely good. The key is to max the volume on Katch. The algorhythm or dithering used, deteriorates the sound taking most of the magic away. But max volume on Katch introduces hiss, taking away details the device would surely be able to bring. Question: on max volume on G2. Is the noise floor better than the first one? Thank you!
I have a G1…any idea whether I can tether a G1 and G2…or do they have to be the same model?
According to What Hi Fi review you can only pair two G2’s. You cannot pair a 1 and a 2.