Zodiac 2017-06-21T08:13:18+00:00

Zodiac

The sky’s no longer the limit

The Zodiac is our cost-no-object, limited edition flagship loudspeaker.

In creating the Zodiac we began with one very simple but significant question: what if there were no limits? What if we took the Gamut loudspeaker to the ultimate, removing any and all constraints – including price – to create a true masterpiece of musicality?

And so we got to work, pouring in every last ounce of our expertise and drawing on decades of psychoacoustic research and development.

The result? The Zodiac is our masterwork, our magnum opus.

A masterwork doesn’t tend to go into mass production and the Zodiac is no exception. We build our Zodiacs as Steinway build their pianos: one at a time, by hand and with painstaking attention to each tiny detail at every step of the way. Nothing is rushed. Everything is given the utmost care and attention.

Just 12 pairs will be crafted each year – one per month, each bearing the relevant sign of the astrological zodiac.

What’s more, our chief designer, Benno Baun Meldgaard, will visit each Zodiac owner within 12 months of purchase to fine-tune the Zodiac to your particular listening room.

The Gamut sound

The body of a Gamut loudspeaker is more than just a cabinet or enclosure. Like the body of a Stradivari violin or a Steinway piano, it’s both strikingly simple and highly complex. Marrying impeccable materials with obsessive craftsmanship, it certainly looks stunning but the real beauty lies in what it brings to the quality of sound.

We use real wood throughout, and not just any wood. Ours is hand-selected (from a sustainable forest) for its acoustic properties. It’s then crafted into our distinctive speaker bodies by our partners at Kvist, Danish experts in ‘wood know-how’ and makers of some of the world’s most iconic furniture.

Discover more about the making of our speaker bodies.

The first thing you might notice about a Gamut loudspeaker is its distinctive swept-back, boat hull-like shape. This is no design gimmick, but serves a key sonic purpose.

The curved boat-shape that tapers to the rear neatly avoids the parallel surfaces found in a standard box format. This sidesteps the problem of internal sonic reflections and allows unwanted resonances to disperse.

The swept-back, rear-tilted angle of the speakers enables a very precise relationship between the position of the speakers’ drivers, your ears and your brain. In a standard upright position, high and mid-range frequency sounds reach your ear at marginally different times, leaving your brain to patch up the incoming information into a satisfying musical experience (which it does, amazing organ that it is). But if the speaker does that work for you by positioning each of the drivers so that all the sonic frequencies reach your ears simultaneously, then the brain can relax and you can enjoy a vivid musical experience filled with dynamic immediacy across the whole frequency range.

The magic angle

In fact, our drive units are so carefully aligned both physically and electronically that there’s a ‘magic spot’ of tilt angle, a point of perfection – specific to your room and hence fully adjustable – at which the speakers seem to vanish, leaving just you and the music.

A dynamic, life-like musical performance is best achieved by mastering the natural properties of sound so that its energies and vibrations work for you and not against you. The Tao of sound, if you like.

Like the Tao’s martial arts, our speakers use strength intelligently in order to direct vibrational energy. Their complex internal bracing features fan-shaped reinforcement structures placed at a multitude of angles in strategic locations throughout the internal body, all of which carefully controls vibrational energy for peak performance.

Alongside a raft of other design features, this also allows us to dramatically reduce the level of internal damping in our speakers. Damping is important to tackle unwanted sonic vibrations, but too much of it can also squash the dynamics of the sound. Which is why we go to such great lengths to control vibrational energy without constraining your music.

Our state-of-the-art loudspeaker drivers are designed by Gamut, for Gamut. Unique elements include the distinctive natural oils used to impregnate our mid-range driver cones to eliminate the possibility of colouration from the cones’ fibres, and the woofers’ solid wood dust caps hand-selected according to weight and density to stiffen the cones and ensure perfect performance across the whole frequency range.

In each loudspeaker the drive units are painstakingly aligned both physically and electronically to achieve a phenomenal phase response. This is essential to impeccable timing and is what gives your music not just fidelity but also real depth, presence and soundstage.

‘Any port in a storm’ is a phrase you’ll never hear at Gamut. There are no devils in our details and no plastic tubes in our ports. Every Gamut loudspeaker features beautifully machined aluminium rear-mounted ports (or brass and stainless steel in our flagship Zodiac). A feast for the eyes for sure, though the primary purpose of their high-class construction is a sonic one.

The port on a loudspeaker is typically used to extend the bass response. But since our carefully-designed speaker bodies and precisely balanced drivers already achieve this, our ports are tuned to optimise the impulse response – meaning that they help the drivers to respond instantly to changes in the music, giving flawless timing and vivid dynamism.

You’ve heard the expression ‘where the rubber meets the road’? The place where loudspeaker meets floor can be just as telling. In a Gamut loudspeaker, it doesn’t. Between the two is a massive solid stainless steel plate-and-spike system which, as well as providing incredible stability, houses a handful of clever features designed to decouple the speakers from the floor (and to protect hard floors if you have them).

It also holds the key to a spot of magic: how to make a pair of loudspeakers disappear. Both the vertical and horizontal tilt of each speaker is fully adjustable – to compensate for floor conditions and to optimize the speakers’ sonic performance in your room – using finely threaded adjusters in the stainless steel base. Once the rake angle is tuned to perfection, the speakers then effectively disappear, leaving only the musical soundstage.

Most loudspeakers feature a screen (or ‘grille’) mounted over the face of the speaker to protect the drivers and give a sleek finish. But since the grille sits in the direct path of the drivers, it interacts with the sound. So there’s a compromise between good looks, great sound and safeguarding your precious speakers.

At Gamut we’re not crazy about those kinds of compromise so we solved the dilemma. Instead of the usual grille, two vertical stainless-steel rods flank the drivers. These rods support a series of horizontal, fabric-woven strings that look smart, protect the drivers and, most important, offer no acoustic obstruction whatsoever.

All Gamut loudspeakers feature our own Reference cables internally throughout, which are custom-designed to conduct less noise and more music. In fact they’re built on exactly the same principles as our loudspeakers: using intelligent ways to control sonic and electro-magnetic energy without compromising the natural dynamics of the music.

You’ll find that same ‘less is more’ approach in our connections too. The optimum way to terminate a speaker cable is in fact not to, so our custom-designed stainless steel and brass input terminals feature a pressure insert that allows you to clamp in bare wire for the cleanest, clearest connection. Then again, some people prefer a plug-in solution so they’re also equally compatible with banana plugs and spades.

The stunningly life-like performance of a Gamut loudspeaker comes from the masterful alignment of every element of its construction by our chief designer, Benno Baun Melgaard. Benno has tested, tweaked, tuned and perfected every last detail in each of our models, using a tool that’s completely unique to Gamut: his ears. Of course, as an engineer, he equally pours over a whole host of technical parameters. But Benno, and Gamut, remain firm on a key principle: the way the human ear and brain interpret sound is yet to be duplicated by any laboratory or testing device, and so critical listening is essential to crafting a high-performance loudspeaker. Think of it like a master conductor challenging his orchestra through endless hours of rehearsals until every musician, every instrument, is ready to give the performance of its life.

   Features & specifications

DESIGN PRINCIPLE

  • 3-way impulse optimised bass reflex floorstanding loudspeaker

DRIVERS & CROSSOVER

  • Brand new custom-built drivers, created in collaboration with world-leading driver experts to deliver phenomenal dynamic response
  • 1 x 1.5” tweeter: ring radiator, silk cone, neodymium magnet
  • 1 x 7” mid-range: sliced paper cone, impregnated with a bespoke blend of natural oils
  • 3 x 10" woofer: paper cone, with Gamut solid wood dust cap for superior pistonic performance
  • Drive units meticulously phase-aligned for pin-sharp soundstaging and flawless timing
  • 3-way phase and impulse linear crossover design with DC coupled mid-range
  • Crossover points 350 Hz & 2,250 Hz
  • Crossover features superlative quality copper and silver capacitors from Danish experts Jantzen Audio

BODY

  • Highly complex body showcases a new system of internal spacing, in which the mid-range and woofer chambers are semi-separated by bespoke acoustic filters, thus maximising the openness and dynamic response of the mid-range
  • 21-28 layers (varies by section) of sustainably-sourced hand-selected real wood veneers, form-pressed into solid wood panels
  • Curved shape and rear tilt designed for superior sonic performance
  • Complex internal bracing strategically positioned to enable dynamic musicality
  • Minimal but optimum internal damping
  • 2 x 5mm brass and stainless steel rear-mounted ports precisely tuned for optimum impulse response
  • Custom-designed front-face protects drivers while ensuring no acoustic obstruction

BASE

  • Massive plate-and-spike base system, constructed in a five-layer sandwich of anti-resonance coated metal and a composite damping material, provides incredible stability and decouples speakers from floor
  • Removable stainless steel ‘coasters’ to protect hard floors and damp resonance
  • Finely-threaded adjusters enable effortless refining of vertical and horizontal tilt of loudspeakers to optimize the speakers’ sonic performance in your room

WIRING & CONNECTIONS

  • Gamut Reference cabling internally throughout
  • 4 input terminals to enable bi-wiring and bi-amping
  • Gold-plated OFC copper input terminals with stainless steel ‘nuts’, compatible with stripped wire, 4mm banana plugs or custom 20mm spades

MADE IN DENMARK

  • 100% designed and built in Denmark

SIZE & WEIGHT

  • Dimensions (mm): 1,650 (height) / 310 (width) / 680 (depth)
  • Dimensions (inches): 64.96 (height) / 12.20 (width) / 26.77 (depth)
  • Weight 196 kg

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

  • Frequency response 16Hz to 40 kHz
  • Nominal impedance 4 Ω
  • Minimum impedance 2.9 Ω @ 180 Hz
  • Sensitivity 90 dB / 2.83 V

WARRANTY

  • 5 years

Options

A stunning finish

The natural woods used to form the body of our loudspeakers play a key part in their organic, dynamic sound. So we never cover them with surface veneers. Instead, a small selection of luxurious tinted varnishes is used to achieve our stunning range of finishes.

Ivory

Maroon

Ruby

Onyx

Going the extra mile – or miles

With every Gamut loudspeaker, we offer useful guidance to help optimise the speakers’ placement in your room. With the Zodiac, we go that little bit further. Our chief designer, Benno Baun Meldgaard, will visit each Zodiac owner within 12 months of purchase to fine-tune the Zodiac to your particular listening room. Wherever you are in the world, Benno will come to you, all expenses on us.

Awards & reviews

“Sets a new standard for the fusion of rich, organic musicality with transparency and dynamics.”

“I was captivated by the character of the musical presentation that I was hearing. There was an absolutely integrated sense of all frequency ranges linking up in a way that was very much like a living creature.”

“The sound seemed to go beyond merely ‘seamless’. The drivers seemed to breathe and flex as if they were of one accord. A symbiosis of sound.”

“Gamut have firmly established themselves in the front-rank, top-level of high-end audio designers and manufacturers in the world.”

“You may find that you’ve found the audio love of your life.”

Positive Feedback, June 2017
Read full review (of a complete
Gamut system including the Zodiac)

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A body of distinction

The body of every Gamut loudspeaker is a real labour of love