Gryphon vs. McIntosh

I just try to get as much information as I can for my next upgrade, so I'm turning here for help from you. With a lot's of reading and also hearing some I came to the selection of a couple of very fine integrated amplifier which are in close line up for my upgrade. But as you all know that auditions are sometimes hard to get I'm also opening this with which I want to get also voice from users that have some of the components mentioned here.

My system consists from main speakers that are Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 and source mostly used is Musical Fidelity NuVista 3D CDP connected with Cardas Golden Cross ICs.

Here are the amps on the shortlist:

- McIntosh MA7000 (heared on SF Electa Amator II)
- Gryphon Atilla (not heard yet)
- Gryphon Diablo (not heard yet)
- Gryphon Tabu (a bit old but so good; I tested it on my previous system)

So here are some questions for those who maybe have a bit more experiences and chances to some of these amplifiers.

1. Did anybody hear McIntosh MA7000 and compare to any of these above mentioned amplifiers or also maybe other amplifiers that you heard during your time of selection? Why you choose MA7000 or why did you not go for it?

2. For those who have McIntosh MA7000, how do you find the equalizer controls on this fine amp? Do you use it to achieve your likeable sound or you completely disable it? I know that some will strongly support that best is not to use it, but I think that if equalizer controls are constructed the right way they can be in some circumstances also positive.

3. Did anybody audiotion new series of Gryphon amps (Diablo or Atilla) and compare it to older gryphons e.g. Gryphon Tabu? Just to tell you Gryphon Tabu went deeply under my skin when i heard it on my previous speakers, but I'm a bit scared to buy it as it is coming into ages now so you newer know what you can get if you go for the second hand.

4. If you had a chance to compare McIntosh MA7000 or also other McIntosh amps with Grpyhon please come forward with your thoughts.

What I'm looking for, full bodied sound, good control and music with guts :), absolutely should not be bright, sound can be a bit on a dark or warm side.

Many questions I know, but I sure you will make a great help to me and maybe also some other ppl who are also in the doubts where to look for more details.

thanks, del.
What I can say is that much bigger Gryphon combo (Prelude pre plus Encore power, 500Wpc/8ohms) than mentioned integrades pretty easily outperformed both Mac MA7000 and C220/MC501. Actually, the best sounding Mac was MC-275 tube power amp. Speakers was B&W802D, Nagra front-end.

Of course, it doesn't mean anything yet. Current Gryphon integrades may be different sound wise than retired Prelude/Encore combo...
Thanks for your first thought you shared here Zormi! I agree with you that separates like pre and power will outperform any of the above mentioned integrated amps. Due to the limited space I'm seeking for one box only.

I was really amazed with the Gryphon Tabu sound on my relatively cheap system (Canton Vento 807 DC, cheap Marantz CDP) as after 1 hour after the Tabu was warm enough the artists just appeared in my room and I sensed such a control that I never experienced later in my apartment. Great control and grip, great bass response, no sibilance, full body of the instruments, I could hear the wood of the guitar, singers were singing with full lounges. For Tabu they say it is on the dark and warm side, but I just enjoyed what I heard and I'm hard to conclude if that was dark or warm what I heard. It was just a perfect sound for me.
I read some of the articles and some of the opinions on different forums and some of the users say that Gryphon Diablo is a bit different in character than Gryphon Tabu. But I didn't heard it yet and it is also very hard to get the audition here and that's why I'm asking for more insights. I'm asking also how is it with Gryphon Atilla as this is in practice integrated that can be directly compared to Gryphon tabu as it is the same ligue.

Also McIntosh MA7000 is one of the integrated that would sure love to try in my system but again hard to get audition and also it is a huge animal to carry :).

best, d.
I just sold my Jeff Rowland Continuum 500 to a guy who had Mcintosh MA7000. He told me the Continuum was so much better and had nothing which was better than Continuum 500. He used it with Revel Salon. He actually told me it was the best amp he had owned. I have myself owned, the older Gryphon Callisto 2200. I can easily say the Continuum 500 outperforms that amp by far. Tabu amp is not a good amp, don't buy that. The Tabu design was actually was what became NAD S300 amp. Yes, that is true.
I second Inpieces opinion regarding Tabu. Gryphon Callisto 2100/2200 sounds much better, not to mention the latest Atilla.
Great thanks to additional answers Inpieces and Elberoth2. Really interesting to read the points and your opinions. But I presume that all these mentioned amplifiers are very well built and there is a lot about synergy which should be played with. It is also interesting that I read some of the opinions from people coming from Jeff Rowland Coninuum 500 to MA7000 and they say that the sound become more fluid and fuller. Maybe not so detailed as on Jeff Rowland but more listenable on the longer run (they talk about tube like sound). But sure there is a much difference in construction, Continuum 500 is pure D class amplifier and McIntosh MA7000 build with their Autoformers. There is one thing I like about both. They do not produce a lot of heat so they can be put practically everythwre and that is one positive thing I like about them both. Gryphons here are different animals again and it is very important that they have enough space so that the heat can go away. There is one additional thing that I liked about Jeff Rowland Coniuum that it has HT bypass. This is an extra goody that McIntosh MA7000 does not have. HT bypass is a function that is very useful for me. McIntosh MA7000 I listened on SF speakers and I liked it. Also EQ controls can be useful I think, to tune the sound to the best liking. But I'm not sure how in practice really works as I did not have time to deal with that. I personally still don't favor any of the amplifiers mentioned here as I don't know them yet so well but sure your help will provide some additional answers that will at least initiate which amplifier should I listen first. But as said I will not decide on the fly so I will take time also a year if necessary to decide properly.

As far as the Gryphon Tabu is concerned I tried it personally in my home and I also know about its past and the sell of plans and development of NAD S300 that is technically almost identical. I'm also familiar about the difference between them. If I go back to the Gryphon Tabu I found it the best integrated amplifier I heard till today and I also listened some of the extremely expensive seperates combos at friends, some Hi-Fi shows or demo rooms. Gryphon Tabu was a big surprise. At the begining I said ok it is playing well but it was still cold. But after an hour it opened up and it was exceptional good. I remember I was listening some of my reference CDs like Miles Davis Kind of Blue and control and wood of the bas was exceptional well. Trumpeth was so well defined and I could touch it with my fingers. I remember also Rodrigo and Gabriela playing the acoustic guitars and it was like I had them in my room. Wood of the body of the guitar was there. Superb performance with great attack, great control. Sound was so full bodied that I did not listened to equipment anymore but music. There were also no sibilance with Tabu. Sibilinace is one of the things that I want to avoid completely as this is one of the thing that is the most irritating to listen. So with Gryphon Tabu I remember I was just sitting in one position, like I was cemented to my couch. I could not hit the trigger on my remote for the next song. All the CDs I put in my CD player sounded so good.
I really wonder how the Gryphon Atilla can compare to this Tabu if it is even better than this integrated amplifier maybe can be my kind of a treat for my ears?!
Still want to collect more comments, more opinions from you and I enjoy that this opens more ground for thinking and to explore even deeper.

thanks, del.
The Tabu is a 17 year old design but still has a lot to offer in shear honest musicallity, leaning towards the romantic side.
The Atilla, being a new design, offers the same but with a higher degree of resolution, speed and neutrality.
The Diablo has all this, combined with awesome power.
It all depends on the rest of the set-up and the ears that listens to it. The product you like the most,. IS the best for YOU, regardless of what I, magazines or other people say.
I bought a Gryphon Diablo some years back after auditioning as many integrateds as I could around the same price point. I scribbled some notes on the product

The Diablo, unlike the McIntosh MA7000 is a neutral product. What you feed it with and connect it too will determine whether it is right for you. I think the pairing with the NuVista would be interesting. I would be wary on the Cardas Golden Cross cable though. I also have this cable at home and find it a bit thick and slow compared with others out there. Perhaps before you spend a bomb on a new amp you might want to optimise what you already have?
@Kiwi thanks for pointing to your review. Great privilege to meet you here as I was already familiar and I read all your reviews with great interest, already some times ago. I also read other reviews of high class integrated and found them very interesting and thorough.

As far as my system and Golden Cross IC is concerned. This is my latest optimization that I did after a lot of trying and Cardas Golden Cross ICs brought the best music presentation into my system. I tried also with totally different IC cables like Nordost Red Dawn, Nordost Tyr, Nordost Valhalla, Oyaide Across 750RR, Van Den Hul the First, Oehlbach and some others. Cardas gave the music the essence and more spirit, and more meat to the bones. This is what I like and I did not find it slow at all. I think I made a nice circle where now my current Musical Fidelity A308 Dual Mono integrated is the weakest link and needs to be changed eventually. That's why I started to look for some better integrated. But will take some time, will explore, will discuss and will sure also listen to different options when the situation emerges.

So a question to you. Are you maybe familiar with Gryphon Tabu? I like its character a lot and is exactly what I'm looking for. I know that describing the character of some equipment is hard as it is sometimes totally subjective matter and depends also on the other components inside the system. But even though I think that you provided lot's of interesting reviews and I know also some reference music that you used during your reviews and maybe I will understand what you mean to say.

Some describe Gryphon Tabu as a bit dark, gryphonaudio said it is romantic. I would hard to say that if that is what suppose to be dark presentation. Maybe i don't know?! Romantic, maybe as I fell in love with it after 2 hours of listening. I was cemented to the chair :).
I just think that I heard the music the right way through it.

How would you evaluate the character of the MA7000 then? I liked it when I listened music through it. Is a character of MA7000 again dark ?

I now think and wonder that development of Gryphon went another way with Callisto and now Diablo and Atilla series. On some forum where one user had all of them, he said that it is not the same Gryphon as it was before with Tabu so it leans also a bit towards the analytical side. So maybe somebody can this understand as a tad bright? But I can not judge that at all, did not heard them yet.

What interest me are the @Gryphonaudio comments on the development of the character from Tabu series and all the way to Diablo. They are short but still interesting to read them. Romantic is changed now with neutrality and still there is presence of that grip and control that was present in Tabu? So maybe it is true that Tabu was a bit dark and Atilla and Diablo are more towards neutral. As I said already, I like the meaty sound of Tabu. Thick, fast, controlled. Music was with the guts this is what strike me the most. And no matter what I trow into the CD everything sounded good. Also bad recording sounded good. And that is one of the indications that we are dealing here with some really nice piece of equipment. Is that also preserved with Callisto, Atilla and Diablo?
Some of the reviews I read about Diablo said that it is highly dependent on what you throw in so this gives me a bit of discomfort.

You know, I don't like the equipment where you need only audiophile CDs to listen so that music sounds good on the system. I also like to throw into my CD a Pop from the 80s which is usually one of the worst recorded. And if that sounds good then I sense that I'm close to find my mate in the Hi-Fi to accompany me.

thanks for your kinds answers, best d.
Having been completely familiar with both products, I first thought the Post was kidding in asking for a comparison...mainly because there is NO comparison.
MAC is good gear, and some swear by it...I understand this...appreciate that certain 'sound' or look has great, sometimes even Universal appeal...hence Mac's years of success. However....however...
I went to Binghamton (long time ago) McMasters Training for their seminar over a couple of days.
They do a great and admirable job with their equipment...I came to be a big fan of their products...BIG Fan...but I can make no pretense that there's any comparison in sound between the Mac and the Gryphon.
Gryphon, to my ear, borders on the mystical...sounds silly, but's so alluring (think tied to the mast in Homer's work, lol).
I owned a Callisto 2100, not even the 'big one' the 2200...and it slayed, Ayre, Conrad Johnson, (sorry Bill and Lew), Krell, Mac, separates and it was not close...AND this was not MY single impressions, but several people over the course of several days of a/b/c/d/ listening sessions in a store in Nashville, TN.
There's a thing that happens in audio, in which one passes over the obvious, and music becomes so realisitic and fun, and life like that the illusion is almost doesn't happen easily or quickly, but it can and does it was with Gryphon.
Funny...even devotees of the other gear would simply shake their head and say, 'Wow...that's not close'...words to that effect...surprised, supremely surprised at the difference.
Back some 20 years ago, I sold 11 of the 13 Gryphon preamps (rosewood knobs, gold flashed back plates, and $9000. back when $9K was more than now) that they brought into the US.
I literally, could hook an Adcom 555 Amp to the Gryphon preamp and make it sound remarkable...this forever changed my understanding of preamps and their value to a system.
Your last comment, Delfineck...'I don't like the equipment where you need only audiophile CD's to listen'....hit the mark with me.
When I designed the LSA speakers, the acid test was...can I listen to any 'worthy music'...and have a musical experience?
So it is with Gryphon...this is NO COMPARISON...Gryphon is in a different category of excellence when compared to Mac.
These words and thoughts transcend opinion.

Good listening,

First of all, I'm surprised you found the Tabu as 'dark', and even more surprised that Gryphonaudio called it 'romantic', as it is not how I remember the Tabu. It probably much depends on what do you compare the amp to.

Compared to Callisto, I found the tabu to be a bit dry sounding. Callisto, especially the 2200 which is much better and a bit warmer sounding, has much more organic presentation than Tabu. The sound is more lush, more fluid, has more texture. At the same time, Callisto has more resolution, its faster, and more articulate. It is just much more transparent than the Tabu, without sounding etched or analytical in anyway.

This is really an outstanding stuff. I have written a review of 2100 vs Mac6900 for a Polish magazine, but also had at home the 2200 and Tabu, both the big one and Tabu AT.

I cannot stop wondering, why this stuff isn't distributed in the US !
Hi Delfincek,

I will do my best to address your questions.

The Gryphon Tabu has been out of production for many years and my only experience with it has been in a dealers system (not my own) so my comments need to be read with some caution. I found the Tabu to be a high quality instrument both in terms of design and sound. The Tabu has an extremely robust power supply design and this is important because with audio amplification one is ultimately listening to the power supply. I know that seems odd but as you would have read from my reviews the differences in mediocre and superb amplification often in my experience come down the capability of the power supply. Well-designed high power amplifiers typically possess large and heavy power supplies with high current capability which is demonstrated by their ability to increase output power into low impedances. Since it is current that ultimately drives the cones in your loudspeakers back in forth it is actually the amplifiers power supply design, not some lofty and frequently misrepresented wattage moniker, which underpins perceptions of sound quality. Since high current capability comes from massive power supplies and lots of output transistors, all of which are expensive items, well designed high powered amplifiers don’t come cheaply and this is true of the Gryphon range.

Turning now to the sound – the Tabu deviates from neutrality but does not in my opinion deviate so far as to label it “romantic” as ‘Gryphonaudio’ describes. I’d reserve such an adjective more for all valve softies rather than solid state brutes. Further, when referenced against the Diablo the Tabu is not as open in the top end of the audio spectrum and the Diablo trumps the Tabu in both resolution ( particularly reproduction of ambient detail ) and sound staging which is more vast with the Diablo and further grows as you climb up the Gryphon product range. The Diablo also exceeds the Tabu in terms of dynamics and localisation of instruments and actors. However, the Diablo needs careful matching to the source and speakers because there isn’t much in the way of tonal warmth. I’ve paired the Diablo with a Cary source because the source provides a hint of warmth to the proceedings. Further, the Diablo isn’t the quietest high powered integrated in the market – that gong would probably go to the Rowland Continuum C-500 and the Diablo runs very hot drawing over 200 watts at idle due to its class A operation for the first 20 watts (approx).

So, what is right for you? Well your view on Cardas cables immediately clues me that neutral is not for you. You clearly prefer added weight to the bass, the addition of some tonal colour and some attenuation in the upper treble. Summed, this gives many listeners the perception of “more meat on the bones” and an added sense of musicality. On this basis I imagine the Tabu would fit you very nicely indeed but do also consider (if you can) other options including the LSA Signature and the AMR AM-77. Good luck.
Hiya guys Lrsky, Kiwi and Elberoth. That are really good quality answers. I appreciate them a lot!

I need to thank you all for very vivid and detailed description on where you position Gryphon and McIntosh on your experiences. I see that you based your comment mostly on the experience gained with different Gryphons and how it compare to other Gryphon gear (Callisto 2100, Tabu) and also other makers.

A comparison between Callisto 2100 and Diablo and Tabu and Diablo gave me again more understanding of the difference between these two fine amplifiers. I'm lucky here only at one spot that my friend who is living not far from me has Gryphon Tabu and I'm looking forward the time when he will be so good to lend me it again for a test with my current setup which is consisted from Anthony Gallo Ref. 3.5 speakers, Anthony Gallo Ref. speaker wires, MF Nuvista 3D CDP and Cardas Golden Cross ICs. Really wonder what Gryphon can do on it. I liked it on my previous rather more budget system a lot and I think that is how I still carry that sound in my head which is somehow hypnotically good.

What strikes me the most is that some of your observations goes practically parallel with the observations from Frederic Beudot from 6moons who in 2010 reviewed Gryphon Diablo and gave it also best marks. From the review I can identify a remarkable good piece of equipment that is putting forward honest musical truth. What scares me a little is that careful matching is of great importance, also selecting sources on the warm side is a +, the same with speakers. I wonder that he is compensating with this a little to achieve best liking :). Am I wrong? Do I read wrong?
He also mentions that selecting of source material (CDs) that are good recorded will be crucial with Diablo. But he noted a problem when it comes to bad recordings where Diablo is not making any compromises and will put it like it is. So I'm scared a little about that claim. What I also read with a great interest from Frederic (6moons) review is that he mentions also Gryphon Atilla which has a touch of a warmth and forgiveness. And that is giving me a little more reassuring words that maybe this is piece of equipment I might be looking even more. I wonder now on what basis he state this claim as his review is only about Diablo and he did not had Atilla by that time.
Question opened and sure one thing I would like to explore too what is the difference between small brother Atilla and big brother Diablo. :) I know I need to hear it, best on my system in my room, but where is a luck to grab it for test?

Kiwi you somehow identified a character of musical presentation that is to my liking and I think I must give you a prize :). I like it bold, meaty a tad warmish and most importantly sibilance is my poison of death which i don't like. And as Lrsky said I adore the equipment with which I can listen any kind of recordings.

And last but not least about the myth of "Dark character" of Gryphon Tabu. This is one of the sentence I heard so frequently from different people from forums, magazines and also my friends who are some Hi-Fi freaks say this. What I wanted to say in my previous post is that I can not say that Gryphon Tabu is dark. I found it detailed, musical, maybe a tad warm and away from sibilance. And very listenable for hours. But I don't understand what dark character means. Maybe music coming from dark background? I sensed very well defined boundaries, great body of the instruments which I could visualize and almost touch and great voices. Great control of the speaker units like Gryphon is playing with them effortlessly. Very relaxing and very involving at the same time. Maybe that makes it dark? I don't know. As I said I was hypnotized as a stone by it and sat in one position for hours as I could not move.

Elberoth I'm also interested in that review of yours. Even though if it is in Polish. I will try to help myself with google translate. If you have it I would be glad if you can share it here with us.

Thanks guys looking forward to hear from you,
best, del.
Hi Del,

Re definitions, 'dark' is generally taken to mean a warm, mellow, excessively rich quality in reproduced sound. The audible effect of a frequency response which is clockwise-tilted across the entire range, so that output diminishes with increasing frequency.

The counter-tenor is 'light' which is lean in bass and upwardly tilted in the treble.
'Dark'...would generally mean, 'lacking air' and a sense of unlimited upper bandwidth...not so, with regard to any description that I would apply to Gryphon.
When I hear live, nobody else, as my experience is unique to me...I am not aware of highs and lows...or any bandwidth...just the music.
For my rather extensive experience with captures this better than any other electronics I've heard...(solid state).
It simply makes what sounds to me, like music, without any of the fancy nomenclature we tend to apply to those uniquely satisfying moments of real music. It passes the information through the electronics, seemingly unchanged texturally...musically. Nothing is highlighted, nothing is front and center, EXCEPT the musical experience, if I may be so bold as to suggest that something like this is possible.
There are only a handful of pieces of gear that can do something like preferential list...
Gryphon...Five Stars...wonderful
MBL...when set up right the full MBL system is magic...the electronics 'in the same league with' if not the same pew as Gryphon...but I still defer to the Gryphon.

Tubes...for my humble impressions, only VAC makes the cut here...and my praise for them is again uniquely mine...and does not diminish the value of ANY other me, it is the Tube Alternative to, after all, this IS all about the music.

Good listening,
I can't understand what you like about Tabu. I am serious, i have heard it to.
I can say one thing i noticed with Gryphon gear though, i have had 4 units myself. I tried Nordost cables and that was a match no other cable came near.
Continuum 500 and MA7000 is not about musical and/ or not.
C-500 opens up a depth the MA7000 will not. It offers air and resolving power that MA7000 do not. Also, it has much more power and control. The MA7000 looks very good, but it is not as good as C-500. Even Backes & Müller used this amp as reference when building active speakers. Thiel uses C-500 with 3.7. If it was un-musical i don't think the guy who bought it would say it was the best he had used with his Revel Saloon.
I know many hear class D and that is like a bad word.
Perhaps the latest Hypex modules or the finished products they sell are good to. It is completely other prices than typical High end price tags. People should look more in to the studio realm. There are many very very good things making High end pricing a bit bizarre.
My only issue EVER with Gryphon was their ethnocentric view of Americans and the consuming American public.
These views were by and large, so it seems second hand information (inasmuch as I could glean from conversations with personnel including Rassmussen).
Having dealt with international sales and distribution, up to and including creating international distribution for my own company, I recognize it to be a slippery slope with cultural differences...couple that with agenda laden distribution types in the mix and the view of a buying public could be a daunting set of information to deal with.
A really bad review by the American Press sort of hijacked whatever hopes of successful distribution there may have we in the US have been without these magnificent products essentially since their inception.
A personal 2003 Gryphon had a distributor in NY...I forget the name...I called, acting as an agent for friend who I was representing was wildly wealthy and wanted the best, so I reccommended Gryphon...and the distributor laughed at the idea that I would call and attempt to purchase what amounted to $40K to $50K worth of electronics so quickly, not understanding my background with THIEL and having sold Gryphon in my own retail store for several years...but instead of being helpful, they were dismissive and not the least bit call in particular having reached the American Distributor at 4:00 in the local tavern on a weekday, drinking away the afternoon. could point fingers at the American buying public, the American Press, OR Gryphon, for their abysmal choice for distribution....I chose the latter.

None of this changes the marvelous character and sound of this was/is, simply the best I've ever heard...and nothing I've heard is remotely close.

Good listening,
Obvious question...if the Continuum was so good, why did you just sell it?
You must immediately surrender your 'audiophile crazy' card, asking a question like that.


Good listening, and LOL
After a weekend in peace and serenity I'm back for some more interesting discussion here. Thanks for additional comments guys.

As far as the myth of dark character for Gryphon Tabu. I would say that is not correct if I correlate this with your description of dark and what I heard through Gryphon. I would say that Gryphon Tabu had and exceptional well amount of air, very well defined edges and body of the instruments, very dynamic and seductive sound which is with high energy but not aggressive at all. I would hard to say if that is NEUTRAL but sure I would say it was NATURAL to me and enjoyable as music was all around me. Experience that I had with a relatively very cheap system at that time was memorable and was not repeatable in experience and pleasure of enjoyment of the music. Other components that I used on that time while testing Gryphon Tabu were the following: Canton Venton 807DC, Marantz CD53 (old entry level CDP), Nordost Red Dawn ICs and Nordost Super Flatline Gold MKII.
Soon after that experience I bought second hand MF A308 Dual Mono integrated but I did not achieved the same pleasure as with Gryphon. Also changed CDP for MF Nuvista. In 2010 I also upgraded speakers for Anthony Gallo ref 3.5, where there were a lot of improvement and different presentation of music but still I carry that reference magic moments when the music just emerged and that was I think the blame to Gryphon Tabu. Control and body of the singers and organic body of the instruments struck me the most.

About Gryphon reservation towards USA market something is mentioned on 6moons review and I sense some bad experience Gryphon company had in the second half of 90s. More to read is here:

What is interesting to point here is that we can identify also NAD's attachment to Gryphon and very interesting background. Is here the answer to the development of NAD S300? I think it goes well together if we look the years when NAD S300 was released (1998).

But if I return back to the topic I have a question that is also rather fairly often said for McIntosh gear. "McIntosh sound" often said but not so often discussed what that can be? What kind of sound is that? How do you compare it towards Gryphon? I guess from your answer now is that it is not so deeply involving and does not reveal all the details that e.g. Jeff Rowland Contiuum 500 does?! I'm just guessing this from your answers. I think that McIntosh is not only about the look as I still see a lot of very happy users who found its sound very lush McIntosh. Does McIntosh offer too much forgiveness?

Thanks for great discussion,
best, del.
As is the case with many things, it's hard to describe.
Let's start with the obvious:
It's very pleasant...and that's not a 'damning with faint praise' comment.
Pleasant is good.
The bass is a bit, 'rubbery' if that makes any sense...a bit lose with the overall impression that it's not plumbing the depths...a little heavy in the midbass...not as tight as it should be tonally.
Background, very black...midrange very nice...if not a bit 'forward'...remember the 'absence of one, is the prominence of another'.
The highs...softish, not articulated, in my experience...but NEVER fatiguing.
Forgiving but not syrupy...sounds about right.
Actually, with some of the THIEL'S, interestingly, the Mac sounds nice...good offsets for one another.
If we could agree that Spectral is a bit dry sounding, clean but dry, we have some common ground.
Classe...more musical and very Threshold/Pass Labs sounding.
Krell, thunderous bass, a bit grainy (my main objection) in the mids and upper frequencies.
What's fundamentally right about the Gryphon...I notice NOTHING as it relates to these regions...I'm only hearing what passes for music 'for ME'.
I've heard Gryphon with THIEL, Logan, B&W, Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams, PSB, Rega, LSA...almost too many to mention...and it's character or musicality always outshines any perceived color for me...just musical, without the pejorative connotation one normally associates.
Without those niggling little problems or issues, the rest just falls in place for me.
Gryphon is in a league almost by itself for my taste...MBL offers a very, very similar sound...with a slight, and I do mean slight...did I say slight? lack of that final ounce of resolution?
Having said that...they're as close as you'll hear, as if the same guy and suppliers are at work here.
If this does NOT make sense, I apologize...subjective analyses, are always hard.

Hope this helps a bit.

Good listening
LoL Larry, I’m not sure that "rubbery" is legitimate Stereophile lexicon to describe the bass but I nonetheless wholeheartedly agree with your observation(s) on the McIntosh sound. On the whole I found the McIntosh "inoffensive” which is also not damning with faint praise… :-) I think....

The McIntosh can seem slow too, having no real snap to it -and somewhat behind in the resolution stakes. Still, with the right speakers the McIntosh works.
Let's call it 'flabby' or 'loose'...yeah, I struggled with that.
Not well damped would probably work too.
Sorry...words escaped me.

Those comparisons, inadequate vocabulary notwithstanding, should be fairly accurate for a numbskull like me.

Besides McIntosh what other type of amplification most
uses output transformers? Tom
Thanks guys for providing new answers which they make a total sense to me.

I've read a lot about comparison between different gear and now some of your arguments comes into place and that makes better understanding to me about the sound. I heard McIntosh MA7000 on Sonus Faber Electa Amator II but I did not made any conclusions at that time as it was to short to make them. Sound was pleasant and very listenable, but still I asked myself and told to my friend that his Gryphon Tabu might be even better sounding than this sexy MA7000. If I would be greedy I would be able to live with any of them I think :).

I also found some comments of users on other forums in regards comparison between Jeff Rowland Continuum 500 and MA7000 and there are similar conclusions than here. The only problem I had was to find comparison that we talk now here -> Gryphon vs McIntosh. Only on one Italian forum I helped myself to find some comparison comments between Diablo and MA7000. Users there were mentioning some veil in the Mac's presentation. But it was not defined as something ultimately bad but rather as a tubby sound or musical forgiveness by my interpretation :). Also MA6600 was judged as a good alternative with maybe event better balance of sound than MA7000. But this again I think is much more of a finesse and associated with the equipment used I believe. I found this last mentioned discussion on Audiokarma forums. But my preference would be to discover MA7000 prior to MA6600 more as of technical advantage of the amp.

And finally Diablo on Italian forum was mentioned again as strong, full controlled with excellent transparency and for some better sounding than McIntosh MA7000.

If I go back to my experience with Gryphon Tabu and its bass area. It was simply excellent that is how I remember it with great energy and push. Gryphon just drove my speakers like no amp before or after. Even at low volume speakers still sang so good and with a great body. The only problem as said was first hour as Gryphon Tabu was sounding good, but nothing extra special. Magic came alive after 45 minutes or something.

Coz of the age of Gryphon Tabu I'm now leaning my curiosity towards Gryphon Atilla. Atilla is an entry level Gryphon integrated with 2x100W. It is a proper dimension for my place as I don't need more power for my place. It has also HT bypass that I need and there is a word that it is also a bit more forgiving than Diablo and that maybe can work very well for my system?!? Now a challenge how to find a piece to test it and to confirm this. But Ok I'm not rushing anywhere. How much better can Atilla be in comparison to Tabu? Is it possible to be better sounding at all? Technically certainly, but still I wonder what the reality can show. If weight is the main factor for judgment of the quality then Gryphon Tabu would outperform Atilla by around 8kg. What about the sound?
There is a Gryphon dealer in Zagreb where you can hear the Atilla.
The Tabu had a steel cabinet so weight can not be compared to the Atillas Alumminium cabinet.
If you read Croatian, you may find this review useful
Thanks Gryphonaudio for your answers and great privilege to have you in this thread! Yes, I'm familiar with that review as I read also serbo-croatian language without a problem. Very enthusiastic and passionately written :). I read it some time ago. It is interesting to note that some of the reviewers who had a chance to test Atilla and Scorpio together are coming to similar conclusions as I read also some other international reviews.

Thanks also for explaining on the weight for Tabu what brings this extra kgs. Atilla as Tabu is also a dual mono design. Are two toroid transformers in Atilla lying one on another or is it just one big single toroid?
I was also searching what is the diameter of the binding posts on Atilla as I could not find this info. I'm closely familiar with Gryphon Tabu which has huge binding posts for speakers and I know that not all spades are able to fit there.

thanks, best, del.
Roxy, that is the easiets question to answer. Simply because i bought a nearfield monitor which is only made active.
It was with no small sense of irony and sadness that I read the post from Gryphonaudio.

'We have a dealer in Zagreb'...of course you do.
Below, is a list of the top GDP countries in the world...lists like this are aways read it with some cynicism...yet, note that the US is second only to the Six Countries of the European group...and by pennies.

So why do I find this sad, or ironic.
As I mentioned early on, the Gryphon Audio Company states openly, their disdain for the United States, did so to me personally during a phone call to none other than Flemming Rasmussen, founder/designer of that auspicious company.
As I mentioned, a bad experience with a US reviewer, who it was rumored wanted free goods for his handiwork....and a subsequent series of poorly performing Distributors, led them to discount this country with, by far and away, the largest GDP on the planet.
Do we in the US Spend as much per capita on Audio we spend as much on infrastructure or 'The Arts', no...are we backwoods rubes, no.

Here's the chart, that shows what Gryphon Audio is discounting, while chosing Zagreb, a Croatian population of the country, in the neighborhood of 4.Million souls, earning the equivalent of $15K annually.
Marketing is a tricky thing...but not so tricky as to make this kind of tragic blunder.

I do NOT say these words to be offensive or illicit a response from the Ivory Towers of Gryphon, hell, they don't care what we think...after all, we're only the largest economic engine the world has ever known.

With a true marketing company, group behind this product/products....this company could absolutely RULE high end audio...this stuff is THAT good, sigh.
— European Union 15,878,231 2010
1 United States 15,065,736 2011
2 China, People's Republic of 11,316,000 2011
3 India 4,469,000 2011
4 Japan 4,396,000 2011
5 Germany 3,044,241 2010
6 Russia 2,812,383 2010
7 United Kingdom 2,233,883 2010
8 France 2,194,118 2010
9 Brazil 2,185,421 2010
10 Italy 1,908,569 2010
11 Mexico 1,644,449 2010
12 Spain 1,477,840 2010
13 Korea, South 1,417,549 2010
14 Canada 1,329,864 2010
15 Turkey 1,114,629 2010
16 Indonesia 1,037,499 2010
17 Australia 865,043 2009
18 Iran 846,172 2009
19 Poland 755,473 2010
20 Netherlands 701,947 2010
21 Argentina 647,064 2010
22 Saudi Arabia 623,440 2010
23 Thailand 591,256 2010
24 South Africa 528,423 2010
25 Egypt 501,326 2010
26 Pakistan 466,555 2010
27 Colombia 438,043 2010
28 Malaysia 418,373 2010
29 Belgium 409,061 2010
30 Nigeria 377,146 2010
31 Philippines 370,176 2010
32 Sweden 366,060 2010
33 Switzerland 364,507 2010
34 United Arab Emirates 354,667 2010
35 Venezuela 352,721 2010
36 Austria 335,434 2010
— Hong Kong 328,674 2010
37 Greece 314,721 2010
38 Ukraine 308,298 2010
39 Romania 306,348 2010
40 Algeria 297,373 2010
41 Singapore 294,123 2010
42 Vietnam 278,616 2010
43 Peru 277,318 2010
44 Norway 276,954 2010
45 Portugal 272,564 2010
46 Chile 269,228 2010
47 Czech Republic 266,109 2010
48 Bangladesh 246,703 2010
49 Denmark 218,933 2010
50 Israel 217,653 2010
51 Hungary 203,251 2010
52 Finland 196,629 2010
53 Kazakhstan 196,608 2010
54 Ireland 178,036 2010
55 Morocco 151,638 2010
56 Belarus 134,561 2010
57 New Zealand 130,662 2010
58 Slovakia 129,843 2010
59 Kuwait 128,895 2007
60 Qatar 128,187 2009
61 Ecuador 117,241 2010
62 Angola 115,167 2010
63 Iraq 113,238 2010
64 Syria 107,304 2010
65 Libya 105,444 2009
66 Sri Lanka 105,139 2010
67 Bulgaria 103,946 2010
68 Sudan + South Sudan 97,512 2010
69 Dominican Republic 92,129 2010
70 Tunisia 89,925 2010
71 Azerbaijan 89,292 2010
72 Uzbekistan 87,026 2010
73 Croatia 86,342 2010
74 Ethiopia 85,713 2010
75 Serbia 83,776 2010
76 Oman


PS I have a novel for sale on Amazon/Kindle..."In Plain Sight"...$2.99 and you don't have to own a Kindle! There's a free app for PC's.
Dellfincek - I have never heard Callisto and Diablo side by side, but my understanding is that the Diablo is more upfront than the Callisto, and indeed requires more careful system matching. I would go with Callisto if I were you.
Lrsky interesting thinking and comparissons. I think that something very deep exists why there is no distributer in USA and this is still going on now. I can also understand why there is a distributor in Zagreb or in Belgrade for example. These two cities has a very rich tradition for the high audiophile culture already deep in the past. There were so many trully good Hi-Fi magazines even during Yugoslavia times and also many international Hi-Fi fairs were organized so people were constantly in contact with the best in Hi-Fi also at that time. I think that GDP does not play an extensial indicator for that. People in everage are not that wealthy but I can tell you that some of true heart audiphiles are saving the money elsewhere like having Zastava 750 car, more modest appartments just to have the components that they enjoy the most. Passion and crazyness for sure if you ask me :). What is also interesting is if you read some interviews with Mr. Rasmussen you can also discover some of his passion why he likes it here.

Elberoth2: I came to some conclusions that most important what I search in audio reproduction is music with guts, meat and body. That is what I enjoy the most. Tabu gave me that. But still wonder how is that with Callisto, Atilla and Diablo? Are they really offering the same with a tad more transparency and even more dynamics which I already loved on Tabu? If that is true then they are all my kind of treat :).

best, d.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
First of all, GDP only gives one a peripheral look at the 'money' that floats through and around the people within a country, and is NOT an indicator as to whether people will spend money on any particular item.
I am sure, SURE, CERTAIN, that Croatians spend more per capita on audio goods than Americans. I even mention that in my post.
As to the 'meat and body'...
In my synopsis of the Gryphon, I mention that the Callisto out performed Krell, CJ, Ayre, Mac, hands down.
Meat, solidity, body, sense of sonic realism, all of it was there.
It is easily the most musical sounding gear I've ever heard in solid state.
Hence, my angst at their lack of a cohesive international plan, as it relates to this country.
Good luck,
Meat, solidity, body, sense of sonic realism, all of it was there.

I can only echo Lrsky words. I think - no I'm certain - you will not belive your ears.
That's a strong statement from someone who owns the kind of gear that you do...obviously a person of taste and a pocketbook that buys quality.

For anyone NOT familiar, there's just something right about the sound.
Organic,'s my absolute favorite.
I'm not saying there's not some obscure uberexpensive audio gear out there that can't match it...I just haven't been there yet.

Distribution...on the otherhand...Barney Fife could do a better job.

Gryphon is actually addressing the question about distribution in USA on their faq section on
Out of curiosity, I visited the 'Faq' section of Gryphons rather impressive Website.
This is the totality of what was available.
The following is a full 'cut and paste'.

Why is Gryphon not available in USA?
Gryphon has a strong following among US audiophiles, which we highly appreciate. USA is obviously an important market to us, and Gryphon will be re-introduced once a proper solution is found securing the high level of service and support expected by our clients

Well, er uh...I'm not sure I'd call this 'addressing'.
This is much the same as President Clinton's, 'That depends on what the definition of 'is' is.'

I may seem a little rancorous toward Gryphon...well, that's because I am.
They were condescending, even at Mr. Rassmussen's level, toward me. For reasons that defy explanation.
I've never had anything but respect and admiration for the product and even shamelessly promote it's magic, without any hope of reciprocity.

They seem to exhibit some of the sanctimonious attitudes that (sorry for the ethnocentricity here) some of the Scandinavian countries give to outsiders...not unlike the 'gee, we hate Americans' French attitude.

If Gryphon had had someone like me...'he said humbly'...looking for and creating distributorship in the US...they'd be waaay down the road in being the biggest name in High End Electronics in the US, therefore the world.
Ego? Yes, True? Yes.
Here's hoping that the next time distribution is in question, that they'll actually address it.

Yes it is amazing that Gryphon can just blow off the entire US. Imagine Mercedes, BMW, Audi, ect. having that attitude. I do remember reading years ago that the head of Gryphon claimed that the US just didn't get Gryphon. No, Gryphon picked a very poor US partner that tarnished their reputation in the states. Lrsky perhaps we should form a partnership and distribute Gryphon. With your background in audio and my 30+ years in marketing we'll put Gryphon on the map. Now where's that intern of ours Monica to place the first order.
We could, I could...yet one of my, if not my central point, was the dismissive attitude of the people at Gryphon, with regard to Americans.
Plain and simple, they feel superior. The elitist European attitude that rears it's ugly head in that community.
Given the breadth and depth of their product designs and execution, its hard for me to imagine such thinking...the chart, GDP, that I showed represents 'opportunity'.
The economy, in my opinion, after four years and longer with two protracted wars and unrest, is ready to super heat. The first to go in tough times, is 'luxury purchases'...the first to come back would be the same...that, and in my opinion, the amazing amount of what I perceive to be 'pent up buying frustration'. Buying, spending is egoic...I have money to spend, because I'm successful, that kind of thinking, that's been absent for several years.
With it, there will be, I believe an explosion within the audio community, the likes of which we haven't seen in many years.
This is my own philosophy...I"m not aware that anyone else sees the economy in this light.
So Bob...maybe we should.


I 100% agree with you about the elitist European attitude. I have seen it and felt it. You are much more optimistic about the US economy. A $16 trillion budget deficit, Obama care on the horizon has this great country up against a wall. Heck our Federal Reserve owns more than $6 trillion of the US debt and I don't have to tell you where they got the that money to purchase the debt. I too have been a successful business owner with money to spend but would like to see the government stop printing money and the deficit be addressed before I will be somewhat optimistic. Look at Greece & all of Europe, if we don't get gov. spending under control (includes federal, state & local pensions) there will be roiting in the streets just like what is currently happening in Athens. Perhaps we should just get together and enjoy a few adult beverages and some great music and not worry about the world.

And anti Obama types place the 'blame' at the feet of the man who inherited the mess.
It's almost funny, if it weren't so tragic, the length of memory that people have, as it relates to politics and world events.
I seem to remember dereg...allowing Wall Street and Banking to do what they did...the hue and cry from the 'Conservative' side to allow them to 'do what they do' create opportunity.
Well, it wasn't that simple. What they 'did' in this case was to serve themselves.
Greed and instant gratification stepped in the way and they only served themselves. Not surprising.
So, Obama takes office, gets the blame.
Sorta like blaming FDR for what happened under Hoover and crippled the country until the 'Guns and Butter' of WWII came along and we spent our way out of the Depression.
BTW...I'm NOT a Liberal...a realist who's voted both sides of a less than desirable street.
Politicians, lest we forget, have one goal, not benevolent or altruistic, but self serving, 'How do I get reelected?'
The debt is a problem, but a long term, not short term one IMHO. Spending desires and rebound will service us nicely over the next four years, almost no matter who's in office.
Eisenhower once said...'Managing the economy is like trying to control a garbage truck that's barreling down hill, out of control...all you can do is hold on 'til you get to the bottom.'
Right now, we have hit bottom and we're about to bounce up...just a prediction.
Would I like to make Gryphon a player? Yes.
Could I? Yes.
Do I personally have the
Do I have the knowledge?'s been a while, but the world is still operating the same way it did a couple of years ago.

You're an interesting guy Bob.

Guys first thanks for even more explanation of the character of the sound from Gryphon. I read it with great interest as I combine it with the experience I had when listening to it. Helps me understand the difference and expectations when I will be able to listen to it. I think that Atilla will be placed high on the agenda for the audition. Even though it was not mentioned here so very detailed as Tabu, Callisto or Diablo. Atilla has some of the qualities and characteristics that drawled my attention.

Second thing... For me it was rather very surprising to see that Gryphon does not have a single dealer center in USA, as this is so huge market.

I read one interview with Mr. Rassmusen just recently that they want to put very high standards for dealers who wants to sell their units. It is not enough just to represent a brand. Dealers should have the units physically available for listening and not only listed in the catalogues. They should provide a high quality service for customers who are interested into their products.
But besides that I also think that Gryphon is very cautious with the USA market as they do not want to repeat the situation from the 90s which cost them almost their existence. Would be sure good for all the music lovers from USA to be closer to this marvelous Hi-Fi equipment. On the other hand I understand also Gryphon and I think that explanation on their site is sufficient for the moment to say that their presence on the USA market will be reintroduced once proper solution will be found. But I also understand the consumer side ... desire.

best, del. insistance on this issue, borders on and has surpassed 'Beating a dead horse'...but...
Del, if you knew what nitwits they had just 8 years ago, when I was trying, almost beseeching them to sell me their top brands, without audition, no favors nothing special...BUT COULDN'T GET THEM TO DO'd be less sure of their purity on the issue.
They have the same opportunity for distribution of high end goods as all others operating in a given financial arena.
Here's what tough for them:
What dealer has the capital to have their products on hand for demonstration?
It takes tens of thousands of dollars to put their product on your floor for demo purposes.
Having traveled the US for THIEL, back a decade ago, I'm not aware of a dealer who can easily make this financial commitment. Let's face it, every move one makes as a dealer, is an ROI (return on investment) moment.
'OK, I tie up $100K for X time, my return is what if I buy this instead?'
Given the heat up time from consumers for products of this ilk, incidence of projected sales, its a tough decision. One must be creative.
MBL, a company of similarly priced goods faces the same issues, and has had issues with distribution, recently ending one relationship and restructuring same.
This is a daunting, 'Chicken and Egg' one must be, again, creative in relationships. I won't go further, discussing that part.
As to the past, it's enough to know that the issues that have plagued them are not unique.
Every manufacturer has face some jerk reviewer who would try and gain free goods for a good review...that's dicey but can be handled.
Every high end manufacturer has the 'capital' issue to deal with, that being, 'how do we get dealers to put our products on their showroom floors?'
With Grypon, as it relates to the issues, we must look at their anti US bias, coupled with's not easy, and THEY must look in the mirror to see who made the mistakes.
That last Distributor...I personally can't imagine who'd hire people of that ilk.
Their explanation, on the site by the way, is NOT sufficient.
They need to use that platform to ask for someone to step forward.
'While, we have no representation in the US, we are aggressively looking for a person OR GROUP who has the wherewithal to take our products into the US Marketplace.' Then more data on who to contact.
Right now, its lip service because their failure to be in the largest market has to be a sore spot for any investors or money people behind this endeavor. They, with this simple statement on their website show their total lack of commitment to this market.

Products A+...Distribution F.
That would NOT dissuade me from purchasing though.


We have alot more in common than you might think. Politically I am leery of both sides, our deficit problems did not happen over night. If I am not mistaken you live in the Kentucky area. Beautiful state btw. I live in Oregon & if we lived closer I know our audio views would also be very simular. The best we can do is try to enjoy our lives and do the right thing everyday.
Bob, you should email me some time...we'll discuss business.

[email protected]

The deficit increased by over 33% percent in the first quarter of 2009 because of a lack of revenue paid into the treasury from both the private and corporate sector. When and where did that run up/run down start? Larry call me some time about audio stuff. Tom
Tom...need your number buddy.


This shit without emails on A'gon sucks.

Yep..can't get thru to anyone. Tom

I will shoot you a email soon. It appears that my email isn't working right, it won't allow me to send or receive any emails! Go figure
Gryphon Diablo is better than ANY Mcintosh ss integrated if you like sound that is true to the source...i just cant take serious companys that make new integrateds or amplifiers every 2 years...
Gryphon vs. MAC? Are you serious? Thats like comparing a Bentley to a Cadillac.