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Selectable/settable menu items include input naming of up to 8 characters, max level value, start level value, input level trim across up to 8dB, AV conversion for input 3, display brightness, green bias setup (for matching Gryphon amps) and default restoration.

Flawlessly executed industrial design with minimalist Scandinavian black-on-black chic is wedded to interface smarts and most the functionality any 21st century serious listener might need.

Some could feel that our female Hamlet's disposition isn't entirely sunny. She's broodingly sworn off balance, polarity inversion, headphones and mono summing. While the latter is rare—Nagra's Jazz has it— the three former functions aren't. When my half-priced ModWright LS100 has two out of the four (headfi and defeatable balance), it's fair to note their absence. "On the Athena we have chosen not to include balance because not many costumers use it and by default l/r gain matching with Athena is very accurate. Absolute polarity inversion is possible on our Mirage Signature and Scorpio source components. Regarding a headphone socket, we do not supply this on any of our products."

Gryphon's wand is a design exercise in cool slickness. Its squared bar sits on edge elevated with winged footers on one end. Too cool to sport 'select' or 'exit' commands—the fascia lacks them as well—navigating the menu isn't exactly intuitive. Most will have to consult the owner's manual.

In the same vein one will soon consult the included cloth to wipe off finger prints that arise from touching the 'menu' and 'mon' and 'input' commands on the shiny front panel which double as nav controls. As women like Athena know, beauty demands sacrifices and comes at a price.