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.

Showing 15 responses by lrsky

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,
'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,
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,
You must immediately surrender your 'audiophile crazy' card, asking a question like that.


Good listening, and LOL
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
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.

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.
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,
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.

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.

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.

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.

Larry 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.

Bob, you should email me some time...we'll discuss business.

[email protected]

Tom...need your number buddy.


This shit without emails on A'gon sucks.