Unpacking the mighty Zodiacs
The turntable kit was Pear Audio’s Kid Thomas deck with dedicated power supply and phono amp, Cornet 2 tonearm and Ortofon Cadenza Black MC cartridge.
While setting up the system, Robinson was immediately struck by the “massive and beautiful” Zodiacs: “about 450 pounds of gut-busting wonderfulness!”. He was also pleasantly surprised to discover that despite their massiveness, “To their credit, once they were actually in the room, they weren’t too hard to work with and fine tune”. What’s more, while the listening room was “not enormous”, the Zodiacs performed superbly and were “not too much for the room”.
The D3i and M250i’s proved equally straightforward to work with. “For such a flexible design with many input and output options, the D3i didn’t take up much space or generate much heat. In our listening room, these are major virtues… The M250i’s actually surprised me by their reasonable heft and dimensions. For such powerful performers they didn’t require a fork-lift to get them into place.”
Set-up and fine-tuning completed, it was time to get down to some critical listening.
“Right from the get-go, I was captivated by the character of the musical presentation that I was hearing,” writes Robinson. “The Gamut system had an effect that I can only call ‘organic’. There was an absolutely integrated sense of all frequency ranges linking up in a way that was very much like a living creature. The emotional connection was immediate, enveloping and completely relaxing.”
“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.”
“The frequency range was superb… the high frequencies were clear and extended; the midrange was rich but uncolored and the bass just went on and on. And all acted as one; I was enthralled.”
“The dynamics of the Gamut reference system were stellar. In fact, Gamut gear is quite capable of incredible slam. It handled the most demanding dynamics without breaking a sweat.”
But would there be a trade-off somewhere? Robinson would normally expect so.
“Given the sheer seductive musicality of the Gamut reference system, it would be fair to wonder if there might be a loss in the realm of transparency, an audio virtue that I consider to be the king of them all,” he writes. “In this case, I admit that I was surprised. It turned out that there was no necessary trade-off of clarity for musicality with Gamut. The system seemed to just melt away, with a crystalline feel that never left the flesh and blood of the music behind.”
Okay, but how about detail?
“Detail was likewise unimpeded; the glorious tweeter that Gamut put into the Zodiac, driven by its electronics, put the texture and musical elements in place with authority… detail emerged with ease, without in any way destroying the organic wholeness and soul of Gamut. This is a really rare accomplishment; these two are often found in opposition to one another, rather than being coordinate virtues.”
“In sum, the Gamut reference system sets a new standard for the fusion of rich, organic musicality with transparency and dynamics,” Robinson concludes. “No-one who has visited [my listening room] has come away unimpressed with the quality of the music. With the Gamut reference system, Benno Baun Meldgaard and company have firmly established themselves in the front-rank, top-level of high-end audio designers and manufacturers in the world. Other great audio companies should take note: Gamut has joined you!
“It therefore earns a ‘Very Highest Recommendation’.”