New at The Sound Environment – GRYPHON

A few years ago we visited Andy Payor at Rockport Technologies just after we decided to take on Rockport speakers. We were very impressed with the sound Andy created in his studio. He was using a pair of Gryphon single channel Class A amplifiers to power his speakers. The sound was glorious. Unfortunately, at the time Gryphon amplifiers were not being imported from Denmark. Now they are.

Philip O’Hanlon who is “Music on a Higher Note” has taken on the distribution of Gryphon in the USA. Philip is an old friend. He has a serious interest in music and recordings of all types matching our own. Philip wants reproduced music to sound live and engaging, not hi-fi exaggerated.

Philip rang us up last fall to tell us he was taking on Gryphon and would like to bring by one of their integrated amplifiers. It was with great anticipation that we auditioned the Gryphon Diablo 300. We were very impressed with the musical sound quality. We auditioned the amplifier on our reference system with the Wilson Alexx and on the new Rockport Atria II. Both sounded grand. The Diablo 300 is a very high-powered amplifier (600 watts into 4 ohms) so the bass was extraordinarily powerful with convincing impact yet was realistic in the overtone structure. The mid-range, where the music truly lives, was convincing and natural. The Diablo 300 is certainly not inexpensive at $16,000 but its performance outweighs the price and is easily superior to amplifiers costing more than twice as much. We immediately decided to take on Gryphon.

Gryphon Diablo 300 Integrated Amplifier

Finally last week we received the three amplifiers that will initially be in our systems from now on: the Diablo 300 integrated amplifier ($16,000), The Diablo 120 integrated amplifier ($11,000) and the Colosseum stereo power amplifier ($49,000).

The Colosseum is a full balanced, dual mono, Class A amplifier delivering 160 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 320 watts into 4 ohms and much more into lower impedances. But never mind the specifications, just listen. The sound of this amplifier is astonishing, beguiling. It makes the Alexx sing. At first glance it might be confusing that this more expensive amplifier is apparently less powerful than the much less expensive Diablo 300. The difference is that the Colosseum is Class A at 160 watts whereas the Diablo is Class A only to about 20 watts. It makes a difference in overall musicality. True Class A is expensive. There is no getting around that. True Class A draws a great deal of continuous power. The Colosseum draws 500 watts whether music is playing or not. The Class A setting can be reduced to conserve power drawn and heat produced.

Gryphon Colosseum Stereo Amplifier

Gryphon makes three Stereo full Class A amplifiers and three pairs of Class A monoblocks. While neither the most expensive nor the least expensive the Colosseum may be the highest value. It is a tower style like the VTL S400 and VTL Siegfrieds. We can arrange by appointment for you to compare the Colosseum, VTL S400 and D’Agostino.

Both integrated amplifiers accept phono and DAC modules. These are extra cost options and are field installable. The Colosseum can be matched with any fine quality preamplifier such as those by Gryphon, D’Agostino, Balance Audio Technologies or VTL or driven directly by dCS or other DACs with volume controls.

Gryphon Audio Designs is the brainchild of Flemming E. Rasmussen and the fulfilment of a lifelong dream to allow the purest essence of the live music experience to be recreated in the home environment. The company is 25 years old.

Technical details

While the Diablo 300 produces more power than the Colosseum it is not a full class A amplifier. It produces about 20 watts in Class A. The maximum current delivery of the Colesseum stereo amplifier is astonishing allowing it to deliver a maximum short-term power of 5400 watts. The Diablo 300 limit is 950 watts.

Most very high performance amplifiers are full balanced input to output but few are full legitimate Class A. Some amplifier designs cheat and claim full Class A but they dynamically adjust the operation. The problem with this approach is that you cannot anticipate the power that will be needed so the change to full class A comes after the need has arisen. This is particularly significant in the case of a big bass drum whack.

A Look Inside the Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier

All of these Gryphon amplifiers employ no global feedback. Again some other amplifiers do not use global feedback but still don’t sound musical. It is certainly a complex situation. VTL uses a small amount of global feedback and it is selectable. You can hear it alter the sound depending on what you select. We know what the multiple adjustments that VTL provides on its reference amplifiers do. Our goal is to listen carefully to our customers and provide the sound they want. Our own goal is always to recommend products and systems that provide the best music reproduction possible.

The Gryphon amplifiers are truly astonishing. Come in and hear them soon.

Read more about Gryphon on their website HERE

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