For those attending Hi-Fi Centre‘s Audio Festival this year, there were some familiar brands to hear new gear from, new brands with new gear to hear from, and then there was Gryphon Audio who’ve never demoed here before. I’ve had the opportunity to hear their gear at RMAF, and in Munich, and always been impressed with the combination of frequency linearity, low-end grunt, and musicality that the company has wrested from a solid-state integrated amplifier like their Diablo 300 Integrated (featuring both phono and PCM/DSD DAC board in this iteration, (300 watts/8 Ohms, 600 watts/4 Ohms).
The Diablo 300 has a unique look – like most Gryphon gear – and in this case was loaded for bear with the DAC module adding five digital inputs: 32/384 kHz PCM/DSD512 (Windows) DSD128 (Mac/Linux) USB, and 24/192 AES, Optical, Dual SPDIF, on top of the standard line stage. Throw in a Moving Magnet/Moving Coil phono stage, and as Carl Weathers says in Arrested Development “baby you got a stew going!”
Gryphon Pantheon loudspeakers (90dB, four-Ohm load, three-way, 25Hz – 27 KHz), a Clearaudio Performance DC Turntable, along with an Antipodes CX/EX Music Server, AudioQuest Bill Lowe Signature reference cables, interconnects, and power cords, and a Niagara 7000 Line Conditioner rounded out the system which was being helmed by Gryphon bon vivant Philip O’Hanlon who was playing a fantastic mix of rare grooves, and little-known classics for an appreciative crowd every time I checked into the room.
The Pantheons were great at pressurizing the room, and with the Diablo providing plenty of current to each speakers two eight-inch bass-driver units, and five-inch midrange drivers, (along with an Air Motion Transformer tweeter with low-mass pleated metal diaphragm) there was a real sense of heft, and scale to their delivery. These are not small transducers, weighing in at more than 250 pounds apiece, and size-wise they are formidable, and it would seem prudent that they would need some breathing room away from walls to deliver their best performance.
The sound here, much like I’d heard previously, was very linear, with lots of muscularity to the midrange, and lower registers, and no peakiness, or shoutiness detectable regardless of whether classical, rock, acoustic, electronic, or jazz was being played. Performers had weight, size, and appropriate dimensionality to their presence in the sound stage, overall tonality, and timbre was warm without losing transparency, or detail. A fun system, with the emphasis on musicality.