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 title—told 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.

Stephen Scharf's picture

Great write-up, Jason, accurate and right on the money. Glad you were able to check out the Intuitive exhibit; they were one of my "top four" roooms at the show, I thought, for sound quality.

James D's picture

Hi Jason, thanks for stopping by our room. Now that I look at the picture, I see that you came in on Saturday (Sunday we added plants and backlighting to the front of the room). We actually didn't get the systemn up and running until 9:30 am Saturday. I wish you would have had a chance to come back for more listening on Sunday. An extra day to move the speakers a little and little more time to let the equipment settle in made a huge difference in the sound from Saturday to Sunday. Thanks again for the write up, glad you enjoyed it.

George's picture

An AC power conditioner, with no capacitors or inductors, no filters. So it would have no AC transformer either? Since that is an inductor. Hmmm $7,000. I bet it is a sealed module too, cus of it's propritory stuff right? For $7K does it at least get UL listed. Does it have magic pebbles in there, come on..

Geardaddy's picture

George, I suggest you do a blinded, listening session with conditioners of your choice and this unit. An audio friend of mine who is as hard nosed, cynical, and "objective" as anyone heard the Intuitive Design system after hours with and without the conditioner and was stunned by the difference it made. You could write his observations off on the basis of audio placebo effect, but I find that highly unlikley. Its a brave new world. If you don't get the opportunity to do the test, I will. I have a unit on order.

Duane's picture

George,Dale Pitcher told me and one other person what he has done inside this conditioner and we swore we would not tell because it has not been patented yet.I can tell you that what he has done has solved forty different issues that have not been address so far. I can also tell you that the AC sign wave coming out is phase perfect and is so clean that you don't need Caps ahead of the bridge rectifier in a power amp anymore.