REDGUM Audio has been producing beautiful looking and high value audiophile amplifiers in the state of Victoria, Australia for the past twenty-one years. REDGUM has never produced cookie cutter products. Their designs, as far as form factor and ergonomics are proudly off the beaten path, and probably because of this, they have loyal customer base.
My awareness of REDGUM comes from reading numerous overseas reviews, and speaking to a few local audiophiles who have been happily running Redgum amps for a number of years in various systems. Although REDGUM has international and North American distributors, I had not come across their products myself. That all changed when Marc Phillips of Colleen Cardas Imports contacted me about reviewing the new Black series of amplifiers. The Black series was designed to drive difficult speaker loads. I immediately agreed, as the timing was just right.
What made the REDGUM review offer so timely was that Marc understood that I was auditioning Magnepan speakers, which are widely known for being best paired with high powered and high current amplifiers. Marc promised the REDGUM Black amps would drive Maggies and any other speaker without breaking a sweat. I was eager to test this claim and a REDGUM Black RGi35ENR was soon dispatched. The Black RGi35ENR retails for $2500.
The Black series consists of three amplifiers. In addition to the RGi35ENR, there is the RGi60ENR, and RGi120ENR. The 60 and 120 offer the same circuit and design, but with more power, with the 120 being rated at 265 watts per channel into 4 Ohms, and an astonishing 500 watts per channel into 2 ohms. Amplifiers that offer ratings into 2 Ohms are rare indeed and that is one of the selling points of the Black series.
REDGUM, as noted, designs amplifiers that have unusual design features and employ the unique vision of designer Ian Robinson. Robinson is a musician and an electrical engineer by trade, with an extensive history in high performance audio. Robinson’s designs are not copycat products, but the result of decades of proven implementation. REDGUM beats to a different drummer with their wood faceplates used on their Amplifolia range, as well as keys required to power on the units! Other rather unique attributes such as dual volume controls as well as heatsinks positioned on the bottom of the amplifiers.
Here is Ian Robinson’s detailed reply to my request for an technical explanation for using heatsinks on the bottom of the amplifier:
“We often get asked as to why not have the fins on the sides or the back. Agreed, fins dissipate heat most efficiently when they are vertically orientated. But when you factor in the sheer size (as in surface area) of this heat sink, it then doesn't need such a lot of air flow to keep it cool. And the openness of the "sine" curve allows a generous clearance for air to convect through and up from the heat sink. In fact, with one of those "through" directions always being forward, this creates a real positive for dissipation when units are positioned in cabinets.