This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Over the clearly not treble-stressed Fonel Emotion, even more middle-of-the-road recorded music like Alarma Man by the eponymous Göteborg Math-Rock quartet (recommended for those who don’t mind working through edgy experimental fare) that tends to suffer minor treble scratchiness came across a tad rougher, more obscured and somewhat unnatural or technical. Cymbals and hi-hats were tonally fresher and more extrovert with the Diablo. But they also were more finely polished, dusted and of smaller grain. This helped the entire sonic image feel more digestible, compelling, less edgy and as such more fluid. What the Diablo offered on resolution, microdynamics and airiness was—to render an intermediate conclusion triggered by ‘digestible’—definite haute cuisine. And likewise elevated was soundstaging. Perhaps differentiation in the bass range was somewhat less accurate than my Audionet monos. Otherwise it was bloody astonishing how particularly with the presumed forté of mono amps where ultimate channel separation is often claimed vital for ultimate stereophonics, the Gryphon nearly earned itself an extra star on its chef’s hat.

This shouldn’t imply that with staging which generally is a more vague harder-to-quantify concept the Danish amp applied overdone checkerboard sorting or hyper-focused image localization. While the soundstage was immaculately sorted, at least to my ears this wasn’t yet what makes the Gryphon special, i.e. what arises spontaneously as a feeling or insight during music listening…

No, what one notices instead will be the clean contrast between individual instruments over against the pleasingly clear, calm and black background. Tone colors are exceptionally pure and powerfully saturated. By comparison both Funk/Audionet combo and Fonel’s Emotion felt a tad paler and more pastel. Likely linked directly to the Gryphon’s exceptional treble quality, the microdynamic air one senses around voices and instruments to have them breathe and maintain proper distance from each other creates playback of very high contrast ratio, differentiation and absolute certainty.

This also serves presumably basic soundstages where nothing can possibly get confused. Take Current 93’s Soft Black Stars album. It consists of nothing but piano and David Tibet’s more spoken than sung lyrics. This comparatively simple fare came across exceptionally impressive. Seemingly recorded live i.e. sans overdubs in the studio and unburdened by post-production makeup, this album feels somewhat unpolished and raw. The lack of plastic embellishments makes it likably untainted. On timbre substance, nuance and the illusion of physical presences for both piano and voice in the listening room, Gryphon’s Diablo seemed very hard to beat. It handled this music noticeably more organic than my in-house references.

This also had to do with playing it all a tad warmer. The Diablo espoused a clearly burly low bass range on the fulsome side of neutral. This also trailed into the mids which remained a tick more voluptuous and substantial. My Funk/Audionet duo, Fonel and the small super linear Abacus Ampino all played it less generous and more ‘matter of fact’. On depth charges the Dane didn’t play second fiddle to my separates and reached as low whilst bringing the room to high-SPL boil on subsonic titles by Skinny Puppy ("Amnesis" from 1996’s The Process) just as I’m used  to it from powerful high-end muscle amps.
The Gryphon organized its bassment cleanly but with more nonchalance than the monos from Bochum and especially the Fonel Emotion, two machines which run on high global feedback. Take Eels' opulent "Not Ready Yet" from their Beautiful Freak album which is highly recommended to all friends of good Rock. The grumbling urgent bass runs and bass drum hits were a tad less exact than one might be used to from hard-as-nails transistor machines. But soft or lacking in contours was never the Gryphon's thing. Whilst on price and power I’d not call it extra dry, I’d definitely insist on semi sec. Listeners for whom ‘dry as dust’ triggers itchy coughs to have them favor a more fluid mobile feel down low yet who won't sacrifice precision for mass ... they will find this an interesting compromise.