Intuitive Audio's New Wowser
At least two people I know came up to me in the hallways of the Marriott to urge me to check out Intuitive Audio's new Gamma Summit speakers ($10,000/pair). As soon as I walked into the room, the fabulous bass on Patricia Barber's rendition of "Keep on Using Me Until You Use Me Up"I'm guessing at the titletold me why. The system's riveting presentation also featured the kind of musical highlights for days that audiophiles love. Next I heard the same Mahler Symphony 2 recording I've been playing a lot at RMAF 2009. The speakers did an extremely fine job of controlling and highlighting the bass line, and also sounded very vibrant on top. Congratulations to designer Dale Pitcher for a job well done.
The Gammit Summit, an upgrade of the original Summit, is a two-way design that uses a transmission line for both the upgraded tweeters and 6.5" woofer, and a nanotube carbon fiber array in the crossover network. The compartments are separated by Stillpoints. While the speakers are flat down to 38Hz, and extend up to 28kHz, the tweeters can only be driven so far. Hence the Gamma Summits are best placed in small to midsize rooms. So much for me trying them in my large listening room.
Also heard was the Mosaic Theorem prototype power conditioner ($7000), which was completed 16 hours before the show began. There are no filters or capacitors in the unit. Intuitive Audio's designer, Dale Pitcher, formerly worked for Essence and helped design and manufacture the original Shunyata Hydra. Other components in this fine-sounding system were the Belles MB-200 200Wpc monoblocks, the excellent Aesthetix Calypso preamp ($5000), Exemplar DAC by John Tucker ($2500), a discontinued Arcam CD36 CD player used as a transport ($2000), Dale's Mosaic interconnects ($2000/pair) and speaker cables ($4000/pair), XLO-Reference digital cable, and Kimber optical cable. A Sonos ZP-90 and control ($700) were on hand but not auditioned.