“For good or ill, when it comes to audio, we live in a time of flagships and statements,” writes Hi-Fi Plus editor Alan Sircom in the magazine’s December issue. For the most part Sircom remains relatively unimpressed, having found that many such bigger-is-better products, while certainly big on size and price, don’t necessarily deliver a commensurate peak in terms of performance. Gamut’s flagship Zodiac loudspeaker, however, “is one of the rare exceptions. A true statement piece….”
One reason for this is undoubtedly that the Zodiac was never designed for mass production. Our chief designer Benno Baun Meldgaard builds our Zodiacs as Steinway build their pianos: one at a time, by hand and as a labour of love, with complete attention to each tiny detail at every step of the way.
While there’s a clear family line running through Gamut’s range of louspeakers from our RS3i standmount to the RS5i and RS7i floorstanders, “practically everything about the Zodiac is new.” Not new in a gimmicky way, however, as Sircom is reassured to discover. “Gamut’s product line contains no devices that are the result of a dream or hallucination. They are built along strict objective and observational lines, drawing upon decades of psychoacoustic research, measurement protocols… and great attention on the listening test.”
Speaking of attention, “the Zodiac is a loudspeaker of details… You could point to almost every corner, curve, foot, grill section, or driver layout and find the same almost obsessive attention to detail.”
And speaking of detail, Sircom then puts the Zodiacs through their paces with “a huge range of music,” spanning everything from the pomp and bombast of Queen to Richmond Fontaine’s modern murder ballads, from Mozart piano concerts to smoky 1950s jazz, and much more.
The first thing he notes is that “there are no 20m wide pianos or 10m tall singers in the room,” referring to what he calls ‘big loudspeaker syndrome’ where large loudspeakers scale up the sound “in an impressive, yet ultimately incorrect, manner.” With the Zodiacs, scale and size are entirely natural. “With this comes an excellent sense of overall timing and coherence.” At this level one would of course expect outstanding coherence, yet even so, Sircom is impressed: “the Zodiac stands out as exceptionally fine.”
The Zodiacs on demo at UK Gamut dealer Stone Audio
“Of course the test discs come out,” and while the Zodiacs tick off all of the audiophile benchmarks with flying colours (“glorious, shimmering highs, dark, brooding lows, and open, natural mids…an open and impressive soundstage, and sublime micro- and macrodynamic contrasts and shades…”), Sircom begins to realize that he doesn’t really care. He’s having way too much fun!
“Ornate and and clichéd audiophile terminology be dammed… You stop playing what you think you should play and get on with playing music you want to play… That’s the real part of the Zodiac magic.”
“The Zodiac is the perfect superhero. Very highly recommended!”
Our sincere thanks to Alan Sircom, whose full review you can read in the December 2017 issue of Hi-Fi Plus.
Discover more about the Gamut Zodiac.