Lustily long wavelengths? De rigueur discipline for today's gig was loud low clean bass. If not here, where else would a speaker like Gamma show off? Let's document that quality with a few advanced challengers. 1/ The bumping low beats of "Turbulence" on Free the Robot's Ctrl Alt Delete album were unconditionally potent, pressurized yet came off with effortless ease. Check. 2/ The infrasonic pedals of Burial's "Etched Headplate" from Untrue became physical and at high SPL conjured up a PA feel. Check, even if an Audioplan Konzert or Nubert nuVero 170 with proper amplification reaches a tad lower (the earlier referenced AudioSolutions less deep). 3/ The dominantly warbling bass runs of Eyot's "Drifters" from the eponymous album remained tautly contoured to not bloat or overlay the piano. No problem. In short, Gamma did what a sealed active box in its league should: serve up bass with punch, articulation, extension and neutrality. As Steve Jobs would have interjected – "just one more thing". What surprised me the most was that on suitable material like Download's "Outafter", bass runs didn't just manifest with real physicality. They also conveyed a clear sense that despite all the hard work, fine responses to any shifts on the gas were most keen. This created emotional tension quite beyond what the passive loudspeakers I had in my ear were capable of.
The final cherry on that pie was that boom or rumble impressed by their absence even at high SPL. Should anything fray contrary to expectations, there's always Dirac's digital correction.
Fine manners in the midband? Cultured is a term I didn't use for my treble comments even though it would have suited. Likewise for the vocal range. What impressed most here was its obvious purity thus absence of any harsh subtext or other artifacts. Without turning into a sonic magnifying glass, this meant high separation and transparency. As one would expect of a true high-end speaker, well-recorded voices à la July Flame by Laura Veirs [here] or the purist violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, hand drums et al of Clair Obscur's Antigone were top notch.
Where in my experience even expensive speakers lose the plot is with music like Car Bombs' outrageous Mathcore Meta effort. What the four New York virtuoso unleash with "From the dust of this planet" is sheer insanity. Its abstraction, polyrhythmic layering, beat shifts and tempo changes are ingenious. Whether by design or accident, particularly the midband is packed. Bass pressure migrates upwards rather than plumb true depths, hi-hats and cymbals drift south into the vocal range already occupied by toms, rock-hard guitar salvos and vocal growls.
This strange mastering results in exceedingly dry patches. Midrange density here is such as to not even allow a virtual sheet of paper as separation between instruments. To prevent this from devolving into sticky gruel of congealed clumps is its very own art. Here Gamma sorted out contours, textures and tone colors as well as was possible and with no lack of nonchalance. Respect! This served proof positive that in the midrange, Gamma stayed clear of all romanticism, applied just the right amount of resolution and operated with commendably low distortion.