I don't have much experience with the Extremas, but I own and know both Gamut and Clayton very well. They are both neutral amplifiers without a hint of stridency.
The Clayton M300's and the Gamut D200 or M250 (I have a custom supercharged "Gamut-like" unit purchased directly from the original Gamut designer/engineer (near Copenhagen) who designed the single mosfet pair/channel output) are both state of the art in my opinion, and can compete with anything out there regardless of price.
Describe you speaker's lower frequency signature.
Audiobrian -- can you elaborate on the major differences you hear between the two amps?
Usually that is an easy question. But strangely, and happily, these two amplifiers, despite significant differences in topology, have nearly identical sonic signatures. Remarkeably accurate, tonally correct midrange, extended articulate bass and treble. IMHO, both easily better the usual crowd (ML, Krell, Ayre, etc...all very fine products). Both are just natural sounding and mate equally well with SS or tube preamps; both single ended an XLR inputs on the Gamut/Gamut-like (I am not able to legally call my units Gamut- although Michael Edinger, it's builder, made Gamut..well..Gamut!)only XLR with the Claytons.
Both can easily drive nearly any speaker I can think of, with rare exception.
BTW if you have an interest in a custom UA D220 (supercharged Gamut D 200 mkIII) I am now using the UA M300 monoblocks (supercharged Gamut M250's)....I alternate these with the Claytons..... please let me know...sonic signatures identical, just a wee bit more power with the monoblocks. I have never before had any interest in selling, but with the UA M300's and the Clayton M300's, I really don't use the fabulous UA D220.
Enjoy your halloween weekend!
Well, I was going to chime in, but togs may be in hybernation for the winter. I think the Gamut amps are one of the best kept secrets in the US. In europe, its a different story. The D200MrkII which I personally own is one of the most neutral, resolving pieces I have ever heard. Period. It has a unique signature in that, depending on the type of speakers you use, it will mold itself to their performance characteristics. Sounds weird I know. For example, some say that the Gamuts lack bass weight. When connected to my JBL 4312C's...they do. But, they dont. Those speakers are designed with an almost perfectly flat frequency response. Almost. You would not expect much bass from those 12 inch minimum excursion woofers. BUT, when hooked up to my VTL 150's, its a completely different story. Now, on the other hand, when the D200II is connected to my Theil 2.4's, the bass extension goes beyond what the VTL's can do. I can assure you it has nothing to do with tube vs SS amplification personas. The Gamut has a peculiar way of integrating with different speakers. Maybe its the single huge Mosfet design? Though I can't wrap my brain around that. The claytons are wonders in their own right. Very similar indeed as Audiobrian mentions. Honestly, I would go for the Gamut, and thats only because I have a bias. You really cant go wrong either way.
I agree with the above comments that the Gamut amps are excellent.
My experience was after trying several SS amps (McIntosh, Bryston 2 channel, Boulder), I was still searching for an amp to bring my Eggleston Andra 3s to life. I was having trouble getting them to deliver the deep dynamic bass I knew they were capable of creating.
I had read several positive comments about the Gamut amps but did not have any experience. My choice was between the Bryston monoblocks (28BSST) or the Gamut monoblocks (M250i). In the end, I decided to try the Gamut M250is which have a lower power rating than the Brystons but the dealer assured me that low end authority would not be a problem.
As many audiophiles know, unfortunately lots of products fail to live up to our expectations however this was one situation where the opposite was true.
From the minute I turned the amps on they immediately took control of the woofers and created the exact power, resolution and transparency I was looking for in my system. The bass impact was immediate and visceral (which I really enjoy). The bigger surprise for me was the ability of the amps to resolve the low level midrange and upper midrange detail while still sounding very natural.
While I have switched out my fair share of components over the last few years, I know that these amps will stay in my system for a long time as they are the best I have ever used
What do you folks think of the Claytons in general?I may be considering the M-300's driving Revel Salon Ultima II's down the road.
The M-300's are fabulous and I am driving the Revel Ultima Salon II as well. With a VAC preamp I couldn't ask for more!.
It's unfortunate that Clayton and Wilson Shen are not more well known as his class A monoblocks may be the most natural sounding solid state amplifiers available, with authority and extension.
The Gamuts are also wonderful, but I might give a slight edge to the M-300's.
Audiobrian,thanks for the info-:)
Funny thing is....I too would seriously consider the VAC pre/phonostage(not the highest priced one,but the "um cheap" $12,000 model...heh,heh.
I was able to compare that pre/phonostage to the TOP VTL units,along with the TOP Zanden Pre/phonostage,and both myself and the other folks present felt the VAC was better than the VTL,and equal to the mega buck Zanden(except when the Zanden was in equalized mode,for Decca pressings).
A great mating,I'd hope.....but...
I am very concerned about te "heat issue" from 300 wpc of class "A".I've gotten superb results in the past with a modded Rowland two chassis 8T class A/B amp,that ran ice cold,but sounded fabulous.
I don't want to have to sit in a Speedo,to hear music-:)
Btw,forgot to ask if something like a class A/B Pass X-350.5 or the "seemingly" bargain priced Plinius SB-301 will be competitive with the Claytons?This driving the Revel Salon Ultima II's,of course(they need power).
I'm leaning to Clayton,but the heat issue is a BIG one,because I've been there before,and it can be a royal pain.
The VAC Ren III with phono (12K) is almost the equal of the Signature model (18K)....and it mates fabulous with the Claytons....as I said, I believe VAC preamps are the "cats meow" both sonically and in their ability to mate with any amplifier.
I have been pleasantly surprised that the heat issue of the M-300's has not been as bad as I thought and I live in FL. A ceiling fan in the listening room and central air conditioning for the entire house has worked well. By the way, the low power setting, allowing 200 wpc in class A emits much less heat and sounds almost as good. Of course the M-200's are another possibility.
Happy Holidays, God Bless America, and good listening.
Oh to answer your question on Pass and Plinius...yes I'm sure they are competitive, but IMHO not the equal of the the Claytons, especially the M-300's.
One nice thing about the excellent Revel Ultima Salon II loudspeakers are they sound great with most excellent amplifiers with sufficient power....but I've enjoyed them MOST with Clayton and Gamut....extremely natural and accurate sound.