The concept of an integrated amplifier that embodies the same ethos, musical and sonic qualities as Gryphon Audio Designs’ most esoteric offerings, but at a fraction of the cost, is clearly an attractive proposition and through the single-minded dedication of the Gryphon team, the integrated amplifier has come of age as a serious, respected High End component, bringing legendary Gryphon performance and styling to a new level of affordable cost and ease of use.
As far back as April, 2009, Gryphon introduced the original Atilla, building on the brand’s impressive reputation as a pioneer in the design of unapologetic integrated amplifiers that can stand their ground against the competition’s finest separate components.
French Haute Fidelité magazine called it a “Best Buy.” Australian Hi-Fi magazine placed it “Easily up there with the very best” and UK magazine Hi-Fi Choice simply called the Gryphon Atilla “one of the very finest integrated amplifiers available.”
In continuous production until 2016, the Atilla had a long run that is exceptional in High End audio. (Sadly, longevity is generally an overlooked and seriously undervalued attribute.)
In the interim period, Gryphon has made great advances in the critical fields of circuit topology and parts design and selection with the evolution of the state of the art, cost no object Pandora preamplifier and Mephisto power amplifier.
Now, drawing heavily on our experience with these uncompromising, reference level components, Gryphon Audio Designs proudly presents the next generation Atilla, the Gryphon Diablo 120.
Gryphon Diablo 120 exudes timeless elegance and beauty, informed by the unique vision of Gryphon founder and CEO Flemming E. Rasmussen.
The understated styling and forceful lines of the satin black, brushed aluminium chassis and gleaming black acrylic faceplate represent a superb level of fit and finish, exceptional audio finesse and a sense of unlimited power all on a single chassis.
The casework, consisting of interlocking blocks of flawless acrylic and deeply brushed and anodized aluminium, is true to the acclaimed Gryphon house style, a complex construct of contrasting angles and planes that is both reassuringly intricate and impressively solid.
Built entirely at Gryphon’s Danish research and development and manufacturing facility, the Diablo 120 inherits the dual-mono circuitry, ultra-short signal path, heavily gold-plated printed circuit boards, minimal internal wiring, high-quality gold-plated and PTFE-insulated sockets and proprietary binding posts employed in our flagship models. Only the finest audiophile grade components have been selected based on strenuous, extended auditioning for sound quality, thermal stability and long-term reliability. The wire-wound emitter resistors in the original Atilla output stage have been upgraded to non-inductive types for Diablo 120.
The meticulous attention to electrical and mechanical grounding, typical of our top of the line designs, is also equally in evidence here.
The Diablo 120 integrated amplifier is essentially two independent mono devices for reduced crosstalk and minimal interchannel interaction. The only things shared electrically between channels are the famed Holmgren toroidal transformer and AC power cable.
The custom made 1,300 VA transformer adds substantial heft with discrete secondary windings for left and right channels. Each channel is fed by its own 60,000 µF capacitor bank.
The output power of the Diablo 120 is 20% greater than that of the original Atilla: 2 x 120 W (8Ω), 2 x 240 W (4Ω), 2 x 440 W (2Ω). Consistent increases of output power as impedance is halved is a reliable indicator of exceptional high current capability, just as the extraordinary wide audio bandwidth, 0.1Hz to 250 kHz (-3 dB), is a sign of extreme stability. Heatsink surface area has also been increased to match the increase in output power.
With two pairs of Sanken transistors, Diablo 120 can easily drive difficult loudspeaker loads without the faintest hint of strain.
The Diablo 120 circuit employs zero global negative feedback and a unique microprocessor controlled passive attenuator for the most transparent volume control ever conceived. Regardless of the selected level, the 46-step relay attenuator places maximum six resistors in the signal path for ultimate sonic purity.
A large, graphical vacuum fluorescent display is employed instead of a more conventional LED character display to provide space for more information and a larger, more easily legible font. The lavish display and extensive control circuits are powered independently via a separate, isolated transformer in order to eliminate any risk of noise contamination. All front panel controls are touch sensitive (capacitive actuation.)
The Diablo 120 offers one balanced and four single-ended inputs, a comprehensive menu of configuration options (four levels of display brightness, user-defined start and maximum volume settings, individual source labelling with eight-character names and a dedicated and electrically isolated A/V bypass function for uncompromising integration with a multi-channel audio system.
Options – Digital or Analogue
At the time of original purchase or as the need arises at a later date, Gryphon Diablo 120 can be fitted with a specially designed Gryphon DAC PCM/DSD module based on the innovative, award-winning Gryphon Kalliope digital-to- analogue converter.
The module adds four digital inputs (USB, balanced AES/EBU 115 Ω, TOSLink optical and BNC S/PDIF 75 Ω). Via USB, the Diablo 120 DAC module can process PCM up to 32-bit/384 kHz as well as DSD (on Windows OS up to DSD512, on Mac OS up to DSD128, on Linux OS up to DSD128 DoP); via BNC S/PDIF and AES/EBU inputs up to192 kHz/32-bit PCM and via TOSLink up to 96 kHz/24-bit PCM. Format compatibility of the various inputs is subject to change without notice.
This future-proof digital module is ready for any current or foreseeable high resolution digital format.
In the finest Gryphon tradition, the Diablo 120 also offers the alternative of an exceptional MM/MC phonostage for the dedicated enthusiasts who continue to enjoy the musical treasures etched in the grooves of the long-playing, black vinyl disc.
Gryphon Diablo 120 conveys music with unusual poise and exceptional subtlety and definition. Lightning reflexes combine with harmonic richness, articulation and refinement to create a lush whole that is very comfortable to listen to over extended periods even at realistic levels.
Gryphon Diablo 120 offers a unique level of musical enthusiasm and energy that will satisfy and delight for many years to come.