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Even relative to the stout price features and fit’n’finish leave generally no room for complaints. The heavy and complex enclosure, the material contrast of precisely inset high-gloss composite panels and the fussy innards (use of non-magnetic materials, non-invasive protection circuitry outside the signal path, separate power supplies for pre/power and display stages) unquestionably impress. Merely that knocking the cover does elicit a degree of ‘rattle’ and that certain RCAs sit uncomfortably close to the speaker terminals leaves room for nitpicking. The subdued clicks during volume changes are intrinsic to the chosen solution of 50-stage microprocessor-driven discrete resistor ladder with relay switching which Gryphon prefers over traditional pots and digital solutions. This eliminates digital bits and op amps as well as mechanical parts from the signal path.

Cleanliness also becomes a key word when the Danes are asked why they shun global feedback. To avoid distortion the time delay intrinsic to sending back output signal to the input for a comparator loop and the concomitant intermodulation between time-offset signals isn’t acceptable to them. That's particularly relevant to high-frequency components. The flip side of low or no feedback is a higher output impedance and lower damping factor (the importance of the latter is admittedly debatable). Higher THD as a function of zero feedback is countered by Gryphon’s twice-of-everything dual-differential fully balanced circuitry. This particular combination of zero NFB/symmetrical makeup is also key with Ayre whose AX-7e, K-5xeMP and V-5xe impressed us earlier with very low-distortion musicality. Now it was time to learn how our Danish devil would behave in my (torture) rack.

Fully symmetrical circuitry, dual mono layout with bipolar output transistors, a total of 112.000µF filter capacitance. The heat sinks are discretely hidden inside the enclosure. XLR and RCA sockets are chassis-mounted and all solder joints mechanically destressed which even with costly gear isn't a given.

Meaning to ascertain whether this 500-watt integrated beast was merely grotesque Muscle Beach poseur or also about music subtlety, I reached for Klinik’s "Touch" [1996’s Awake] which I predict would probably strike most as noisy electronic mess by reflex. Nonetheless particularly the upper mid/treble range sports fine sequencer lines, vaporous effects particles and rapid transients which any hifi chain will have to unravel with due pizzazz.

After the first few rounds I was a bit surprised that the Diablo handled this multi-layered complexity with audibly greater separation than my Funk MTX/Audionet Amp combo. Whilst this highly resolving duo doesn’t really brush any detail under the table, the many small musical nuances were better teased out by the Dane, more intelligible, assured and clearer by contrast. That this keen nose for minutiae wasn’t mere focus on special effects but truly in the service of greater realism was made clear with the metallic percussion which is seated in the upper mids and treble. With the Gryphon this registered not simply as "some type of synthetic musical element". No I didn’t take meds during my auditions but still saw things assemble into a proper ‘face’ when I suddenly perceived a blacksmith’s hammer and anvil in a large hall. With all its precision and resolving power, today’s tester never defaulted into behaving like an argumentative academic. Most listeners would in fact feel prompted to call its major core character musical.