GamuT Di150 LE integrated amplifier Page 2

At the top of the Di150 LE's rear panel are two pairs of WBT speaker binding posts. Below those are, from left to right: pairs of unbalanced outputs marked Tape Out and Out; balanced right and left outputs marked R Out and L Out; that tiny HTH toggle; unbalanced HTH, Tape, Tuner, and CD inputs; and two sets of right and left balanced inputs, labeled Bal 1 and Bal 2. In the lower left corner is the IEC mains plug. All balanced outs and ins are XLR plugs and sockets, respectively; unbalanced connections are Neutrik-made RCAs. And each side panel of the Di150 LE is actually a massive heatsink.

Michael Vamos told me that GamuT's goal for the Di150 was to "combine our D3i dual-mono line stage preamplifier [$8380] and D200i dual-mono stereo amplifier [$13,990] in one smaller package with slightly lower output power." That was the amplification combo I'd enjoyed in Wes Bender's room at the Park Lane Hotel. Could GamuT pack $22,370 worth of audio into an $12,990 package?

Sometimes a component arrives in my penthouse listening den, and the sheer difference of sound compared to my reference gear makes me think, Why did I ask to review this thing?!? That was my first response to hearing the GamuT Di150 LE. With a generic, nothing-special power cord I had on hand—instead of the IsoTek power cord included with my review sample and, reportedly, every GamuT amplifier sold in the US—the Di150 LE's sound lacked body, warmth, and weight. Swapping out the generic cord for the fat, purple IsoTek snake made a difference: Bass notes now landed with a wallop, and bass depth and extension were considerably increased. Soundstage scale grew to commensurate proportions. And while I would never say that the GamuT sounds like a tube amp, the IsoTek cord endowed its sound with indisputable liquidity. The IsoTek remained in place for the remainder of my listening.


With the DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 and PS Audio NuWave: Is there a greater living rock star than Tom Petty? Today, as they enter their fifth decade, the 66-year-old Floridian and his band, the Heartbreakers, are still producing profound rock, and there's no better sign of their supremacy than Mojo (CD, Reprise 523971). Described by Petty as the kind of music his band plays when no one else is listening, Mojo contains 16 songs, brilliantly performed and exceptionally recorded. Released in 2010, Mojo never gets old.

With Mojo, the GamuT declared itself capable of going head-to-head with tube amps, the music almost blooming like a fairy-dusted single-ended-triode tube amp, Ron Blair's tough bass notes enveloping me in that Florida swamp stench. Mike Campbell's guitar was pure acetylene burn, and I can't remember Steve Ferrone's two-and-four snare-drum pop! ever sounding quite so meaty. Through the GamuT, Mojo was all Cadillac cruise control on some melting-asphalt Interstate, the air humid and dense with bugs, the beat all-encompassing. The GamuT grooved!

My DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93s loved the GamuT's beefy transformers: the big two-way speakers went as deep and low as I've heard them go. CD after CD, the GamuT rendered significant bass tonnage—when those tons were actually encoded on the disc. The GamuT's midrange-through-treble sound was tonally open, creating as clear an aural window on the music as I've heard in my seventh-floor pauper's penthouse. Album after album, the GamuT smacked me up and down, surprising me with fresh sonic goodies from practically every disc.

Early on, multiple traits—a GamuT house sound?—emerged: a hard-charging, forceful delivery of the music, strong micro- and macrodynamics, stupendous bass reproduction, a wide and layered soundstage, and what some call "black" backgrounds: music from digital sources that was free of noise or digital nasties, and often floated free of the speakers' physical positions. The GamuT pulled every last digit from my PS Audio NuWave DAC, whose warmish, darker-than-neutral tonality was complemented by the great apparent clarity of the muscular Dane.

Hoping to unearth more of the GamuT's secrets, I played many CDs, including: PJ Harvey's Dry (Island 162-535-001-2) and her EP Man-Size (Island PRCD 6786-2); Jeff "Tain" Watts's Folk's Songs (Dark Key Music 3360); Garbage's Beautiful Garbage (Interscope 0694931152); Ali Jackson, Aaron Goldberg, and Omer Avital's Yes! (Sunnyside SSC 1271); and Luciana Souza's Brazilian Duos (Sunnyside SSC 1100). Every time, the GamuT was transparent to the source, yet with uniformly solid traits: the most potent delivery of music ever in my system; colossal images that, while fun and revealing, were perhaps larger than life; fantastic speed and dynamics; and—here I go again—velvet-black backgrounds. The Di150 LE played the bejesus out of well-recorded CDs but refused to smear lipstick on pigs: such ratty-sounding CDs as drummer Dennis Chambers's Planet Earth (BHM 1005-2), and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy performing Chopin's Polonaises (London 421 032-2)—both of which are tinny-sounding audio dogs. And while the GamuT's sound was unvaryingly transparent, it consistently lent its traits of power, speed, enormous images, and outstanding bass-frequency expression to every CD worth its polycarbonate.

With the Elac Debut B6 and PS Audio: Herb Reichert raved about Elac's Debut B6 stand-mounted speakers ($279/pair), so, for fun, I drove them with the GamuT beefcake. The Elacs have been in my system for many months, and I find that they sound somewhat processed overall, with a hard-focused top end and copiously warm, woolly bass response. The punchy Debut B6es took to the GamuT right away, in a love affair of lowdown bass frequencies. This terrific pairing resulted in a level of jump! even more energetic and propulsive than that produced by the GamuT and DeVore O/93s. From Tom Petty to PJ Harvey, and with the little Elacs pumping mad music juice, the GamuT Di150 LE blew the lid off my Greenwich Village joint.


With the Wharfedale Diamond 225 and PS Audio: Herb Reichert is writing a Follow-Up to my review of NEAT Acoustics' Iota Alpha loudspeaker; I'm doing Herb a solid by writing a Follow-Up to ">his review of the Wharfedale Diamond 225 stand-mounted speakers ($449/pair). The Wharfedales don't boogie hard—they're more cerebral and cool, cleaning up PJ Harvey's mouth when she moans about her "Man-Size." But there's no denying the Diamond 225's accuracy and lack of colorations—more of Luciana Souza's lovely Brazilian Duos is revealed through the Wharfedale than through either the Elac Debut B6 or DeVore's Orangutan O/93. The jazz album Yes! was also rendered with sparkling lucidity. And, once again, the GamuT delivered large-scale images, along with great speed, drama, and superlative dynamics.

With the Wharfedale Diamond 225, Kuzma Stabi S and Stogi, and Shindo Allegro: I ran my Shindo Laboratory Allegro preamp into the GamuT via the latter's HTH function, turning the Di150 LE into a power amplifier. As Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut album played (LP, Bella Union BELLAV 167), the GamuT retained its fondness for large spatial scale and killer dynamics and forcefulness—now allied to more generous tonal saturation, more appealing textures, and greater senses of liquidity and melodic flow. Bass notes lost some of their muscular grip, trading accuracy for a warmer cushion through the Shindo, while retaining the pristine beauty and majesty of the Foxes' choirboy voices. Most impressively, the GamuT enlarged the images and magnified the exquisite textures created by the Shindo—and it doesn't get better than that.

Its price of $12,990 pits the GamuT Di150 LE against some serious integrated amplifiers, including the Mark Levinson No.585 ($12,000), the Ayre Acoustics AX-5 Twenty ($12,950), and the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 ($12,999)—all of which are listed in Class A of Stereophile's "Recommended Components." I've never heard in my system another amplifier, tubed or solid-state, that provided such enormous images or such speed, dynamics, and pure force. Emanating from "black" backgrounds of noiseless space, notes flew from the Di150 LE with purpose and punch, whether from LP or CD.

In my opinion, the best solid-state still can't compare with the best tubed amplification; at least, no solid-state amp has bested my tubed Shindo separates (though the Spec RPA-W7EX Real-Sound power amplifier came close). When I joined the Shindo Allegro preamplifier to the GamuT Di150's power-amp section, I felt I was getting a taste of what the Shindo preamp might sound like on steroids—its lovely tonality, texture, and naturalness were fortified by a brute-force amp tempered by quick wits.

Given its ability to drive any loudspeaker, its even-keeled tonality, its remarkable bass reproduction, and its versatility and cool running (it ran warm, never hot), the GamuT Di150 LE should make every Dane proud—and Wes Bender, too.

GamuT Audio
US distributor: GamuT Inc. (Audio Skies)
Los Angeles, CA
(888) 252-2499

mrkaic's picture

You get MUCH better performance from the Benchmark ABH2 for a quarter of the price of this thing. In my opinion, this GamuT amplifier is worth between $370 and $415.

Dcode's picture

Don't say it's too expensive. Just be honest. Say you can't afford it. It makes more sense.

mrkaic's picture

Dear Sir, what makes you so certain that I cannot afford it? Have you used some techniques worthy of Sherlock Holmes to deduce my credit worthiness? :))

Or are you just trying to deflect the attention from the undisputed fact that many much cheaper NAD amplifiers will perform just as well as the Gamut?

Dcode's picture

It's true though, isn't it?

vilasound's picture

You may be right If you want to purchase an amplifier for measurements only. If you know of an amplifier that plays music like the GamuT please (PLEASE!!) tell me which one costs only 400$!!! I want at least 2 of them.

mrkaic's picture

Buy a NAD 3020D. Seriously.

If you need any further advice, feel free to ask. :))

vilasound's picture

I own an HIFI shop. I have had a NAD D3020 on demo, and many other amps. If you are joking about the NAD D3020 being comparable with the GamuT then great. I'm with ya. If you are being serious though than it is actually impossible to continue any further discussion. I'm sorry, I don't even know where to begin.

mrkaic's picture a blind test. Do you have the courage/energy to compare both amps in a blind test? Only if you can tell them apart, can you make claims about the Gamut being better.

mrkaic's picture

I am happy to hear that you own a HiFi store. It must be good to be in business for yourself.

You are also in an ideal position to compare both amps, measure them thoroughly and pronounce the winner.

Tansparency = low THD. And the superb timing of the Gamut (due to a single MOSFET per phase) is something that is quite easy to check with an oscilloscope. I am happy that you have made such measurable claims.

I am also quite certain that your store has a lot of electronic equipment to measure both amplifiers. You can easily prove your claims by doing and publishing some measurements.

vilasound's picture

1) Doing a blind test between the NAD D3020 and any GamuT would be like testing a Renault Clio vs a BMW M6. Would you HAVE to be blind to believe in the diferences? Wouldn't they be too damn obvious? I'm not even exagerating in the comparison for the sake of argument.

2) I don't like to discuss measurements because they do not actually tell you anything about how the equipment actually plays. HOWEVER, you keep telling everyone how the Gamut is comparable to a NAD in measurements when it is not the case at all. The Gamut can output 300W at 4ohm with 0.006% THD. The D3020 will go as far a puny 40W with 0.009% THD. They are worlds apart (there are plenty more data to discuss but the point is made).
Are you on some sort of mission against Gamut or just trolling around?
If you actually only need 1W then yeah, the Gamut isn't for you. In that case I would recommend you look into tube single ended amplifiers with lots of THD that sound great.

mrkaic's picture the extra power of the Gamut is not very important. If you don't want to blow your ears out or if you don't have a very big listening room, you are using about 1 Watt of power anyway. (And if you want 300W, you can get cheaper and equally good amplifiers as the Gamut.)

I am not on mission against Gamut or anyone else. But as a trained physicist, I am horrified by the anti-science bias, prevalent in the audio community. And I am not alone, the world has awakened and has unmasked audiophiles with gusto:

vilasound's picture

If you really think that you can compare amplifiers at 1W spec then you are even more out of your depth than you can possibly imagine.
I strongly advise you to forget measurements for a bit, get off your seat and go and have a listen to audio gear. It's that easy. Sure, bring along a blindfold if you doubt yourself that much. No one will stop you from doing blindfolded tests. The fact of the matter is that you lack a tremendous amount of empirical knowledge about these things, that is very clear once you claim a NAD D3020 is comparable to a GamuT Di150.
Don't worry about me! I have a PhD with published peer-reviewed articles. I know a thing or two about science vs mambo-jambo. You are reading too much into graphs that have no demonstrated correlation with psicho-accoustic pleasure. A true scientist questions, experiments and, while being skeptic, should keep an open mind and consider all possible explantions for the observations of his experiments. You are merely extrapolating knowledge you don't master.
This has been fun but it's enough. I will stop arguing with you and instead listen to music in very expensive unmeasured gear that makes me feel like I have just been teleported to a live private concert.
Nothing against the NAD D3020, I have sold a few - it is a decent bit of kit for the money, but it will never convey that feeling of being there. Unfortunately.

vilasound's picture

If you refuse to go listen to audio gear, or have really bad earing, I would recommend you read some Nelson Pass articles. Yes, he sells amplifiers but he is highly regarded in the DYI community even amoung the naysayers; and he has been around forever.
His website ( has plenty of articles about amplification theory (in his view) and maybe you can start with

mrkaic's picture

Don't get me wrong, I don't refuse to listen. But when I listen, I don't want to be swayed by placebo factors. [As regards placebo, you may wish to read Dr. Sean Olive -- --- a guy who has done more audio research than 99.99% of audiophiles and audio experts.] BTW, I have a decent hearing for my age. If one day my path leads me by your HiFi store, I will be delighted to audition some gear.

I have read some of Nelson Pass articles. Let me tell you, why I am not exactly impressed with him -- he talks a lot, but shows few equations pertinent to his circuits. When I want to understand a circuit, I model it in SPICE (or LTSPICE) and get a clear picture of its workings. Professional electrical engineers do the same. Set up the the equations and solve them. Without quantitative analysis we can talk for days about our impressions -- kind of what you and I have been doing. :)

You are a very intelligent man and this has been fun. Thank you for a nice and cultured exchange.

Best wishes,


vilasound's picture

Placebos produce an effect, that has been well established long ago, and must be ruled out whenever possible. My moto though is that if you need to rule it out and do blindfolded testing to be sure then the difference is not that big and you should just pick the cheapest.
The other thing most people don't know about the placebo effect is that most of the time people are biased AGAINST 'believing'. That is prevalent in a hifi shop. People with limited budgets who WANT to believe that the cheapest option is more than enough for their needs and then find out they 'need' to spend more.
And I can't count how many times I have had professional electrical, computing, mechanical, electronic engineers absolutely dismiss upgrading powercords or USB cables UNTIL they listen. The powercord especially is the easiest to demonstrate and to this day no one has ever said they couldn't hear a difference. A fantastic thing happens once these professionals experience the upgrade: they come up with possible theories to explain the phenomon. I have learned a lot from these people just moments after they absolutely denied any chance of a powercord making a difference.
And yes, plenty of audiophiles dismiss certain equipment and certain brands because they are not pricey enough or have a certain prestige, but to them and to the skeptics, the solution should always be listening (blindfolded if you have to).

OK. Fair enough about Nelson Pass. With that level of expertise you do need more info.

mrkaic's picture

By all means, wish you much enjoyment of your gear and music.

Before you go, one final question. Congrats on your PhD and peer-reviewed articles. What is your area of research?

vilasound's picture

That was long ago. I am full time hifi. I have a degree in biochemistry (with lots of physics, physical chemisty and even a 6-month module on basic electronics - crazy). The articles during my PhD and onwards were in the field pathology/chronic infections (herpesviruses and mycobacteria).

darcman's picture

Trolls are everywhere, why even bother with a stupid comment you just embarrass yourself. If you looking in this price range, the Gamut Di150LE should be on every ones short list....looks great!!!

mrkaic's picture

A lot of mediocre (and sometimes even substandard) audio equipment these days is terribly overpriced. It takes a suspension of critical thinking (i.e. subjectivism) to justify purchases of such stuff.

Sad, but true.

darcman's picture

The comment was still stupid. The price of the Gamut is right in line with the top offerings from others. It would be nice if it was $5k cheaper but it isn't. If they were able to sell it for $415 they would put EVERYONE out of business...True Story LOL

mrkaic's picture the price of this stuff and comments that defend such outrageous prices by claiming that this is a "top offering". By what measure is this top level?

You can get an amplifier that will have comparable measured characteristics for a fraction of the price of this one -- NAD amplifiers come to mind. Is NAD top level too?

johnnythunder's picture

Look, I can't tell you what you can and can't afford as far as listening. I love reading reviews of the most expensive and the best valued components in an attempt to understand the myriad of possibilities available to me as a listening experience. I read car magazines for their reviews of Bentleys and Teslas even though I drive a 1999 car with over 200k miles on it. Ditto with cooking and wine publications. I don't get angry that a certain Barolo costs over $100 and don't demand a blind comparison with lesser expensive wines. If one wants to go through life ANGRY that certain products are beyond their reach and shitting on the joy of others go for it. I think you're missing the point that these magazines are here to NOT be Consumer Reports. They exist to tantalize and offer some sort of aspirational guide to what is out there. Yes our hobby is more expensive than it used to be but I get enjoyment from my 10k system that has been assembled over the years from reading about equipment that the reviewer has illuminated as having appeal to me. One description of a midrange as "thin" or a "hyper detailed tweeter" will send me scurrying to the warmth of my Luxman amp and Jean Marie Reynaud speakers. But I don't get angry that others like that sound. So enjoy your NAD. There's nothing wrong with it. But don't demean the GAMUT because its a luxury product.

mrkaic's picture

Dear Sir:

First, let's get one thing out of the way quickly -- I am not angry at or envious of people who buy overpriced amplifiers. I do pity them though, because I see many of them as deniers of engineering and scientific facts. Instead of buying their overpriced trinkets, "audiophiles" could more usefully spend their money on a few courses in electrical engineering to help them actually understand their cherished hobby.

Second, judged by your frequent use of capital letters, you just might be the angry one. :)

Finally, your conclusion that I have a NAD is wrong. But I might remedy that, they make fantastic products.

johnnythunder's picture

Your term "overpriced trinkets" immediately establishes your pejorative tone with regard to expensive audio components or tweaks or whatever. Your statement/opinion, "In my opinion, this GamuT amplifier is worth between $370 and $415." is pretty ludicrous. I don't pity deniers of engineering and scientific facts when it comes to certain aspects of audio engineering. This isn't global warming. I read for years in Consumer Reports that all CD players sounded the same. I don't "buy" the claims of many tweaks but is it false advertising? Maybe. I really don't care. People can spend money on what they want to. I'm a little disappointed that a well written review of a well manufactured product is tossed away by an insipid argument and it's an argument that has a "rain on my parade" tone. I would enjoy whatever lower priced component you have and allow any future purchasers of Gamut products to enjoy their purchases based on Ken's review.

mrkaic's picture

I have little patience for science deniers. While audio is not global warming, the underlying mechanism of denial is quite similar.

RaimondAudio's picture can comment about the technical stuff, but you can not comment about the price. Why ? Because we are not in a comunist economy. We are in a free economy. That it is the most important thing. Do not like the price ? Ok, do not buy it, but please, do not atack the free economy.

What about 2%-THD of the tubes amps ? What we will do with them ? What it is the right prices for them ? 10$ ?

mrkaic's picture

Are you trying to censor me? I am allowed to comment on anything I want.

I am glad you talk about free markets. In a competitive market the price is equal to the marginal cost. What is the marginal cost of this amplifier? 2 mosfets for $2 each, a few other BJTs for $10 combined, a few wires, worth less than $1, some capacitors, generously priced at $50, and the enclosure for $40. Am I missing any parts? Maybe a few diodes to bias the transistors. Add some solder, equipment depreciation, and a few hours labor for assembly and the sum is still less than my suggested price of $375. But let's say that with shipping and handling you can get to $375. If they sell if for $415, they will make 10% profit, which is pretty decent for an amplifier with not exactly ground breaking measured performance.

RaimondAudio's picture

:-) Noo. I do not want and I can not censored you. I just spoken about free markets. The profit could be any percent: 1%, 10%, 10.000%. That is tha life in a free markets. Best regards.

Dcode's picture

You obviously have not gone into business for yourself and looked at all the costs involved in owning and operating a company and what real overhead is. Workman's comp, insurances, marketing, legal--let alone what it takes to test and bring a product to market. Testing, re-testing, trail, error, sourcing parts, training staff, fielding lawsuits from freeloading employees looking for a quick buck, getting staff to actually work and care, quality checks on outside parts provided... If you went to a factory and sat down with the owner of a HiFi company and saw how many hours it takes and total devotion with no guarantee of retirement or financial security, you'd shut right up and go back to your cubicle and put your headset back on.

mrkaic's picture

I actually did go into business and co-owned two companies that made decent profits, thank you very much.

It would be nice if you could focus on the amplifier, not on what I can or cannot afford or if I was ever in business for myself.

It seems that you enjoy going personal and that misses the point of this forum.

Dcode's picture

Made (past tense) good profits. Reminds me of The Fox and the Grapes--one of the Aesop's fables. The story concerns a fox that tries to eat grapes from a vine but cannot reach them. Rather than admit defeat, he states they are undesirable (or too expensive).

The "too expensive" or "no better than something less expensive" cry in the comments of an audio blog is so played out.

vilasound's picture

Unfortunately, the mosfets alone cost, I believe, 50-100$ each. Hopefully, Gamut gets a better deal for them as each Di150 carries 4 of them.
I can't remember the exact model of the Mosfets they use but they are similar to this: which are listed here at >100$/each

mrkaic's picture have not provided the exact model info and the exact purchase cost.

Not that it would matter. If Gamut uses uses super-duper MOSFETs (designed for welding) to build an amplifier with standard performance (come on, almost 0.03% THD at 1W into 4 Ohms -- measured in this review -- is the same as the NAD 3020D), then they are wasting money. Their amp should still sell for less than $400.

Just out of curiosity -- do you have a background in electric engineering or physics?

vilasound's picture

I will try to find the exact model (I promise) but you can still check many that are similar and are all much more expensive than what you are quoting.
Yes, they are super-duper and industrial but they are there for a simple reason: GamuT uses only 1 mosfet per phase in order to preserve the transparency and timing, you know... Less is more. And for that you need a super duper mosfet that can deliver 180-250W and deal with 50-100A alone.
If you want an amp that 'measures well' (whatever that means) you can build an amp with class D modules or with lots of transistors per channel. It will have power and low THD etc but it might sound like crap.

I do.

mrkaic's picture

Your unwillingness to focus on the amplifier and to keep slinging personal insults is also played out. I am now convinced you have little to no understanding of audio.

dissily mordentroge's picture

Too often I've read angry discussions of the kind above. What is it about audiophiles (audiophools?) that appears to make so many outraged at the enjoyment of others and why are these differences so often expressed in a vitriolic manner with all the maturity of a six year old? An unanswerable question I suggest short of abducting a large sample of such persons from an audio show, isolating them from their toys and subjecting them to several years of psychoanalysis and blind listening tests.
There are so many unanswerable questions in this context. Take for instance the question of why results of clinical hearing tests given audio reviewers aren't published along with their reviews.
My take on the Gamut V Cost controversy? OK maybe it's not worth sum total of research,production, advertising and material costs involved but why get angry if you imagine purchasers are either too deaf or too rich to make what you think is a rational purchase? Maybe we're back at that other hoary old question " Do we really know if laboratory test results tell us everything we need to know to characterise how a component is heard by EVERY listener?
Which leads me back to that other elephant in the room. Can we ever be sure any audio reviewer/audiophile will hear the same piece of equipment the way we do?

mkwglyg's picture

After reading this review, I must admit I'm aghast! Shocked!
It says the Gamut Di150 sounded flat using a standard power cord but suddenly becomes fantastic when using that isotek power cord. Wow! Seriously? Wow!
Does the isotek powercord possess some special superpowers that can raise the dead?
C'mon! if a 10grand equipment cannot even sound right using a standard power cord, something is seriously wrong with it, no cable however magical is going to save it, period.
However, if what the reviewer said is true, then i must get that isotek powercord for all my equipment, cd players, preamp, amps, everything! But surely not the Gamut Di150 which i am highly suspicious of judging from this review.

Get that isotek power cord!

Note: After doing a search on user opinions on the isotek cable, some claimed that its a waste of money. Now I'm totally lost.

vilasound's picture

News flash! EVERY amplifier sounds flat with a standard power cord.
The GamuT sounds much better with the Isotek but you have no idea how much better it sounds with even better powercords.
The reality is that all amplifiers are muffled by poor power cords. Best and easiest upgrade there is out there.

M.Mahdi's picture

I think solid-state amplifiers are cleaner than tubes. Tubes aren't anything but harmonious pleasing distortion! This solid-state amp is the second-best amplifier in the world. the first one is also a solid-state