REGULATOR  Oceanic Gamma 2 CDX Enviro
Oceanic brought out a number of new products three or four years ago. There were inevitably some imperfections, but instead of the company soldiering on and leaving it to the consumer to compensate for any shortcomings, it bravely went back to the drawing board and honed its designs.
Oceanic should not be ashamed. Car manufacturers spend
millions on research but still have to modify designs after they reach the marketplace. In effect, Oceanic got rid of the sharp edges, and nowhere is this more evident than with its latest Gamma 2 regulator.
This now has a sleek second stage with no hint of the roughness to the plastic mouldings that we found when we examined the original Gamma 2 in Divers regulator comparison test of 1998. At that time our panel of testers concluded that the second stage was over-designed but not over-engineered, and that the purge button was inclined to stick in.
That was then. I have no such reservations about the Oceanic Gamma 2 of 2001.
Sharing the same CDX Enviro environmentally sealed, balanced-diaphragm-style first stage with the Delta 3, the Gamma 2 is the equivalent of its slightly more expensive sibling but without
the metal trim or the breathing-resistance adjustment knob on the second stage.
Regular readers will know that I consider such knobs, which are simply spring-tensioners, largely redundant. They enable the user to turn up the cracking pressure needed to open the demand valve initially, but if I want less air I simply inhale less forcefully.
I must be in a minority, because most top-of-the-line regulators have these knobs. I welcome the fact that the Gamma 2, pitched as a medium-priced product, does not.
It does have a venturi  switch, which positions a vane across the airflow in the mouthpiece. This is useful when you first jump into the water and subject the regulators front diaphragm to the dramatic change in pressure between air and water.
The vane can prevent the sudden flow of air causing a pressure reduction behind the diaphragm and pulling it in, causing a greater flow of air and ultimately a free-flow.
Jump in with the venturi lever at the minus position and switch to an uninterrupted flow of air once safely submerged.
The Gamma 2 second stage is compact, lightweight and beautifully crafted almost entirely of plastic, with a nicely concealed but functional purge control and a mouthpiece that allows the air to flow into your mouth in a broad funnel.
This mouthpiece is extremely soft and, sadly, did not survive the heavy handling of an aft-deck crew who, I presume, allowed my tank to rest on it at some time and split it. I had to replace it with a somewhat less comfortable mouthpiece.
The Gamma 2 second stage proved extremely pleasant and there was neither too much nor too little air at any time. However, there seems to be no concession to the needs of those who dive in very cold, fresh water, as there is with its Enviro diaphragm first-stage. This is a neat barrel with four medium-pressure and two high-pressure ports and looks ideal for use in the worst conditions.
Oceanic regulators have always done well in our periodic regulator comparison tests. Most recently, the Oceanic Alpha 7 with its piston-type first stage mopped up the competition among regulators that retailed for less than £150. I expected the Gamma 2 CDX Enviro to perform equally well, and I was not disappointed. Neither did the tiny exhaust tee irritate me as much as I had expected.
The Oceanic Gamma 2 CDX Enviro represents a good choice of regulator in its price range and is lightweight, making it ideal for divers who fly a lot.
It costs£215.
  • Oceanic SW 01404891819, www.oceanicworldwide.com

  • Divernet Divernet
    + Lightweight
    + Good value
    + High performer

    - All-plastic second stage might not be ideal for very cold fresh water