Gato Audio PWR-222
High End Class A/AB Mono Power Amplifier
"I’d say the Gato Audio PWR-222s delivered some of the silkiest sounds I’ve heard in recent times, wrapped up in a (nonmagnetic) suit that would do Savile Row proud."
KEN KESSLER, HI-FI NEWS
The PWR-222 is a reference in analogue power amplification. With our own TwinFET technology it delivers a staggering 250W/8ohm and can deal with even the most power hungry speakers.
Years and Years of Development
The PWR-222 is the culmination of development work started back in 2008 with the
AMP-150 integrated amplifier. We have spent the past seven years developing this technology and taking it even further.
The PWR-222 is the perfect partner for the Gato Audio PRD-3S preamplifier.
Not only will they sonically be in perfect harmony, but the PWR-222s trigger circuit will allow for a coordinated on/off and standby switching with the PRD-3S, this enabling a user friendly every day operation.
The PWR-222 delivers a staggering 250W/8ohm and can deal with even the most power hungry speakers. It features a 700W super low noise toroidal power transformer, 44.000uF of RIFA capacitors, two 500amp MOS-FETS, and WBT NexGen terminals.
The super low noise input stage, and the carefully optimized PCB design enables a S/N ratio of more than 115dB and a bandwidth of far beyond 100kHz.
The mechanical dial display has three settings : The First setting will act as a VU meter ... indicating output and clipping level. The second setting will show the current temperature of the amplifier ...and the third setting will turn off the display completely.
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 in the PWR-222s output stage, one for the positive and one for the negative part of a sine wave, nothing more, nothing less.
Summary of Main Features
250W@8ohm / 450W@4ohm
... and the first 15W@8ohm are in Class A !!!
TwinFET technology Class A/AB output stage
High bandwidth power supply
Balanced and unbalanced input
Analogue multi display, clear and informative
12V standby trigger
Designed, developed and built in Copenhagen, Denmark
Official US List - $10,300 / Mono pair
Contact us for Current Euro Price-to-Dollar Price Quote
In agreement with Gato Audio, we exactly match their online prices
Example of Atelier 13 Audio Price Match :
Gato Euro Price / Gato PWR-222 Mono Pair - €7,990
Exchange rate @ 03/10/2022 is US$ 1.10 to €1.00
Atelier 13 Audio Price Quote at 03/10/2022 order date :
€7,990 x 1.10 = $8,790 + 2.85% Conversion fee = $9,040
Please Note :
The price quoted at the date of order includes free shipping
1x 250 W RMS 8 Ω - 1x 450 W RMS 4 Ω
... and ... 1 x 15W RMS 8 Ω in Class A !!
20 Hz-20 kHz - 0.1 dB, and 2 Hz-100 kHz - 3 dB
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION
SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO
> 115 dB
100 kΩ RCA or 100 kΩ Balanced
RECOMMENDED SPEAKER LOAD
4 -16 Ω
Speakers < 1.5 Ω
BALANCED ANALOGUE INPUTS
1 x gold plated XLR Neutrik
UNBALANCED ANALOGUE INPUTS
1 x gold plated RCA
1 pair of WBT NextGen
12 V 1 x mini jack
SIZE AND WEIGHT
115 VAC/230 VAC, 50 Hz/60 Hz, 800W max
STANDBY / IDLE / MAX : < 1W / 55W / 800W
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D)
325 x 105 x 400 mm / 12.8 x 4.1 x 15.7 in
16 kg / 35.3 lb
Mighty slim, but also mighty powerful, Gato’s flagship amplifier does not use a Class D architecture to achieve this performance – unlike its DIA-250 and DIA- 400S models. Instead, and in common with the AMP-150, the PWR-222 combines a linear PSU with a single pair of massive, industrial- specification MOSFETs. These new FETs – designed for high current switching in electric automobiles – are vastly over-specified in terms of the current and voltage handling required for speaker-driving applications, and so, according to Gato, offer a far more elegant solution than the multiple, paralleled pairs of transistors used by most other high power amplifiers. Of course, employing just one N-type and one P-type MOSFET per channel would necessitate extraordinary component matching if the positive and negative-going portions of the audio waveform were not to be asymmetric, and distorted.
Gato ensures precise matching by using two identical N-type MOSFETs per channel and inverting the signal to one in the preceding (bipolar) input stage. Distortion is very low and almost purely 2nd/3rd harmonic in nature.
Look closely at the VU-Meter of this amplifier, and you’ll see a red marker on its ‘VU’ display. When the illuminated needle reaches this point, the PWR-222 will be delivering exactly 25W/8ohm or 10% of its rated output.
In practice, this beefy little monoblock will sustain closer to 275W / 8ohm and 490W / 4ohm ... with 335W, 645W and 1.14kW possible under dynamic conditions into 8, 4 and 2 ohm with a current-limited -- 26.9A !! -- 725W into 1 ohm ... all at <1% THD.
Distortion is very low through bass and midrange frequencies at ~0.0007% (0dBW), increasing with power output to ~0.001% at 10W and to just ~0.015% from 20W to its rated 250W. Versus frequency, distortion increases from 0.0015% / 1kHz to 0.0095% / 10kHz and 0.016% / 20kHz (10W/8ohm) which is significantly lower than that measured for the AMP-150 AE. CCIR intermodulation distortion is also very low at just 0.00045% (19kHz / 20kHz, re. 10W).
But where the PWR-222 really scores is with its
fabulously low noise floor, that ensures a record-breaking 103.4dB A-weighted S/N ratio (re 0dBW) ... and 127.4dB (re. rated output).
This is not far shy of 20dB above average, and 10dB above the performance of the ‘quietest’ integrated models. The low +20.9dB gain (balanced in) helps here, of course, but the PWR-222 also benefits from a very flat and extended response (20Hz-20kHz ±0.02 dB and 1Hz-100kHz +0.0/–0.5dB) ... and from a moderately low but very flat output impedance (0.011-0.014ohm, 20Hz-20kHz).
Warm-up time for consistent performance is about 20 minutes
What they say ...
Compact, commanding but not Class D – Gato Audio’s flagship monoblocks turn to the switching MOSFETs used in electric cars to deliver huge power with exceptional grace
KEN KESSLER - Hi-Fi News
These amplifers exude quality, and have styling far removed from the other extreme of high-end design: the studio/lab look of Audio Research, McIntosh or Nagra. That also includes GamuT, which shares some engineering heritage with Gato, although it’s less utilitarian than a typical valve amp. While pro-gear styling is equally appealing, such looks alone cannot seduce anyone other than a pure audiophile. If those units’ raison d’être remains the sound, they compensate for their lab looks with superlative build quality. But when the Venn diagram is drawn to show how audio moved on from the strictly utilitarian (eg, 1st-generation Croft) to these Danish delights, Gato will rest in the quadrant with D’Agostino, dCS and MSB.
It seemed appropriate that I would open up with my cherished Lou Rawls album, as I have been eyeing up Gato’s amplifiers for a few years, seeing them at hi-fi shows around the world and ever wondering if they sounded as good as they looked. I needn’t have worried. The title track from At Last oozed with warmth, and the space around Rawls and Dianne Reeves was deliciously tube-like. Make of that what you will ... for, either the Gato PWR-222s have been voiced to sound that way ... or, I was hearing the signature sound of the all-valve preamp that was feeding them in un-trammelled form. What I recall of the GamuT M250i suggests that the resemblance is certainly genetic, but the Gato amps are a trace less clinical. Which is fine by me. In some ways, though, At Last flatters systems, so I turned to the raunch of Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day and was rewarded with what I had hoped for: ... something grandiose.
I was worried that the PWR- 222s were so refined – every nuance of ‘At Last’ had been revealed, especially the vocal textures – that they may not be able to convey the "majestic". Regardless of speaker (and sounding like a marauding army is difficult through small two-ways), the Gato PWR-222s were up to the task. The sheer power of the younger Bonham’s drumming wonderfully exercised the Wilsons’ bass capabilities, for the PWR-222s delivered mass, extension and slam, the latter balancing perfectly between controlled and over-damped. At the very worst, there were insignificantly tiny moments of constraint, but they were only audible if you went looking for them. That in itself indicates that the overall coherence of the PWR-222s is such that you’re never tempted to tear apart the performances, looking for problems. And the scale is so impressive that turning to 60-year-old mono sessions proved more rewarding than I had hoped. Then again, I’d rather listen to T-Bone Walker than just about any other blues guitarist in history.
T-Bone Blues is one of those seminal releases, that you
rather expect it to be an experience. Ain’t many albums that can boast Barney Kessel as second guitar! What you can use this for, if the music hasn’t swept you away with its warmth and fluidity to the point where hi-fi matters don’t ...er ... matter, is for detail, speed and liquidity. Walker’s guitar playing, which inspired B B King, Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix, is so good that even my cynic of a son went slack-jawed upon first hearing.
Nothing about the PWR-222s deprived the sound of either the period feel – as analogue-sounding as CD gets – or of the attack of each note. ‘Attack’ may be a misleading word for an album that is, for the most part, so laid-back, but the speed of Walker’s playing is best described as cramming in more notes than seems humanly possible. He doesn’t kick out here so much as play the guitar with absolute mastery and restraint. It’s not a ‘loud’ album. Each note matters, and the PWR-222s know it. This is in direct contrast to the Led Zeppelin recording, in which the music comes in like a tidal wave. Amusingly, most of the Walker sessions involved a four-piece, just like Led Zep. The difference was all about decibels. The ’222s dealt with both with total equanimity. So how about something in between?
Kodo’s Heartbeat : Drummers Of Japan is minimalist in that one is listening to a player or two. It is not intended to sound Spectorian by virtue of the scale of the orchestra. Here, it’s the scale of the instrument, and the percussive wallop of Kodo-drumming that demands effortless power from an amplifier, as well as leading transient speed and control and smooth decay. For the Gato PWR-222s, it was business as usual. As before, the scale of the soundstage in all dimensions was impressive and convincing. The reproduction of air – and with Kodo, that means a workout for your woofers – was seamless and, yes, spectacular. It was a seductive sound, and I had no trouble listening for hours on end. Which should tell you that this amplifier is also vice-free when it comes to sibilance or other annoyances that have you turning to the paracetamol. I would never hazard to suggest that solid-state amps are inherently hissy, while knowing that this is a clever MOSFET design – see PM’s tech boxout on p51 – doesn’t always mean one will hear trannies trying to sound like KT88s. That said, it reminded me more of the ARC REF 75SE with their KT150s than I expected. Were there any sonic vices to which I could point? Aside from extreme instances, not really.
D’Agostino’s Momentum amps typically apply greater mass, the stage depth is deeper via the REF 75SE ... yadayadayada. I hate dissecting the sound like this, but it’s called ‘reviewing’. I’d say the Gato PWR-222s delivered some of the silkiest sounds I’ve heard in recent times, wrapped up in a (non- magnetic) suit that would do Savile Row proud !
While I’m shallow enough to admit that I fell in love with Gato Audio’s distinctive electronics years ago at a Munich show ... before ever listening to them ... I know that a sexy chassis is never reason enough to justify buying a pair of monoblocks at this price point. The good news is that, yes, these sound as wonderful as the styling promises. And if your wife / partner does not approve, I can also recommend a good optician !
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