Front of House Magazine reviews the Catapult Rack

June 14th, 2024

The following review by 


Radial Engineering Catapult TX/RX System

Road Tests

Radial Engineering is known worldwide for its reliable, tough-as-nails audio problem solvers. Part of its audio-over-Cat5 lineup, the Catapult system sends multiple audio channels over standard Cat5/6 cable, eliminating the need for bulky, expensive multipair audio cables. Using existing pre-wired network cabling, Catapult provides a flexible, scalable solution for sending audio from one location to another.

Rack ‘n’ Roll

The newest addition to the Catapult product lineup is the Catapult Rack. Constructed of rugged steel with a long-wearing powder-coat finish, each single rackspace Catapult Rack unit incorporates three independent 4-channel Catapult “modules” allowing distribution of up to 12 independent balanced audio channels over three Cat 5/6 cables. Connect all 12 channels to a single location using a second Catapult Rack or send each group of four channels to its own Catapult Mini fan-out or Catapult stage box.

The system can effortlessly customize signal distribution connections to multiple destinations. Catapult also offers transformer isolation when using the Catapult TX4L and RX4L line level or TX4M or RX4M mic-level units. Designed for balanced analog audio, the Catapult system can also work with AES digital audio signals. When shielded Cat 5/6 cable is used, Catapult can pass phantom power for condenser mics, active DIs and other devices.

Available in two configurations, the Catapult RX offers male XLR connectors while the TX version has female XLRs. Each “module” includes a button to lift pin 1 on all its XLRs to eliminate ground loops or hum when using shielded Cat 5/6 cables. Two Neutrik etherCON locking connectors wired in parallel on each module allow the audio to be looped to a second destination. Radial Engineering has tested the Catapult system with cable distances of 300′ (100m) with no signal degradation. The rack ears on each unit are reversible, allowing either the XLR connectors or the etherCON RJ-45’s to face outwards for added flexibility.

Making Connections

For this review, Radial Engineering sent both Catapult TX and RX Rack units along with a selection of Catapult Mini interfaces. As with other Radial products I own, the build quality on the Catapult products was top-notch. The Catapult Rack units featured clear, concise channel labels with space to add your own designations and the compact Catapult Minis had long “tails” color coded for easy connections.

The Catapult product came in handy on several gigs. I used the rack TX and a Mini as a drop snake with no issues. For complex stage setups where each musician has multiple input sources, the catapult system makes setup/teardown quick and easy, eliminating multiple mic cables.

At my symphony hall, there are multiple “dry” shielded Cat5 lines installed between the FOH, stage and truck dock. I needed several independent audio lines to feed a video guy’s remote truck setup and the Catapult came to the rescue.

At a recent “balloon glow” music playback event, I used a Catapult Mini at FOH to send four audio channels to a Catapult Rack located at the main speaker location. Picking off channels 1&2 at the rack fed the main cluster. The loop-thru etherCON let me extend the second pair of channels to another Catapult Mini at the delay cluster location. Simple and effective.

I’m a Believer

I must admit I was skeptical of running analog audio over UTP Cat5 cable. But even using the Catapult system running 200’ of (unshielded) tactical Cat5, I was pleasantly surprised. I had no noise issues. And when using my tactical shielded Cat6 cables, I was comfortable with running the lines along AC power cables. When used together, the Catapult Rack units offer a robust solution for sending 12 audio channels over lightweight, readily available Cat5 cable and combined with the other Catapult units provide a flexible, reliable and economical audio signal distribution solution.

Diagram of a basic system application

Audio Distro Made Easy

Radial Engineering’s Catapult system, part of its audio-over-Cat5 lineup, is a rugged rack-mount solution for distributing balanced audio over Cat-5/6 cable.



  • Route audio over lightweight Cat5 cable
  • Pin-1 lift switches
  • Neutrik etherCON locking connectors
  • Reversible rack ears
  • Loop-through EtherCONs

  • Shielded Cat5 cable required to run phantom power devices


  • Circuit Type: Passive RJ-45 to XLR
  • Frequency Response: 10-100k Hz, ±0.05 dB
  • Crosstalk: -130 dB betweenchannels
  • Construction: 8-gauge steel chassis
  • Size (HxWxD): 1.75 x 19 x 3.25″
  • Weight: 3 pounds
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