Few High End manufacturers on either side of the electronics/loudspeaker divide have even attempted to bridge that gap. Fewer still have managed to do electronics and speakers equally well and be widely acknowledged as masters in both fields.
In less skilled hands, a loudspeaker system consisting of 38 drive units spread across four 237 cm tall towers could very easily turn into a Frankenstein’s monster science project. But precisely because the Gryphon design team is equally at ease with transducers as with amplification, they – perhaps uniquely – possess the necessary prowess and ambition to pull off the formidable feat that is the Gryphon Kodo four-tower reference loudspeaker system.
Beginning with the now legendary Gryphon Poseidon in 2004 (the first public result of 10 years of top secret, in-house experimentation), Gryphon has continued to explore the numerous benefits of a closer integration of electronics and loudspeakers in our top of the line products.
Now, the Gryphon Kodo stands as the pinnacle of the loudspeaker designer’s art and craft. In selecting a finish for your Gryphon Kodo loudspeaker system, the possibilities are limited solely by your imagination. Because the side panels are based on an original modular construction that makes removing and replacing them child’s play, your choice is no longer a one-time only, lifetime proposition.
The Four Towers
To return to the words of www.sixmoons.com – “The engineering team behind Gryphon’s speaker endeavours plays ball in the top leagues.”
Put simply, each Kodo section is a tower of strength and style.
Elegant and deceptively simple, the four towers that make up the Gryphon Kodo system are carefully conceived and executed multi-layer constructions for extreme structural integrity and acoustic damping.
The MDF side panels of the modules are reinforced with 5 mm aluminium panels. The stacked modules incorporate additional 8 mm aluminium panel supports.
The form moulded curved cosmetic exterior panels of laminated High-Density Fibreboard are damped with bitumen.
The solid aluminium base for each tower is fitted with adjustable, polyoxometalate feet.
The Kodo upper-frequency towers are laid out in a symmetrical vertical array of four 4”, exclusive Gryphon midrange drivers (two directly above and two directly below the central AMT high frequency driver) and six 5” Gryphon midbass drivers (three at the top and three at the bottom) to complement the bold design of the bass towers.
Each Gryphon Kodo bass tower houses eight custom designed 8” drive units and a built-in Gryphon power amplifier capable of 1,000 Watts continuous output into the drivers. For ultimate headroom, peak power is approximately 4,000 Watts or 4.5 horsepower.
The integrated bass system is conceived and born with a single purpose in life – to drive one specific set of drivers in one specific enclosure across a very narrowly defined frequency band. This is specialist audio at its ultimate extreme. Compared to the Gryphon Kodo, any so-called system, assembled from an assortment of unrelated products will inevitably fall short.
Gryphon Kodo offers highly desirable features such as remote adjustment of bass level from the listening position, low and high cut filters and a user-selectable bass system Q, an extremely important factor as matching system Q to the listening room’s own Q is the gateway to superior bass performance.
In Perfect Phase
Like every loudspeaker ever made by Gryphon, the Gryphon Kodo incorporates specially developed Duelund Constant Phase technologies to ensure that all drivers are in phase at all frequencies at all times.
Based on the ground-breaking synchronous filter theories developed by the late Danish mathematician Steen Duelund, Gryphon loudspeakers achieve inter-driver phase, phase-matched behaviour between multiple drivers that no other manufacturer can claim.
When we say that our speakers are in perfect phase, we mean that the drivers maintain the same relative phase across all frequencies. This is one of the keys to achieving the best sound from any loudspeaker system.
In order to live up to the uncompromising design goal of perfect phase all the time at all frequencies, the Gryphon Kodo enclosure incorporates a concave curved front to form a direct angled, time-aligned system with identical distance from the listener to the acoustic centre of each driver.
The realisation of this lofty goal demanded lateral thinking and numerous labour-intensive, custom-built components specially designed by Gryphon in close collaboration with the manufacturers of the world’s finest drivers.
The Mid/High-Frequency Module
The four 4” ScanSpeak Illuminator midrange units positioned directly above and below the tweeter module are exceptional designs with patented, low mass, well damped cones, low-loss linear suspension, rigid, yet open construction to eliminate compression, extremely long linear excursion and a patented underhung neodymium motor system with copper caps for minimal distortion.
The six 5” mid/bass drivers (three at the top and three at the bottom) are the latest revision of Gryphon’s proprietary design, incorporating significant advancements in sensitivity and reduced distortion achieved through the employment of copper rings in the motor system, a larger magnet and an all-new surround. Even the signal leads are arranged for symmetrical loading of the cone.
The 11 drivers share the workload from 200 Hz to 25 kHz. The mid/high tower is extremely efficient, 96 dB (1 Watt, 2.83V, 1 meter) with an impedance that never dips below 4 Ohms, making the passive tower a very amplifier-friendly load.
Each of the 11 drivers is individually mounted in its own independent baffle up to 34 mm and attached to a 22 mm sub baffle breaking up the pathway through which vibrations would otherwise be transmitted in a single, shared baffle. The individual driver baffles are separated from the main baffle by a rubber gasket which simultaneously acts as a seal around the drive units to eliminate air leaks. The baffles are connected only via bolts and rubber rings to minimize vibration transmission.
Each tower consists of a central tweeter module and two separate mid/bass modules with five drivers each. Within these modules, three mid/bass units and two midrange units are housed in two separate, isolated chambers to prevent any unwanted interaction and reinforce the structural integrity of the tower.
Separately, the modules are convenient to move and set up. Once stacked and securely bolted together, they form an extremely rigid and highly damped enclosure, enhanced by the distinctive wraparound shell.
The HF tower is sonically integrated by an uncompromising crossover network based on the finest components available, including Duelund air-core inductors, flat-wound Jensen copper inductors and Duelund graphite resistors.
The AMT Tweeter
While the high frequency drive unit in most speaker systems is typically designated the “superstar” player, long experience has shown the Gryphon engineering crew that a far more balanced approach paying equally meticulous attention to the reproduction of the entire audible range (and beyond) will always yield a more consistent and well integrated result.
In short, a more natural, realistic and, above all, truly musical result.
In our quest for a high frequency driver that would shine in its specified arena, yet mesh seamlessly with its companion drivers, Gryphon experimented extensively with tweeters representing a broad spectrum of exotic technologies and rare materials.
Based on comprehensive study, measurements and listening sessions, the extreme high-frequency range in the Gryphon Kodo has been entrusted to the extraordinary Mundorf Air Motion Transformer that moves air by driving an extremely low-mass folded sheet in a semi-perpendicular motion via a powerful magnetic field. Following extensive research into materials and diaphragm geometry, the Kodo AMT employs a heat-resistant Kapton film base, aluminium conductor traces and an innovative fold geometry.
Because of the large surface area of its pleated structure, the Air Motion Transformer moves a large air volume with minimal diaphragm motion for lightning fast transients with flat frequency response well beyond the audible range with negligible distortion and a total absence of compression.
For ideal integration of the high sensitivity (100 dB) tweeter with the acoustics of the listening space, the AMT tweeter incorporates external hot-swappable, hand-tuned Duelund graphite resistors for three-stage, user-accessible +1 dB tweeter adjustment. Empowering the user to adjust high frequency response for a seamless presentation without deleterious switches or rheostats, Duelund graphite resistors snap into place with convenient rear-panel clips, then connect with their original leads to screw terminals. The Gryphon Kodo high frequency module can deliver ideal high frequencies with mild roll-off (-1 dB), neutral response (0 dB) or mild boost (+1 dB) to integrate perfectly with the acoustics of the listening room.
Active Q Control
The Gryphon Q Controller is an innovative room-adaptive device that allows user adjustment of the total system resonance frequency and of system Q for ideal coupling to any room.
As a theoretical concept, active Q control was discussed in papers published in the 1950’s by Linkwitz and Greiner, but never successfully implemented prior to the breakthrough Gryphon Cantata stand-mount loudspeaker in 2002, offering powerful new opportunities for extensive low-frequency adjustment and room integration.
Subsequent Gryphon floor-standing models – Poseidon (2004), Trident (2005), Pendragon (2013) and Trident II (2013) have all incorporated active Q control as well as built-in Gryphon power amplification for the bass section.
Unlike compromised, universal external amplifiers, purpose-built, on-board Gryphon bass amps are conceived and built exclusively for optimal integration with our custom-built drive units, advanced crossover networks, handmade crossover components, non-resonant enclosures and proprietary, user-adjustable room integration parameters. This extraordinary degree of integration delivers a level of performance unattainable via any standard mix-and-match approach.
At the critical interface between amplification and loudspeaker, amplifiers are typically designed to ensure compatibility with the widest possible number of loudspeakers for obvious commercial reasons. And loudspeakers are designed for similar “universality.”
Inevitably, there are factors which can make specific pairings less than optimal or even untenable: radical differences in tonality, low-power amp vs. low-sensitivity speakers, low current amp vs. low-impedance speakers, etc.
As one of the very few High End manufacturers of complete system solutions from source components to amplification to loudspeakers, Gryphon has a uniquely valuable perspective on all relevant compatibility/synergy issues.
In order to elegantly and effectively resolve the electrical, mechanical and acoustical problems which plague lesser systems, the Gryphon Kodo incorporate a semi-active configuration with specially developed bass amplification. For extended headroom, available peak power is approximately 4,000 Watts or 4.5 horsepower. The dedicated, on-board Gryphon bass power amplifier weighs in at 70 kg per speaker!
Gryphon bass amps incorporate custom developed parts, the finest Sanken high current bipolar output transistors, linear power supply, large capacitor banks, DC servo-coupling, military spec. double-sided printed circuit boards and Holmgren toroidal transformers with internal magnetic shielding. Ultra-wide bandwidth and zero negative feedback contribute to extreme speed and unconditional stability.
In short, they are true, no-compromise Gryphon power amplifiers born for one purpose only, to be a perfect match for the speaker’s bass drivers, electronics and cabinet volume to an extent unrivalled by any conventional passive loudspeaker using external amplification.
Active Crossover Bias
In addition to increasing low-frequency extension for a given cabinet volume and improving bass control by direct-coupling the amp to the drivers, the Gryphon active approach also provides permanent 28 V biasing of crossover capacitors, originally introduced in the Gryphon Cantata. The considerable benefits include improved stability, body, tonal colour and image coherence.
This extraordinary level of coordination and integration ensures an exceptional degree of bass control all the way down to those crucial subsonic notes that are felt more than heard. The signature of a Gryphon active deep bass system is absolute control with none of the sluggishness of more conventional systems.
It should be noted that the Kodo bass towers, as with the Poseidon and Pendragon, are not “subwoofers” in any conventional sense as they cross over at a higher point and, therefore, require more careful placement relative to the HF towers. This must not be compared with old-school systems such as the four-tower infinity´s that are often seen positioned with the bass towers some distance away from the HF columns.
Room-Adaptive Q Controller
Essential to the exceptional deep bass performance and outstanding room integration of the Gryphon semi-active bass system is the Gryphon Q controller, ingeniously designed to exploit what others narrowly regard as a problem: an acoustical phenomenon known as room gain, i.e. the fact that in any room, the enclosed space will reinforce response below the room resonance frequency by 12 dB per octave. Since loudspeaker system response rolls off by 12 dB per octave below the loudspeaker’s resonance frequency, the Gryphon Q Controller calculates complementary resonance and Q values for the loudspeaker and for the room to achieve resonance-free, extended deep bass response.
Due to the room-specific nature of resonance and Q (the resonance frequency is dependent upon the size of the room and the Q at the resonance frequency will depend on the degree of damping in the room), the necessary compensation can only be performed in situ in a given room.
Once system Q and room Q are “locked in”, bass frequencies are coupled ideally to the room and are reproduced in perfect phase with the upper frequency range.
Bass parameters can be optimised for fast, seamless integration of the bass section with the upper/mid in any listening room.
Set-up of the Gryphon Q Controller via remote control is simplicity itself with a separate display that can be placed for clear visibility from the listening position.
Because bass frequencies now have their own dedicated amp, the amount of power needed to achieve a given sound pressure level from the upper/mid section is greatly reduced (typically by more than 50%), allowing you to make your choice of main amplifier exclusively on the basis of sound quality.
Significant effort and resources have been devoted to the development of the Gryphon Q Controller and active, integrated bass amplification with the objective of delivering extended deep bass with articulation, force and authority, completely independent of the acoustic environment.
The singular bass performance of the Gryphon Kodo semi-active system is the direct result of the implementation of active Q control and dedicated on-board amplification, heightening audience awareness of rhythmic subtleties and nuances as it immerses the listener in music’s rhythmic power.