SAE 2 Horsepower Amplifiers at CES by John Atkinson

John Atkinson

Read John Atkinson’s review of SAE’s 2 Horsepower Amplifiers on

Brian Barr was showing the SAE 2-horsepower amplifiers described earlier by Larry Greenhillwith his $100,000 California Audio Technology speaker system, comprising CT MBXS6 two-way satellites and two MBX900 subwoofers. This system played more loudly, more cleanly than any I heard at CES.

Founded in 1988, CAT has specialized in the custom-install market, designing sound systems that can cost upwards of $1 million dollars for yachts and palaces. It manufactures all its own drive-units. The 105lb, Corian-cabinet satellite features 6.5″ aluminum-cone units with a solid brass phase plug in place of a dustcap. The speaker is specified as being flat to 60Hz, but was crossed over at 120Hz to the 230lb sub with a combination of analog high-pass filter and DSP-implemented low-pass.

The complete system is said to be able to create 129dB spls—I believe it. With a Theta DAC, the CES system reproduced a recording of a German drummer at very high levels with no sense of strain or distortion. Color this old rocker impressed!