Gryphon Diablo & Dartzeel CTH-8550

I am looking for a high quality integrated amp in a small room of 18' x 10' x 8'.

On a usage basis, one negative point about the Diablo is that it runs very hot.

Anybody who has compared both amps side-by-side and could comment on it?

Thank you
Hi Hamburger,

I have seen and enjoyed your posts. I have not heard either unit...sorry. But i have owned Antileon and Colosseum...and have spent time auditioning Dartzeel.

I think Dartzeel,in my experience with them, is a very lithe, fleet of foot natural sound that can be very beautiful in the right system. It was not for me, but i very much respected the sound.

The Gryphon sound is also very beautiful, extraordinarily powerful and propulsive in the bass, and generally with a clear, measured control over the whole spectrum with a touch of 'sweetness' in the treble. Now, some may say Antileon is dark (i would)...but i quite liked the voicing, and i am told Diablo is similar. The Colosseum stepped away from that darkness but maintained the sweetness in the treble which i love.

The Dartzeel may feel illuminated in comparison...but i suspect it will depend on your component mix and personal preferences...i did love the Antileon treble (prefer the Colosseum by far).

Finally, i think the Diablo will drive anything with the power of an ox...i spoke with my dealer about the Dartzeel and he did suggest relatively more caution with lower impedance speakers.

my two cents. Good luck and hope you can post your findings.

Hi Lloydelee21,

Your post has been most helpful and I concur with your points mostly, in view of my own personal experience. I would like to share my thoughts here.

I have a fresh from box Diablo on a one week loan in my home system now, but I have not heard the CTH-8550 at all. The Diablo is about 30 hours now…

My own amplifier is the Orpheus Laboratories (Swiss) and I understand what you meant by “a very lithe, fleet of foot natural sound that can be very beautiful in the right system” on the Dartzeel CTH. I have heard the NHB a few times before. Immediately I agree with what you were describing. “Lithe, sprightly, agile, sweet”… think Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell. Most Swiss amps I know have this character, but not all do.

I recently heard a Mirage/Colosseum-Stereo set up and was very very impressed by how musical and organic it sounded. Yup, I was awed by the “extraordinarily powerful and propulsive in the bass” that you have described on Gryphon. The change from the Orpheus to the Diablo was very similar to my change of turntable from a Wilson-Benesch Circle to a Kuzma Reference. Suddenly I realize there was a missing bottom. I am not talking about boom-boom bass, but a kind of solid low frequency foundation where music emits from. And subsequently such bass energy drive that comes out from that foundation.

Yes, I noticed a “darkness” in the Diablo and I do not consider the Diablo as “sweet”. It is clear treble but not sweet (The NHB was sweet). The gryphon is an ox… hahaha, not a gryphon? In Asia, it is more a water-buffalo that can pull anything (any music genre) along with it. No problem with the power! Considering my small room and relatively easy to drive speakers, it is a piece of cake for the Diablo.

Personally, I like Class-A sound but dislike the Gryphon heat… kind of a contradiction. I know the Diablo is class-A/B. Also, although my Orpheus amp is a “lesser” amp than the Diablo, the Orpheus is more “musically engaging” to me. The Diablo has more fire power in the high-fidelity sense, but it lacks a certain x-factor on musicality. (I sing more in my head after listening to the Orpheus than the Diablo… my own personal measure of musicality). And if the CTH is anything similar to the Orpheus (the Swiss character), I get a pretty good idea how the CTH and Diablo will compare. Quite an enigma for me right now!

Perhaps the Diablo will sound better after more running-in?

Hi Hamburger,

Always good to read other people's experiences and observations, particularly when they have clearly done a lot of listening! Thanks!

I would think the Diablo will benefit from burn-in over time...however, your observations about the Diablo sound not being as lithe/lyrical as your Orpheus could possibly end up being your final conclusion.

After hearing a Goldmund in my system while my Antileon was out for repair, i realized that i vastly preferred the midrange through the bass of the Antileon...but the Goldmund made appreciate what an 'illuminated' treble could do for a system.

Hence why i went with Colosseum second-hand when i got the chance to trade in my Antileon.

Good luck! and please keep us posted!
Personally, I would be leary of solid-state charactarized as "dark". To me, this suggests a lack of transparency, palpability, dimensionality. Reviewers often confuse "dark" and "tube-like", which to me, are opposites. If I detected any haze, noise, restricted top end, flatness, or emphasis on the lower midrange/upper bass, I would walk away.

Dartzeel has a crytstal clear and extended top end, which has an extremely desirable sweetness. However, I personally find the Dart flawed in that the midrange is thin and non-organic. I do think the Dart can work with certain speakers and cable combinations, but it would take work and experimentation to make that happen. I'm sure others will counter my comments and come to its defense, but that is what I hear.

Luckily, you have the Diablo in your system, but I would give it at least 200 hours before passing judgment.
Hi Rtn1
I have heard the CTH recently and I really liked it. Well, there is no perfect amp, and for both the shortcomings and strenghts of both the Dartzeel and Gryphon, I prefer the Dartzeel.

However, I do not think the CTH is worth the price it is asking for, no doubt a very good amp. And I understand what you meant by "that the midrange is thin and non-organic". It lacks a certain body to the sound; you hear the sound but you don't sense there is a musician there producing the sound.

Anyway, back to my drawing board and search for other candidates other than the Diablo and CTH.

I think I will be
Try the Gamut Di150 if you can. It sounds very much like it will work for you, based on my own comparison with the Diablo.
Hi Mike60...interesting. any chance you could elaborate? Have heard good things about Gamut but never heard myself. OTOH, i am pretty familiar with Gryphon. thanks for any insights!
Gamut is more transparent and delicate with great detail. Gryphon is more muscular and powerful, but also a little rounded and perhaps richer. If you want huge bass I would guess Gryphon might do better. Its a question of taste.
I’ve auditioned both the GamuT DI-150 and the Gryphon Diablo.

Two quite different amplifiers in my opinion.

The GamuT is characterized by stunning transparency and incredible treble extension, reproducing music with great focus, precision and impressive transient response. On the negative side of ledger – for me at least – I found the GamuT to be somewhat clinical and lean which in turn lead to an opinion that it was somewhat bass shy.

The Diablo has a highly poised, confident and unhurried view on music. Its bass is deep, powerful and solidly propulsive handling dynamic and rhythmic demands with ease. On the negative side of the ledger the Diablo does not offer class leading transparency, runs incredibly hot and in comparison to the GamuT looks butt ugly – all in my humble opinion of course.

The sound of both amplifiers will be influenced by the source as both are relatively neutral with the GamuT being neutral/cool and the Diablo neutral/warm.
thanks to mike and kiwi! Good to read. Know the Gryphon sound...up thru Antileon, yes dark...and agree with all comments above. Colosseum starts to change things where, compared with Goldmund which can have excellent treble illumination, Colosseum is as clear an older Goldmund i tried in my system...but sweeter.

thanks again! good to read.
Try to listen the outstanding Burmester 032.
Thanks for all your opinions and comments.

Dartzeel CTH-8550
Gryphon Diablo
Gamut DI-150
Burmester 032

Is the Musical Fidelity M6-500i anywhere in the same league with the group above?
Thank you.
The MF is not in the same league as the above four IMHO. Neither (before anyone asks) is the Pass Labs INT-150.

Another amp that is in the same league is the ASR Emitter.
Heard the ASR Emitter quite a few times, nice big smooth slight darkish sound. However not to my taste. Thanks Kiwi for your opinion on the MF and Pass. OK, won't waste my time on them.

Amps that I have not listened to are:
Boulder 865
Vitus RI-100 and the SIA-025
Gamut DI-150

and the shopping continues... ;-)
Kiwi, I would not agree with 'clinical and lean'. In fact I would say it has a slight warmth once run in, but agree it is leaner than the Gryphon. A question of taste. I would not match it with very lean sounding standmounts for eg. I compared extensively and found the Gamut had a clarity that I found irresistible. Would love to hear the Burmester. Have heard a couple of Vitus amps and liked their monoblocks more than the integrated I heard (relatively speaking), but that was probably a system issue. They are all great products! Try at home if you can.
Hamburger: I for one would be interested in your thoughts re. the boulder and the vitus ri-100.
Hi Russell, I have not tried the Boulder and Vitus yet. But I will be listening to a friend's Vitus SIA-025 soon.
look forward to reading about your impressions, Hamburger. Enjoy
Hi Lloyd,
I heard the Vitus SIA-025 for about 2 hours, but it's really difficult to tell as it was a totally unfamiliar setting. It would have been fun if I could audition the Gryphon Diablo and Vitus RI-100 within the same room. Too bad, no such luck!
Did you like what you heard?
Hi Lloyd,

I really couldn't tell if the Vitus set up was good. It was neither bad nor good to me in terms of tonality. But it is definitely not for me, because I like to play loud and 25W Class A just doesn't cut it.

All in all, from what I have heard so far, the Dartzeel is still the one to beat, for me.

good to know! Volume does count when evaluating! I rarely listen at loud levels anymore...but last nite, i did bring out the Deep House...and it always helps to have the extra power to keep turning up the volume!

DTZL is world-class...enjoy!
I guess then the question is whether the Dartzeel is worth the asking price? $20k is not exactly chump change, even if it has an pleasure control.
I guess then the question is whether the Dartzeel is worth the asking price? $20k is not exactly chump change, even if it has an pleasure control.

I think the Dartzeel IS worth it .....
All your answers have been most helpful and I have come to a closure on this thread.

When I first started this thread, I was looking for a high quality intergrated amp and was looking at the Gryphon and Dartzeel. Along the way, there were many excellent suggestions. As I like to play loud, I was interested in something "higher" power, high current (>150W, 8ohm). The Vitus RI-100 caught my attention but I had no chance to try it. I was circling around the Dartzeel, Gryphon and Vitus. Dartzeel was leading the pack.

Coincidentally, a friend who is a YBA fan knew about my amp hunt and found me a very good condition 10 year old six-chassis YBA SIGNATURE amplifier (4 chassis pre-amp + 2 mono-block power amp) way below the prices of a new Gryphon, Dartzeel or Vitus.

I have been very happy with the YBA as it is operating nicely and sounds beautiful. It does not run hot, and could be easily repaired by a good technician should it kaput one day.

I did not buy new this time, didn't contribute to the economy, but I have found an amp that has ticked most of the boxes of my needs, except integrated-one-box-one-power-cord-and-one-less-interconnect. And no remote-control. Oh well! ;)

Thanks, everyone!

I have never heard the YBA signature stuff...but i have heard some of their more basic equipment...congrats!!! That is seriously good stuff, no doubt. And by reputation it is certainly consistent with the sound you have been looking for in Gryphon. Congrats and enjoy!!!

I went thru something simular a few years ago and ended up with a Neodio NR600 Signature. I compared with Diablo in my system and as much as I wanted to like the Diablo the Neodio just sounded better. French made, 100 watts ss. They are hard to find but worth the effort.
Wow, six chassis. I will have to re-look the definition of 'integrated' again. :-)

I wanted to go Danish - Gryphon and Vitus, but somehow the French got me... Is Dartzeel French-Swiss? And now pops in Neodio. ;)

Neodio is available here but not popular, so I guess I must have missed it. But will find a chance to go hear it.

Yes, my integrated amp needs 4 powercords and I ran out of power cords AND sockets on my power-distributor. Damn! ;(