We've been building and testing catalyst prototypes for quite some time now. I have previously posted a comparison showing testing done on the Audio Technica AT-PEQ3 vs the Lucid Labs Catalyst Phono Preamplifier. This time I decided to take on a more expensive competitor the emotiva xps-1 phono preamplifier which retails for $149. $69.00 more than an early bird backer special on our Kickstarter. I used a QA400 Audio analyzer to complete this test and tested using a -40dBV 1khz input signal as emotiva has specified in their testing documentation.
- Lucid Labs Catalyst Phono Preamplifier: 0.00486% THD
- Emotiva XPS-1 Phono Preamplifier: 0.00811% THD
The QA400 doesn't do a great job with SNR values on phono preamps, the absolute number is usually 25-30db lower than when tested with an AP or other analyzer. They are useful for relative values and testing showed that the Catalyst also had slightly better SNR values than the emotiva unit. Why spend $60 more for theirs when ours sounds and tests better.