...although i did not compared Mcintosh MA9000 and 300 in same room and system, i heard that amp many times on different electrostat and dynamic speakers and it sound sluggish and does not have resolution that follows quality of new Diablo...as i remember i did not hear anything in sound of Mc to top the Gryphon so i would not put them in the same sentence...at least not in my experience....i can tell same for Devialet....they can release D2000 Pro Extreme their sound was always artificial to me...more special effects for those people who like that...and you will always want more and more...never ending story of upgrades and search for music but music was never there...to me even Mc sounds more natural than Devialet with all respect...you did not specify products price range but i will name you few SS integrateds which had sense to my ears and are on a high level...Dartzeel CTH-8550, Dagostino Momentum integrated, Solution 530 Integrated, Pass Labs class A integrateds old and new models, Vitus Audio SIA 025, Absolare Passion Integrated, Accuphase class A integrateds, Goldmund Telos 390.2 (i heard that old model but new 390 NextGen must sound even better), although i did not heard it new Gamut integrated looks interesting...that would be the int amps on high level i would search for audition depending on rest of chain and funds...
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WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS.
IntS Do have a mystique all their own and make good sense a lot of the time. Although they do have their own hierarchy and as such I agree with what is being said about the Mac gear. Nice but not well up the food chain like some others previously mentioned. Ypsilon, Gryphon, Momentum, etc.
Dartzeel, Ypsilon and Gryphon in no real order, interest me most. not having heard them, I'd feel these three are in oreder what I would have on a wish list though.
It might be helpful, at least to me, to watch interviews with the designers on youtube. I liked overall what I heard from Gryphon and Ypsilon designers. Quite different people - different amps. Diablo 300 can be equiped with both phono stage and DAC, unlike Diablo 120 where it is either/or because there is simply not enough room in it for both. That Diablo 300 must be a real infernal machine. Fleming Rasmussen uses first and second generation master tape dubs to voice his equipment, and Dimitros - Ypsylon designer- is a professional sound engineer and he personally checks every unit that leaves the factory. Both appear to have a real dedication to what they do. I don't think there is a dealer in the US yet where you could audition both and compare. Gryphon just got a distributor - On A Higher Note and Ypsilon does have a few dealers, I guess, and the distributor is aaudioimports.com, I believe.
...well Inna if you mention FM Acoustics then we can put Kondo on the table as well but that would be too much i guess...regarding Nagra...i've yet to hear Nagra that i don't like...old school design but state of the art tech and above all the sound...i did not heard anything Australian as i know, only New Zealand's Plinius which has its own distinctive sound...Canada has good amplifier brands to offer but neither Bryston, Classe nor SIM Audio integrateds cannot or will not match any of big players named above (Tenor audio dosen't makes int amps)...i respect more Canadian source makers like Magnum-Dynalab and Meitner....on France side i only liked Jadis integrateds, they offer more at speaker design...Germany has it own players in Burmester which has good integrateds but little too old and expensive for today standards...i guess they are more into Porche and Mercedes car audio now...MBL has its N51 integrated which is state of the art but they are as Burmester more known by their mono and stereo amps...T + A is more prominent player in Germany lately and with many smart solutions and Voltage increase their sound is tubelike linear and open...their build quality is beyond reproach...
Blindjim those three amps you've mentioned are different beasts...if you have demanding speakers (read 4 Ohm and lower) you can forget about Dart and Y unless you listen to a mandolin only...otherwise you will be fine...i would suggest second hand Dartzeel cuz new is absolutely overpriced...great amp of smooth and natural sound, not cold not warm, has that natural flow...but as i said it dosen't even doubles to 4 ohm so pair it wisely...with new Diablo you get all that + bit more refinement + much more power...so Diablo is...if it match in your system and your taste end of journey...i only heard Ypsilon amps which sounded beautiful but not integrated so cannot comment (i would bet their int sound wonderful also)...with Diablo you will get great sound, versatile amp and not to worry about power...that's all...on this level don't buy without try...best speakers and best amp don't necessarily have to match...
Gryphon has been making integrateds for decades, he knows what he does. Try to find it used, no-one sells them and they sold a lot in Europe and Asia. Ypsilon appears to have more purist approach, they didn't make integrated until very recently. They also make $35k phono stage which is said to be extraodinary.
raindog031, you are certainly right about the match. I think, Flemming of Gryphon wanted to create a very versatile integrated that would match very well with a wide variety of speakers. And it should last for a very long time.
In addition, at this level there will be ’cultural’ differences. Gryphon represents the essence of Scandinavian sound - clear, dynamic, deep, on a darker side of neutral, and Ypsilon will weave the sophisticated tapestry of the world music. Gryphon will dominate whatever system you put in in and whatever you play, while Ypsilon’s presence will be more subtle and soaring.
In a perfect world I would choose Ypsilon, then I would ask Michael Green to build me custom speakers to work perfectly with it and I would send the Ypsilon to him for that. Then I would consult with Dimitros about recommending external non-Ypsilon phono stage. The alternative to Michael Green custom speakers would be Lansche. Purist Audio, Echole or Stage III cabling and that would be a great sound.
In not so perfect world I would almost certainly choose the Diablo with phono, either 120 or 300.
In less than not so perfect world I would first try Pass INT-60 for $6k used and see what happens.
All these would be for medium size room, and I don’t listen to opera, choral pieces and big orchestra music. If I did this would be either Diablo 300 or separates.
Swiss route is interesting too, though I am reasonably certain that I would prefer either Scandinavian or Greek/Middle Eastern sound, that’s either Gryphon or Ypsilon.
@inna, hmm...maybe we got off the wrong foot. Can you tell me what this discussion is about? Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to your thread. The OP asked about top integrated amps other than Gryphon Diablo 300, so I suggested an excellent integrated amp that I own. Would you not put the Ayre AX-5/20 on that list? Fully balanced with a Zero feedback design. Solid handling of the lows and highs. Extremely clear and very detailed with a deep and wide soundstage. Mid-range is true, neutral and transparent.
Inna obviously likes the Ypisilon, and they do make very good gear, howerver, there is another.
We did a comparison of the Thrax gear which is very similar in design and sound quality to the Ypsilon vs the T+A gear and the T+A gear was substantially better. Thrax is a second generation clone of the Ypisilon gear and some people actually prefer the Thrax over the Ypsilon. It is not quite right to say it is a clone, it is just that the two designers of both Thrax and Ypsilon share nearly identical ideas on what a simple elegant circuit should be and the design and layout and sound quality of these two companies products is very very similar.
The Ypsilon/Thrax sound is very refinded and quite open, very beautiful in tonality, the T+A gear sounded almost as magical in the midrange and added far greater bass control and dynamic slam. whil e still sounding nearly tube like in its midrange and overall persepective.
For this reason the T+A PA 3000 HV integrated and its even newer slightly better sounding cousin the PA 3100 HV have been gaining a lot of mommentium in the uber class range of gear.
T+A competes at the uber gear level, Solution, CH Precision, D’Agastino, Boulder, Vitus, yet when compared apple to apples the T+A gear usually costs 1/3-1/5 the price.
For example in the recent Positive Feedback review the PA 3100 HV a $21k integrated was directly compared to a $45k D’agastino Mommentium Integrated and the T+A was in that same level of sound quality.
In the Absolute Sound the older PA 3000 HV an $19k integrated was compared to $120k worth of CH Precision gear, and the reviewer had difficulty knowing which was which upon switching.
Another tibdibt T+A is the single largest high end company in Germany with 110 full time employees and an engineering staff of 14! They have the resources and size to be able to create unique products and can price them more affordably for that reason.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Besides, Diablo 300 is about $16k retail without phono or dac and Ypsilon Phaeton is about $25k, if it makes a difference. Diablo 120 is about $11k.
Dartzeel calls the volume knob a "pleasure button". Sounds quite perverse to me. Anyway, power button is more of a 'pleasure button', I'd say. And the way it looks - yuck.
Ypsilon phono stage is $26k not $35k as I previously posted, plus a few thousands for step-up transformer. I think, Dimitros could find a way to add phono module to his Phaethon integrated, like Gryphon and others do because unless you listen to master dubs on reel to reel deck you will need another $10k or so to add tube phono. It would make no sense to me to go with transistor phono and hybrid integrated and few would consider adding $26k Ypsilon phono to $25k Phaethon - must be great but too much. At the very least he could probably design that hypothetical $10k phono that would sound great too.
Gryphon Diablo does look like a big bargain, doesn't it? But no tubes and not the same level of sophistication. I heard that some LAMM owners replace their LAMMs with Ypsilon, and this is quite telling - they are usually very loyal to LAMM.
Inna Diablo 300 in Europe is cca 16000Eu which means about 19000dollars, and as Mcintosh cost more expensive in Europe than USA (same goes for lets say Burmester prices in America) i expect that Diablo in America would be in price range of 20-23K dollars without phono and dac...which at least to me dosent look like a bargain...its just great and expensive (but not over priced looking at many other products in market) high end integrated who is getting close with sound quality to uber separates...
Another question, though it may not be a question for those who seek simple solution that doesn't take a lot of space, can you do better with separates? I am not sure, probably not, especially if you need DAC. If not..there might be a slight chance. I don't remember the figures for new LAMMs. I think, it is at least $7k for phono, about the same for the preamp and probably around $20k for hybrid monos. Well, most people I know or heard of, if they can afford $25k electronics they can afford $35k electronics as well.
there are a couple of very nice Kondo's for sale now on Audigon for 20k or less. That is a great deal. There are a few other great integrated of course if you are in that price range.
Regards Burmester, no, they are not only into car audio these days. They just don't seem to be as popular here in the USA as in in the EU. I have been to their Berlin plant and also Berlin showroom. They are very much alive and kicking. Although they are not presently focusing on an integrated. really they are into their lines of separates at various price points. So while not solely into car audio, I would discount them as high end current builder of integrated units.
However, I would think you might want to add Boulder... very nice integrated.
There are others I will put into a separate post.
I own a Store in Los Angeles. Sunny Components Inc
Look at all the press we got from the LAAS and the accolades for the T+A Integrated Amplifier from the HV Series PA3100HV you can also in future add a power supply on this integrated.
Sounds absolutely amazing. $21,500.00 for $1500 you can add a Phono Stage.
I also love the Dan D Agostino Momentum Integrated Amplifier.
Audio Research makes a couple of amazing Integrated Amplifiers also the GSi75 has a DAC and Phono stage built in.
You must list all your equipment and audition the integrated in your system.
Many companies make great Integrated Amplifiers.
I've got Ypsilon, CH Precision, Ayre, Thrax, Aavik, Audionet, Rowland, Karan, Devialet and Norma here in Stockholm, Sweden who are all making wonderful products on different levels within the SS and hybrid segment. I've also had the Dartzeel 8550, Gryphon Diablo 300, Moon 700i etc. here earlier amongst others.
I'm happy to answer any question regarding these brands and their integrated offerings.
/ Marcus, www.perfect-sense.se
There has been no mention of the Vitus SIA 025, which in my opinion is the best solid state integrated made. A dealer friend of mine was looking to pick up either the Gryphon or Vitus lines, listened to them and chose VItus based on a wonderful, real, organic sound quality. Never listened to the Ypsilon, so can't comment . . . .
Also no mention of the stunning Absolare hybrid product. Speaking of hybrids, i own the Pathos Inpol2 pure class A with tube input stage and MOSFET output. Stunning sound quality, but a notch below the Vitus. You can buy Patho's flagship integrated brand new for ~$13k (or buy mine when i list it in another month, perfect condition, for under $4k!)
Why am i selling the Pathos? Only because i had David Berning build me his push/pull 300B fully balanced, class A ZOTL amp with integrated stepped attenuator volume control. This is the ultimate "integrated" if you only have a single source and SQ is your bottom line!
I heard the AX-5 Twenty with Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT and QX-5 digital hub just recently in Santa Monica. Decent, but to me, not shockingly great at all. I know some really love this combo, but for me it lacked resolution and bandwidth; it was a little sharp and had no real snap or sparkle and that's not for me. I do respect others find it attractive though.
Yes, Charles Hansen passed on very recently. RIP and God bless his family.
Slightly off topic, but what about the price and performance of the Gryphon Diablo 120:
Anyone heard this unit? Given my room size...this may be good enough for me. I'm highly interested.