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Mini-Review: GamuT Lobster Chair

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The GamuT Lobster Chair (chair $4,995, optional matching footstool $2,590) is a billed as “the world’s first audiophile chair.” I will respectfully defer — “firsts” don’t really matter to me as much as “awesomeness”, and this chair is awesome.

Michael Vamos tells me that the Lobster is a joint-venture with GamuT investor, the furniture maker Kvist (you can check out the original Lund & Paarman at various retailers), and modifies their “standard” offer with a special audiophile upgrade — a non-reflective headrest.

The first high-end listening chair created to minimize reflections from the surroundings. Instead of having acoustic sound treatments on the wall behind and next to your listening position, the GamuT Lobster Chair effectively dampens these. The effect is dramatic – The soundstage becomes more precise and natural and the music springs to life in your living room.

The GamuT Lobster chair is based upon a Danish Design classic: The Lobster Chair, designed and manufactured by GamuT’s main share holder – Kvist Industries. Normally you can’t have a neck rest while listening to music, because you get a reflection from the material behind your ears, distorting the sound. But GamuT has created a unique acoustical damping material, resulting in an extremely effective sound treatment, while maintaining the Lobster Chair’s breathtaking beautiful design and comfort. Furthermore the shape of the wide headrest also prevents reflections from behind wall behind the listener to affect the soundstage, which eliminates the need for sound treatment behind the listener.

The Lobster replaced a low-slung POÄNG chair from IKEA, and immediately, I appreciated the “lift”. Seriously, the POÄNG is a fantastically comfortable sitter, but it does bring my ears down a full 6″ or so from “optimal” for most loudspeakers — enough to be problematic, especially for beaming tweeters.

Not so for the swiveling Lobster — this thing puts my ears on perfectly for every speaker that’s come through chez moi.

The ottoman matches the chair in all the expected parameters — comfy, svelte, and massive as hell. That base on the chair/ottoman? I’m pretty sure it’s iron. Well, steel, but the point is, the damn chair weighs 90lbs and the ottoman comes in about half of that. It’s heavy — don’t think a gentle shove is gonna move it around your listening space.So — this is a site dedicated to sonic joys, so I hear you muttering, “sure, but how does it sound?” Heh — the chair doesn’t “sound”. But the music, enjoyed from the hot seat? Well, let me offer that the sound stage of my current system is the best that I’ve yet heard. Mission Design? Accomplished.

The leather is textured, the padding firm and tightly stuffed into bands mirroring the banded wood finish of the shell; the wood for each element of the contoured frame fits to the next with a slim band join, making the entire thing an articulated affair, very reminiscent of the delicious crustaceans for whom the chair is named. It really does have this svelte, sculpted look that seems to be stereotypically upscale Scandinavian, with a luxurious matte-finish that feels delicious under the hand. The whole chair comes off as almost minimal but so purposeful and so damn sexy I can barely stand it. Taken as a whole, the entire structure looks like a Fabergé egg that’s slightly unpeeled or unhinged, the two elements (chair and foot stool) one very definitely connected whole. The organic nature of the construction is really hard to deny — this is very clearly the nicest, most elegant, piece of furniture in my entire home. Looking at it, it’s damn near impossible to not touch it, and then touching it, to not want to sit in it. Winner, winner.

About the fit. The chair is full-sized, but not adjustable — you either fit or you don’t. At 5′ 11″, I fit pretty much to a “T”. John DeVore, visiting with his brand new Gibbon X loudspeakers, stands at 17′ tall (or maybe closer to 6′ 5″, but seriously, at those lofty heights it’s hard to tell the difference), and his ears easily clear the chair back. You can shift around a little bit, scoot up or down, in order to make the fit a bit more appropriate — I’ve had plenty of luck that way — but there is no way to raise or lower the chair. Also note that this is most definitely not a recliner (or an Eames or even a POÄNG), and no one is going to mistake it for a second bed. The curvature to the seat is unsurprising, given the shape, but it does mean that the fit may be a bit challenging; don’t expect to be “carried off to sleep Nirvana”. About this, however, my 9-year-old daughter might disagree — this is her preferred perch for her weekly Minecraft tour. Don’t ask. Again, I find a that with a bit of a shift-and-snuggle that me and my bigness can get all settled in and ready to roll … tape, vinyl or whatever. Comfortable, but not too much so, if that makes sense.

The long and the short of it, this chair isn’t leaving — I bought it. A wild extravagance? Yes, most assuredly so. But unlike the rest of my audio gear, I have every reason to believe that this iconic chair will outlast everything else. An investment? Maybe. But like the rest of the “functional art” that I’ve acquired over the years, the pleasure is in the using. But the long and the short of it is this — I can’t imagine my listening room without it.

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13 Comments on Mini-Review: GamuT Lobster Chair

  1. La musique // October 5, 2016 at 12:56 AM //

    And how far will Hi End Stupidity go?
    No arm rest?

  2. Sorry, ridiculously overpriced, IMO. It doesn’t even look that comfortable, and according to your description, not very adjustable. I’ll take a really comfortable recliner without the damping material anyday. And it does’t even have a headrest! For one-tenth the price, you could buy a beautiful and very comfortable recliner and ottoman. Did you really pay $7500 for that? Even the Ekornes chairs are cheaper!

    • For the record, I think that BMW cars are overpriced. I still own one. But that fact doesn’t mean they’re not overpriced.

      Does the fact that a BMW is cheaper than a Rolls Royce mean that no one should own a Rolls Royce?

      Or, since Subaru makes great cars that are less expensive than BMW, that no one should own a BMW?

      Or, since owning cars is totally unnecessary for more than 3/4 of current car owners, that owning a car is … foolish?

      I think you’ve completely missed the point of high-end audio, much less, high-end furniture. My bed is more comfortable than an Ekornes. So is a bean bag chair.

      … And?

      But for the record, the Lobster does in fact have a headrest, as you can see from the photos.

      Is it expensive? Yes, yes it is. And it sure does look like it, too.

      • I think you missed MY point. Nowhere did I say that because I believed the chair to be vastly overpriced, that no one should buy it. People spend stupid money on all sorts of things. You’re certainly free to spend your money as you like. Buy two chairs for all I care. My opinion about it’s being overpriced was just that: my opinion. I was commenting on what I perceived was an extremely expensive chair with little to offer (from your description) in terms of comfort, hence little value to me. If you truly feel the sound is significantly enhanced by the padding, and this is the most important factor for you, fine. Enjoy it! But you still didn’t answer whether you paid $7500 for the chair.

      • If you really think that a beanbag chair is more comfortable than an Ekornes, I think one of us is living in an alternate universe.

    • This chair appears to be more on par with something like the Eames Lounge Chair (or at least it better be for $7k) than the Ekornes. That being said, the Paong chair from Ikea (I have the older swivel model) is a very comfortable listening (cloth cushion, not leather) chair and an amazing value.

  3. As nice as it is, there are some mid century modern style chairs that come real close to the design of this one and for a whole lot less, if you know where to shop.

    • I think the only chair the Lobster takes aim at is the Eames Louge. The Eames is more or less the same price as the base Lobster (pre-audio-friendly-upgrade), but still has that giant pad swallowing your head (and your soundstage). Great reading chair. Lovely for naps. Well, sort of. Isn’t terribly adjustable (either). But it looks like a piece of history — because it is. Love to have one — it’s certainly “on the list”.

  4. vedder323 // October 4, 2016 at 1:46 PM //

    That chair is gorgeous!

  5. Bruce D. Goose // October 4, 2016 at 11:39 AM //

    Looks like it would accomodate a really gigantic butt! 🙂

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  1. “This chair isn’t leaving — I bought it.” Part-Time Audiophile reviews Gamut’s Lobster Chair, designed for hi-fi listening | David Denyer PR | The hi-fi specialist

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