This means that more refined music also works well. In this instance, I enjoyed one of the late Beethoven Quartets (No.12 in E flat, Op.127, Alban Berg Quartet) which escapes the cabinets with ease and has plenty of tonal depth in this speakers’ hands. They also bring out the body in the cello, which underpins the piece nicely; all the listener needs to do is enjoy the emotional depth and gravitas that is so strong in the work.
Most of my listening was done with the Caterthun Blu-tacked to a metal stand with spikes into the carpet, but experimentation with support interfaces led me to try an alternative approach. The foam rubber feet supplied with Guru’s Junior bookshelf were attached to another stand (Hi-Fi Racks) and spaced appropriately for the Cathertun, but they are probably too soft for the heavier speaker. The change produced by this move was not subtle, the speaker produced considerably more shape, depth and speed with the relatively isolated mounting. I was quite surprised to find the sound got louder with no extra gain from the amp. It seemed to be an all round improvement especially if you enjoy a full scale soundstage and good pace, both of which were enhanced. The direct coupling of speaker to floor that spikes and Blutack produce has a tuning effect on the sound that will work better with some cabinet/stand combinations than others, but here I much preferred the relative isolation provided by the foam feet.
I also tried a different amp in the form of Naim’s new NAP 100. This half width design has a 60 watt output which is somewhat at odds with Alacrity’s instruction to use as much power as possible (or words to that effect). It nonetheless proved a rather good partner; its inherent musicality coming through and the pair delivering a vibrant result with a high fun factor. There still isn’t much of the LE definition that Naims are typically good at but no shortage of low end solidity.
I got more space and tonal richness from the Trilogy power amp, its extra grip also proving useful for extracting depth of bass. This pairing also worked in beguiling fashion with female vocals. Stevie Nicks stands out in ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and you can appreciate just how easy it was to fall in love with her, or was that just me? Laura Marling is having the same effect on many today, her latest release ‘Once I Was an Eagle’ sounds a little warm on the Caterthun but it she is irresistible nonetheless.
The Alacrity Caterthun Classic is not another me-too loudspeaker. The man behind it, Jonathan Carrol, has some unconventional theories about speaker design and these are apparent in the sound. Whether this approach will suit your musical taste, room and electronics is hard to predict but it does at least offer a new variation on the theme. It also provides good results for a speaker that can sit near the wall which will be welcome in many households. It’s not the best speaker at its price by most measures, but it has an entertaining character that will suit some music lovers down to the ground.
Power Handling: 200 W (110 RMS)
Sensitivity: 88 dB
Minimum Impedance: 8 Ohms.
W x H x D: 205 x 415 x 250 mm
Weight: 10kg per cabinet
Crossover Frequency: 2.25 khz
Connections: 4mm Gold
Bass Port: Front Reflex
Drivers: LF 17cm Bass Mid / HF 25mm
Finish: Range of oiled, real wood veneers
Price: £2,000 per pair
Manufacturer: Alacrity Audio
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 697 848