Gato Audio AMP-150 AE Integrated
High End Class A/AB Integrated Amplifier
" Gato have managed to combine values where few have succeed ...
notably a level of Musicality that brings the listener to the very door of audiophile nirvana"
DANIEL BREZINA, HI-FI VOICE
The Gato Audio AMP-150 AE is our multi award winning integrated amplifier, including Editors Choices, Best Buy and Outstanding Excellence accolades from the leading audio media. Our reference of integrated amplifiers !
AE stands for "Authentic Excellence"
An integrated amplifier of the highest aesthetic, technical and audio reproductive quality. Beautiful, simple and functional by design. As easy as child's play to operate. Resourceful enough to hold the most power-hungry speakers in a viselike grip, yet at the same time musical, respectful and authentic. ...
... the result is stunning!
"Teaching it to Sing"
Thousands of hours have been invested on "voicing", a process where each and every component has been carefully selected and optimized to ensure that the AMP-150 does not leave any 'unwanted fingerprints' on the music. The way the AMP-150 plays is therefore quite unusual; aurally, this is about the closest you can get to a straight wire with built-in amplification..
Pure Power !
With more than 250W RMS @ 4ohms available in each channel, the AMP-150 delivers more than enough voltage to avoid clipping in the high peaks, offering loads of headroom and musical freedom..
The Gato Audio TwinFET technology has been developed to counter problems and compromises that are present in the majority of power amplifiers. Our TwinFET circuit solves these electrical and sonic problems at the point where they are created, thereby avoiding adding compromising correctional circuits and components.
This is the basic reason why you will only find two output transistors per channel in the AMP-150s output stage, one for the positive and one for the negative part of a sine wave, nothing more, nothing less.
The AMP-150 AE offers a wide range of analogue inputs and line outputs ... notably,
the HT input can turn the amplifier into a fixed level power amplifier for use in a surround setup, without compromising the sonic performance ... see more in manual below :
Summary of Main Features
2 x 150W@8ohm / 2 x 250W@4ohm
... and ... 1 x 15W RMS 8 Ω in Class A !!
Class A/AB output stage
TwinFET technology output stage
High bandwidth power supply
Balanced and unbalanced inputs
Analogue multi display, clear and informative
Direct function; enables use in home theater systems
Designed, developed and built in Copenhagen, Denmark
2x 150 W RMS 8 Ω - 2x 250 W RMS 4 Ω
... and ... 2 x 15W RMS 8 Ω in Class A !!
20 Hz-20 kHz - 0.5 dB, and 2 Hz-100 kHz - 3 dB
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION
< 0,05% at rated power
SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO
> 100 dB
20 kΩ RCA or 40 kΩ Balanced
RECOMMENDED SPEAKER LOAD
4 -16 Ω
Speakers < 1.5 ohm
BALANCED ANALOGUE INPUTS
1 x gold plated XLR Neutrik
UNBALANCED ANALOGUE INPUTS
4 x gold plated RCA
BALANCED ANALOGUE OUTPUTS
1 x gold plated XLR Neutrik
UNBALANCED ANALOGUE OUTPUTS
1 x gold plated RCA
2 pair of gold-plated safety banana
SIZE AND WEIGHT
115 VAC/230 VAC, 50 Hz/60 Hz
STANDBY / IDLE / MAX : < 1W / 40W / 600W
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D)
325 x 105 x 420 mm / 12.8 x 4.1 x 16.5 in
14 kg / 30.4 lb
What they say ...
"Then, it is the ears that rejoice thanks to a disarmingly musical restitution imprinted with a mystical and sensual contrast of strength and softness ... of rigor and elegance"
DOMINIQUE MAFRAND - Haute Fidelite
"the rigor under the curves"
...or when the useful joins the pleasant. This is roughly how one could describe the concept of the AMP-150 AE : a powerful integrated capable of dumping 250 W into 4 ohms, housed under an Italian body. Except for the fact that this device is a pure Danish creation … A beautiful creation housed in a sumptuous chassis made of aluminum parts whose sides are the cylindrical heatsinks for the two pairs of output Mos-Fet transistors.
The cover is made up of a frame covered with a lacquer-style varnished wooden plate (three finishes available), and the back side is fitted with a fine collection of RCAs and XLRs. As for the front face, it alone deserves a 'detour'. And then there are the two superb solid aluminum volume and source selection knobs - whose smooth handling would almost make us forget the no less magnificent RC-1 aluminum profile remote control ... and the two standby and mute buttons. The central meter abandons the use of diodes for a needle galvanometer with a very vintage car tachometer look. What an original idea!
The inputs, switched by relays, are symbolized by icons shown on each input on the rear panel and represent of the signal to be processed, such as the balance for the balanced input for example. As for the needle, it indicates the volume adjustment level.
We then inspect the interior. We see the regulated linear power supplies with a generous toroidal transformer... the power amplifier stage, and also the various monitoring circuits installed on three fiberglass double-sided printed circuits in with thick copper tracks.
The power stage works with J-Fet transistors at the input, and power Mos-Fets at the output. This power stage consists of one push/pull pair per channel capable of delivering 150A, and whose emitted heat is regulated by an active cooling system (!) ... via a microprocessor. This circuit measures the current of the audio signal and the temperature of the Mos-Fet for each channel and, if necessary, activates the cooling in order to maintain the temperature at an average value.
The AMP-150 offers one of the most beautiful aesthetic lines that an integrated can offer to date. It was one of the key points of the design specifications. The materials, the design, the smoothness of the dials, the originality of the display which breaks with the age-old LED diodes, the density of the installation of the components, everything has been thought out and superbly produced. Well done!
Simply delivering 250W into 4 ohms from a simple push/pull pair of MosFets commands respect. The power supply is sized accordingly, and it shows. All the circuits fit on three cards, the connectors are soldered directly to one of them. Wired cabling is virtually banned from the Gato. Excellent initiative.
The AMP-150 distills a racy message in the image of its aesthetics. The choice of Mos-Fet output contributes to thicken the bass, to give it more body while maintaining a first-rate impact. The electric bass line in the introduction of "Dis-moi" by Baz provides a striking effect of presence of the power and articulation delivered by the instrument, whilst the loudspeakers remain under permanent control of the Gato.
The designer set his sights on power Mos-Fet transistors for their percussive sound character but also for their softness that is reminiscent of tubes. This is not a bad choice, as demonstrated by the AMP-150 whose restitution mixes flexibility of texture, softness of rendering, and detailed harmonic analysis. The voice of the soprano Simone Kermes interpreting "Ha vinto amor" loses the extra-brilliance that most transistor units tend to highlight ... aka, the false "cathedral" effect ... all this, while retaining an intensely 'documented' depth.
At the top of the spectrum we discover a sound signature made up of a beautiful abundance of sonic details embellished with an excellent sense of texture. There is nevertheless a hint of hesitancy in the extreme treble which comes across as a little introverted. However, we prefer this to the very artificial exuberance manifested by many of the AMP-150's competitors. Nevertheless, the trailing edge of the notes remain credible, whilst devolving into a shorter but coherent subjective gradient.
To be frank with you, when we opened the device and discovered the two filter capacitors ... only two ... we had doubts about the dynamic capabilities of the Gato. This was a Fatal error of judgement, because the AMP-150 bravely thwarted all the musical pitfalls we threw at it ... in particular the introduction of "Dis-moi" by Baz where the drumbeats, when restituted at high SPL, resounded in a viscerally physical way without the slightest concern for saturation or of distortion. Our Respect !
Transients - Leading Edge
The Gato is a fast amplifier in the sense that it totally respects the rhythm of the score being listened to. Without sounding 'supersonic', it nevertheless attacks each note with the necessary and sufficient speed. Consequently, the note is declined in a harmonic gradient of the most realistic nature, which makes us believe in what we are listening to. Readability is quite excellent with precise note outlines.
Another consequence of this velocity, is that the Gato offers us a very well proportioned 'sound space' with a clear focus on the performers. The depth layering respects the sound recording. Compared to our benchmark system, the virtual volume of the sound stage is perhaps a little less ample, but it is the perfect spatial harmony of the AMP-150 that makes the reproduction absolutely believable.
The Gato AMP-150 is a great 'seducer' because it succeeds in offering a 'listening pace' that is both fast and rigorous -- very much in line with the known virtues of transistors -- but also a 'cadance' which remains soft and refined -- qualities that are more readily attributed to tubes.
The extension of the bandwidth combines with a linear subjective balance. A clever cocktail ... where neutrality remains fundamentally sovereign.
Value for money
This integrated has indisputable technical and musical qualities. Connectivity, however, is more analog than digital. At a time when the general trend is turning towards the installation of DACs in "integrated" type electronics, we would have appreciated even just a USB input.
This remark, however, in no way detracts from the irresistible charm conveyed by the attentiveness and the extreme care taken in the design and the manufacturing of this entirely Danish product.
The very Italian curves of Gato AMP-150's design seduce at first glance.
Then, it is the ears that rejoice thanks to a disarmingly musical restitution imprinted with a mystical and sensual contrast of strength and softness ...
of rigor and elegance.
The very neat construction, and the noble materials of the chassis, combine to contribute undeniable 'added-value' to this very elegant and very musical High End device