Gryphon Launches New Flagship Commander and Apex Amplifiers
Gryphon Audio Designs has announced its top-flight Commander pre-amplifier and Apex power amps. Gryphon pitches the Commander as “the most advanced pre-amplifier available”, while the Apex power amps merely “elevates pure Class A power amplification beyond what was previously considered possible.” However, knowing the Danish ultra-lux hi-fi brand, these won't be empty boasts - nor will this come cheap.
GRYPHON COMMANDER PRE-AMP
Using the company's excellent and much-lauded Pandora pre-amplifier as a jumping-off point, Commander shares Pandora's Dual-Mono layout with a separate chassis for signal and power supply circuitry.
Additionally, Commander retains Pandora's single-ended Class A input buffer as we're told that it offers the advantage of passing the signal through the smallest possible number of electrical components, namely two transistors and a single resistor.
Furthermore, as well as employing zero global negative feedback, Commander apparently benefits from significant advances in many sonically-critical areas, including a high-precision, extremely low noise voltage reference in connection with the analogue series regulators supplying the amplifier stages. The Commander's voltage reference has approximately 50 times lower noise than the already-excellent reference used in Pandora, states Gryphon.
A pair of fully discrete, linear power supplies feed each channel's analogue circuit with a third dedicated to the digital control circuitry. Gryphon says that this maintains absolute mechanical separation and electrical isolation between digital and analogue sections.
Housed in two massive chassis, Commander's power supply includes four custom-made toroidal transformers - two per stereo channel - engineered for minimal noise. Two of these (one per channel) power the dual-mono pre-amplifier circuits, while the second pair is reserved for upcoming Gryphon source components, thereby ensuring a future-proof upgrade path.
Gryphon's extensive use of aluminium chassis components is said to yield a highly stable, non-resonant enclosure that minimises both mechanical and electrical degradation and provides optimal working conditions for the circuitry.
Moreover, Commander gets a constrained-layer-damped bottom plate consisting of a “Sandwich” of three individual layers of Kerrock, bitumen and stainless steel, which, says Gryphon, further reduces resonances to an absolute minimum.
All amplifier and analogue power supply circuit boards float above these bottom plates on specially-designed isolators, providing a pristine, virtually vibration-free environment for Commander's sensitive circuitry.
An extra-thick, 4mm glass window presents Commander's 4.3-inch TFT capacitive touch display, designed to ensure an utterly intuitive user interface.
Naturally, customised system set-up comes via Commander's menu where you can set start-up level, left/right channel balance, maximum volume level, source-level matching, input naming, display brightness (including Auto Dim On/Off). You can also set dedicated AV-throughput for integration with Home Theater systems, output level and Green Bias adjustment for use with Gryphon power amplifiers.
Finally, and in a unique design flourish, Commander's display changes with the listener's distance from the system; in this way, Volume and other settings remain uniformly readable regardless of the listening position.
GRYPHON APEX POWER AMPS
The material specifications of Apex illustrate its cost-no-object design kicking off with the Apex Mono featuring a staggering compliment of 128 very high-current bipolar output transistors (64 per chassis), 2,080,000 μF (>2 Farad) capacitor banks (>1 Farad per chassis), four separate custom-made 2,000 VA toroidal transformers (two per chassis), all housed in a constrained-layerdamped chassis.
The Apex Stereo tips the scales at nearly 450 pounds, while a pair of Apex Mono weigh-in at 900 pounds and with nearly 1800 RMS Watts into one Ohm (Mono), you can rest assured that the Gryphon Apex will tackle even the most challenging of speaker loads.
Unique even in this price range, Gryphon Apex utilises a completely independent transformer and linear power supply for display and control circuits, preventing digital noise generated by these circuits from contaminating the amplifier circuits.
Gryphon has championed Class A since the DM100 in 1991 as it sees no other circuit topology approaching its sonic perfection. However, based on a thorough analysis of typical listening situations, Gryphon's clever “Green Bias” delivers true pure Class A with considerably lower power consumption than traditional solutions.
Green bias in the new Gryphon Apex allows you to select the amount of Class A required to drive speakers in pure Class A at any given time, considering such factors as speaker sensitivity, room size, musical dynamics, and overall volume level.
Rounding off the features of the new Gryphon Apex are the proprietary Gryphon speaker terminals that accept bare wire, spade lugs, banana connectors or any combination thereof.
In North America, the Gryphon Commander pre-amplifier is priced at $63,000. The Apex Stereo costs $99,000, with the Mono priced at $198,000 per pair. Additionally, a StandArt Amplifier Stand will also be released soon, ticketed at $8,000. The new products will be available in February.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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