Gamut is one of the most low-key manufacturers we know. The Danish brand has been around since the 1980s, but has never made a wide impact, which is a shame, because it makes some excellent products.
We reviewed its starter £15,000 pre/power pairing, the D3i/D200i, earlier this year and it impressed us so much that we decided to swap our long-serving reference Bryston amps for the Gamut combination.
That’s not the kind of thing we do often or lightly - the Brystons have been our reference for the best part of a decade - but it just shows how highly we rate the Gamut pairing.
We went to visit the company earlier this week. It’s based in Årre, a small town situated around 10km north east of Esbjerg.
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The company’s headquarters are based in an unassuming building near some unfeasibly neat houses and a small supermarket. The day-to-day running is taken care of by just two people: Ole Rytz Jørgensen, the MD and Benno Baun Meldgaard, the head of R&D.
We were expecting a bustling factory, but what we got was an office with a meeting room, a larger area where finished products are kept (some still to be boxed) and some space reserved for development work. Servicing is also done here.
Gamut RS9 speakers
We notice a pair of huge RS9 speakers in the corner, alongside a pile of boxed M250i monoblocs (£8,600). The speakers are the company’s top current model and cost around £80,000. The cabinets are lovely, having an appealing natural finish rather than the more typical high gloss of rivals.
Looking around we’re reminded of the wide range of products Gamut makes, from amplification combinations and three ranges of speakers all the way to specially developed cables. None of it is cheap, but all of it looks beautifully engineered and made with care.
The main demo room
Downstairs is the company’s well equipped demo room. It's acoustically treated, but in a light way and sounds good. The reference system consists of a D3i preamp feeding a pair of M250i monoblocs. Speakers are a pair of RS5s (£22,000), linked to the amplifier with some prototype speaker cable the company is developing.
We have a choice of three sources; the current CD3 CD player (£5,300), a prototype of the forthcoming DAC/CD transport unit and a recently obtained, but decades old, Revox PR99 reel to reel machine. Once in full flow the system sounds great.
Gamut designs all its products in-house but uses the manufacturing facilities of outside contractors (predominantly Danish) to make its products.
One of the main suppliers is Kvist Industries, a high-end OEM furniture company that makes cabinets for Gamut’s flagship RS speaker range as well as a range of products for top-end furniture shops. Kvist is also a major shareholder in Gamut, a situation that came about when the hi-fi brand was struggling during the recent financial crisis.
Things have picked up considerably since then, with Gamut in the process of revamping its complete range and rebuilding its presence in markets across the world.
We looked around one of Kvist’s facilities and came across a clever press that bends wooden panels. The technology looked familiar, and it turns out that Kvist built the curved cabinets for the larger B&W 800 series speakers for many years before B&W took production wholly in-house.
Let's make some speakers
We go to another factory to see the manufacturer of Gamut’s RS speakers.
The Kvist-made cabinets meet sophisticated drive units and carefully calibrated crossovers. We notice speakers from other brands are assembled in the same building.
Gamut is a small but determined company. By outsourcing the manufacturing side to specialist OEM suppliers, it feels it can respond to market demands more quickly and deliver top-class quality.
Yet at the heart of the company’s thinking is still sound quality and how to give customers the best musical experience. These are sentiments we can’t argue with.
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