ConclusionThis Gato Amp 150 is one to cherish. Yes, it matters when a device looks good. But in our experience, only if it sounds good as well. And this Danish beauty does both! Only compliments here.
This Gato Amp 150 is very reasonably priced. Even if nothing had been done on design, we would rate this amplifier excellent in compared to the competition.
Design matters. It looks good in your living room, it increases the acceptance of an audio device among your housemates who are fed up with these ugly black dust-catching and blinking boxes. Furthermore, it performs just as well as a no-design audio device. This is undoubtedly High End audio for a very reasonable price. No doubt about it: Alpha Approved! Or maybe we should add another category: Alpha Partner Approved.
CD is OK
This turned out to be a good choice as the Piega’s involved us into in the music and consequently we payed less attention to what we were missing. The sound was natural, spacious and neutral. The Amp 150 kept the Piega’s well under control.
We switched sources; from the Metrum Ambre Roon to the Denon DCD A-110 CD player. During the Christmas vacations we managed to get our hands on the CD (Teldec label) of our reference track ‘Little Fugue in G by Bach, played by the Jacques Loussier Trio. We are curious to see how this sounds from the Denon CD player.
Well, the differences are obvious. What struck us most was the relaxed and natural sound of the Denon and how well the Gato Amp 150 was able to reproduce this. We are still not quite sure what exactly causes our listening experience via CD to be more pleasant than via the stream (a FLAC file, downloaded via Qobuz on the Alpha media server). An even lower noise floor?
Unlike in the review of the Denon, we hear less the energy and ‘up beat’ character of the Denon but more the authority and overview. The Ambre, by comparison, delivers more of the music in parts and Denon creates a nice complete picture. Well… sort of. You notice we can’t find the exact wording for it yet but we will eventually. And we keep noted that the Gato reveals all these details very nicely.
And rest assured, we were not just playing Loussier. Classical, rock, singer-songwriter, internet radio were also transported to the speakers with musical pleasure by the Gato. The match with the Piega is really good; we can listen to this for hours without getting tired. At low volume there is also plenty of detail to be heard and when it is allowed to be loud, it is just very, very nice! The AMP 150 is fast, 3D, accurate and has oomph. We instantly can hear if it’s right: match with speakers, the recording. And all this without sounding analytical; this Gato is putting the music first.
We have another Gato to test; we can hardly wait!