I still have not heard the Gamut, but my understanding (from a dealer) is that there have been substantial delays in availability while they work a kink of some kind out of the product.
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cross the Gamut off your list- I demo'd it extensively- extrememly light in the bass. Highs were clean and clear, but thats' about it IMHO. What is your price point? I am loving my Spectral SDR3000 transport, and there are a couple for sale right now on the 'gon. Paired with an Audio Note dac level 3 or above and you're in for a treat...
The Wadia is overall better than the Gamut and more than twice the price. The Wadia has a very convincing sound without any digital edge whatsoever. It is the best all-in one player that I have heard. Close to analog, but lacks that last bit of life, energy and air, that only a good moving coil can produce.
The Gamut which I have in my system has the same lack of digital edge like the Wadia with a balanced sound; treble energy matches bass energy. Soundstaging is also excellent (better than most cdps), but not like the Wadia.
I have not heard the Sonic Frontiers so I cannot comment on that player.
My Gamut is the original. I read in a post at the Digital Asylum from the designer of the Gamut, he wrote that the "revised" CD1R has an improved power supply. And that this improvement affects the midrange not bass. I had a number of audiophile friends over to listen to the CD1 and none of them thought that the bass was lacking. Again, the strengths of this player are balance (no bass or treble boost), lack of digital edge, and soundstaging. All of which the Wadia does equally well or better, but at more than twice the cost.
I had the opportunity to compare the GamuT to the Wadia 830 before buying. With the Wadia, I foudn myself thinking about the detail, resolution and soundtaging; with the GamuT I found myself pulled into the music at an emotional level. Critical listening, as difficult as it was, revealed that all the same details were there, but they weren't presented as such; they were a part of the musical fabric.
For what it's worth, I own the De Capos as well, and the GamuT has a similar balance and musicality (which does not mean 'creative frequency response') that gets right to the point of making music. These two are very happy together in my system, although I think they're conspiring to replace my amp with something tubed and very expensive.
As far as the bass response goes: my $150 Audio Alchemy DDE 2 (with some uprated PS) has more/louder bass than the GamuT. A $1000 cd player I had in the system recently had even more, although with precious little control over it. The jump from 'more bass' to 'better player' escapes me. The key is in finding the correct/natural frequency response.
I think the P3 is an excellent DAC. I have not heard it with the T3, but I use it with the sony xa 777es as transport. I use the meridian 518 for anti jitter/noise shaping and it sound just extraoridinary. On the TELARC SAMPLER 2, in which the sources were recorded with DSD, analog or hi-rez PCM, the P3 sounds as good as the two channel sacd layer. The sacd has better organic flow, but the P3 has better bass, detail and slam. They are so close, it is not a really a question to me if one or the other is better, just if on a particular recording one or the other might be preferable with sacd or pcm.
The SF MK3 is also good, but not as spacious sounding as the P3 on redbook sources. However, it is incredibly good on DAD with 96/24 sources. The 96/24 DAD sound has great solidity, body, and tonal accuracy compared to the somewhat lighter sounding sacd.
The P3 is much better sounding than the redbook dac built in to the xa 777es. I don't think the built in dac of the xa 777es, even with mods, could ever compete with the P3 i.e. the P3 has bulletproof power supply and incredible output stage as well as the still state of the art ultra analog dac's. The built in dac of the xa 777es seems to have the sound compressed into a fish eye oval compared to the P3, which sounds limitlessly spacious and open.
I just came back from a local hi-fi shop and heard the Gamut. No bottom end on it, sounded very thin to me compared to a basic Wadia 301. Even a bit compressed comapritively.
Id go with a Wadia. Get a 301 with a Reference GNSC upgrade all for less than $4000(And I believe you can get brand new fully modded cd players from them too for the price of a basic unit). You get a better sounding player than a Wadia 861 with the big parts and chassis damping upgrade.
September 29, 2003 GamuT Audio has been acquired by Danish investment firm Rossing Nielsen Electronics A/S, according to an announcement released September 22. Under the new ownership, the number of GamuT products will be reduced to "provide shorter lead times and to make the brand more competitive," according to company principle Poul Rossing. Lombardi Sales will continue to represent GamuT in the US and at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES). US dealers should contactRay Lombardi for more information. Rossing Nielsen is also majority shareholder of loudspeaker manufacturer Avance International A/S.
Oh, I missed this part. As for a direct comparison between the Wadia 301 and Wadia 861se(before mods)The 301 gives you all the basic sound characteristics of the 861, just no as much. Both players sound very similiar, but the 861 has better detailed bass. The 301's imaging is also great, but the 861 adds that extra bit of dimension. The 861 is basically just more of a good thing. But like I stated a 301 with a Reference mod basically gives you the SQ of an 861 without the gorgeous modular 50lb monolithic chassis. WIth a GNSC mod they add alot of weight and damping to the 301 and give 861 performance on a budget. I have yet to hear an 861 or an 861se with their Statement mod, but from what I understand it puts the 861 in another league altogether. Not just from other Wadia products, but from pretty much ANY CDP or DAC/transport combo period.