Gryphon Diable 300 DAC vs. Lumin X1 DAC


Greetings folks,

I'm about to do an A-B test between the DAC in the Gyphon Diable 300 (integrated amp) versus using the DAC in the LUMIN X1 Streamer.  I'm doing my best at understanding the architectural / technical / specification difference between the two DACs before I actually get it all hooked up for listening.  This is working toward the potential purchase of the X1 as a streamer upgrade.

The Gryphon Diable DAC (a separate add-on purchase, btw), has a Sabre ES9018 High-End D/A converter, if that helps. Not sure what technical specs would be helpful here.

The Lumin X1 DAC has Dual ES9038Pro SABRE DACs featuring 140dB dynamic range. Plus a bunch more specs.

Anyway, would appreciate any insights you knowledgeable DAC-goners have about the difference in the two DACs.  Anything significant in the architecture of the two, of the components they use to build?  Yada Yada Yada

And no, please don't suggest any other models at this point.  This is an A-B comparison right now.  

Remember, this is just educating myself before the actual listening takes place.

Thanks in advance
pgaulke60
I can't speak to Gryphon but I have had 4 different Lumin Dac's including the X-1.  I think the Lumin X-1 is the best sounding DAC under $19k.  I also love the simplicity of the APP and accessibility to Tidal and Qobuz.  I am really anxious to hear how the shootout goes.  Gryphon is a great amplifier brand.  I just don't know if their DAC's are as good as their amplifiers.
OP:

Out of curiosity, how did you narrow down your list to these two devices without having a general idea of their specs?
@jayrossi13 

Recommendations from my audio consultant, and listening to what has been put into fellow audiophile's listening rooms.  I heard the Gryphon and Lumin X1 independently, but never side by side.
It's difficult to directly compare an integrated amp with an optional DAC module and no streaming capabilities against a streamer with DAC capabilities and no amplification. The only functional overlap they have is the DAC.

If you’re looking at a streamer upgrade, the Diablo 300 + DAC is not going to give you that capability.

This is like comparing a car against a boat: they both transport people and can be powered by combustion engines, but the car isn’t going to do you a lot of good in the ocean.





The Lumin X1 also uses Lundahl LL7401 output transformers on its analog outputs.
@jayrossi13 

I understand your point. 

What we are trying to do is isolate the DACs while keeping everything else constant as we can.  Trying to figure out which DAC sounds better, the Lumin X1 DAC or the Gryphon DAC.  

All streaming will come through a Roon Nucleus, with Tidal. Same source, same speakers, same integrated amp.  Difference, I hope will be the two DACs.  Likely will need some different cabling as well.
@pgaulke60 

What's your current amp? 

If you like the way the X1 sounds, the advantage is that you could use the Nucleus as your Roon Core and the X1 as the Roon endpoint. That will most likely sound better than running Roon Core and endpoint on the Nucleus and then connecting to your DAC via USB. You can also eliminate USB from the signal chain as well and connect the X1 via ethernet. 

I've heard the Gryphon Diablo 300 (not with the internal DAC) and was really impressed. The problem is, however, that it seems like you'd be buying a high-end integrated just to get an add on DAC module. In this scenario you would run the Nucleus as a core and endpoint and then connect to the DAC via USB. 

Knowing just how good their amps are.
I thought Gryphon would have been smarter than that, and use R2R for their best digital conversion products, but no. Their digital stuff has never been as well excepted sonically as their amps have been

Cheers George
I concur with the other replies that you're minimizing the overall value of the X1 by not factoring in the streaming function within the unit.  It's a top class streamer on its own and should surpass the Nucleus by leaps and bounds in that area.  If you're seriously considering the X1, it's best to look at it as a total package.  Just my $0.02.
I have a Diablo 120 w/dac that I love.  But recently got a X1 for future upgraditis-purposes, if anything.  Lumins take so long to break in but so worth it.
How would you compare the Diablo to the X1?
Sorry folks, my phrasing may be confusing. The correct way to put it would be to say a Roon Nucleus will be used as the core and all streaming will come through the X1 as the end point either as a streamer into the Gryphon DAC or as a streamer DAC combo. You cannot use an X1 as a core.

@OCZED  As eluded to in my original post, I am working up to the comparison.  More to come on that front.
Through your listening, you'll probably find that you can save the $6K on the Gryphon DAC and be completely satisfied with the X1 DAC. 
@oczed - still waiting on xlrs. Though, im expecting the X1 to be an improvement. The optional Diablo DAC has been wonderful and I plan to keep it as a complete unit.
I had a Diablo 300 w/ Dac and I would say that the Diablo Dac is not even close to the $6k they charge for it. I had an Audiomirror tubadour3 and Holo May dac...both of those sounded much better than the Diablo dac. 
What does Gryphon know about digital?  They're a small Company... meanwhile Lumin (Pixel Magic) has been in the Digital segment and Broadcasting (digital bandwidth exceeding 10X or 100x what is required for audio) for quite some time.  If you can afford the X1, and your system has the resolution needed, go that route.
What does Gryphon know about digital? They're a small Company.

So, the bigger the company the better sounding digital equipment, I don't buy it.