As an inveterate separates user, Tone Audio’s Jerold O’Brien might not seem the obvious choice to review an integrated amplifier. While O’Brien ‘sometimes wonders’ about the advantages of using an integrated amp – saving space, fewer cables, one less power cord and a front end and power section that are designed as a unit, for example – “somehow I never got around to living with one,” he admits. Until, that is, the Gamut Di150 LE came his way.
So, where to begin? “An old habit that has stuck with me for years is to pop the top of any audio products that I encounter to inspect the power supply and the overall layout of boards and parts,” O’Brien writes. “The Di150 does not disappoint, revealing a super tidy dual-mono design. Judged on looks alone, this amp is a winner, but it gets better when you power it up.”
“The Di150 presents a deep and wide soundstage, well beyond the speaker boundaries, making my listening room seem much larger than it is. Moreover, the soundstage is seamless in its presentation.”
“This amplifier is a champion of pace and timing”. On playing a DSD file from Jim Ferguson’s album Deep Summer Music, O’Brien loves how the Di150 “captures the dynamics of the horn section without any irritating stridency, even when playing this selection a bit louder than normal.”
In the obligatory female vocals test, the voice “stays locked front and center, never wavering, with no trace of shrillness or bloat, emerging from the black background naturally.”
Turning to analogue, with the new pressing of Duke Ellington’s Blues In Orbit, “the Di150 again proves expansive, with multiple horns easily discernable. Whether it was the trombone, trumpet, violin or clarinet, the reproduction was utterly natural and engaging – impressive!”
O’Brien’s final test of dynamic capability came in the form of Power of the Orchestra, featuring two Mussorgsky compositions including the classic Night On Bald Mountain with it’s enormous dynamic swings. “Again, the Di150 handles it with ease and it’s almost scary how it instantly goes from idle to full power.”
So has O’Brien at last been convinced by an integrated amp? “For a music lover looking to save space or simply looking for a final electronics purchase that will serve admirably over the long term, then I’d look no further than this amplifier,” he concludes. “It offers superb performance, excellent build quality, innovative electronic design and ease of use. Highly recommended.”
So highly recommended, in fact, as to be awarded Tone Audio’s ‘Amplifier of the Year’.
Discover more about the Di150 LE (limited edition) dual mono integrated amplifier. But be quick – ‘LE’ stands for ‘limited edition’, so when they’re gone, they’re gone!
Download the full Tone Audio review – or pick up a copy of the December 2016 issue of the magazine at www.tonepublications.com