In anticipation of my review of the GamuT RS3 loudspeaker in Hi-Fi+ issue 127, the GamuT team asked if I might consider driving the loudspeakers with a pair of their 250Wpc M250i monoblock amplifiers (priced at £8,658 each). Naturally, I was happy to oblige. Little did I realise at the time that the arrival of the M250i amps would force me to reassess my thinking on the profound, and in this case profoundly positive, impact that truly great amplifiers can have on the overall sound quality of one’s audio system.
While some claim, “all high-quality amps sound pretty much the same”, most Hi-Fi+ readers know that there are in fact clear-cut differences between amplifiers that can be heard by almost anyone willing to listen carefully and critically to his or her audio system. Even so, many of us also have a general notion of the probable magnitude of the sonic changes that amplifier substitutions are apt to make. Quite frankly, after installing the M250i amps in my system and giving them the GamuT-recommended half-hour of warm-up, my preconceived notions regarding the impact of amplifier swaps were immediately and completely upended (in a good way). I say this because the big GamuT amps dramatically took charge of my audio system and transformed it in delightful and somewhat unexpected ways.
Over the years, many of us have encountered (or perhaps even written) amplifier reviews that essentially declare that listeners face a dilemma. They can either choose lithe, agile, and nuanced amplifiers that, sadly, might have relatively limited power output capabilities, or they can select big, robust, and powerful amplifiers that are long on muscle, but potentially not very subtle or quick on their feet. What’s an audiophile to do, then? The Danish firm GamuT responds to this thorny topic with a suitably gnomic question: why not both? GamuT’s answer comes in the form of the M250i monoblocks.
The M250i is a very powerful, wide bandwidth (5Hz –100kHz) amplifier, capable of delivering a conservatively rated 250 watts into an 8 Ohm load, 500 watts into a 4 Ohm load, and a mind-bending 900 watts into a 2 Ohm load (actually, GamuT says the M250i is safe with loads ranging all the way down to 1.5 Ohms, which is the point at which GamuT, in its own words, draws “a line between what is a loudspeaker load, and what is a short circuit”). As you might expect, each amplifier sports a massive power supply complete with a huge toroidal transformer and beefy filter capacitors, which take up considerable space within the amp’s chassis. Internally, the amps use GamuT’s proprietary WormHole wires throughout.